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Threat to press- threat to society

by IT Web Admin
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According to the 2016 ‘World Press Freedom Index’ released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) India ranks an abysmally low at 133 among 180 countries. The release further states that Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems “indifferent” to the threats against journalists. Though improved from the previous year as India jumped three spots from the 136th position it had in 2015, the scenario still presents a bleak picture regarding the safety and security of the journalists across the country. The situation does not fare any better in our own state of Manipur.
Threats from the mushrooming armed separatist groups in the state is nothing new, and there have even been instances where the media fraternity have suspended publications to mark their protests against unwarranted threats and intimidation which is seen as an attempt to suppress the freedom of the press and the right of the public to avail timely and correct information. Though the situation could be expectantly termed as improving, the safety and security of the journalists who often have to work at odd hours collecting news from often dangerous zones and conflict situations cannot be assured. There have also been sporadic veiled insinuations from the high and the powerful rulers of the land when reports threatening to expose their sordid underhand dealings or that of their dear and near ones are published. The state, like the rest of the country have also witnessed blatant abuse of power when the press was stonewalled by the state authorities on a series of narcotics smuggling cases which made obvious the firm grip certain individuals with power and influence have on the system and the government. though there have not been an outright curb on the freedom of the press, it has been experienced more times than one would care to keep tract the fact that various components of the society- the state government, the armed separatist groups, civil society organizations and individuals have tried to arm-twist the press into downplaying or exaggerating reports according to their conveniences, and the trend is unfortunately going on.
While there have been instances of the media playing favorites, the fact remains that there is a very big platform for the disgruntled public to bring up the issue, and there is no way such issues will be distorted or played down. Leaving aside the unintentional mistakes and errors of details, one can say with certainty that the media in the state has been trying to uphold the sanctity of journalism, and the biggest challenge to that is standing our ground against severe criticisms and threats of bodily harm. The media is not any party’s or individual’s mouthpiece. It is a medium for mirroring the society in its starkness, without distortions or justifications. When the pureness of the image gets tampered with, then everybody stands to lose- be it the mighty, powerful, daring, influential, wealthy or plain desperados. 

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