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Ibobi salve on scribes

Imphal, Aug. 9: Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh today assured a delegation of journalists that he would amend a home department order that imposed curbs on reportage of militancy-related activities.

“The government is ready to make changes in the seven clauses journalists find objectionable. Please point out those objectionable parts and I will convene a cabinet meeting tomorrow to make necessary amendments,” Ibobi Singh told the delegation at his conference hall today. He, however, said the order would not be withdrawn.

The seven clauses in the order issued by principal secretary (home), P.B.O. Warjri, have directed the print and electronic media to refrain from publishing certain news items related to militant activities.

While asking journalists to stop glorifying militants, the order warned that the government would confiscate newspapers, books or any document, whether printed or in electronic form, if they contained subversive materials that were a “threat to the integrity of India.” Journalists considered the order an attempt to gag the press and urged Ibobi Singh to revoke it.

The order was issued following a ceasework by journalists against mounting pressure from two factions of the Peoples’ Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (Prepak) and a bomb threat at a newspaper office.

Clarifying the government’s stand, Ibobi Singh said his government “wants to strengthen the hands of media houses” to enable them work without fear.

“Some newspapers in the state are publishing statements issued by militant outfits in toto without any editing. The government will no longer allow this. Such practices must stop,” he said.

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