Milind Khandekar and Punya Prasson Bajpai are just latest victims of self-censorship

The self-censorship imposed by the media owners on journalists is a classic example of how the mediums crawl when asked to bend.


Henry Anatole Grunwald, the former Managing Editor of TIME Magazine had once said, “Journalism can never be silent: that is its greatest virtue and greatest fault.” In these testing times for media, nothing can be more relatable than these words. Two of the finest journalists of our times- Milind Khandekar and Punya Prasoon Bajpai have had to resign and another one Abhisar Sharma has been reportedly asked to not report on duty. The TV news bloodbath that has happened in one of the prominent Hindi news channels- ABP News holds a mirror to the horrid reality behind the TV newsrooms. If you don’t toe the line, the superior powers will come after you.

In case of Punya Prasoon Bajpayee, these superior powers tried to intimidate him, tried to black out his show “Masterstroke” but he didn’t budge, neither did Milind Khandekar. Instead, they chose to stand on their grounds. The self-censorship imposed by the media owners on journalists is a classic example of how the mediums crawl when asked to bend. The question is, is it a story of a particular newsroom or has it become a norm for everybody in the media?

What kind of country are we becoming where those who speak against superior powers are being systematically targeted and are being removed from the mainstream media? The essence of democracy lies in the free press. Can we call ourselves a democratic country when the flagbearers of a free press are being punished for doing their job? The silence from the media colleagues is more deafening. While their fellows are being dragged under the wheels of media censorship, they are standing as mute spectators not realising that one day it can be their turn to be under the wheel. The media owners have become subservient while superior powers are dismantling the fourth pillar of democracy brick by brick.

The history comes with a lesson for the entire humankind. Time and again we have to recall that dictatorship starts with curbing the free press. The press is not meant to just praise the superior powers. It is for you, me and every person in this country. Like the cat that drinks milk with eyes closed and thinks nobody is watching it, the superior powers think that nobody is watching them while they continue manipulating the information that reaches you. Sit back and think. Who is afraid of a free press and why?

Do you want to turn on your television, open the newspapers just to read the praises of the superior powers while the truth languishes in the corner of a newsroom kicked out by the gate-keepers? And those trying to bring the truth to the screen are shown the door out. It is frightening that the press is adjusting and even adapting to this practice.

Be scared, the voices are being curbed and one day there will be no voice left, except those of the superior powers.

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