Skip to main content

Thick-skinned Modi loyalists are bullying journalists, lodging "serious criminal cases" in India: Washington Post

By Our Representative
The powerful US daily "Washington Post" (WP) has sharply criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi, calling him "popular and thick-skinned", even as pointing towards how he has "effectively cut off the mainstream media, forgoing news conferences to communicate directly with his vast electorate through Twitter, where he has 40 million followers."
Annie Gowen's article, titled "In Modi’s India, journalists face bullying, criminal cases and worse", says, "Loyalists to the country’s powerful Hindu nationalist prime minister, Narendra Modi, have bullied editors into taking down critical stories, hushed government bureaucrats and shifted from the common practice of filing defamation cases to lodging more serious criminal complaints, which can mean jail time and take years in India’s overburdened court system."
Quoting India World Press Freedom Index, which ranks India136th in 2017, three points down in a year, WP says , one of the main reasons for the poor ranking is "growing self-censorship and the activity of Hindu nationalists trying to purge 'anti-nationalist' thought". The ranking, which is below Afghanistan and Burma, has been calculated by the watchdog group Reporters Without Borders.
"Times are tough for journalists in India, where many reporters and editors say it’s becoming increasingly difficult to do their jobs", says the daily, giving the example of Rachna Khaira, an "unknown crime reporter" in Chandigarh, who shot into prominence in the first week of January, when she wrote a story  that exposed a major privacy breach in a nationwide database of more than 1 billion Indians.
Annie Gowen
According to Gowen, "Officials were not amused by her sleuthing and filed a police complaint that accused Khaira, her newspaper and the alleged cybercriminals of forgery and other offenses punishable by a total of 30 years in jail." The action came in for sharp criticism from the country’s editors' guild, protest marches were held, she added.
Gowen goes on, of all persons, former CIA agent Edward Snowden, now a computer analyst whistleblower who provided the Guardian with top-secret NSA documents leading to revelations about US surveillance on phone and internet communications, "sent a tweet supporting the new whistleblower, saying she deserved 'an award, not an investigation'.”
While Ravi Shankar Prasad, India’s minister for electronics and information technology, claimed that any suggestion that the government was hampering the press freedom was “completely wrong", Rajeev Chandrasekhar, whom Gowen calls "a member of Parliament allied with Modi’s coalition and a principal investor in Republic TV, a conservative news channel", insists it is "nonsense" to suggest that "suddenly things have gone south".
Contesting these claims, Gowen says, "But international observers say the situation has worsened under Modi, with media organizations self-censoring for fear of offending the government and losing valuable advertising." She underlines, "Even stories about the Reporters Without Borders ranking, which detailed 'online smear campaigns' of journalists by 'radical nationalists', were taken off the websites of two newspapers."
Gowen also quotes Nicholas Dawes, the deputy executive director for media at Human Rights Watch and former chief content officer for one of India’s leading newspapers, as saying, “The pressures appear to be more intense now than they have been in a generation... The government has also done little to reassure journalists in the face of both orchestrated digital attacks and physical violence.”
Recalling that India's "vibrant media" was first "profoundly shaken during the period known as the Emergency in the 1970s, when embattled Prime Minister Indira Gandhi locked up opposition leaders and censored newspapers to retain her power", Gowen insists, *Over the years, politicians of all stripes have arrested, threatened and blocked access to journalists, often falling back on India’s defamation or Colonial-era sedition laws in an attempt to limit free speech."
Noting that "many of the top news channels and newspapers are owned by families or conglomerates with business interests like mining and telecom that have long been reluctant to be critical of the government", Gowen further quotes Mark Tully, veteran BBC correspondent who was expelled during the Emergency but now lives in Delhi, as saying, “Modi doesn’t take that kindly to criticism, and he doesn’t engage with the media. The media has no real access to him at all.”

