By the Editor: Siddharth Sehgal
Few days ago we saw journalists being picked up or beaten by police. Whether its Pradeep Kanojiya who was arrested for a tweet or the News 24 news reporter who was arrested, beaten and urinated upon for doing a news on local police or Santosh Thammaiah who was arrested in Karnataka on charges of hurting religious sentiments. Rules are simply too open ended to be interpreted by those in power to put dissenting voice behind the bar.
We cannot justify arrest of one journalist because he spoke or seemed to be speaking against one political party or another. The question is our governments have so much time on their hand that instead of solving actual problems that matter they are chasing those who knowingly or unknowingly rub them in the wrong way. The problem lies in setting the precedent, if a journalist can be picked up for a tweet or beaten for running a story who knows they will not be killed for an exposé in future. To those who don’t know, several journalists have been killed in Chambal region for covering illegal sand mining mafias. Ramchandra Chhatrapati was silenced by aides of Gurmeet Ram Rahim for publishing anonymous letters detailing activities at Dera Saccha Sauda. It should be a matter of concern for civic society; journalists are last line of defense for democracy that’s why we have to stand up for rights of those who may have a different viewpoint than ours.
We as a country have an abysmal record in upholding the freedom of the press, physical violence aside those in power have a lot of means at their disposal if they want to suppress a publication who don’t toe the line. So we as a society should develop a sense of appreciation to these men and women who choose to take up pen. I am not saying that every journalist is a pillar of truth, trust me there are a lot of bad apples out there but we don’t burn down an orchard for that.