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Trouble brewing for cable TV news persons in Manipur


Editor of HY News Samom Beerjurekha lodged a formal complaint with the president of AMWJU drawing his attention to a serious incident involving gross misconduct by persons representing themselves as members of the AMWJU and urging him to take the appropriate corrective actions.

TFM Desk

Cable TV network workers who are under the patronage of All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union, may run into trouble after some staff of a cable news provider allegedly misbehaved with the Editor of HY News, an online news outlet apparently run by associates of a political bigwig of Manipur.

Editor of HY News Samom Beerjurekha lodged a formal complaint with the president of AMWJU drawing his attention to a serious incident involving gross misconduct by persons representing themselves as members of the AMWJU and urging him to take the appropriate corrective actions.

Narrating the incident, Samom Beerjurekha said on the June 18, 2022 evening, she rushed to cover a low-intensity explosion that occurred at Thangmeiband Lourung Purel Leikai, which is in close proximity to her residence right after the blast.

“Suddenly, when I reached the blast site, three men, who claimed to be reporters of ISTV, a cable tv service provider and members of AMWJU, started abrasively and aggressively questioning her about her reporting activities and interrupting her from covering the incident,” she said.

“Despite the unbecoming conduct of these persons, I explained to them that I was representing HY News and covering the event live. However, the said persons continued to behave in an inappropriate manner,” she added.

Stating that these persons had absolutely no right or jurisdiction to question or interrupt her while she was performing her duties, Samom Beerjurekha said their behaviour was intimidating and calculated to cause fear and harassment. “Apart from any legal authority, nobody is entitled to question anybody – especially women – at night”, she added.

The Editor of HY News further said that these representatives of ISTV were clearly drunk at the time, and the alcohol smell was very evident. “This in itself is highly unprofessional and a deep cause for concern for me as a woman journalist seeking to report an event late at night and in difficult circumstances,” she added.

“Initially, I was ignoring the baseless intrusion of these persons and continued my work requesting them to wait until the live coverage ended,” she said. But they failed to comply and continued to harass me with inappropriate questions and statements like- “who gave you the authority to cover the news here?”, “You are not a member of AMWJU”, “We don’t know you”, “What do you even know about the ethics of journalism?” “Do you even know which Police Station has jurisdiction over this area before covering the incident” and constantly asking for her identity card, she added.

“Finally, to the detriment of my organization, my viewers and my duty as a journalist, I was compelled to put an end to the live telecast to confront them. This was wholly and solely on account of the illegal and immoral interruption, harassment and intimidation that I was subjected to by these persons,” she narrated.

Stating that she feels deeply outraged and disturbed following the incident and have been unable to sleep or work properly, she said this is taking a severe toll on both her mental and physical well-being.

HY News is a newly established and fast-growing media house located at Nongmeibung Purana Rajbari-2 opposite Khushum Oil Pump. It began its operation in August 2021. A team comprising the editor, a Sub-Editor, Senior Reporter, Video Editor, and other five correspondents are covering local events with strict professionalism.

HY News, which is in the process of venturing into paper publication, has already applied for Registration of Newspaper (RNI) and is in the final process of completing the same, she said.

Stating that HY News held the AMWJU in the highest esteem and viewed it as an important forum for maintaining and enhancing the professional standards of journalism in Manipur, Samom Beerjurekha reposed its faith that the AMWJU is interested in the growth of all journalistic endeavours – big and small – and not just selected publications.

“To us, the AMWJU is also the torchbearer protecting the rights and liberties of journalists in Manipur, who often have to work in challenging circumstances,” she said lamenting that persons who claim to be journalists and members of the AMWJU would seek to deliberately traumatize a woman journalist and prevent her from carrying out her work.

“This has the potential to sully the fair reputation of the AMWJU, which so many other journalists have worked hard for many years to build,” she said, requesting the AMWJU president to expeditiously look into the matter and take stringent disciplinary action against them.

Assuming they are indeed members of the AMWJU, she demanded they be removed from the membership of the AMWJU at the earliest. “This would serve as an example to deter such unethical and unlawful conduct in the future and give more confidence to me and other women journalists who are striving to cover news events in difficult circumstances,” she said.

Maintaining that other legal recourse remains open to her, she said, “I felt I should repose my faith in the AMWJU to take corrective actions first in the wider interest of our profession before resorting to other avenues.”

Reacting to the incident, an editor of a leading news portal said, “If her allegations are true, it is a serious issue. The head must roll in the interest of budding journalists otherwise AMWJU, which is not a regulating body to recognise or derecognise a media house, would be considered transgressing against its responsibility.”

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