Founding Editor of The Wire, MK Venu, attended the 25th National Convention of Christian Journalists organized by the Indian Catholic Press Association (ICPA) held at Don Bosco Centre, Okhla, Delhi on Saturday. The ICPA resolved to fight ‘truthophobia’ at the convention attended by one of the most prolific manufacturers of fake news in the country. Mr. Ignatius Gonsalves, the President of the ICPA, claimed that no one wants to hear or speak the truth in the country.
“Everyone is afraid of the truth because it demands action, and action involves pain,” Gonsalves said, addressing the gathering of journalists from around the country. Quoting St. John Henry Newman, he said, “In our context of fake news factories making for an interesting career choice, where the truth is presented to be truer than the truth itself, our role as Christian journalists is to be the light in the midst of all the encircling gloom”.
A copy of the Indian Constitution was presented to all the dignitaries of the inaugural function at the very beginning of the convention. “We present the copy of the Indian Constitution, instead of the customary flowers and shawls, to remind ourselves that it is the soul of India and we as journalists, need to protect it from every onslaught,” the Secretary of the ICPA and the Chief Editor of the Indian Currents, Father Suresh Mathew, said.
Addressing the participants, Archbishop Anil Couto of Delhi, bemoaned the ‘sorry state’ of media in India. “Most of the news channels have become cheerleaders of the ruling party and they have given up the pretense of being the custodian of truth. India has dropped to 140 out of 180 countries in World Press Freedom index. The recent physical assault on the journalists in the ongoing protest in northeast Delhi does not augur well for the media in the country”, he said.
Cuoto is the same Archbishop who had issued a letter to the Catholics in India in May 2018 interfering in the Indian elections. The letter, which was read in all the parishes under the Delhi Archdiocese, called for Indians Catholics to start a campaign of fasting and prayers for the general elections in 2019. He had later defended his action of communalizing the Lok Sabha Elections.
The convention concluded with the resolution to request the Government to invite Pope Francis to India, on the occasion of the Canonization of Bl. Devasahayam, the first Indian layman to be canonized by the Church. Meanwhile, Pope Francis announced on Sunday that a cold he is suffering from has forced him to skip a Lenten spiritual retreat with senior Vatican officials near Rome for the first time in his papacy. Amidst the Coronavirus outbreak, speculations are rife that the Pope has fallen prey to the deadly virus, however, the Vatican dismissed any link to the Coronavirus outbreak in Italy.
It is unclear how the Catholic Church intends to fight ‘truthophobia’ when they have one of the biggest peddlers of fake news and propaganda, MK Venu, by their side. Perhaps, as is clear from Cuoto’s remarks, the larger objective is to oppose the Hindutva-centric government at the Center and not any higher ideal. In that, they have found a proper ally in The Wire which is known to manufacture fake news in order to undermine the government.
In the past, The Wire has spread malicious lies about Union Minister Piyush Goyal involving business with The Piramal Group. The latter had also warned of defamatory action against the website. OpIndia had busted this report earlier and substantiated the different irregularities in the report itself. In another article penned by one Rohini Singh, she alleges involvement on Goyal’s part in the defaulting of a company named ‘Shridi Industries Limited’. The story had several gaping holes and was soon fact-checked by us.
Arfa Khanum Sherwani infamous for her hitjob on Sri Ravishankar once claimed that BJP MP and Minister Babul Supriyo had threatened to ‘Skin Muslims alive’. As usual, she did not feel the need to substantiate such outrageous claims. The reality, however, was very different. Another article alleged financial irregularities in a company of then BJP president Amit Shah’s son, Jay Shah. This obnoxious and shallow attempt at investigative journalism was decimated by OpIndia.
Later on 12th October 2017, Jay Shah slapped The Wire with a defamation case worth 100 crores. Even in the verdict delivered by the Gujrat High Court, the deceit by The Wire has been exposed. Apart from these, The Wire has published a series of lies which are always targeted in one direction, making it clear that the lies are a consequence of malice and not incompetence.
It is in the company of such people that the ICPA intends to fight ‘truthophobia’. It appears clear that the intention here is to achieve political objectives and the words are certainly not motivated by an allegiance to truth or any higher ideal.