Friday, February 26, 2021
Home OP-ED Editorial India's crackdown on Journalists

India’s crackdown on Journalists

Now adays, Journalists in India are facing grave threats to their life by the BJP extremist-Hindu Government, as the news agencies report that these threats come either directly from the establishment and its agencies or from those whom the State secretly enables to throttle fair and fearless journalism. According to reports, more than 150 journalists in India were arrested, detained, and interrogated, either under ‘terror’ related charges, sedition charges or UAPA during last decade. After the emergence of the Coronavirus pandemic, Charges against Journalists were framed under the Disaster Management Act and Epidemic Diseases Act as well. There was 20 percent increase in such cases during previous year 2020 alone. Activists say press freedom has shrunk under Modi’s rule, which has been marked by attacks on and intimidation of journalists. Indian governments mostly sorted to fume the sentiments of radicalization in Hindus masses for the purpose of political gains, however, the RSS/BJP led incumbent government of Narendra Modi had created an ultra-hyper nationalism in the Hindu majority to get hold into the public. The mainstream Indian media has transformed into a pro-government propaganda machine. Difference of opinion or criticism on the government policies became a reason for conviction, charges of sedition and treason are common by pro-government politicians and Hindu extremists. Due to reason, most of the Indian journalists, civil society activists, TV Channel owners and anchors avoid report or comment on issues like farmers protest, Kashmir or atrocities against minorities across the India. The ongoing farmers protest had gone over more than 6 weeks, but Modi government did not heed to their logical demands, rather seek punitive measures to end this protest. Several senior Indian journalists are facing charges of sedition over their reporting and online posts about the weeks-long ongoing protest by farmers, sparking criticism of the legal action from media associations. These charges were being faces by Rajdeep Sardesai, a prominent anchor on the India Today television channel, and Vinod Jose, executive editor of the Caravan magazine, Anant Nath, editor and executive publisher, and Paresh Nath, owner and publisher of the group. The famous Indian politician and journalist Shashi Tharoor and Siddharth Yardarajan, editor of the Wire, a digital news website was also charged on similar grounds for airing a video story, where Navreet Singh’s family alleged that he had been shot dead.
However, it is important that, the cases against journalists have been filed in BJP run states.

Similarly, three Kanpur based TV journalists, Mohit Kashyap, Amit Singh and Yasin Ali, were booked after they ran a story that showed how children in a government school were shivering in the cold. During this anti-Journalist drive of Modi government, Mr, Mandeep Punia, a freelance reporter who contributes to the Caravan, was picked up by the Delhi police. Later, while giving more hike to ongoing scuffle with media, Modi government ordered to suspend the official twitter account of Caravan.

This Indian coercion on media did not go unnoticed by international community. International media organization, Reporter without Borders dropped India two places to 142nd in the annual World Press Freedom rankings by the group, last year. Another Global media watchdog, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called for immediate release of journalist who were detained so far. Modi government is not ready to lessen a word about its mismanagement and bad governance. Modi government is using each intimidation measure ranging from sedition charges, direct life threat or by government puppet such as RSS criminals and street gangs. However, the fate of nature is unbeaten and always comes at time, Modi’s will not remain in office for ever. But the journalists and their pen will continuously admire the truth and condemn the lie of those in power, for ever.

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