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Freedom Of Press In India: Liberty Girdled By Autocracy

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Freedom Of Press In India: Liberty Girdled By Autocracy
Freedom Of Press In India: Liberty Girdled By Autocracy

In the early hours of November 4, when the world had a peaceful sleep, mayhem stuck in the house of a journalist residing in Maharashtra. The journalist is one of the most successful TV reporter India has ever witnessed in the past two decades. Yes, the incident discussed here is of the most noteworthy journalist of recent times, Mr Arnab Goswami, which yet again thrust catechism on the dignity of India’s freedom of the press.

Freedom Of Press In India: Liberty Girdled By Autocracy
Freedom Of Press In India: Liberty Girdled By Autocracy

Freedom Of Press: Liberty Obstacle By Autocracy

Mr. Goswami was arrested in the early hours of November 4 on the abetment of a suicide case of Anvay Naik, an interior designer. Anvay Naik, on his suicide note, mentioned the name of Goswami along with two other members. It is alleged that Arnab, along with two other members, had burrowed a large sum of money from Anvay and didn’t return the amount. Therefore, Naik became bankrupt and had no other option left other than to take his life.

Freedom Of Press In India: Liberty Girdled By Autocracy
Freedom Of Press In India: Liberty Girdled By Autocracy

Well, it looks quite a simple case wherein a person has been taken into custody for his alleged embroilment in a suicide case. Therefore, the question arises, why’s there such a mass movement and polarizing view in Arnab’s case, which has garnished more TRP’s than the much-awaited Bihar election. The answer is simple, yet too profound. There is much more than just a suicide case. There is olfaction of vindictiveness and retribution with the use of authority to give a name of justice. Moreover, this issue again raises the question of the credibility of India’s freedom of press. 

Freedom Of Press In India: Liberty Girdled By Autocracy
Freedom Of Press In India: Liberty Girdled By Autocracy

The Legality Aspect Of The Arrest

Firstly, let us dig into the legality of the arrest. On legal aspects, the capture of Arnab Goswami seems to be fallacious and prima facie illegal as per the court’s sayings. Firstly, Anvay Naik’s case was padlocked in the year 2019. Therefore, as per the constitution, the case cannot get opened again unless and until the victim’s family members claim to reopen the case. In this case, none of Anvay’s family members have moved to court or police station to reopen the case. Secondly, if the Alibaug police had to reopen the case yet again, they had to obtain the district magistrate’s approval, which they didn’t do. Thirdly, as per the court verdict, the connection between Goswami and the death of Anvay and his mother is still not established by the prosecution.

Freedom Of Press In India: Liberty Girdled By Autocracy
Freedom Of Press In India: Liberty Girdled By Autocracy

Therefore, the editor in chief’s arrest of Republic’s media house, Arnab Goswami, seems illegal on every legal grounds.

Freedom Of Press In India: Liberty Girdled By Autocracy
Freedom Of Press In India: Liberty Girdled By Autocracy

The Smell Of Vengeance

Then why did of all a sudden, Mumbai Police decided to open the graveyard and look for treasure yet again for Arnab. It’s all (alleged) linked to the episodes of high voltage intensity in the Republic TV’s network for the past few months. 

Freedom Of Press In India: Liberty Girdled By Autocracy
Freedom Of Press In India: Liberty Girdled By Autocracy

Since the mysterious death of the popular Bollywood star Sushant Singh Rajput, the whole Bollywood fraternity seemed to push the suicide theory of the actor in the minds of people. However, since July, the inclusion and sting operations of Arnab and Co, in this case, revealed some sensational information revolving around the world of the Hindi film industry. So much so that a serious interrogation of drugs and mafia shook Bollywood and revealed it’s dark secrets in the eyes of its worshippers. During these intensified investigations of Arnab and Co, he was over-aggressive as he usually is and didn’t hesitate to show the shortcomings, loopholes, and somewhat corruption of the current ruling party of Maharastra and the Mumbai Police. His only fault was the use of defamatory language, over-aggressive gestures, and indirect/ direct threats to both the authorities of the state, the reason for which he is being ridiculed and criticized over the years. However, this time the tone used by Arnab was against the morality and ethics of communication between two respected people.

The Credibility Of Freedom Of Press In India

However, here arises the problem of the credibility of India’s freedom of press yet again. No doubt, the voice of Arnab was defamatory, but the allegations and the loopholes were to the extend accurately prophesied. Yes, if Arnab had to be punished, it needed to be on the grounds of the immoral behavior in his shows and not of a case which is currently shut by the books of law. While the former punishment would have been legal but restricted to the fines of a few crores, the later even being illegal is harassing Arnab and his family to the extent of mental breakdown. So the biggest question that arises here is where is the freedom of the press??? 

Hathras Incident: Another Example Of Denying Freedom Of Press

Freedom Of Press In India: Liberty Girdled By Autocracy
Freedom Of Press In India: Liberty Girdled By Autocracy

The sole duty of a journalist is to shed light on the matter of public concern. However, if doing so, a journalist gets wrongly detained by the saviors of law and gets harassed on an everyday basis, the doom of journalism in India seems not to be very far. Even in the most brutal rape cases of recent times, which transpired in Hathras UP, the journalist was not allowed by the police officials to meet the victim’s family. Why was it so when the case seems to be open and shut?? Why the basic democratic rights of the journalist and the citizens of India are being deprived by the police and the government authorities?? Well, these answers can only be made by the authorities themselves who will love to keep a mum on these matters.

Journalism in India is the fourth pillar of democracy. However, this pillar is being constantly hammered and opposed by higher authorities, so much so that it is on the verge of collapsing. Well, it’s better to cater to the rights of the journalists before it becomes too late, and the tag of democracy gets removed from India.

Editorial By- Sayak Karmakar, Resident Editor, Interview Times

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