IMPHAL, Jun 17 : Referring to the letter sent by the Press Council of India about three weeks back, Chief Secretary Jarnail Singh has categorically instructed the State Director General of Police to collect newspapers of the last month for thorough scrutiny of any violation of the guidelines issued by the Press Council of India.
The Chief Secretary has also specifically directed the DGP to move a proposal to the Press Council of India (PCI) and the Government of India for cancellation of the registration of these newspapers in case the contents of the newspapers are found violating the guidelines of the PCI.
“After reading some of the leading newspapers in Manipur, it is found that many of them violate the guidelines of the Press Council of India and the newspapers are openly publishing the statements/appeals of one banned organisation or the other to do something which is not correct”, mentioned the Chief Secretary’s instruction.
On the other hand, the Assessment Committee (of the PCI) on violation of the freedom of press in North East has recommended that the State Government should not impose any restriction or pre-censorship on the media in the name of fighting militancy.
Ordinary laws of the land with suitable appellate procedure can be the remedy to the problem, noted the Committee.
Interestingly, it was in total contradiction to this recommendation that the Government of Manipur issued certain dos and don’ts some time back severely threatening the freedom of press in the State.
However, a press release issued by the Home Department informed that the Assessment Committee has also recommended the media of Manipur to restrain and be careful in publishing news items or press releases of the outlawed organisations.
Glorification of militancy and violence has an adverse effect on society. Compromise with the outlawed organisations never ensured safety and security media persons, rather it attracted more troubles, it asserted.
Other recommendations of the Assessment Committee included special incentives to media persons working under hazardous conditions or perilous assignments, generous group insurance cover, disturbance allowances, additional leaves and other benefits as appropriate or entitled to them in conflict situations.
While hailing the Manipur Government for the welfare measures it has initiated for the media persons such as Journalists Pension, contributions to the Manipur Press Club and other concessions to journalists, the Assessment Committee suggested the Government of Manipur to initiate a device to bring the journalist community of the State under insurance coverage for free.
The final recommendation of the Assessment Committee was that the media persons of the State should strictly abide by the guidelines set out by the PCI on coverage of militant related news and handouts, conveyed the Home Department release.