More than 200 scribes and newspaper distributors of Manipur took out a rally recently from the Manipur Press Club to the Chief Minister's Office complex in Imphal to protest against threats issued to media persons.
The protest was staged under the banner of the All Manipur Journalists' Union (AMWJU) in association with the Editors' Forum and the All Manipur Newspaper Sales and Distribution Association.
President of AMWJU Shamjai Wangkhemcha said they would continue to publish newspapers despite threats by militant outfits.
"We have stopped the publication of newspapers for the last four days due to threats by a militant organization. We have stopped total publication since September 02 but will continue to publish even if threat persists. After taking out a mass rally on September 2 we have continued our sit-in protest on the same issue," he said.
Some militant outfits have been forcing media houses to publish their press releases without making any changes. Hawkers have also stopped distributing newspapers since August 28, following threats.
Retired Principal of DM College H. Sanahanbi Devi said that media is playing a big role in the state, and such threats should not take place in future.
"Nowadays, some unknown people always threaten the media and they always force them to publish their news whether it's wrong or right in the newspaper. This thing should not be done in the future. What is the use of threatening Media person? They are playing a big role for our state," she said.
A joint delegation of the journalists and hawkers met the Chief Minister and apprised him of the threats. They appealed to him to put in place necessary safety measures for media persons. A sit-in protest was also organised by the editors and journalists on the second day of the protest.
Imphal has more than 15 daily publications, including five English dailies. Media houses in the state have been facing continuous harassment from various militant outfits.
Jimmy Lhouvum, a senior reporter from The People's Chronicle said this is not the first time such incidents have happened.
"This is not the first time. So many such incidents have happened. Even some executive members of Manipur Journalist Union have been attacked on several occasions. It is better for them to respect what we are doing. We are doing this for the people and it is a good cause for the nation," he said.