Yesterday, Attorney General (AG) K.K Venugopal stated during the hearing on Rafale review petition, with respect to Rafale deal documents published by the Hindu, that they were stolen documents and as such Official Secrets Act applies on the theft of the document and people responsible for it will be held accountable. Soon after, AG, as well as Defense Minister, clarified in no uncertain terms that journalists or media houses will not be subjected to Official Secrets Act with regard to the stolen document. The government is within its right to do it but has chosen not to in this case. They made it very clear that the govt. is not threatening or even pursuing a case against any media houses which published the document including ANI.
However, with the kind of ‘heads BJP’s fault, tails BJP’s fault’ logic Editors Guild has become famous for, it soon came out with a press release condemning the non-existent threat. Amazingly enough, the press release itself acknowledged that no threats were issued eventually, but added, “The Guild is perturbed over such threats. These will intimidate the media in general and curb its freedom to report and comment on the Rafale deal in particular. Any attempt to use the Official Secrets Act against the media is as reprehensible as asking the journalist to disclose their sources”.
Crying for media freedom and independence, ‘save the democracy’ gang further said, “The Guild denounces these threats and urges the government to refrain from initiating any action that might the media’s freedom and independence”.
Shockingly, the same Editors Guild was silent when some of the Republic TV journalists were molested and ill-treated by a gang of goons masquerading as students in Aligarh Muslim University. The incident took place on Tuesday, January 12, when the Republic TV crew was covering an event where AIMIM Chief Asaduddin Owaisi was scheduled to arrive. A video of the molestation of reporters clearly shows that the security staff of the AMU attempted to snatch equipment of the crew. When the Republic’s crew resisted their actions, the staff and students followed the Republic TV crew, snatched and destroyed equipment, and burnt the camera. Further refusing to explain their action, the mob misbehaved with women reporters as well. Perhaps this trying work of finding non-existent threats from BJP which keeps Editors Guild occupied at that time.
The self-proclaimed fighters for free speech always ignore those incidents which do not suit their narrative. The Editors Guild remained silent when Rahul Gandhi attacked ANI Editor-in-chief Smita Prakash over her interview with PM Narendra Modi. Rahul Gandhi took a jibe at the journalist for petty political gains as he termed Prime Minister Modi’s interview a staged one and also said that it was conducted by a “pliable journalist”. Despite this vicious attack by the Congress president against a respected media professional, the Editors Guild which pretends to be the guardian of media freedom came out with a press release blaming the BJP. They say Freedom of Press and Freedom of Speech are in danger only when it suits their narrative.