The Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee has been having it too good for too long, courtesy the fact that she has been able to stifle all opposition against her, using brute force if necessary. While her hatred for the BJP and certain national media outlets is well known, her brazen attempts at silencing a local news network have now come to the fore.
Calcutta News is perhaps the only news channel in West Bengal which has been critical of the Mamata government for their brazen coverup of the actual COVID-19 numbers in the state, and is also a media outlet which has not shied away from locking horns with the dictator-like Chief Minister.
Yesterday, people around Kolkata were flummoxed, as Calcutta News, the only channel which has persistently dared to raise its voice against Mamata Banerjee, had suddenly gone blank on their TV screens. While the channel is still available on DTH platforms, local cable networks have succumbed to the immense political pressure from the Mamata government, and have taken the news channel off.
Kolkata SITI cable has stopped showing CN ( calcutta news) bangla _ why ?
— aksarkar (@sarkarak88) May 19, 2020
Want to know what dictatorship is?
Calcutta News did shows criticising Mamata, now cable operators hv stopped telecast of the channel.
Situation of Freedom of Speech in Didi's Bengal. pic.twitter.com/WIUFofaLgn
— Ankur Singh (@iAnkurSingh) May 20, 2020
Even GTPL in kolkata has done the same. I am watching through Jio tv.
— Samadrita Mukhopadhyay (@SamadritaMukho2) May 19, 2020
Calcutta news channel suddenly stops, few days after asking uncomfortable questions to bengal CM & getting rebuked for it. This channel was also covering the murder of TMC member Soumen Das, allegedly beaten by TMC councillor Rupali, kamarhati, for food distribution. 🤔 pic.twitter.com/luSp7aSmBT
— Ritobroto Banerjee (@ritorbandco) May 19, 2020
Reportedly, cable networks like Siti Cable, DEN, WishNet, DDCTN and CCTN have blocked the said news channel. Suggesting that this was a direct result of Mamata Banerjee’s fascistic tendencies, BJP MP Swapan Dasgupta said, “This sustained attack on news and opinions that are not to TMC’s liking is a feature of this state government that sustains itself on crude propaganda and sycophancy.” He further revealed that similar tactics, in order to stifle critical reportage of Mamata Banerjee’s catastrophic handling of the CoVID-19 crisis were being employed against another news channel – Sadhna News.
Last evening, under sustained administrative pressure, cable networks in & around Kolkata pulled the plug on @calcutta_news , a tv network that was mildly critical of @MamataOfficial govt. I understand there is pressure to do the same to Sadhna News. 1/2
— Swapan Dasgupta (@swapan55) May 20, 2020
This sustained attack on news & opinions that are not to TMC’s liking is a feature of this state government that sustains itself on crude propaganda & sycophancy. I will do my utmost to help publications & TV networks maintain their independence in West Bengal. @PrakashJavdekar
— Swapan Dasgupta (@swapan55) May 20, 2020
Calcutta News, although visible to viewers across Bengal, has been blacked out in and around Kolkata. The censorship of the news channel comes days after one of its reporters had a run-in with Mamata Banerjee, where Didi refused, arrogantly so, to take a question from the said reporter only because he worked for a channel she did not like. She further said that since the news channel always found faults with her and opposed her, they had no right to ask her questions.
When asked unpleasant questions CM Mamata Banerjee you always oppose me you have no right to ask me questions pic.twitter.com/RMcObImpXt
— Chayan Chatterjee (@Satyanewshi) May 14, 2020
Kudos to channels like Calcutta News.
Only channel who is asking relevant question to begum's government. https://t.co/zBOp9RJsiq
— Reality of West Bengal (@RealWBTruth) May 14, 2020
Meanwhile, reacting to the shameless attempts of Mamata Banerjee to stifle their right to report and broadcast freely, Calcutta News released a furious poster, in which they said that there was no technical issue on their part, and that the channel had in fact been blacked out.
Who gave the Bengal administration the right to strong-arm cable networks into cutting off the transmission of Calcutta News onto the TV screens of viewers who watch the news channel, since it is visibly the only one with a spine in Bengal? Mamata Banerjee’s overt attempts at silencing free media ought to be called out by one and all, and a precedent must be set of her, such that the minion of a dictator never dares even do so much as to think of subverting free press. Mamata Banerjee’s appetite to silence her detractors is immense. Whether it be political killings, subversion, pressure tactics, or even explicit actions such as taking a news channel off-air, the Mamata-led government has done it all. If there is at all any dictator in India, it has to be Mamata Banerjee.