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Mainstream, VOL 61 No 37 September 9, 2023

EGI Statement on FIRs registered by the Manipur Police against the Guild

Saturday 9 September 2023



September 5, 2023

The Editors Guild of India is disturbed by the registration of First Information Reports (FIRs) by the Manipur Police against the President of the Guild as well as the members of the fact-finding team that had visited Manipur to study and document media’s coverage of ethnic clashes in the state. The Guild is further shocked by the intimidatory statements made by the Chief Minister of Manipur, Mr. N Biren Singh, in response to the report.

The Guild had received several representations from civil society as well as the Indian Army raising concerns that the media in Manipur was playing a partisan role in the ongoing ethnic conflict between the majority Meitei community and the Kuki-Chin minority. The Guild had sent a three-member team to Manipur to examine the media’s reportage in the state as well as the effects of internet shut down. The team met a cross-section of reporters, editors, representatives of the Editors Guild of Manipur, All Manipur Working Journalists Union, civil society activists, public intellectuals, women affected by the violence, tribal spokespersons and the representatives of the security forces operating in Manipur.

The report was released on September 2, 2023.

The Guild is extremely disturbed that rather than respond to the concerns raised in the report in a meaningful way, the state government has registered FIRs invoking multiple provisions of the IPC. The Guild has already acknowledged and corrected an error that was pointed out regarding a photo caption, and we remain open to further discussion.

However, the Chief Minister’s labelling of the journalists body as “anti-State” and “anti- national” is deeply disturbing, especially given the way the Union Government has emphasised the country’s democratic credentials as well as the spirit of freedom of speech at the global stage for the upcoming G20 summit.

The Guild would also like to reiterate that the underlying idea of the report was to enable introspection and reflection on the media’s conduct in such a sensitive situation. The Guild urges the state government to close the FIRs.

Executive Committee

Editors Guild of India

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