The unending media huntingtext_fields
On Tuesday morning Delhi police special cell raided the houses and offices, seizing laptops and phones, of Newsclick editor Prabir Purkayastha, video journalist Abhisar Sharma, journalist Aunindyo Chakravarty, Bhasha Singh, senior journalists Paranjoy Guha Thakurta. Not surprisingly, the raid has invited sharp criticism from Editors Guild and Opposition bloc INDIA. Modi administration’s policy toward the fourth pillar has already triggered greater concern and criticism nationally and internationally. The government comports itself with the attitude that it will brook no criticism, opposition or protest. Modi-Amit Shah team has not been flabbergasted when the Reporters Without Borders poorly ranked India at 152 in media freedom.
Sangh Parivar used to constantly attack Indira Gandhi for imposing Emergency in 1975. The outfit called into question the restrictions and bans on journalists and editors at the time. What is the Hindutva regime doing now under the cover of undeclared emergency? Majority of the media outlets are turned into orderly sergeants either by temptation or threat. The few that maintain freedom of expression are being strangled by denying advertisements, and shut down those which still continue unyielding. How the independent Malayalam TV channel MediaOne was denied permission to telecast without notice cannot be forgotten. After months of legal battle the Supreme Court Chief Justice D.Y Chandrachud's bench quashed the unfair and anti-democratic action, restoring the channel’s telecasting. The landmark MediaOne verdict strongly pointed out the government’s anti-constitutional act of resorting to extreme measures without letting the victims know or be convinced. The most recent clampdown on media suggests that the government has not yet been ready to correct its ways despite having restored the channel’s broadcasting permission.
The Left leaning NewsClick, independent outlets ‘ The Wire’ and 'Caravan' are being targeted for exposing the government’s corporate favouritism, human rights violations, discrimination on the basis of caste and religion among citizens, extreme partiality in the exercise of law, corruption and nepotism. The action against NewsClick stems from a BJP MP’s allegation in the parliament, based on a report in a foreign newspaper that Chinese funding was behind the outlet’s anti-government policies. It should be proved how reliable the news was that The New York Time ran. It seems the Modi administration, alongside hunting civil rights and social activist Teesta Setalvad and senior lawyers, is attempting to imprison and silence journalists through the misuse of U.A.P.A. AltNews co-founder Mohammad Zubair was jailed for bringing out Sangh Parivar sympathizer’s slandering of the Prophet Muhammad; Malayalee journalist Siddique Kapan was denied bail and imprisoned for visiting UP to investigate the rape and murder of a Dalit girl in the state. The recent developments are nothing new to those who have not yet forgotten Yogi Adityanath’s actions. Observers believe the government’s extreme actions stem from its fear of losing in the upcoming elections after some recent surveys results, both published and otherwise, pointed at it. If it were the case, we have to brace for more horrendous incidents ahead.