On November 04, Maharashtra police arrested Arnab Goswami in connection with an abetment to suicide case filed against him and two others in 2018.
Soon after the news of arrest of Republic TV's editor in chief, Arnab Goswami broke out; twitter and other social media platforms drew immediate condemnation from liberals, ministers and leaders in the Modi government. Some termed it as an assault on freedom of speech and expression while others called it an unlawful arrest of a journalist, an attack on free press.
Hashtags like #isupportarnab, #poochtahaibharat, #istandwithrepublicbharat started trending on Twitter and Facebook.
Amit Shah, the President of Bhartiya Janata Party described the arrest as a "reminder of the Emergency". He blamed the Congress and its allies for this attack on democracy. He described the apprehension of Goswami as a curtailment of individual freedom and derailment of the fourth pillar of democracy.
Union cabinet minister of textile and women and child development, Smriti Irani who is seen usually maintaining her silence on some of the gruesome crimes on women and other political arrests of students, activists and journalists, had this time gathered all the courage left in her to come in support of Arnab Goswami and condemn the arrest. She tweeted, "Those in press who don't stand up today in support of Arnab, you are now tactically in support of fascism. You may not like him, you may not approve of him, you may despise his very existence but if you stay silent, you support suppression. Who speaks if you are next?"
Senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad also questioned the silence of Congress leadership and called Arnab's arrest as unwarranted and worrisome. He tweeted:
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath who is often seen criticizing journalists for doing their job too invoked the issue of press freedom and slammed Maharashtra government for Goswami's arrest. He tweeted:
Such response from top Cabinet Ministers after silence on many such similar arrests of journalists and activists in BJP ruled states resulted in heavy trolling and calling out of the hypocrisy of these ministers.
There are several journalists who have FIRs on them or they have been summoned by police, but such condemnation and solidarity coming from top ministers of the ruling party was never seen before, as seen in the arrest of Arnab Goswami.
Right-Wing activists called out Arnab's arrest arbitrary and out of political vendetta by Maharashtra Government.
This condemnation in simpler terms can be called 'support/ impunity' to journalists like Arnab is indeed what could be called the hypocrisy of these people who went silent and turned a blind eye towards the arrests of students, activists and journalists for practising their fundamental right to protest or for fighting for their self-determination and only for asserting their very identity.
The Editors Guild of India issued a press statement condemning the actions of Mumbai police and arrest of Arnab Goswami.
"The organization seemed shocked on his arrest and demanded a free and fair trial of investigation in Arnab's case." The Guild also asserted, "State should not use its power to interfere with the critical reporting of media."
The survey of the global body, "Reporters without borders" released the ranking of 180 countries based on the freedom of the press in their respective countries. India stands at 142nd place, which is a drop by two places from the previous rankings.
Senior Journalist at The Wire, Arfa Khanam Sherwani tweeted while sharing a picture in which BJP activists can be seen protesting over Arnab's arrest that, "BJP activists are protesting against the arrest of their leader. Journalists would have protested if #arnabgoswami was a journalist."
A social and political activist Md Asif Khan wrote on his Twitter timeline, "all those who are supporting Arnab Goswami and crying about freedom of expression and democracy etc, were cheering when anti CAA protestors were facing state-sponsored terrorism in Jamia, AMU, Delhi and UP."
Moreover, there has been a constant violation of freedom of the press, acts of police brutalities on journalists is nothing to be concealed and assassinations of journalists like Gauri Lankesh and Shujat Bukari, who were shot dead in the broad daylight are very evident.
A news report of News laundry says that India is one of the 12 countries where killers of the journalists go free easily.
Over the past one year journalists have been facing criminal cases, arrests under unlawful activities, physical violence for reporting and assaults for bringing out top news stories.
Journalists in Jammu and Kashmir struggled to cover the situation after the abrogation of article 370 in the valley. UAPA and PSA have been used very extensively in curtailing the rights and freedom of journalists based in Kashmir.
Masrat Zahra, award-winning Kashmir based photojournalist was booked under the draconian UAPA, for putting up a picture on her Twitter clicked by her.
Aasif Sultan who covers human rights and politics and a Kashmir based journalist is also under arrest for over a year now. He is also slapped with UAPA.
Prashant Kanojia was jailed for critiquing the government after the move of the citizenship amendment act.
Siddiqui Kappan, a journalist based in Kerala, was recently arrested for covering the alleged Hathras gang rape news story.
Ravindra Saxena is in jail for reporting mismanagement in a quarantine centre in Sitapur.
Omar Rashid is summoned for reporting anti CAA protests in Lucknow and the list is even longer.
However, bodies like Press Club of India and committed to protecting journalist have been continuously raising their concerns over such unlawful arrests of journalists and advocated freedom of the press and free speech. Over the arrest of a journalist in Hathras, PCI called out that inhibiting media is a step towards stopping facts from being known in the public sphere.
Bombay high court heard the plea of Arnab Goswami and he has been denied for interim bail. He has been sent to judicial custody for 14 days.