Aküm Longchari

Publisher and Editor, PhD Candidate

2010: In 2005, I began the enormous undertaking of launching a daily newspaper, The Morung Express, a daily publication of the Morung for Indigenous Affairs and JustPeace. This is a non-profit foundation seeking to deliberately and consciously contribute towards social transformation by generating critical consciousness in the region. Besides the foundation, my family and I have put a considerable amount of resources into launching this paper.

In a region that is known to be the oldest armed conflict in the sub-continent, the voices of the people have been drowned in the midst of war. In this independent media, The Morung Express: We reach out to students, educational institutions, professionals, activists, youths and the age group that will be today’s and tomorrow’s change makers. What makes our paper different is that we are an independent alternative newspaper, not affiliated to any political or commercial party, but a paper driven by our commitment and passion for justice and peace.

We are a paper that strives to be rooted in the realities of the people and aspire to create space for the voices of grassroots, whose voices are never heard. We seek to be a people-centered paper.

Our challenge is to maintain our independence in the midst of many powerful stake-holders who may not wish to see the presence of an independent newspaper that aspires to stand on principles and values.

In 2008, I joined with other representatives of civil society organizations to form the Naga Forum for Reconciliation, with support from members of the Society of Friends in Britain and members of the American Baptist Church. The forum seeks to reconcile various Naga armed groups on the basis of the historical and political rights of the Nagas. The froum has been meeting with militant groups for nearly two years, and the groups are moving away from violence and mistrust toward fragile progress and decreased violence.

I am a PhD candidate at the University of New England in Australia, where my research focuses on the right to self-determination as a resource for peace.