In a rare move, a social media group by the right-wingers is appealing people and financial institutions to ban a certain mainstream newspaper and not to give it any advertisement because of its anti-Modi and anti-RSS news coverage. The group accused the newspaper of being biased towards the RSS and the BJP and it is needless to say that biased media is a threat to democracy.
VT Gokhale, a city-based lawyer and social activist has told Afternoon Voice, “Media has got the right to criticise any government and any political leader but this criticism should be based on facts.” Gokhale further said that news coverage should not be untrue, false, and misleading.
He went on saying, “A certain newspaper has been publishing news articles which are not based on facts. I have written them several letters saying that this news is misleading and I have given the facts. However, they never gave any clarification and published my full letter.”
Advocate VT Gokhale also said, “Some gentlemen have gone to the Press Council of India. The Press Council censored the Editor of the newspaper because he had written that the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had justified the lynching of Mohammed Akhlaq. Bhagwat had said that capital punishment should be given to the person who criticises the Vedas. However, the fact is that Bhagwat has never supported the lynching. In fact, he condemned the death of Akhlaq. The owner of the media house is concerned about the revenue stream and he/she does not care what is being published. If the revenue will be affected, he/she will ask the reason. That is why I have appealed through the WhatsApp group not to give advertisement to the news publishing house.”
“I do not mean to strangulate it or anybody. They have to improve their ways. They have to resort to objective criticism. Then, there is no problem. I discussed it to some friends and started appealing on social media to copy and paste this appeal to spread it. We have put it on Facebook, too. We appeal people to forward this message with their name and mobile number. This will create awareness among people,” he added.
It is notable that the right-winged WhatsApp group is appealing to ban a certain newspaper from advertisements to punish it financially. According to their message meant for the sympathisers of the Sangh Parivar or the BJP, they are appealing to banks, other financial institutions and industries that are behind Prime Minister Modi and his development and welfare programme and NDA government, that they should stop financial support to the mainstream media house. They said that the editorials of the Editor have taken a lot to defame PM Narendra Modi and Sangh Parivar without any reasonable reason. Even the request of publishing the disclosures about the wrong news has not been appreciated by the Editor.
Sanjiv Oak, another member of the right-wing WhatsApp group said, “Alike Saamana, the mouthpiece of the Shiv Sena and Tarun Bharat, the mouthpiece of the RSS, if any newspaper is anti-BJP, they should declare it openly. However, a newspaper must be balanced and neutral.”
Retired Wing Commander ShashiKant Oak asserted, “Some journalists are behaving as if they were taking personal revenge. They always try to find out defects in the plans and works of PM Modi. It is good if they bring shortcomings to the fore. It is the job of a journalist or reporter. However, writing or reporting wrong is not good. We do not expect this from them. Therefore, we have started this initiative.”
Advocate VT Gokhale said, “We do not think that the Editor of the newspaper will see our WhatsApp message and soon write an apology. I have written a letter to three banks — Dombivli Nagari Cooperative bank, Thane Janata Cooperative bank, and Kalyan Janata Cooperative bank. It does not mean that we are against the freedom of the press. Giving advertisement is our decision. So, I am appealing to people.”