Mumbai Police and Arnab Goswami have been crossing swords (and limits) since you know when. Now that Arnab has been detained, many claim that this is due to him having previously attacked the police with baseless allegations on national TV.
However, this arrest wasn’t as shocking as Twitterati’s anger over it. Hashtags such as #IndiaWithArnab trended on Twitter throughout the day. The Editors Guild also condemned the arrest, along with union ministers, who argued that this was the “death of democracy.” Even liberals, who had never failed to bash Arnab for his “T-R-P centric” journalism, have criticized the move.
First things first…Arnab hasn’t been detained for his loud, unapologetic and base-less journalism. This is in fact an older case that has arisen from the dead, in 2020, because why not, when Arnab had refused to pay Architect Anvay Naik for interior design. As a result, Anvay Naik fell into the void of depression, and committed suicide naming Goswami in the suicide note.
Even so, there is an outpouring support for Arnab, especially on Twitter, with many calling it a dark day for press-freedom in India, despite the case having nothing to do with “press” and having everything to do with Arnab’s “miserly” past which cost a man his life.
How-ever, since the latter has faded into oblivion and since the “fans” have made it wholly about journalism and press freedom and democracy and what not…well, then, this is the right moment to talk about other such journalists, who have faced the wrath of the system, much before than Arnab, and that too for doing, what one may call, honest journalism!
Pawan Kumar Jaiswal
He reported from UP’s Mirzapur that the children in government schools were being fed plain roti and salt whereas the official scheme dictated that they should be provided with pulses, vegetables, fruit and milk. An FIR was filed against Pawan by, guess who, the state government!
Kerala journalist was charged with UAPA when he was on his way to Hathras to report the mishappenings there. He remains behind the bars ever since.
Andrew Sam Raja Pandian
News website owner was detained for reporting the miserable state of health workers as a result of shortage of PPE kits in Coimbatore.
Action against 55 journalists
While the lockdown was in progress, 55 journalists were arrested booked, threatened for reporting on Covid-19. 22 FIRs were also filed. Isn’t this the ultimate level of “witch-hunt” against journalism?
This Gujarat journalist was charged with sedition and arrested for writing a speculative article on the chief minister. Since when did “analyzing” a peculiar political situation and writing a column about it become such a heinous crime?
This photo-journalist was booked under UAPA for an alleged anti-national social media post. According to police, the post “could bring about” a law and order problem in the state. Yet, somehow, poisonous 9PM debates, on national TV, are okay.
Kishore Chandra Wangkhem
Manipur journalist was jailed for 12 months under NSA for criticizing the BJP-led state government in a viral video. Since when did criticism of state government become threat to national security?
One of the pioneers of independent journalism faces a sedition charge for creating “nuisance” with his statements. HW news, where he works, were raided by Income Tax Department, for no official reason, apparently. Twitteratis, who cry for press freedom now, were sleeping then.
In June, over a dozen journalists conducted a “jal satyagraha” to protest against harassment by the local administration. They demanded the transfer of the DM and an investigation into his harassment of journalists.
Freedom of press index
If, suddenly, freedom of press matters so much to so many honorable people, why is it then that India’s press freedom ranking is an abysmal 142 out of 180? Because, Ratan Singh, a UP journalist is shot dead in broad daylight and nobody cares. Because, Vikram Joshi, is shot dead in front of his daughters, and nobody bats an eye!?
You can outrage over systemic murder of journalism in India. In other words, you can outrage better!