Newspapers failed to hit the stands in Manipur on Tuesday as journalists continued their protest against threats by insurgent outfits. Several editors and reporters joined a sit-in protest near a bridge Keishampat in Imphal.
Manipur’s journalists had been facing threats from several outfits in the past with editors sandwiched between incompatible conditions of rival outfits and even witnessed bombs being planted in their offices.
As editors and reporters are taking part in the day-long protest, indications are that they will not be able to bring out Wednesday's editions too.
According to senior editors and reporters there are more than 40 underground organisations though the State’s total population is little more than 27 lakh. The newspapers are expected to publish all their press releases verbatim. Most of the releases are incendiary and invite drastic legal actions.
The present crisis is due to an organisation’s threat against publication of newspapers as they refuse to carry its press releases. The outfit had threatened the editors and reporters that they would be shot if they published newspapers and also threatened paper boys who deliver newspapers.
Editors and reporters plan to join duty after Tuesday’s protest. But the All Manipur Newspaper Sales and Distribution Association’s decision to maintain status quo in the absence of a firm backing from the Ibobi Singh government, may deny newspapers to Manipur for another day. If there is no positive response newspapers may continue to suspend publication since most of them are incurring heavy losses.