Twitter has been abuzz recently over the resignation of two ABP News journalists who, according to liberals, were forced to quit because of a program critical of Prime Minister Modi’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’.
Support is pouring in for journalists Milind Khandekar and Prasoon Bajpai of #ABPNews, who quit their jobs allegedly after news critical of PM Modi’s ‘Mann ki Baat’ programme was aired on the channel. A third journalist Abhisar Sharma has gone on leave https://t.co/KaHjoSbYMe
— National Herald (@NH_India) August 3, 2018
Apart from the Congress mouthpiece, the allegations against the channel were also fueled by AAP-leaning YouTuber, Dhruv Rathee, who dubbed it an ‘undeclared emergency’.
UNDECLARED EMERGENCY of Modi govt continues to kill independent media in India. ABP News channel is the latest to fall –
– 9pm show criticizing govt is blacked out
– Managing Editor of channel has quit
– Daring journalist Abhisar Sharma reportedly forced to resign.
— Dhruv Rathee (@dhruv_rathee) August 2, 2018
Apart from people with political affiliations, liberal media outlets also insinuated that the Modi government had a role in arm-twisting ABP News to force their employees to quit.
The Print ran a report with the headline, “Top ABP editors quit, staff, say Modi govt may have ‘arm-twisted channel for criticism’”, where it quoted sources who claimed that the BJP is responsible for the journalists quitting ABP News.
The Leftist propaganda website, The Wire, which has spread misinformation on several previous occasions and is currently fighting a lawsuit for an alleged defamatory report on Jay Shah, son of BJP President Amit Shah, also a published a report which made similar insinuations.
Anyone who has been following politics in recent years, even remotely, will be aware that the media is overly invested in opposing the NDA government at the Center and harbours a visceral grudge against the Modi government. As such, they cannot be trusted with making an objective evaluation of circumstances at hand, especially given their dubious track record. The particular program in contention which so ‘infuriated’ the Bharatiya Janata Party allegedly has another side as well which liberal media and opposition parties have conveniently ignored.
In the particular program in question, Punya Prasun Bajpai asserts that their correspondent had gotten in touch with a female farmer who, when asked by the Prime Minister if her income had doubled, had answered in the affirmative. According to the program, the women were instructed by people from Delhi on how to answer the PM and when the correspondent asks the woman if her income had indeed doubled through rice farming, she had replied that it hadn’t. Soon, the video clip of that section of the program went viral on social media and it was even shared by Congress President on Twitter.
PM जी अपनी मन की बात सुनाते हैं यह तो सभी जानते थे। आज यह मालूम पड़ रहा है कि वह सिर्फ अपने ही मन की बात सुनना भी चाहते हैं । pic.twitter.com/dEqvklqtRR
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) July 9, 2018
The narrative peddled by Bajpai’s program, that the BJP had doctored the woman’s interaction with the Prime Minister to boost its credentials, was soon busted by MyNation. The woman, Chandramani Kaushik, clarified that she had doubled her income not through rice farming but by processing the pulp of sitafal. In the interaction that was uploaded in video format by MyNation, it can be seen clearly that Kaushik never claimed that her income had doubled by sowing paddy. Even in Bajpai’s program, it wasn’t Kaushik who had claimed that a team from Delhi had instructed her on how to respond to the Prime Minister’s question but the village Sarpanch was the one who made the claims.
In light of the dubious nature of Bajpai’s program in question, it is unclear as to whether he was made to leave because of interference from the BJP or simply because the channel was unhappy with the Fake News that he had peddled and the officials were worried about the damage to their credibility. Vested interests would obviously have us believe that Narendra Modi himself is responsible for irrelevant journalists being made to quit, however, it appears that sheer incompetence on the part of the journalists may have contributed to their fate.