Indian Express has recently been called out several times for its biased reportage and half-baked articles. Recently, we had written about how the Associate Editor of Indian Express, Sushant Singh had spread sensational lies about renewed aggression at Doklam. It had also drawn criticism on Social Media for its misleading headline that seemed to further Chinese propaganda. Indian Express had earlier been slammed by cricketer Virendra Sehwag for their misleading headline. If all of this wasn’t enough, Indian Express recently mainstreamed an abusive Congress troll who had in the past issued death and rape threats apart from using the choicest abuses on Social Media.
Today, Indian Express has come under fire again because of an article it has published today that speaks of the Ministry of Women and Child Development’s stand on Triple Talaq.
The article, in the usual mainstream media style, quoted no reference or definitive source. It started with “learnt to have” without mentioning where they have got their information from.
The article, written by Shalini Nair, asserted that the Ministry of Women and Child Development had reservations about the new legislation proposed by the government criminalising Triple Talaq.
It said that the Ministry claimed that since Triple Talaq was cruelty, it should fall within the purview of 498A of the Indian Penal Code and hence there was no need for a separate legislation. It was claimed that the Law Ministry had disagreed with the WCD Ministry.
The author went on to claim the WCD Ministry had flagged the issues of payment of maintenance and the issue of custody of children.
The Ministry of Woman and Child Development headed by Maneka Gandhi has come out to strongly condemn this article by the Indian Express published earlier today. In a Press release, the Ministry called this article deliberately mischievous and factually misleading. The press release is as follows :
The Ministry clarified that it has always opposed Triple Talaq in all its forms and supports the legislation passed by the Union Government to make it a non cognisable offence that provides for imprisonment up to three years. The Bill also provides for an allowance for harassed Muslim women and her dependant children.
In a scathing indictment of Indian Express’ editorial standards, the clarification put out by the Ministry stated that the article did not represent the views of the Ministry. It ‘strongly opined’ that the Ministry should have been contacted for clarification before Indian Express published the article that could possibly have serious ramifications.
The clarification put out also stated :
Maneka Sanjay Gandhi had requested in January 2017 that a group of ministers be constituted to deliberate on the issue of Triple Talaq as the Ministry was a respondent in the Triple Talaq case in Hon’ble Supreme Court. Ministry WCD has fully supported the Cabinet’s proposal on ‘Triple Talaq’ to make instant talaq a criminal offence.
The article published by Indian Express, however had stated that, “Incidentally, the WCD Ministry was not a part of the inter-ministerial group that was set up to draft the Bill after the Supreme Court “set aside” the practice of instant triple talaq in August. The group was headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, and included External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad among others,” perhaps insinuating that the Ministry of Women and Child Development hadn’t been consulted at all.
Media is considered a pillar of democracy and they should certainly be more careful in their reportage. Having said that, considering the Ministry has refuted the claims made in the Indian Express article, it is pertinent to ask what their source of information was.