Since the CBI raided on the NDTV promoter Prannoy Roy’s premises for the bank loan default taken from ICICI, Media sect started a loud outcry. The left-leaning faction of Media and Pranab Roy’s friends dived into the issue to rescue their dear friend without even bother to look into how graved the charges and evidence backing up those.
Will professional bodies like NBA & Editors Guild & working journalists’ organizations come out against this attack on media independence?
— N. Ram (@nramind) June 5, 2017
Strangely, it was a great deafening silence when some of the other Media Houses were on the similar kind persecution of some investigation agencies, possibly because the ideology wasn’t matched. In 2009, the same CBI raided on Deccan Chronicle with the same charges of bank loan default in 2013 that is during Congress regime. The recent two examples are; one of Sudhir Chaudhary on whom Mamata Banerjee slapped a case for covering Dhulagarh riots; and another was of Arnab Goswami, who has been sued by Shashi Tharoor in Delhi HC for the reporting over Sunanda Murder case; moreover, this same faction seemed cheered on this occasion.
Media have been getting advantages from the various governments. Jan-Satyagrah exposed one of such Media Cronyism through the RTI investigation. The same had proved that how UPA govt provided the luxury on public money for the so-called prominent journalists like Barkha Dutt, Siddarth Zarabi, Nidhi Razdan, etc.; and these crony journalists did so many foreign tours along with our Accidental Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh government. On the same line; various state Governments also witnessed to indulge in such Media cronyism; like in near past Maharashtra, Govt passed “Maharashtra Mediapersons and Media Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage or Loss to Property) Act, 2017” for giving special protection to journalists. Another example is of Telangana Government, who has allocated separate 30 crores for the welfare of the journalists. The obvious question arose that why such budget allocation for this profession only. Should it be considered as an advance reward for doing assistance in making ecosystem in favor to ruling party? In states like MP, there is no toll tax for the journalists.
The very same NDTV’s top journalists were exposed in Nira Radia tapes for becoming agents of some influential politicians. Another similar known example is of journalist ‘Santanu Saikia’ who arrested in Oil Espionage Case. And such examples are there when was much such illegality had been caught. Here, the point of objection is, if corporate houses like Sahara, Kingfisher, etc. are facing similar the persecution for the reason of prima facie evidence, why these media houses were objecting and crying victim when an investigation has been launched post enough evidence have been unearthed of fraud.
Considering the media as the fourth pillar of the Indian democracy, govt has given many aids for the Media institutions; some of the primary instances are like, as per the Finance Act, 1995 only 1 to 2 percent of tax is applicable on advertising revenue for print and electronic media. Notably, ads of various Government schemes are a major portion of the collection of income for both the types of Media. Furthermore, Print media also gets subsidize papers for printing newspapers.
Thus it can be understood that when it comes revenue generation, then Media Institutions can leverage all the options of income generation same as Corporate Institutes. But when it comes to liability as per the commercial firm towards the government, then they want to exercise exemptions none less than non-profit charitable trust.
In spite of all these facilities, many media houses and their journalists have been found performing many malpractices. Be it about involvement in Govt scams, land grabbing, spreading communal violence, etc. Their aspiration to be in the vicinity of powerful and behave like the slave of the establishment is not that Prannoy Roy and his friend will always let-off to discuss when the matter of sanctity comes. How many Luteyen circles the editors have been succeeded to raise a luxurious bungalow/premise? In the states, how many the land plots have been gifted to Media professionals? One of such matters is very fresh when it was revealed that how Shivraj Singh Govt in MP provided the benefits and allotted the lands to the journalists? This is not bizarre, it’s widespread, but the friends of Prannoy Roy don’t equate that with the issue of FoE. How many press clubs and media houses have granted the land on very nominal rate? The question has an answer, but nobody from the press doyens answers this. If you remember Ananda Bazar Patrika (ABP) Group’s ex-head honcho Aveek Sarkar, how did he look for windfall profit of Rs 500 Cr for a piece of land worth three acres after getting benefitted for so long in West Bengal!
Perhaps these institutions believe themselves as the above the law. As they have mike and camera to connect the channel with a public, they can mislead the people in the way they want. On many occurrences in the past, the same media didn’t even wait for charges frame on accused and started media trial on them to declare them as a culprit. But when now they came in a dock, they want to get away from the hand of the law. If Pranab Roy is innocent then why they’re not letting law to do its course; what’s the problem here?! Is this the fear of proving guilty if the truth will come out.
The defense or more suitably called, a counter which is coming from media fraternity is like portraying this investigation as a crackdown on the freedom of the press. If NDTV were confident about their innocence, then why it and Prannoy Roy’s friends had to take the support of their profession as a defense instead of arguing or fighting on the facts of the case. One can easily make perception out of this.