Supporters of the union government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi have been raising the demand for intervention by the Centre since they got the news of the arrest of Republic TV‘s Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami. This demand is, of course, six-years-old, but it turned into a clamour today while all that some functionaries of the government and the BJP did was condemn the arrest as an ‘assault on democracy and freedom of expression’ on Twitter.
Is the kind of interference in real life that the supporters of the government are asking for in situation of law and order possible or advisable? Policing is a state subject. Should the Centre meddle in the affairs? Does it look ethical on the part of a journalist to toe a partisan line? At the same time, does it look fair on the part of a ruling or opposition party to be seen on the side of a journalist? But before that, does the Modi government really care?
In the course of the discussion, the other points that were covered were:
- BJP or the prime minister’s media policy or the absence thereof
- How does the BJP appoint spokespersons?
- Does it have a say in the way the media projects its policies and actions?
- Whatever happened to the five-member media committee that the ruling party had formed?
- How does the left’s ecosystem work and how does that ideological wing of the Indian polity benefit from it?
- Is the ruling party and/or the government sensitised to the demand of its supporters of putting in place an ecosystem?
- Will a so-called right-wing ecosystem ever be formed?
- Journalist and Satyaanveshi Bharat founder Kumar Shri Kant (who is also a former colleague of Arnab Goswami)
- Founder of SabLokTantra and video commentator Rachit Kaushik
- Columnist Gautam Mukherjee
- Political and economic analyst Sugato Hazra
- Commentator on political and spiritual affairs Akkhilesh Gautam
Editor-in-Chief of Sirf News Surajit Dasgupta anchored the exchange of ideas.