GUWAHATI: To curb the misuse of “press” stickers, vests, and jackets, Manipur government has mandated that from now on, it can only be used by registered media houses and journalists possessing valid identity cards or accreditation certificates.
This decision seeks to prevent unauthorised individuals, including potential anti-social elements, from exploiting the “press” designation in the violence-affected state.
The directive, confirmed by officials, specifies that only press cards or accreditation letters issued by recognised entities such as the Directorate of Information & Public Relations (DIPR), Press Bureau of India, All India Radio, Doordarshan (DD News), and acknowledged national and international media organiwations will be considered valid.
The move follows an appeal made by the All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU) and Editors’ Guild Manipur (EGM) on Sunday, urging non-journalists to refrain from wearing vests displaying the “press” logo and affixing the stickers on their vehicles.
In a joint statement, they highlighted the challenges faced by journalists while trying to disseminate essential information amid the current turmoil in the state.
Authorities have initiated checks on vehicles displaying such stickers to ensure compliance with the new regulation. Although no arrests have been made so far, this action is crucial in Manipur as some individuals with vested interests, including drug traffickers, may have exploited the “press” designation due to Manipur’s status as an international drug trafficking route, the officials said.
The misuse of “press” stickers has been on the rise, with individuals often arriving at the scenes of encounters and accidents claiming to represent unregistered news organisations.
To address this issue, both media organisations and law enforcement are stressing on the importance of bonafide press reporters possessing identity cards issued by the state, Centre, or reputable media entities. This measure is expected to enhance security and maintain the credibility of genuine journalists in Manipur.