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Manipur editors to resist NIA demands on insurgents’ press releases

Imphal, May 28 (IANS) Newspaper editors in Manipur on Saturday decided not to yield to pressure from the NIA which has demanded they share source of underground press releases and other details which will lead to the location of the computer used by insurgents to emailing these.

The NIA demands became stronger in wake of the claim by the Corcom taking responsibility about the ambush of a convoy of 29 Assam Rifles in the border area where six personnel were killed and 7 others wounded and six sophisticated weapons snatched away by the insurgents.

An emergency meeting of the Editors’ Guild Manipur (EGM) was held on Saturday to discuss the letter from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) asking the editor of mass circulation vernacular newspaper, The Poknapham and its sister publication, People’s Chronicle, to hand over the copies of publicity materials in connection with the claim for the May 22 ambush.

Robindro Sharma, editor of The Poknapham told IANS that the meeting decided to furnish the materials as far as possible but certain sensitive materials including those concerning the editorial sanctity shall never be handed over to the NIA or any authority.

Asked if it was discrimination that all local editors and correspondents of regional and national newspapers and agencies got the press handout of the Corcom, but only Poknapham and its sister publication were singled out, he said: “It is a matter of sheer luck. The court had issued summons to an English newspaper for publishing a handout by another underground outfit.”

For quite sometime, police have been asking the local media to abide by the guidelines of the Press Council of India regarding publication of press statements of the insurgents. But little choice is left to the editors since there had been attacks on the newspaper offices for refusing to publish press releases.

In one instance, all editors were held in an isolated house for the night and were only allowed to return in the morning when the spiked handout was published in their absence.

The EGM also resolved to stand by the two newspapers on whatever stand they take in this regard.

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