Press freedom under attack

As per the report of the Reuters news agency, the Narendra Modi government has cut off advertisements to at least three major newspaper groups in a move that executives and an opposition leader said ‘was likely retaliation for unfavourable reports.’ The newspapers are The Hindu, The Times of India and the Telegraph. The papers are paying prices for not toeing to the government line in their editorial coverage. The government is using the advertisement as a tool to punish media houses for exposing the wrongdoing of the government. This is a big setback to the effort of ensuring freedom of press in the country. Ever since Modi took charge of the Prime Minister in 2014 there has been relentlessly attack on press freedom.
Several journalists have complained of intimidation for writing critical stories. Many have been forced out of job as paper owners are wary of keeping journalists who are critical of the ruling establishment. By cutting off the advertisements to The Hindu, the Times of India and Telegraph the government is trying to bring the three newspaper groups to heel. This is a very difficult time for the press in India. Today a large section of Indian media has become the mouthpiece of the government. In fact there are countable media houses which dare to present the truth. But in its second inning the Modi government seems determined to crush any kind of voice which goes against it. BJP and Modi should know that the Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and expression. If they try to crush the freedom of speech, naturally there will be people’s movement against them. History has shown that whenever any person tried to take away freedom guaranteed under the Constitution the people of the country punished them.