Imphal Review of Arts and Politics

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Editors Guild of India has come under heavy criticism for its allegedly biased recent report on Manipur crisis.

33 Professionals Call EGI Report Grossly Flawed in Content and Methodology

A group of 33 professionals from Manipur, residing in the country and abroad sent a strong rebuttal on September 6, 2023, on the “Report of Fact-Finding Mission on Media’s Reportage of Ethnic Violence in Manipur”. The rebuttal was submitted to Ms. Seema Mustafa, President of the Editors Guild of India (EGI) as the report was commissioned by the guild.

The rebuttal letter, while strongly condemning the report, termed it as biased, baseless and misinformed.

The signatories alleged the report of being partial and not reflecting how the violence has impacted both affected communities. It also alleges that contrary to a fact-finding mission report on actual reportage of media, the report relied heavily on perception and hearsay and lacked credible media citations.

The rebuttal questioned the ethical standard of EGI and journalistic principles as the report had failed in its basic premise of a fact-finding report. “It is important that the media fraternity and an entity with the stature of Editors Guild of India provides balanced and well-informed report” said R.K Nimai, a social activist who is a signatory to the letter. “failing this, we risk further spread of hatred and violence”, he added.

Besides many other arguments, the rebuttal questioned the report for its inconsistent citations, misrepresentation of a recent ruling from the Honourable High Court of Manipur, providing inaccurate and misleading information on evictions, biased and inappropriate portrayal of the Meira Paibis.

The report failed to scrutinize the role of media, which was the actual intent and also failed in basic information such as incorrect job titles and inconsistent terminology, pointing to a complete lack of professionalism in the report’s preparation. “We would welcome any well-meaning group to understand the situation from the ground, report on facts and contribute to an overall de-escalation and peace building process. This report, in no way, with all its misrepresentations, serves that kind of positive purpose” said Biswanath Mutum, a social sector specialist who also coordinated the rebuttal process.  However, he adds “the EGI is a great institute with its past glory. It should scrap the report and send a new team so that actual truth comes out to the public domain. It will restore the prestige of the institute”.

It may be recalled that legal processes were initiated by citizens in Manipur against EGI and the authors. Various media forums have also come out in support of EGI while many have also termed the report biased and having a lot of scope for improvement. Interestingly, the EGI, from its official twitter handle, while thanking media and civil liberty groups for supporting them had also thanked the Indigenous Tribal Leader’s Forum (ITLF) through a tweet tag. The tweet was later deleted.

For now, while the war of words and legal proceedings goes on, the people of Manipur, women, children and internally displaced people take a day at a time not knowing when they would return to their homes.

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