AMN / NEW DELHI
The Editors Guild of India today strongly criticised the union government for interfering with the functioning of independent journalism. The Guild’s remarks follows the recent exit of senior journalists from two electronic media channels, with at least one of them blaming the government for exerting pressure on proprietors for his exit.
The statement said: “The Editors Guild of India condemns the manner in which the right to practise free and independent journalism is seen to be undermined by a combination of forces — some media owners’ inability to withstand political covert or overt pressures from the political establishment and frequent instances of blocking or interference in the transmission of television content that is seen to be critical of the government.”
Last month, at least two senior journalists of the Hindi television channel ABP News — its managing editor Milind Khandekar and senior anchor Punya Prasun Bajpai — left the channel. While Mr. Khandekar has not spoken about the reasons for his exit, Mr. Bajpai, in a long piece published online, said he was told to drop certain references to the government from his programmes and the pressure had been building up for days.
The Editor’s Guild of India has also decried the “cease and desist” notice served by a large corporate group on some newspapers, including The Hindu, in an effort to block the coverage of the Rafale fighter aircraft deal. The company should withdraw this notice, the Guild said, adding, “If needed, we hope the courts will weigh in for the right of journalists to investigate and raise questions.”