Achungmei Kamei I come from the Naga tribal community in Manipur. I feel that powerful people in the underworld and insurgent groups control what news is produced in my state – they dictate what is published and when, and frequently threaten the editors. I’ve always wanted to work with media so that I could have the opportunity to give my own account of what happens in my community and in Manipur.
With this greater goal, I did my degree in Mass Communication Studies in Bangalore. I stayed on to work for a few years there. Being out of Manipur for the first time was difficult and scary because of the way North-Easterners are treated by the rest of the country. Classmates and colleagues never believed I was Indian, insisting I must be Korean or Chinese or Nepalese. These feelings of not being Indian were familiar – I had grown up in an environment that was typified by rebellious movements against the central government. Nagas and Meiteis alike feel removed from and neglected by mainland India.
I returned to Manipur and now work part-time as a news correspondent for a national radio station. I joined the IndiaUnheard program because I feel this is a platform to combine what I’d studied with my deep-seated desire for independent media. Over the last six months I’ve produced stories on local economic blockades and separatist strikes.