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Shillong’s press fraternity demands apology from Ardent Basaiawmoit for slandering journalists

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Shillong, Oct 19: The Shillong Press Club (SPC) on Thursday demanded the Voice of the People Party (VPP) chief Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit to immediately tender an apology for his baseless accusation against the journalist fraternity of the state.

In a statement, SPC president David Laitphlang said, “The SPC expresses its extreme displeasure and resentment at the unsavoury remarks and baseless allegations made by none other than Nongkrem legislator and president of the Voice of People Party Ardent M Basaiawmoit against the journalist fraternity of the state while also leveling similar accusations against the media beyond the boundaries of the state.”

“It is unfortunate for an experienced legislator to level baseless accusations against the press fraternity under the garb of presenting fake news and more tragically insinuating that journalists in the state are succumbing to the paid news syndrome as elsewhere. It is also shocking to hear him publicly telling people that the media only covers VPP events to pin point and identify faults and lacunae in the party’s affairs,” Laitphlang said.

Shillong’s press fraternity demands apology from Ardent Basaiawmoit for slandering journalists

He said the SPC forthwith demands to know the names of the journalist/s that have erred in the discharge of their professional duties by unfair means as making a blanket accusation goes against the spirit of free and fair journalism which the SPC and all media houses in the state of Meghalaya have endeavoured to pursue to the hilt.

“Making a blanket accusation is not only foolhardy but constitutes defamation against the journalist fraternity of Meghalaya. Hence, an adequate clarification and apology is immediately sought, failing which the SPC will be compelled to take recourse to other appropriate measures,” Laitphlang stated.

Further, the SPC also reminded Basaiawmoit that a Journalist’s sworn duty and mandate is to gather information which includes the good the bad and the ugly based on facts and not rumours or gossip.

It said that the SPC would like Basawiamoit to clearly state whether the VPP expects only information and news that spell good tidings on the Party’s behalf or if the VPP would like only the chosen few who probably fall under the bracket of his accusations to cover the party’s future events.

The SPC again reminded Basaiawmoit that the positive of the Party’s result in the recently concluded assembly elections ought to be attributed largely to substantial and continuous media coverage across all media platforms.

“Does that indicate that all the journalists covering VPP events in the run up to the elections were paid or solicited or induced in any form so as to generate four assembly seats for a new political entity in the political spectrum of the State?” it asked.

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