Almost every section of the Manipuri society including the Government today started recognizing Lamyanba Hijam Irabot as the leader of the state. Every Manipuri today realize that Hijam irabot is a multifaceted leader of the erstwhile reason who had sacrificed his entire life for the future of this erstwhile nation. He was communist and have always stand for the poor and deprived section of the society.
September is a significant month, as everything happened was in this month. He was born on September 30 of 1896 and left for heavenly abode on September 26. He went underground on September 21 of 1948, he was declared terrorist as he was considered a threat to the ruling capitalist class.
Well apart from other activities, Irabot’s contribution to this erstwhile nation is the introduction of journalism for the first time. He was the first to edit and publish a newspaper in the soil of this region. It was during Manipur’s pre-independence and post independence that the legend had light up the foundation of journalism.
The journey of Manipur press began and from cyclostyle to letter press then offset machine and now there are 12 to 16 page full colour newspaper published every day. Besides, addition of Cable news and now with the beginning of a new era the print and electronic mass media have reached beyond expectation. The importance of the media being understand by the people across the country and globe considered “Media today is the fourth estate of democracy”.
Now, the question that we are putting up is “ Is media still a fourth estate in today’s democratic Inida”
The dream that the new information age would be one of greater enlightenment, of a rational discourse and greater participation has not come true.
Understanding the power if media, every ruling government in today’s India are trying every means to put media under their control using every means is not directly.
The fourth estate, however, is more powerful than ever. It is shaped by two dominating principles - sensationalism and simplification, which the American sociologist Robert McChesney, in his book Rich Media, Poor Democracy, defines as the consequence of “hyper commercialisation”. It has led to ever fiercer ratings and circulation wars, which inevitably leads to what is called “dumping down”. To succeed, the media industry tries to appeal to the lower instincts of people.
After coming to power, the government didn’t let go the media while strict surveillances are also conducted to the social media.
Veteran politician , Yaswant Sinha, in an interview with a web site channel had stated that the Narendia Modi government is doing marvelous in utilization of media. The one time BJP leader speaks volumes when he said so. But what is more interesting is how the Modi government took interest in media.
As per his assessment , in four years the narendra Modi Government spend over 4000 crores of rupess on personalize publicity.
Modi leadership knows the power of media and is using it with a purpose.
And it is sure that in 2019 parliamentary election, media will be a battle ground. The one which have no respect for media will be defeated.
Now, when it comes to the state of Manipur, N. Biren Singh understood well on how to handle media will do all the needful. One thing his government failed to understand is the importance of small media which will also certainly play its part.
In the age of internet, what the Chief minister of Manipur and his colleague should understand is that there will be no such thing as big media or small media as the tools invented by Mark Zukerburg and other software expert has enable to reach out what has been published to as a many people across the globe and the state even more than those of so called big media whom they gave more priority.
September is the month of the father of Manipuri Journalism Hijam Irabot , and every September each of us will remember the spirit of the “Father of Manipuri Journalism”, media will play its role to remain as the fourth estate to make the democracy a successful , as the spirit of Hijam Irabot still runs in our blood.
Rinku Khumukcham, Editor of Imphal Times has more than 15+ years in the field of Journalism. A seasoned editor, was a former editor of ISTV News. He resides in Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai, with his wife and parents.