Media Release: India 5
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is
alarmed to learn of a two-day shutdown by newspapers in the northeastern Indian
state of Manipur, following explicit threats from an underground armed group
that the distribution of newspapers not publishing its statements would be
blocked and their personnel attacked.
According to information received from the All Manipur
Working Journalists Union (AMWJU), a unit of the IFJ-affiliated Indian
Journalists’ Union (IJU), newspaper distribution for two days beginning 1
September was suspended by vendors under the threat of violent retribution by
an underground group.
Following this, AMWJU on 2 September decided to
observe a two-day closure to ensure that the state government took note of the
predicament that journalists and other media workers continue to face in a
state that is home to an estimated thirty armed insurgent groups.
According to the AWMJU, this is the fifth complete
shutdown of Manipur’s newspapers in less than five years.
IJU representatives on the Press Council of India
(PCI) have brought the matter to the attention of its chairman, Justice
Markandey Katju, who has written to the chief minister of Manipur, asking that
all necessary measures be taken to ensure that journalists are able to function
in an atmosphere free of fear.
“We applaud partners in the AWMJU for their consistent
and tireless fight for journalists working in the highly challenging
environment in Manipur”, said the IFJ Asia Pacific.
“The code of conduct that AMWJU has evolved to deal
with the situation of multiple insurgencies in the state, is an example for
journalists in other regions that face similar complexities”.
“We call on the state government in Manipur and the
security agencies of the Indian government deployed in the state, to respond to
the urgent calls from AWMJU that conditions be secured for safeguarding
journalists’ rights and the public right to know”.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0950
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