“As I said, it is not a Press law, that something is in danger and so you must go and pass the Press law somehow and operate it. This is not an amendment of the Constitution. It is not a political matter. In fact, we may differ on matters of politics. But there should be a fundamental agreement with regard to the need for introducing reforms into our great country, which will make our civilisation more progressive and more advanced. That should be our common ground of approach”. – Syama Prasad Mookerjee, while speaking on the Hindu Code Bill, Parliamentary Debates, September 17, 1951, Col. 2705-2724
According to the monopolistic Left-liberal media, Bharatiya democracy is again in danger, with the propaganda website, The Wire coming under the scanner for spreading falsehood. As a publication that always stood for freedom of the press and democratic rights of individuals, Organiser weekly would never endorse unreasonable curbs on the free speech of anyone, especially on media platforms. The entire war of words between The Wire and Meta have dewired the uneasy relationship in the Left-dominated liberal-positioned ecosystem. The series of lies, manipulations to undermine Bharat, and hypocritical stand on the free press agenda have turned this entire gang of self-proclaimed protectors of media freedom into the natural enemies of sacred democratic rights.
The Delhi Police Crime Branch conducting a search operation at the residences of The Wire founder Siddharth Varadarajan and Founding Editor MK Venu following an FIR registered by a BJP leader is just a small part of the larger story. The Wire claimed that Amit Malviya, in charge of the BJP’s IT Cell, has privileged access to the XCheck list, the “Meta Program” that allegedly provides special privileges to high-profile users. The entire story alleging Malviya flagged over 700 posts on Instagram and Meta instantly removed the same have fallen flat. The Meta officials immediately refuted all the claims, and the names mentioned by The Wire story as sources also came out and publicly discredited the digital platform. Eggs on the face, The Wire had to retract the story in the absence of any proof and apologise to the readers with a guarantee of ‘internal investigation’. Does Amit Malviya have the legal right to fight for his dignity under defamation law in a democratic system?
The Wire, unfortunately, chose to put their reporter Devesh Kumar under the bus for alleged ‘supplying of fake evidence’ and ‘unstable mental health’. From its inception, it was clear that there was an agenda behind the creation of this portal. The entire exercise behind floating The Independent and Public Spirited Media Foundation (IPSMF) was to facilitate this media venture with capital investments from big players. Since then, The Wire has been on a rampage of labelling any Hindu point of view as fascist/Nazi. It was responsible for creating vaccine hesitancy by questioning the Bharat BioTech vaccine and generating panic among citizens during the pandemic. Targeting corporate houses like Adani and Ambani is a regular affair for which defamation cases are going on. In short, post-2014 digital avatars like The Wire celebrate negativity and spread canards about the state of democracy in Bharat. Abusing and defaming anyone without substantial proof cannot be defended as freedom of the press. If Varadarajan and the company had genuinely believed in media freedom, the reporter, Devesh Kumar, would not have become a victim of ideological hypocrisy and contract journalism.
Not surprisingly, all self-proclaimed free speech absolutists, press clubs and celebrity journalists jumped the gun and came in defence of The Wire and its editorial team. The same people were silent when the Maharashtra police arrested The Republic Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami on obscure charges. No club or guild uttered a word when the Popular Front of India (PFI) threatened Organiser for carrying news reports on its violent misdeeds based on Islamist ideology. Dozens of journalists and social media activists have been arrested in Maharashtra, Kerala and West Bengal to which these celebrities respond with stoic silence.
The fake narrative peddlers and association of journalists who are selective about free press are the actual enemies of a free press. As Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee argued during and after the Constitution-making process, ideological differences aside, there should be some common ground of nationhood which should not be compromised for vested interests. When someone projects personal interests as national interests, then lies and hypocrisy become the convenient instruments to further the same. Instead of defending such elements, the media fraternity should expose and disown them. Then only everyone will respect the sacred right of free speech.