In what could be called as a strange event in the history of Indian journalism, the Editors Guild of India (EGI) has issued a media advisory asking all media houses to report the ongoing farmers’ protest without “delegitimizing the protests”. The guild also asks media to refrain from referring them as Khalistanis, anti-nations or any other term which EGI considers as unsuitable. With multiple reports out on public domain regarding involvement of Khalistani elements in the protests, the Editors guild’s fatwa is a possible attempt to curtain the unpleasant truth behind Farmers protest.
In their statement, EGI said “the Editors Guild of India is concerned about the news coverage of the farmers’ protests in the national capital, wherein certain sections of the media have been labelling them as “Khalistanis”, “anti-nationals”, and other such terms to delegitimize the protests without any evidence or proof. This goes against the tenets of responsible and ethical journalism. Such actions compromise the credibility of the media”.
The same EGI remains mum when people following certain ideology speak about “azaadi for Kashmir” and “Bharat ke barbaadi”. No statements are made when propagandists masquerading as journalists rum malicious campaign against democratically elected Chief Ministers and representatives. ECI did nothing when a fellow journalist Arnab Goswami (also a member of EGI) was put behind the bars by Maharashtra government for speaking against Shiv Sena’s wrongdoings.
EGI’s advisory seeks media to uphold fairness, objectivity and responsibility. But all above-mentioned qualities are forgotten when any event satisfies their narrative. In the name of journalism, even street fights are looked through the prism of religion and caste. But when Hindus come under attack, media drags in the whole old romantic Ganga-Jemuni-Tehzeeb. This press release was signed by Seema Mustafa.
EGI’s statement is nothing but an unwarranted exercise of trying to giving certificate to ‘the truth’. If a media house finds Khalistani links to the protests, how can EGI stop them from airing the news? Doesn’t EGI’s attempt to censor news reporting violate the very essence of journalism? This fatwa itself violates the claim made by EGI, of being a ‘conscience keeper’ and a non-partisan association.