New Delhi: Netizens are busy 'introducing' a few names of the press to Bharatiya Janatha Party, when the ruling party was found curiously invoking terms like "freedom of press", "draconian acts" and "emergency era" after Republic TV Chief Arnab Goswami was arrested in connection with a suicide abetment case.
Netizens cited Siddique Kappan and other journalists who were detained while exercising their duties to question the genuineness of BJP's new-found interest in freedom of press.
Home Minister Amit Shah, Smriti Irani, Prakash Javedkar among others were quick to respond and condemn the arrest of Arnab Goswami. They termed the police action as an infringement over freedom of expression and as a draconian act.
Several people while acknowledging the concern of BJP over the freedom of the press, frowned upon the silence of these ministers and the party leaders while several media persons were arrested and harassed by the government agencies. A list of journalists who were not fortunate enough to garner the attention of the country's ruling class went viral in social media platforms after BJP's condemnation of Arnab's arrest.
A few of the journalists cited by netizens are here:
The Kerala journalist of Azhimukham news portal, was arrested on October 5 on his way to Hathras to cover the rape, murder and controversial cremation of a 19 year old Dalit girl. He is slapped with Unlawful Atrocities Prevention Act (UAPA) and other charges.
Kishor Chandra Wangkhem
The Manipuri TV journalist is languishing behind bars for over a month now. He was arrested on September 29 over a Facebook post. According to the local media reports, Chandra was booked for responding to a viral social media post made by a high-profile BJP politician's wife.
The Wire's Hindi reporter was arrested twice within two years by the Uttar Pradesh Police. He was booked for Twitter posts. He was acquitted by the court in both the cases.
The Assamese journalist of DY365 was arrested on a complaint filed by district forest officer. Sharma was doing an investigative story on the links of the officer in illegal cattle trafficking and other irregularities. As criticism mounted against the officer, the government was forced to hand over the case to CID.
Editor of Gujarati web portal, Dhaval Patel was slapped with sedition charges after publishing a report on the Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. He was acquitted by court after several weeks of arrest.
A photo journalist, Naresh Gohal was arrested allegedly for violating Covid 19 protocols and disturbing the neighbours. He was acquitted by the court after finding that the alleged charges were baseless.
Rahul Kulkarni, executive editor of ABP Maza channel, was arrested in April alleging broadcast of false news. He was exonerated from all charges after four months of arrest.
The Delhi Police arrested Rajiv Sharma, the freelance journalist, in September alleging that he was part of a spy-ring in which two foreigners were also members. His arrest was challenged by the journalists organisations.
The State Times reporter Sevang Rigsin was arrested on September 5 on a complaint filed by a BJP MP. The complaint said that the journalist made statements against the MP in Facebook. Sevang was granted bail on the same day he was arrested.