FPJ Editorial: Equating Media With Terror

FPJ Editorial: Equating Media With Terror

Allegations of NewsClick being involved in unsavoury activities on behalf of China do not align with the information available in the public domain

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Thursday, October 05, 2023, 09:00 PM IST
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Prabir Purkayastha |

The recent arrest of NewsClick's promoters and the subsequent raids on its journalist staff mark a distressing nadir in the treatment of the Fourth Estate, a cornerstone of democratic societies. Troublingly, the actions taken by the police, including the seizure of mobile phones and laptops from journalists without providing any receipts, raise serious concerns about the government's commitment to transparency and accountability. Such actions erode public trust and cast a shadow over the government's intentions.

Allegations of NewsClick being involved in unsavoury activities on behalf of China do not align with the information available in the public domain. No concrete evidence has been presented to link its reporting to any actions detrimental to the state's interests. This raises questions about the validity of the charges brought against them. Perhaps the most disconcerting aspect of this situation is the application of anti-terrorism laws against journalists. The use of such draconian measures in a context unrelated to terrorism is deeply troubling and calls into question the government's respect for the freedom of the press.

Sixteen media organisations have appealed to Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, urging the establishment of clear norms governing arrests and raids, and their meticulous enforcement. Such norms are essential to safeguard the independence and integrity of the media. The motive behind these arrests is apparent: to instil fear within the media community, discouraging them from scrutinising and exposing government actions. It is disheartening to observe that a significant portion of the media has already become mouthpieces for those in power, and the chilling effect of such actions further stifles independent journalism. In any functioning democracy, a free and vibrant media is indispensable. History has shown that when journalists are prevented from fulfilling this duty, the nation suffers, and democracy itself is imperilled.

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