By Donn Morgan Kipgen
In history, we come across all kinds of twists and turns as the Revolution marches on. The flooding tides of many successes drowning the vicious ‘holier-than-thou’ voices of the tyrants, despots, Govts, dictators and their pompous military commanders for good, along with over-rated bards, the critics and their quilts as well. In all those successful revolutionary movements, there have always been slow but steady change of guards and full respects given to the general public and patriotic intellectuals, the old guards, learned scholars, etc so as to maintain the full momentum and the general interests of the whole nation-states.
The most vital factor in all movements and political-revolutions have been the Media, without which nothing could be initiated, sustained nor reformed in orderly manner. The importance of the media and the ordinary citizens can never ever be under-estimated nor could they be kept out of the enterprising things to come.
Here in this hostile paradise on earth called Manipur, the armed entities, the legislature and the bureaucrats seem to have completely missed what the powerful influences of the media are all about. An administration can survive without a standing army, important national resources and an enlightened despot or UG militant can live without a wife but could not ‘survive’ without the general media. Be though they might not fully realised, a large number of ‘princely’ civil and police officers, like union armed forces commanders, for all their well-sung achievements, just cannot work or dictate without media personnel to record their deeds as that of revolutionary leaders. All of them simply take things for granted-the friendly hidden powers of the media, the daily ‘public gazetteers’ of the State Administration.
When it comes to the genuine significance and the overall importance of the media in Manipur, there are lots of lessons to be learned and an honourable path to follow by all and sundry. Recent incidents have shown that media boys themselves could be made a big part of a tragic news. Surprising as it might sound, the CHIKIM and Naga UG militants and armed forces officers give an immense professional respects to the media boys and commendable freedom of truthful expressions. As a matter of fact and standard protocol, even militants and many armed forces JCOs and personnel address all well-known journalists, Editors, Asst Editors etc as ‘Sir’ as much a professional respect shown by their superior officers, which is otherwise found much wanting in the State law enforcement agencies. Well, they definitely know that the media is their ‘Golan Heights’ or the victory’s trumpets and know the futility of quixotic war against the media. No force on earth has ever won even a battle against the Media.
All armed entities ought to know the sources of public supports, the indelible voices of their achievements. So very much important and decisive are the media, so much so that in all modern day’s coup d’etats, the first thing the military (junta) has to do is to capture and secure the main radio, TV, and Telecommunication stations and, of course, take over influential newspaper offices. Once the media is secured, the coup is almost full done. That’s what the power of ageless warrior called the ‘Gen Media’ is all about. A revolution might come and go, a Govt might rise and fall, but the media triumphantly go on and on. Lest we forget, printing press completely changed the course of modern history: religiously, politically, academically, scientifically, economically and militarily. Nation building and socio-political revolution cannot be effected successfully without the help of popular media.
Who else but the enterprising media boys could make a thing go either way! Only the media boys could make a particular incident or an adventure an eye-opener, a success or a failure, unfortunate victims or brutal victims, innocent or suspect etc. We now know the phrase ‘good press’ and ‘bad press’ to the fullest. The Fourth Estate has now become the ever watchful and unforgiving guardian of the first three estates: existing as an independent ‘shadow-Govt’.
The popular media is a virtual opposition bench, the Judiciary, the House Speaker, the diplomatical warriors, the left-hand of the law, the entertainer and the ceaseless voices of the general public, the law makers and the extremists, all blessedly rolled into one guiding star. However, there have been some elements which unethically abused or compromised the well-protected honour of the media by not maintaining the media’s law of consistency and equal press-coverage.
Yes, indeed, far too much importances have been given at times to some particular issues or institutions which might not be appreciated by some sections of our diverse society. Some crucial issues or incidents might be undercovered due to the lack of direct or proper communication system; and even some highly newsworthy incidents, events, issues had been almost unreported, unknown or neglected due to lack of reliable informations.
Unfortunately, many of the press-releases from the Hill areas seldom merited a detail front-page or cable TV news headlines. Worst still, such press-statements issued by respectable institutions or student organisations of Manipur have never been ‘independently or directly entertained’ in the past by national daily newspapers, news magazines or nation-wide visual news media as done/printed independently in Manipur and other NE media-fraternity. However, things have changed a bit now with the introduction of national NETV cable news network having a full time regular Thadou-Kuki news channel: a necessity for CHIKIMS world-wide population.
Now, what or how about the unprecedented imposition of the Section No. 95 of the CrPC upon the State media by the O Ibobi Govt? Does it not violate the spiritual and universal concept of the Freedom of Speech, Expressions, Faith (read - ideology) and Worship proudly enshrined in the Constitution of India, the world’s largest secular and democratic nation. With such unprecedented total prohibition on all press-statements and news items issued by terrorists, out-lawed organisations, organised gangs, etc, that ‘posed threats to the integrity of the State and the nation’, the adventurous State media fraternity has been unceremoniously trapped and given out LBW by the Home Umpire to a ball that pitched outside the leg-stump line. It seems that some State ‘media-batsmen’ got themselves out caught behind or at the slip cordon for playing far too many unorthodox and extravagant strokes far away from their bodies. If that be the case, it’s time to take a new guard and responsibly leave behind all cricket ball that’s invitingly pitched wide outside the off-stump line: a loose delivery will always come regularly to be sent to the boundary rope.
A soul searching initiative is most needed. Whereas it is the Fundamental Duties of the Citizens to respect Law and Order, it is the Patriotic Duties of the citizens to see that the Law and the Constitution of the nation are not misused, abused or mis-interpreted by local authorities.
It would have been more fitting if the imposition of the Sec 95 of the CrPC had been issued through the State’s highest court of law, after due notification being served a good period beforehand to see to it that the State Media had been functioning against the interest of national security despite being officially forewarned to such effect as notified by a competent Judge or Magistrate. But then the bombshell has already been dropped from an unexpected corner.
Whatsoever the official verdict might be, there has to be professional leniency and flexibility in the Spirit of Democracy and for the over-all interest of the general public, all bounded together as one entity by the media. How’s that?
Source: The Sangai Express