Dear Shreyansh Shantilal Shah,
Having lived my entire life in Ahmedabad, I have grown up reading your newspaper. I remember when Divya Bhaskar debuted in Ahmedabad, the loyalty people have had towards Gujarat Samachar was such that along with the new newspaper, people continued their Gujarat Samachar subscription.
Gujarat Samachar Newspaper – a history of bias
People have known that your publication has always had an anti-government, anti-establishment stand. That you, as an editor, were never particularly fond of then chief minister Narendra Modi was quite evident.
Things became more obvious when during 2002 riots, instead of being a responsible publication and following some restraint, you went ahead and published inflammatory content for days. The Press Council came down heavily on you and your friend at Sandesh, another Gujarati daily, “for the infraction of the norms of journalistic conduct in some of the reports.” Apparently, the inquiry committee was upset because being the arrogant self that you are widely believed to be, chose not to even respond to five out of six notices. You continued to fill pages and pages of sensational reportage at a sensitive time because a person you didn’t like was occupying the chief minister’s chair.
Years later, the same man is now the Prime Minister of the country. But hate, as I have come to realise, is a purer and more natural human emotion than love is. So, when 44 CRPF jawans were killed by a terrorist who thought he would get ‘Jannat’ for killing the people who drink cow urine, your immediate instinct is not of shock and horror, but that of mocking Modi.
Why netizens are enraged today with Gujarat Samachar
On 15th February, the day after the attack, your headline read, “56 ni chhatini kaayarta: aatankiyo befaam. 44 jawan shaheed,” roughly translated to ‘the cowardice of 56-inch chest, terrorists get a free hand. 44 jawans martyred’. The subheading read, “Z plus security vachhe farta vadapradhan desh ni suraksha karta jawano maate laachaar,” roughly translated to ‘the prime minister who moves around with z plus security is helpless when it comes to protecting the jawans’.
This was followed by a ‘News Focus’ column in your publication.
The headline reads, “Pulwama attack: Desh ni janta sarkar ne puchhe chhe, how is the josh?” roughly translated to, ‘Pulwama attack: Citizens ask the government, ‘how is the josh’?’ The reference to the film Uri, which was on surgical strikes India carried out to avenge the Uri attacks, you mock the government, which has been using the catchphrase while interacting with citizens lately.
But you are wrong. The phrase ‘how is the josh’ is not used by citizens to question the government, but it is actually used by jihadis to celebrate the Pulwama attack. Sometimes, terrorist sympathisers masquerading as mediapersons also use it to cheer for terrorists. And I don’t mean just you.
You, sir, are not mourning the loss of the Bravehearts who were martyred. You are mocking, almost cheering at how Modi ‘failed’ from saving the lives of these 44 martyrs. Your eyes are not welled up on seeing the gruesome images of the what remained of those soldiers. You have a smile on your face that ‘see how despite all your bravado, the soldier died.’
Makes me wonder, what has made you so hateful? What is the arrogance about? That you have the power of pen? You see, the thing is, with social media, people have realised that what was fed to them by traditional media may or may not be the truth. The readers and viewers have started questioning. The national media is either trying to get the facts right or they have started referring to all those who correct them or question them as trolls. Time is not too far when people will come after regional newspapers. Question them, question their ethics and morals and basic journalistic code of conduct.
If you were to log in to the Internet today, you would see how people are upset with you. And no, they are not all Modi ‘bhakts’. They are all decent human beings who are shocked that you lack empathy as an emotion.
@gujratsamachar Your work is to give the news, not to give any kind of judgment on politics in every event. Can’t use the print news media which is biased towards one political party and against another. Switching off subscription of Gujarat Samachar.
— Priyank Maru (@PriyankMaru36) February 15, 2019
— Vijaykumar kumbhar (@9727267212) February 15, 2019
I am discontinuing Gujarat Samachar from tomorrow, and I hope more would do the same, if in case you would have read the headlines. Editor needs to learn the difference between Politics and Nation. You owe a apology to brave Martyrs. @gujratsamachar pic.twitter.com/Nac2xufuS7
— Matri Vyas (@Matri_vyas) February 15, 2019
These are your regular readers: students, professional. You have let them down today.
How do you live with yourself, knowing that over the years, you have focussed years of your life bringing down one person over dead bodies of others? Does your conscience not poke you? Or are you just so dead inside that you have no emotions left anymore?