The Reporters without Borders recently released the annual report that says India was among the three most dangerous countries for journalists in 2015. In fact, as many as nine journalists have lost their lives while they were at work. “India’s position as Asia’s deadliest country for media personnel, ahead of both Pakistan and Afghanistan” the report added. The North Eastern part of India is not an easy zone to work too. In fact, as many as twenty-six journalists have been killed in the last twelve years in this zone. What is also demoralizing and shocking is not a single person has been convicted in these killings.
However in spite of all these challenges, there are journalists who are doing a fearless and commendable job in the region. Also, journalism is one such field where women have been as fearless as men. Here are three women journalists who are famous not only in the region but nationally and also internationally.
Tongam Rina- While an associate editor with The Arunachal Times, she was shot right outside her office one evening. Accosted by two men a bullet tore through her stomach. But not only had she survived the attack, she had also refused to cower in fear. Tongam has written against the NSCN(IM) and also about who the hydro dams were ravaging her state. For years, she has been receiving threats of various levels. Beside many other awards, Tongam has also won the Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media - 2013" instituted by Media Foundation, Leipzig, Germany.
Monalisa Chankija– Editor of ‘Nagaland Page’, published from Dimapur, Monalisa Chankija was clear about the decision to publish the blank editorial page last month. Allegedly the Assam Rifles had sent a letter to media houses of Nagaland stating “refrain from publishing any material which would unnecessarily incite the public and disrupt the existing peace in the State”. The Morung Express and Eastern Mirror also had blank editorials. Monalisa’s resilience and the quest for truth are echoed in the words she had used on National Press Day on November 16th. “But there comes a time in the life of an individual, as much as in the life of a society, when we must do or die, or die doing, because only a few of us are blessed with the courage of conviction to live beyond and above our own selves. And we solemnly observe National Press Day today because we, those of us gathered here today, have vowed to be guided by our courage of conviction… I think those of us gathered here today will agree that it is worth laying down our lives for”.
Patricia Mukhim - A prominent figure in Indian journalism, Patricia Mukhim has relentlessly worked against terrorism and corruption and for gender rights. She has been awarded the Padmashree in 2000. The editor of The Shillong Times, Mukhim has written vastly on the social political scenario of Meghalaya and also on the matrilineal society in the state. She has also been awarded the Chameli Devi Jain Award and UN Brahma, Soldier of Humanity Award among others. She has earned the ire of many and threats has come her away. But Patricia Mukhim continues to write and research on the state of affairs of the region.
Apart from them there thankfully a long list of men and women from the region and also other parts of India who work tirelessly for nothing but the truth.