Defence Analyst Nitin Gokhale has taken to Twitter to slam Hartosh Singh Bal, currently the political editor of The Caravan magazine for casting aspersions on him and the Govt of India based on a source-based report published by far-left outlet The Caravan.
“Utter lies. That’s it. Please be prepared to face legal consequences”, Gokhale threatened the journalist with legal action for spreading blatant, shameless lies against him.
Utter lies. That’s it. Please be prepared to face legal consequences. Btw, you are a coward who didn’t have the guts to tag me Hartosh. https://t.co/NTPryqJDcQ— Nitin A. Gokhale (@nitingokhale) March 4, 2021
Nitin Gokhale was responding to a Tweet by Hartosh Singh Bal, where he shared an article written by him for The Caravan dated March 4, where he quoted Nitin Gokhale as suggesting that the government should colour-code journalists – “Green – fence-sitters; Black – against, and White – who support. We should support and promote favourable journalists.”
Gokhale has denied making any such suggestions to the government.
Former AAP member and journalist Ashutosh has also taken to Twitter to call out Bal for using his name in the article without any substantial proof to back the claim. “Caravan story mentions Ashutosh as one of the journalists who met govt reps to chalk out plan to neutralise critical media. ITS NOT ME ! Neither I was ever contacted nor I was there. I DONT KNOW WHO IS THIS ASHUTOSH,” wrote the AAP former member.
Caravan story mentions Ashutosh as one of the journalists who met govt reps to chalk out plan to neutralise critical media.— ashutosh (@ashutosh83B) March 4, 2021
ITS NOT ME !
Neither I was ever contacted nor I was there. I DONT KNOW WHO IS THIS ASHUTOSH. @HartoshSinghBal @thecaravanindia @vinodjose https://t.co/7chMHStSYN
Responding to Ashutosh’s Tweet, The Caravan journalist clarified: “The names have been reproduced as they are in the report where they are mentioned without institutional reference. in this case there is no clarity on which ashutosh is being referred to, in other cases the naming is more detailed and clear”.
Here it becomes imperative to note that at no point in time in his article, Hartosh Singh Bal mentions or specifies the source from where this particular GOI “report”, which he keeps referring to in his article, has been acquired.
It may be noted that the Caravan report had quoted a report on government communication prepared by a group of ministers. It says that the GoM was comprised of five cabinet ministers and four ministers of state, and added that observations of several media personalities were included in the report.
Modi Govt issues new guidelines for tech-giants, OTT platforms and digital media
On February 25, the union government announced its new guidelines for digital news organisations, social media platforms and OTT platforms. Addressing the press conference, Union Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad categorically stated that social media companies are welcome to do business in India, however, they must not overrule the dignity of civilised existence.
In the press conference, Union Minister Prasad said that the new rules will empower ordinary users of social media, embodying a mechanism for redressal and timely resolution of their grievance.
Taking a strong note of the fake news emanating on social media platforms, the centre has said that there is a need to counter fake news, financial frauds in India and has issued guidelines to tackle the same. Apart from categorising the social media intermediaries, the minister also said that social media companies need to act and remove the content in the next 24 hours if there are complaints regarding morphed images and nudity. Tightening its noose of the digital platforms, the union minister also said that social media platforms would be required to disclose the mischievous content’s first originator.
The Caravan does a hitjob against the Govt’s proposed new guidelines for tech-giants, OTT platforms and digital media
The report published by The Caravan is full of aspersions, that too based on some source-based “report”. The article claims that the Govt of India has “laid out the need to identify journalists who generate negative narratives, find others who can counter them and to create events of a spectacular nature that would influence public perception in its favour”. This, Bal wrote, claiming to quote a GOI report, parts of which he said have been accessed by The Caravan. But from where or from whom The Caravan acquired this GOI’s report is not specified anywhere in the article by the leftist media outlet.
The Caravan article claims that the union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad voiced the government’s frustration at its inability to exercise complete control of the narrative and has also given a name to the idea of the government acting in a dramatic and decisive manner to seize control of the narrative—the “Pokhran effect.” It furthered that this idea stemmed from the RSS ideologue S Gurumurthy, who was one of the “prominent personalities” consulted for the report.
Hartosh Singh Bal further claims that the Modi government has contacted and consulted “prominent persons from the media field”, namely Alok Mehta, Jayant Ghoshal, Shishir Gupta, Praful Ketkar, Mahua Chatterjee, Nistula Hebbar, Amitabh Sinha, Ashutosh, Ram Narain, Ravish Tiwari, Himanshu Mishra and Ravindra, for discussing its brand-building strategies.
The article also mentions that when it contacted these journalists, many of them said that no such meeting was planned.