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Manipur journalist bodies serve legal notice to editors guild over report

Sep 25, 2023 11:17 AM IST

The legal notices said the publication of the report without any basis and without proper verification of the content was “highly unfortunate”

Two Manipur based journalist bodies, the All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU) and the Editors’ Guild Manipur (EGM), on Sunday served separate legal notices on the president and three members of the Editors’ Guild of India (EGI) in connection with the EGI’s fact-finding ‘Report of the Fact-Finding Mission on Media’s Reportage of the Ethnic Violence in Manipur.’

At least 175 people have been killed and thousands displaced in ethnic clashes in Manipur since May 3. (HT photo)
At least 175 people have been killed and thousands displaced in ethnic clashes in Manipur since May 3. (HT photo)

The legal notice, which is addressed to the EGI president and it’s three members- Seema Guha, Sanjay Kapoor and Bharat Bushan -- demands that defamatory statements levelled against Manipur journalists be expunged by removing the fact-finding report from EGI’s social media handles and websites and that the EGI also issue a clarification in this regard within 15 days,failing which legal action -- civil,criminal or both -- will be taken against the Guild.

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The legal notices on behalf of AMWJU and EGM stated that the publication of the report without any basis and without proper verification was “highly unfortunate”.

It said for an organisation like EGI, which has high stature,it is very fortunate to brand Imphal-based media as “Meitei Media” which is not only “obnoxious” but also a deliberate attempt to lower the dignity and credibility of local media.

It also stated that the so-called report, widely circulated in various social media platforms, “is full of information based on wrong facts and data,false news,ill motivated,biased,sponsored and fabricated news favouring one particular community only.”

Also Read: SC protects Editors Guild from arrest in Manipur FIRs over fact-finding report

Stating that the wrong representation in the report has damaged the reputation of the journalists’ community in the state, it mentioned that a group of 33 individuals from Manipur residing in various parts of India and abroad wrote a letter to the President of EGI, asking for the report to be scrapped.

The letter demanded that EGI deploy a more competent team, which should consult all affected communities and contribute to a broader peace building process as the current report did not maintain neutrality and objectivity and is full of misrepresentation and factual errors.

The report only added fuel to the fire that has been burning in Manipur for more than 4 months,the letter said, adding that it not only escalated violence in Manipur but also spread false news.

An FIR has already been filed against the EGI president and three other members, mentioned earlier, in connection with the report on the media coverage of the ongoing unrest.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court protected the EGI and the three members from arrest in two criminal cases lodged against them in Manipur following the release of the report.

The EGI’s report claimed that media coverage on the on-going crisis in Manipur was one-sided and accused the state leadership of being partisan during the conflict.

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