Modi Govt Again Attacks Press Freedom in India: Congress

Narendra Modi (file photo). Courtesy: PIB
Narendra Modi (file photo). Courtesy: PIB

Reporters Without Borders observed that the Hindu nationalists belonging to BJP are trying to purge all manifestations of ‘anti-national’ thought from the national debate.

By Rakesh Raman

Close on the heels of a warning issued by the global media watchdog Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) to Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi to protect press freedom in India, another incident of attack on the press has surfaced.

Opposition party Congress today blamed Modi’s BJP government for its constant attacks on the media outlets that criticize the policies of the government.

“The last few years under the BJP have witnessed restrictions on the media, especially on matters criticizing the government,” said Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who is a former Indian minister and Lok Sabha MP.

[ Global Warning Issued to PM Modi to Protect Press Freedom in India ]

Kharge was referring to the exit of two senior journalist from Hindi news channel ABP News. It is believed that the journalists have been forced to quit their jobs because they were critical of the Modi government.

Even Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal also has chipped in to condemn the Modi government for its hostility against media.

“Free media is life line of democracy. But government is hell bent to kill independent media. The resignation of two eminent TV journalists from ABP News in two days is another proof. Media should rise now, otherwise it will be too late,” Kejriwal tweeted.

Notwithstanding Indian government’s claims of ensuring press freedom in the country, India lost 3 notches to fall at No. 136 in the latest 2017 World Press Freedom Index.

Published every year since 2002 by Reporters Without Borders, the World Press Freedom Index ranks 180 countries according to the level of freedom available to journalists.

[ Also Read: Human Rights Experts Condemn Trump’s Attacks on Press Freedom ]

As journalists who express dissent are being constantly harassed and even murdered in India, Reporters Without Borders observed that the Hindu nationalists belonging to the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) of PM Modi are “trying to purge all manifestations of ‘anti-national’ thought from the national debate.”

The India Index also observed that self-censorship is growing in the mainstream media. Journalists are increasingly the targets of online smear campaigns by the most radical nationalists, who vilify them and even threaten physical reprisals, the world report stated while releasing the Index.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society.

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Rakesh Raman