Comments

Unknown said…
Thank you Ravish Kumar for being the Indian voice of protest against the Bullying of Media by Modi, calling it a 'Godi Media' which translates as 'Media in bed with Modi'.
Unknown said…
another one bite the dust,,,,u gwen how much u ve been aid by khangress and leftist assholes,,,and suedoliberals,,,watch ur own country where drug , sex and no moral values r left,,,how many times ur cousin unaroriately touched u or ur boss ,,, and u felt enjoyment...







TRENDING

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Did Netaji turn blind eye to Japanese massacre while in Andaman during World War-II?

Dr Diwan Singh Kalepani museum off Chandigarh By Rajiv Shah  Did Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose ignore the massacre carried out by the Japanese army in Andaman and Nicobar islands during the Second World War? It would seem so, if one goes by the account of Mohinder Singh Dhillon, who authored a book in memory of his father, 'A Titan in the Andamans, Dr Diwan Singh Kalepani'. Dr Diwan Singh was tortured to death by the Japanese soldiers in the cellular jail in Andaman in 1944.

A golden goose, GoI bent on selling LIC 'for pittance' without consulting stakeholders

By Thomas Franco*  In spite of strong opposition from all sections of the society, the Finance Minister (FM) recently asked her Ministries to speed up Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) Initial Public Offer (IPO). Does she realise that this can lead to collapse of the economy over a period of time because LIC is a golden goose which is giving golden eggs regularly to the economy, development projects and providing social security to the majority of the marginalised people of this country.

Sweden-backed study: India won't achieve 2030 UN goals, officials can't recognise SDG

By Rajiv Shah  A Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC)-sponsored study, carried out by the advocacy group Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) India, seeking to analyse the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No 12, Responsible Consumption and Production (RCP), has regretted, it is "very unlikely" India will achieve any of the targets of SDG 12 by 2030 "unless some serious measures are taken by the government to reverse the present trend."

Modi's Gujarat 'ignores' India's biggest donor of Azad Hind Fauj, Dhoraji's Habib Sheth

By Dr Hari Desai* One surely feels happy that the statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose is being installed near the India Gate in New Delhi. Every Indian and even Netaji’s 79-year-old daughter Prof Anita Bose Pfaff feels happy about the statue at the most important area of the capital. In an interview with an Indian TV, Anita, who is a German citizen, mentions that she thinks if not Netaji’s only Mahatma Gandhi’s statue should have been there. She may be aware that there existed a plan to install life-sized statue of the Father of the Nation at that place.  Even after differences with Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel which led Netaji to leave the Indian National Congress, Bose was the first person to call Mahtma Gandhi Father of the Nation on July 6,1944 in his Ragoon Radio broadcast, and sought Bapu’s blessings as the Supreme Commander of the Indian National Army (INA). Till 1968 there was statue of King George V at India Gate. It was removed and placed in the Coronation Park, New Del

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam* In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Why Church in India today needs a Rutilio Grande, martyred for stance on social justice

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  For the people of El Salvador, January 22, 2022 will be more than just a red-letter day. Three of their sons, Jesuit Fr Rutilio Grande and his two lay associates 72-year-old Manuel Solorzano and 15-year-old Nelson Rutilio Lemus (and Italian Franciscan missionary Fr Cosme Spessotto who was also martyred) will be beatified in San Salvador.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

'Dargah site was a temple': Claim in Gujarat following post-Babri verdict demands in UP

By Rajiv Shah  Will Gujarat also see demands to replace mosques and dargahs with Hindu temples? It would seem so, if a new fact-finding team conclusion is any indication. Apprehending the “danger” of communal conflagration, it has cited the claim on a 15th century dargah was originally a Hindu temple – allegedly quite on line with what has been happening in UP following the Supreme Court verdict on Babri Mosque.

Is it time to celebrate India's 'improved' sex ratio? Reasons to question NFHS data

By Aditi Chaudhary*  The recently published National Family Health Survey (NFHS) factsheet brought cheers amongst the public and the government. With Child Sex ratio (number of females per 1000 males in the age group 0 - 6 years) and overall sex ratio (the total number of females per 1000 males), both showing an improvement, NFHS-5 (2019-21) got applauded by all around.