Media

Prannoy Roy blocks Malini Parthasarathy on Twitter for calling out ‘press freedom’ drama

Barely a couple of days after Malini Parthasarathy, the former Editor of left-leaning newspaper The Hindu expressed her opinion that NDTV was trying to ‘hide behind the shield of press freedom’ in wake of charges of financial wrongdoings against its promoters Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy, she has discovered that Prannoy Roy has blocked her on Twitter.

Blocking is an action on Twitter where you let a user know that you have no time or respect for his or her views, and your life is better without the user around. The other option is to ‘mute’ a Twitter user, which has somewhat similar effects, but blocking makes sure that the blocked user is not able to read your tweets and thus offer counter commentary to your views.

Malini Parthasarathy, who is also a Director in the company that publishes The Hindu, discovered that she was not welcome in Prannoy’s party a day after the NDTV founder had got together a group of ‘eminent’ people and journalists in Delhi to support NDTV and call for ‘unity’ among the journalists.

With Prannoy deciding to let Malini know in clear terms that her dissenting views were not agreeable to him, Malini also decided to let the world know that Prannoy’s call for unity and solidarity among the journalistic community had no credibility.

“If we as a journalistic fraternity, take umbrage at dissent within our group, what credibility is there for calls for solidarity?” Malini quipped with obvious reference to NDTV’s attempt of drumming up support by parading ‘eminent’ people and journalists.

She reiterated that NDTV crying ‘press freedom’ and ‘attack on democracy’ was not justified, and such attempts of blocking probe into news channel promoters’ financial dealings will actually lower the credibility of the press and journalists.

It is not for the first time when NDTV has ‘blocked’ journalists for daring to express opinions contrary to their own beliefs and positions. Former Editor of Outlook magazine Vinod Mehta had claimed that he was ‘banned’ from appearing on NDTV because his magazine carried the Radia tapes.

“Previously, I used to appear at least twice a week on NDTV. But since the Radia tapes story, I have never been invited. And frankly, I don’t miss it,” Mehta had revealed a few months before he passed away in March 2015.

Radia tapes not only contained conversation with corporate lobbyist Nira Radia and the then NDTV journalist Barkha Dutt, but one of the tapes also had Radia telling another journalist that “we need to support Prannoy”.

Records suggest that within two weeks of this conversation that is supposed to have taken place in July 2009, NDTV received 350 crore rupees from a company that was owned by Reliance Industries Limited.

Interestingly, Prannoy Roy had decided to leave Twitter after Radia tapes came into public knowledge in November 2010. He tweeted more than 3 years later, and now he is so active on Twitter that he has blocked Malini Parthasarathy.

Apart from Vinod Mehta, Aditya Raj Kaul, currently a journalist with television news channel Republic TV, too had claimed that his views were ‘blocked’ by NDTV. Aditya holds anti-separatist views on Kashmir issue had been an activist in the ‘Justice for Priyadarshini Mattoo’ campaign before he became a full-time journalist.

“I was muted for the views on Kashmir which didn’t match the separatist-tilt of the editor,” Aditya had written in 2015, further adding a line that sums up the situation prevalent currently – “Irony just dies a little when those who ban important voices in a debate, narrative or any discourse, suddenly protest demanding ‘freedom of expression’.”

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