Washington Post: Crackdown on NDTV sparks fear that press freedom in India is under threat

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Washington Post: Crackdown on NDTV sparks fear that press freedom in India is under threat

Post by Rashmun on Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:28 pm

India's Central Bureau of Investigation on Monday raided the home and offices of top television executives Prannoy and Radhika Roy, co-founders of news channel NDTV, which has often clashed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government. In response, the network put out scathing statements and broadcasts, saying the raids amounted to a “witch hunt” and “a blatant political attack on the freedom of the press.”

The raids were conducted in connection with loans from ICICI Bank taken out by the Roys, starting in 2008.


The network said the loans have been repaid, and it issued a document that appears to confirm their claim. “NDTV and its promoters have never defaulted on any loan to ICICI or any other bank,” read a statement posted on NDTV's website. "We adhere to the highest levels of integrity and independence. It is clearly the independence and fearlessness of NDTV's team that the ruling party's politicians cannot stomach and the CBI raid is merely another attempt at silencing the media."

“In American media, it is considered patriotic to question and make the government accountable, here to be patriotic is to just agree with everything the government says,” said Prannoy Roy, speaking to The Washington Post.

India ranks 136th on the World Press Freedom index, slipping three places since last year. Dissenting voices are often silenced using sedition laws. More than 51 freedom of information activists have been found murdered since the law came to force in 2005.

Major corporate owners also limit the diversity of India's media: Although India has 86,000 newspapers and over 900 television channels, a handful dominate. Reliance, one of India's biggest companies, owns News-18, which dominates coverage on a number of popular TV channels and magazines.


On Monday night, NDTV aired a half-hour Hindi language broadcast, anchored by Ravish Kumar, describing the atmosphere of fear in which Delhi's news media works. “If you ever meet a journalist on these streets ask if they are afraid. They'll tell you without speaking: 'Delhi's journalists are now scared.' … This is the capital of fear," he said.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/06/06/crackdown-on-indian-news-network-sparks-fear-that-press-freedom-is-under-threat/

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Re: Washington Post: Crackdown on NDTV sparks fear that press freedom in India is under threat

Post by Rashmun on Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:32 pm

https://www.telegraphindia.com/1170606/jsp/frontpage/story_155426.jsp

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Re: Washington Post: Crackdown on NDTV sparks fear that press freedom in India is under threat

Post by Rashmun on Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:43 pm

Whichever way one looks at the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raids conducted on the NDTV offices and the residence of its promoters, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that vendetta has been a guiding motive behind them. This is not the first time that a government has sought to muzzle adversarial media in this crude fashion, threatening the basic constitutional guarantee of free speech upon which our democracy rests. When the Congress party had imposed an Emergency in the mid 1970s, petty violations of one kind or the other were cited to intimidate the free press. It was resisted with full force by both the media and political activists inspired by the Jayaprakash Narayan movement then.


Alas, and here’s the irony, some of those very erstwhile warriors of media freedom dominate the present regime, which shows no compunction in conducting such egregious raids on NDTV, which is not only the country’s oldest news channel but one which has, without doubt, contributed significantly to the growth and evolution of the Indian news television industry.



https://thewire.in/144171/editorial-assault-media-freedom/

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