Twitter has exposed the mainstream media in more than one way. Journalists joined this public platform and many ended up betraying their lack of neutrality, lack of knowledge, lack of logic, lack of tolerance, and lack of civility.
Now some journalists are taking this bar “higher” – one of them has gone ahead and worded a tweet in a way that sounds as if he was waiting for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to be assassinated.
The journalist is named Prashant Kumar and works with the 24-hours English news channel Times Now. He posted his controversial tweet on Friday in the context of PM Modi appearing on Khadi Village Industries Commission’s (KVIC) calendar and diary. Narendra Modi can be seen operating a charkha the way Mahatma Gandhi used to do.
This was turned into “Mahatma Gandhi missing” controversy by many. KVIC later clarified that there were many occasions, including under the Congress regime, when there were no pictures of Mahatma Gandhi on the cover, but that didn’t stop the criticism that “Modi was trying to replace Gandhi”.
This context was used by the Times Now journalist to ask that if Modi had become the new Gandhi, how soon a new Godse – the person who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi – would come:
Now that we have got a new Gandhi, how soon the Godse comes is the question. #KhadiModiFied
— Prashant Kumar (@Prashant_TN) January 13, 2017
The tweet shocked many people on Twitter, who read this tweet as a wish to see PM Modi killed by an assassin:
Journalist from @TimesNow calling for assassination of the Prime Minister of India.
Gandhiji would be ashamed of this kind of non-violence. https://t.co/0bWgMHoJkE
— shilpi tewari (@shilpitewari) January 13, 2017
— Namrata (@_Namrataa) January 13, 2017
— Maya (@Sharanyashettyy) January 13, 2017
— Ketan C Bhate (@BhateKetan) January 13, 2017
This tweet reminded many of the incident when Monisha Rajesh, a columnist associated with The Guardian and The Telegraph, had wished for assassination of Donald Trump in November last. Both the publications had distanced themselves from the columnist’s tweet, with The Telegraph further announcing that they will not employ Monisha’s services consequently.
The outrage had forced Monisha to delete her twitter account, but the Times Now journalist Prashant Kumar has not deleted even his tweet. Even Times Now has not issued any statement over this behaviour by their employee on a public platform.
A look at the timeline of Prashant Kumar’s Twitter account confirms that the journalist is anti-Modi and has sent abusive tweets about the Prime Minister earlier too, such as:
Where is Narendra Moron Modi? Why isn’t he uttering a word on his murderer MLA’s conduct?
— Prashant Kumar (@Prashant_TN) February 15, 2016
While the freedom of expression gives Prashant the right to write whatever he feels including anti-Modi tweets, many people thought that he crossed a line when he indirectly wished for assassination of the Prime Minister of India. Such a strong hate for Narendra Modi also raises a question over the objectivity and truthfulness of reports filed by such journalists.
UPDATE: The journalist has deleted his tweet and tendered an apology, however, alert users on Twitter pointed out that his apology was not sincere:
Frnds, dis tweet hs been cmpltly misinterpreted by many. He is my PM too. Views r absolutely mine and not my channel’s. Apologies. Thanks. https://t.co/Qtzh6f0Rmi
— Prashant Kumar (@Prashant_TN) January 14, 2017
— Divya (@divya_16_) January 14, 2017