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Who is stifling the Indian Media?

The TV News Bloodbath in the last 24 hours in one of the prominent Hindi media has sparked a controversy. HW News brings you reactions from across the party lines and industry.

 

A day after Milind Khandekar, Managing editor of ABP News Network resigned on Wednesday, the channel received yet another setback as senior journalist and Anchor of the flagship show ‘Masterstroke’ Punya Prasoon Bajpai reportedly resigned on Thursday night.

Few sources report that ABP’s anchor, Abhisar Sharma who has been the fiercest critics of the Narendra Modi government has also been asked to take 15 days to leave. Also, Rajan Singh, another journalist at the ABP has been asked to leave the organisation. The sources further add that the recent turnaround in the news network is due to its recent coverage that had angered the Centre’s Narendra Modi government.

In its prime time show ‘Master Stroke’ Bajpai has reported that during the video interaction Prime Minister Narendra Modi held on June 20 with beneficiaries of various government programmes a participant from Chhattisgarh, Chandramani Kaushik, told PM Modi on the show that her income had doubled after she switched from cultivating paddy to growing custard apples. However, when ABP interviewed the same woman claimed that officials from Delhi had arrived in Kanker district of Chhattisgarh to tutor her before her interaction with PM Modi, to falsely claim about doubling of income.

Various BJP leader including Defence minister Nirmala Sitaraman and IT minister Rajwardhan Singh Rathore had criticised the report.

The TV News Bloodbath in the last 24 hours in one of the prominent Hindi channels has sparked a controversy. HW News brings you reactions from across the party lines.

CensorshipAshok Chavan, MPCC President:

“Curbing the freedom of News Channels or News Papers is a very serious issue. After this, the question is does the Prime Minister have the moral right to talk about press freedom during Emergency? If you don’t toe the government’s line, then it can even get you sacked from your job, then be it Bajpai or Milind Khandekar. That is the level of interference by the government.”

“Everybody has the right to express their opinion. What is the reality? The news channels exposed the lies peddled by the Modi government about doubling farmer’s income. This is the job of the news channel. The suppression has normalised. We will raise this issue. But the Media community should unite. The Media owners should not fall prey to this suppression.”

 

Nawab Malik, NCP Spokesperson:

“In all, the BJP is trying to maintain total control of the country through these mediums. First, they made some media channels side with them, now they are getting those who don’t agree with them sacked. Be it Milind Khandekar or Abhisar Sharma. From last two-three months, they are experiencing satellite connection interruption. The media houses have sacked them out of helplessness. This is an undeclared emergency, worse than 1975.”

“If you don’t chant ‘Modi, Modi’, they will not let you work. All programs are sponsored by the ruling party. This is dangerous for the country as if Nazism has begun in the nation.”

Yogendra Yadav, Swaraj India President:

“The incidents of media stalwarts facing attacks & pressure from the government is elevating day by day. This incident is just another example of this. A lot has been happening but this one incident has stood out. The pressure, unfortunately, is on almost every television channel but because of few such rebellious journalists who have the guts to question the government the truth came out.”

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Veteran Journalist –

“I actually came across the news from the information that was already available in the public domain. Since I happen to know Punya Prasun Bajpai, & Abhisar Sharma personally when I asked them if they would want to comment on this, Punya Prasun Bajpai refused. The fact as I know is as follows, among the Hindi channels, and among television anchors in Hindi, there were very few who were playing the role of a critic of the government which is part and parcel of a journalists’ job & not to be an advertiser or a PR person and endorse someone or an ideology, their job is to take a critical view of whoever is in power so in this case, it is the government and its policies.”

“A sincere journalist is he/she who stays faithful towards his/her role he/she has been designated to play. The government claimed to double the farmer’s income in four years, in fact, the government also claimed that the farmers are happy but is it really the case? if indeed there has ever been pressured to muzzle the voices of the editors, anchors and journalists then they must be condemned with strongest possible terms. In an interview that I did with Barkha Dutt, she said without naming people, that the top people in the BJP party have been dissuading the promoters or television channels. At this juncture, everyone is speculating but I am waiting for an official statement to be made by the concerned people.”

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