AMWJU urges government to provide safe passage to Mizzima journalists
Mizzima is an independent media organisation of Myanmar locals, and the journalists now taking shelter in Moreh are living in fear that they may be pushed back to Myanmar where their life and security would be in great danger, AMWJU said.
The All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU) has expressed serious concern over the prevailing situation in Myanmar and the latest developments as three Mizzima journalists fled the country and has taken shelter in Moreh, Manipur.
AMWJU appealed to the government of Manipur to give them the respect which the journalists are accorded anywhere in the world, and to give them safe passage to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, New Delhi, where they can seek official refugee status under the international convention on refugees, stated a release issued by AMWJU president Bijoy Kakchingtabam.
“As a journalist body, we are especially alarmed by the fate of the media and media persons in the country,”it stated.
The Union appeals to the Manipur government to make necessary concessions to allow the journalists to come to Imphal and all facilities be extended to them so that they can proceed to Delhi to seek the protection of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), it added.
Further, it stated that the Mizzima is an independent media organisation of Myanmar locals, and the journalists now taking shelter in Moreh are living in fear that they may be pushed back to Myanmar where their life and security would be in great danger, it added. They are fearful of harassment by Indian security establishment.
It may be recalled that Mizzima is India friendly and in 2018, Mizzima signed an agreement with Prasar Bharati for content sharing, the release stated, adding this was the first time Prasar Bharati had signed an agreement with a private media house. In June 2020, the Mizzima promoted a musical evening from all parts of Northeast led by Guru Rewben Mashangva, and the Manipur government gave its full backing to them, it added.
After the February military coup in Myanmar, the military has taken away the license of Mizzima, arrested several of its journalists, raided the Mizzima office in Yangon, Myanmar and even froze their bank account in Yangon, AMWJU stated. But several Mizzima journalists are still reporting despite the dangers but of those who fled, three have taken shelter in Moreh, Manipur, it added.
AMWJU further stated that the Ministry of Home (North East Davison) New Delhi has sent a letter to the Northeast States bordering Myanmar, stating that no illegal migrants must be allowed to enter the country. The Memo No 19/2/2020 – NE II dated 10,2021 is with reference to illegal migrants but the Mizzima journalists at Moreh are obviously refugees seeking asylum within India due to prosecution in their country, it continued.