More than 400 television news channels and the highly growing newspaper market driven by various regional languages have the second-highest number of internet users in the world. The journalism in Indian can appear to be vibrant and thriving, but over time the quality of journalism has grown fainter in the face of aggressive nationalism, a vigorous state and corporate power. The news outlets not only need financial stability but also legal support and greater credibility with their readership.
However, since the 2014 election won by the Narendra Modi led Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP, the journalism in India has faced an addition in the unkind climate. The journalists are now threatened, arrested or detained more frequently than ever. Some of the journalists who have spoken against the government or were known for their investigative work or criticism have been killed. They are also abused, trolled or even marginalized based on their religion.
Journalism in India is going for a toss. The mainstream media is officially endowed in the hands of powerful people and hence do not question the authority about the actual issue. In the last few years, the media has lowered the quality of India’s public discourse. The expansion of media has shrunk the public sphere and has resulted in the spread of the elitist and socially conservative values.
Rebecca Mammen a criminal lawyer told, “The true test of a robust democracy is the independence, of its media. Over the past few years, our media has become the mouthpiece of the party in power. Coupled with the fact the corporate owners of media houses share close links with the government, the Indian media has tragically lost its voice.”
In 2007, the then Chief Minister of Gujrat and the current Prime Minister Narendra Modi was invited for an interview by Karan Thapar. Modi left the interview in the middle, as the questions asked by Thapar were too direct and Modi preferred not to answer them. Ever since then, the BJP had boycotted Thapar and no BJP minister has ever accepted the invitation for an interview by Thapar.
The Arnab Goswami led Republic TV, has been consistently focusing more on the denounced issues rather than the real ones. For instance, the Sushant Singh Rajput case, which began with an allegation on Rhea Chakraborty for murdering Sushant had now been diverted to mental issues, drugs and Kangan Ranawat. They have unstoppably spoken on issues that should be of least of our concerns citing the current scenarios. They have never questioned the BJP government for the -24% GDP, or that 42,480 farmers and migrants workers have committed suicide or even the loss in employment during this pandemic. The real issue today isn’t the ban on PubG or TikTok but is more about the 46 lakh Coronavirus cases and the Chinese Intrusion in our Country. Republic TV has always supported the BJP Government.
In recent events, Arnab Goswami has allegedly insulted the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Uddhav Thackeray and has also violated the Indian Constitution by running a parallel court on the channel.
On Thursday, a letter warning all the major cable television operators was sent saying that if they don’t stop airing the channels immediately, they will have to face a protest. This letter was signed by the Sena MLA Sunil Raut brother of the party MP Sanjay Raut and the general secretary of the Shivcable Sena, Vijay Patil. The Chief Advisors of the Union are Raut and the Transport Minister Anil Parab. “The CM is a constitutional post and its disrespect would not be tolerated. Thackeray has asked us not to take the law into our hand. But in this case, the law is on our side,” said Patil.
The Shivcable Sena said the Republic TV has been breaking the ethical code of journalism and conducting media trials repeatedly. The letter further added, “Maharashtra is blessed with a great tradition of journalism. It is expected that journalists put people’s problems before the government to find a solution while staying within the code of ethics of journalism. Since some time now Arnab Goswami, the editor-in-chief of Republic TV has been violating this code and the Indian Constitution and running a parallel court on his channel.” Patil further added that any kind of defaming remarks against Thackeray would not be tolerated.
The Shivsena leader said that Goswami has made several derogatory remarks about CM Uddhav Thackeray in the past. “Goswami has similarly disrespected State Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, Sanjay Raut and the Mumbai Police and its chief,” Patil told in an interview. He moreover questioned, “Why should cable television operators here broadcast such news for the state and rest of Maharashtra?”
Nevertheless, on Friday, the Bombay High Court refused to meddle in this matter or to pass any orders on the plea submitted by the ARG Outlier Media Pvt. Ltd, which runs the Republic TV. The network had to pursue the court’s intercession in limiting cable television operators from taking the network’s channels down after receiving threats from Shivcable Sena.
The court discarded the plea by the Republic TV and said that they can come up with a plan to deal with the problem put before the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) and can approach the law enforcement agencies in respect of the threats by a private organization which is not a legal authority.