SHILLONG, Jan 7: The Meghalaya Editors’ and Publishers’ Association (MEPA) which is the apex body of all media houses in Meghalaya expresses its grave concern over the incident that occurred on January 6, 2020 at the Main Secretariat, Shillong where senior journalist E M Jose was misbehaved and mistreated by Home Minister James K. Sangma.
The MEPA in its emergency executive committee meeting held today (January 7, 2020) has discussed the incident in details and felt that the behaviour of the Home Minister towards the senior journalist is unbecoming of his stature since the concerned senior journalist and his colleagues present had wanted to meet the minister and discuss various issues related to the State.
Since James K. Sangma is a minister in charge of various departments and also the fact that he is the official spokesperson of the MDA Government, it is the duty of the journalists to meet him to get the version of the government on various issues. But the manner in which the said minister conducted himself and even trying to aggressively confront the senior journalist E M Jose is totally condemnable and unacceptable, MEPA statement said.
Therefore, the MEPA has resolved to demand an immediate public apology from James K. Sangma for his misbehaviour towards the senior journalist and also to ensure that such incidents are not repeated in the future. Media has the right to ask question from those in power and if the right of the media is throttled, the future of democracy will be in peril.
Meanwhile, the press fraternity of the state has also asked the Home Minister to tender an unconditional apology for confronting with journalists who were waiting to seek answers to some questions here on Monday.
In a letter sent to the Home Minister, the journalists of the state said that they are compelled to write this letter condemning his “uncalled for assault” against the press people waiting outside his office for a meeting with him to seek answers to several questions currently being raised by the public.
“We therefore, demand an unconditional apology for your act of humiliating the press and threatening violence against a senior member of our fraternity, who only sought to shake hands and put you some questions,” the state’s journalists said in the letter.
The state’s journalists also said that they have tried to meet him many times individually and as a group but he remained elusive for reasons best known to him.
In the letter the journalists said that on the January 6, 2020 they had tried to meet him and waited outside his door for more than three hours seeking answers from the Home Minister of the state on several issues.
Meanwhile, the journalists fraternity of the state along with the letter demanding unconditional apology from Sangma has sent a list of 24 questions.
On Monday evening, Sangma and a senior journalist EM Jose of The Shillong Times were engaged in a war of words after he sought an interview to ask questions related to departments he hold.