Manipur government assures the PCI of freedom of press in the state

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Imphal, Sep 29 (UNI) Acting Chief Minister of Manipur Th Debendra Singh today assured that restrictions, imposed on the media, was for the safety of the news personnel and not to curb their freedom.

An order, imposing restrictions on the media in the state, was hurriedly passed, to ensure the safety of the journalists from underground organisations in the state, he has maintained.

Giving details of the meeting, Press Council of India member Geetartha Pathak said Mr Debendra had informed him that the government had no intention of curbing the freedom of the media in the state.

However, Mr Singh lamented that a section of the media in the state had failed to follow the ethics of journalism. He assured Geetartha Pathak, who is now in Imphal, that the government would review the order.

Pathak had called on the acting chief minister at his office yesterday and discussed the problems of the media of the state and the situation prevalant there. The PCI member pointed out the guideline set by the Press Council of India in dealing with handouts and media releases of the outlawed organisations and argued that since the PCI already has a set of guidelines on the issue, it is imperative on the part of the media to follow the guidelines.

''If the media person intentionally does not follow the guidelines, anyone can lodge a complaint against thw particular media house and PCI will take appropriate action against them.

Pathak asked the government to withdraw the order. Information Minister of the state T N Haokip was also present at the meeting. He however said that they will take the opinion of the home department on scraping the order.

Pathak also suggested the information minister to set up a press academy in the state on lines of those set up in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal so as to ensure that media persons increase their professional excellence and ethically discharge their duties.


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