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Fostering Standards in Social Media Coverage on Manipur Conflict

by Rinku Khumukcham
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Fostering Standards in Social Media Coverage on Manipur Conflict

The ongoing conflict in Manipur has its digital side, with social media platforms becoming the primary conduits for information dissemination among the local population following the restoration of internet access. The ease with which information flows through these platforms has catapulted various social media pages into the role of key players in shaping public perception. However, this shift has not come without its challenges for the public, as the circulation of sensational content and unverified claims has become a pervasive issue.
Recognizing the imperative for responsible reporting in the midst of this digital discourse, the All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU) has taken a laudable step by extending its umbrella to encompass these social media pages. This strategic move indicates a potential shift towards a more regulated and ethical landscape in reporting on the Manipur conflict. AMWJU’s initiative to integrate social media pages into its organization is a significant acknowledgment of the influential role these platforms play in disseminating information and shaping public narratives.
One of the primary challenges faced by these social media pages is the tendency towards sensationalism as a means to garner attention. In their pursuit of increased views and followers, many pages prioritize sensational content over accurate and verified information. This inclination, coupled with the spread of unverified claims in various formats like videos and posts, has the potential to amplify tensions and hinder the establishment of a nuanced understanding of the conflict.
Despite not explicitly identifying as journalistic entities, these social media pages bear a responsibility to the public they reach. AMWJU’s move provides an opportunity to instill a sense of responsibility and accountability among these pages disseminating information on the conflict. The integration process into AMWJU offers a platform for imparting crucial lessons on the ethics of reporting, including the principles of accuracy, fairness, and objectivity.
Emphasizing the importance of fact-checking, verifying sources, and avoiding the propagation of unverified claims can significantly contribute to elevating the quality of information shared. Moreover, fostering an understanding of the potential consequences of irresponsible reporting is crucial. Lessons on the impact of sensationalism and the influential role social media plays in shaping public opinion can contribute to fostering a more informed and discerning community.
Moreover, given that they are spreading information on the conflict. The lessons from the experiences of conflict journalism must be invoked. Conflict journalism is a field that demands unwavering adherence to ethical standards, journalists find themselves navigating a complex landscape marked by violence, unrest, and political upheaval. The standards in conflict journalism mandate prioritizing accuracy and not succumbing to propaganda. Most importantly, safety becomes paramount, necessitating a commitment to protocols in volatile environments, while respect for the dignity and privacy of individuals remains an essential cornerstone. In the context of the Manipur conflict, though thorough fact-checking and a deep understanding of the conflict’s context are crucial elements, the social media page handlers must also avoid harm and being accountable for the errors considering the potential humanitarian implications of the information shared.
In conclusion, the integration of social media pages into AMWJU’s purview signifies a positive step towards fostering ethical reporting in the Manipur conflict’s digital landscape. This move not only acknowledges the challenges posed by sensationalism and misinformation but also presents an opportunity to educate social media handlers on responsible reporting practices. Ultimately, this endeavor contributes to a more informed public discourse, aligning with the broader principles of responsible conflict journalism.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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