The Big Story: Democracy and dissent
The rabble-rousing tendencies of Times Now anchor Arnab Goswami have been written about copiously. As is obvious to even casual viewers, Goswami's prime time show often descends to the level of a kangaroo court, as the anchor condemns and harangues his targets in a tone that betrays near-hysteria.
Examples of this include the instance in May when Goswami went so far as to accuse a Muslim participant on his show of being a cover for the Indian Mujahideen terror group after the man disagreed with the anchor. On Tuesday, Goswami crossed the line again by calling for the arrest of journalists who do not toe the official line on the Kashmir conflict. The anchor labelled these journalists the “pro-Pak lobby”.
For someone who is among the most visible journalists in the country, it is baffling that Goswami has failed to understand one of the primary roles of journalism: to question power and hold the powerful to account. All liberal democracies acknowledge that the state poses a potential threat to freedom, and attempt to counter this danger by encouraging an independent media and strong civil society voices.
But the Times Now anchor on Tuesday seemed to have forgotten that, as he nodded in agreement with every word of the ruling party’s spokesperson, Sambit Patra, about gagging voices that challenged the Union government’s position on Kashmir. As if to reiterate the official line, a Union government-controlled Twitter handle on Tuesday went so far as to retweet a message that asked the Indian Army to “take care of these pro Pak presstitutes”.
This is a sad illustration of the state of the India media. Goswami and other sections of the media are giving currency to the notion that opposing the Indian government is immoral. By doing so, they are actually undermining Indian democracy. As the scientist Albert Einstein once noted, “Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth.”
The Big Scroll
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1. Manipuri activist Irom Sharmila will end her 16-year old fast to repel the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act – which gives security forces immunity from the judiciary – and will contest elections.
2. The Delhi Police has filed a first information report against Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal for allegedly mentioning the name of the victim in a notice to the police. This comes as the Aam Aadmi Party alleges political vendetta on the part of the Modi government, with the as many as 11 of its MLAs now arrested in various cases.
3. Like with the Aadhar bill, it seems the Union government will also declare the bill seeking special category status for Andhra Pradesh a money bill in order for it to not be voted on in the Rajya Sabha.
4. Mohammad Akhlaq’s son, murdered for by a gau rakshak mob in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, alleged that the meat sample had been tampered with in order for it to be categorised as beef.
1. There are signs that Trump is bereft of any new ideas on India, says KP Nayar in the Telegraph.
2. Qandeel Baloch’s murder is yet another reminder that men craft, interpret and adjudicate over family laws in the subcontinent, writes Mrinal Pande.
3. Financial meltdown, environmental disaster and even the rise of Donald Trump – neoliberalism has played its part in them all. Why has the left failed to come up with an alternative, asks George Monbiot in the Guardian.
4. Ambedkar-inspired Kabali is a film for our times, says Dhrubo Jyoti in the Hindustan Times.
Ajaz Ashraf explains how vote bank politics is keeping Prime Minister Modi silent on the attacks on Dalits in Gujarat:
For Modi, to condemn Una unequivocally, on the day it began to grab media headlines, would have also meant severely reprimanding cow-protectionists. They – and people like them – are both Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s core supporters. He cannot alienate them to mollify the angry but floating Dalit voters, whose allegiance to him might not even be durable. “A bird in hand is worth two in the bush” is a profound adage.