With the talks between the Centre and the protesters demonstrating at the Singhu border along the national capital hitting a stalemate, the demonstrators have decided to intensify their protests against the central government and pressurise them into repealing the newly introduced farm bills. The first step taken towards escalating their campaign seems to be stopping the journalists who attempt to cover the protests and ask uncomfortable questions of the protesters.
Recently, the demonstrators occupying the roads at the Singhu Border heckled two female journalists from Zee News and Republic Bharat, who were at the spot to cover the protests that have been going on since the last few days. The angry protesters, who are demanding nothing short of revocation of the three farm Bills, gheraoed and heckled the journalists, raising slogans against their channels.
The video of the treatment meted out to the journalists by the protesters showed that the scribes were encircled by a bunch of angry protesters, who were shouting slogans and preventing them from doing their job. A large number of protesters were heard in the video raucously shouting “Zee News Go Back”, “Down with Modi Media” and other hostile slogans.
SHAMEFUL Heckling of Reporters At #FarmersProtests like they did in Shaheen Bagh. 2 WOMEN Reporters from Zee News & @Shaziya_N from @republic badly heckled by ALL MALE CROWD of “Farmers” & FORCED to leave only coz they were doing their duty #farmersrprotest #EndTheDeadlock pic.twitter.com/YU7zde2Gmh— Rosy (@rose_k01) December 15, 2020
Similarly, Republic Bharat journalist Shazia Nisar was also confronted by a mob of implacable protesters, who heckled and precluded her from covering the ongoing farmers’ protests. Nisar could be seen in the video try to placate the protesters, but it did not cut ice with them, and they continued raising slogans against her, after which she was forced to retreat.
Nisar took to Twitter to assert that the situation at the Singhu Border was horrifying and the videos of belligerent ‘farmers’ heckling and attacking the journalist would change the perception of many about the so-called farmers’ protests.
सिंघु बॉर्डर का मंजर ख़ौफ़ज़दा करने वाला था ये वीडियो के शुरुआती अंश हैं— Shazia Nisar (R Bharat) (@Shaziya_N) December 16, 2020
बाद में जो यहाँ हुआ उसे देखकर शायद किसान आंदोलन को लेकर आपका नज़रिया बदल जाए
मेरे कैमरापर्सन को क़ैदी की तरह पकड़कर साथ ले गए
हज़ारों की भीड़ मेरे पीछे दौड़ रही थी मेरा मोबाइल छीन लिया गया और बोहोत कुछ हुआ https://t.co/Gwcu1CeIXQ
She also added that her cameraperson was held like a prisoner by the protesters, her mobile phone was snatched and thousands of them ran after her.
Congress endorses heckling of journalists by protesters
These two incidents of heckling are not the only ones when the journalists have been attacked for doing their duty. A few days back too, journalists who had gone to cover the farmers’ protests at the Singhu Border were heckled with slogans.
Recently, a video that became viral on Twitter showed farmers agreeing to speak to a TV journalist, but then asking her if she belonged to “Godi Media” and shouting slogans against it.
In fact, the video of heckling was shared by the official Twitter account of the All India Mahila Congress, implying that the Congress party endorses and supports such heckling of journalists.
Heckling at Singhu Border evokes attack on journalists during the Shaheen Bagh protests
The heckling of journalists at Singhu Border harks back to the Shaheen Bagh protests earlier this year when a similar incident of reporters being heckled by the protesters had taken place.
In March 2020, the ‘protestors’ gathered at Shaheen Bagh attacked India TV reporters after the reporters pointed out that sirens are being used to assemble Muslim crowds on Fridays to intensify anti-CAA protests across the capital at a time when these mobs have run amok on the streets of Delhi.
India TV journalists Meenakshi Joshi and Diksha Pandey were on the streets of Shaheen Bagh on Friday to report on how Shaheen Bagh seems to be deserted as only a handful turned up at the site on Friday. The two reporters tried to expose the truth behind protesters leaving the protest site after the supporters of Shaheen Bagh protestors began to abandon them.
As Meenakshi Joshi showed visuals of Shaheen Bagh protest site being empty, the angry mob joined with few women protesters began to stop them from recording the visuals. Further, the angry protestors began to force her out of Shaheen Bagh.