The aftermath of Arnab’s arrest has thrown up so many questions. A sort of cathartic moment has been reached in the collective psyche of common people of the country. The outrage it has stirred up hasn’t been limited to the regular educated media followers, nor to urbanites alone. There is an upsurge of mass revulsion among general public from farthest hinterlands to towns and cities. A mass awakening of sort has led people to pour out to every street corner of the country in protest against the high-handed action of Maharashtra government.
Earlier, it was a common knowledge among a few that journalism was a profession of a favoured lot of people. It used to be a smooth ride for those professing allegiance to Congress, leftists and their cronies. They disseminated with abandon unadulterated lies in the name of news. Propaganda machine ran overtime, painting Congress government in glory. Scandals, corruption and crimes were covered up and given quick burials to prevent the stink from reaching the masses. They called themselves independent journalists and voices of people. Government rewarded them for their efforts with Padma awards, free plots of land and houses in upmarket locations of mega cities. They had a field day, travelling in the entourage of ministers to exotic foreign locations. Wining, dining in high-end pubs, parties where they brushed shoulders with socialites and who is who among the power circle. What a life it was!
A Barkha Dutt could fix deals with Radia for allotting ministerial berths. She could describe terrorists as victims of oppression and Burhan Wani the son of an unfortunate headmaster. She could chastise the army of her own country as murderous human rights violators, rapists and killers. She could deride even the low murmur of protest against terrorism sponsered by Pakistan against our country, branding the protesters as communal who are out to derail peace with our good neighbour. In recognising the services rendered by her, She could be handed a certificate of good journalist by non else than Hafiz Saeed, a UN designated terrorist. She could still call herself an independent voice of journalism that speaks truth to power.
Rajdeep Sardesai, Prannoy Roy, Arun Poori, Nidhi Razdan, Sreenivasan jain and many others could make a career out of a riot in Gujurat, carrying on till today heaping abuses on PM Modi for his alleged complicity in the matter. They could run fake news of church attack, mob lynching and many other carefully selected incidents of crime to show oppression of minorities under the government led by a Hindutwa party. Prannoy Roy could indulge in money laundering. But neither he nor any of the lot of his kind could be prosecuted and put behind bars for their crimes. A Tarun Tejpal could molest and rape his colleague, and still manage to escape scrutiny for many years. He is after all an intellectual, liberal and secular person.
Arnab is non of these. He isn’t a fixer. He doesn’t mince words in criticising any government found in the wrong. He doesn’t try to seek out the religion of the criminals, nor of the victims when putting out reports of crimes. He calls out parties for doing appeasement politics. He sticks his neck out to identify the conspirators behind cases of riots in our country, regardless of their affiliations and religion. He brings out cases of violence against Hindus by people of minority community, which the so called journalists try their utmost to hide from the public. So, Arnab isn’t a journalist and deserves to be put behind bars–on trumped-up charges, why not? Rest are pure, lily-white journalists who need to be venerated as high priests on pedestals of worship.
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