The Editors Guild of India notes with dismay and concern the vindictive manner in which governments, including their agencies, acted against media organisations.
On October 15, Prasar Bharati, the Union government’s public broadcasting agency, cancelled its subscription of news services from the Press Trust of India (PTI), the country’s largest news service provider. This followed Prasar Bharati’s decision to invite fresh proposals for a digital subscription to English text and related multimedia services from all domestic news agencies. The PTI is also allowed to submit its proposals once they are invited as are other news service providers like the UNI, whose arrangement too has been cancelled.
A few months ago, a senior official of Prasar Bharati had criticised the PTI for what he believed was its “anti-national coverage” of news pertaining to India-China ties.
On the same day in the Keonjhar district of Odisha, the state police picked up a senior journalist, Ramesh Rath, employed with a regional news channel, OTV, on charges of having circulated an obscene video last year. OTV has stated that the journalist has been targeted for having done a series of reports exposing the Biju Janata Dal government in Odisha, although the state police has denied the allegations, saying that no arrest has yet been made.
The Guild believes that such actions threaten as well as undermine the independent functioning of the media organisations. These should be withdrawn forthwith.
Editors Guild of India
Press Statement dt. 16-10-2020]