Attempt to muzzle freedom of press

The bloodbath in one of India’s most prominent Hindi news channels, ABP has continued with more prominent names either resigning or being asked not to reportedly report to work. The day began with shock resignation of channel’s editorial head, Milind Khandekar. It was followed by report that that ABP News channel’s flagship show, Masterstroke, has reportedly been axed minutes after the departure of its anchor Punya Prasun Bajpai. The programme has been critical of the PM’s Mann Ki Baat programme. Recently one Chandramani Kaushik from Chhattisgarh had told Modi in her interaction with the prime minister during Mann Ki Baat that her agricultural income had doubled after she switched from cultivating paddy to (‘sitafal’) custard apple farming.
However, a report broadcast by Masterstroke on ABP News had later interviewed the same woman, who claimed that officials from Delhi had arrived in Kanker district of Chhattisgarh to tutor her before her interaction with PM Modi, to falsely claim about doubling of income. Government of India was reportedly not happy with such kind of negative reporting. Many believe that resignation of channel’s editorial head, Milind Khandekar and departure of Punya Prasun Bajpai is related to the unhappiness of the union government. Press is considered to be fourth pillar of democracy. If journalists are not able to work freely then democracy will not prevail. An extremely dangerous trend is emerging in the country. Anyone who criticizes ruling government is declared as anti-national and is ruthlessly targeted. The journalist communities will have to unite and stand together against any attempt to muzzle the freedom of press.