Indian Media that starts shouting “Attack on Press” at the slightest provocation is oddly silent after this episode!

tejaswi yadav media
Tejashwi Yadav’s security personnel manhandle mediapersons, and ANI reporter pushed aside. (Source: ANI)

There was no certain cosiness embedded in the political realignment between RJD and JD (U). It was a mere arrangement of convenience to keep BJP out of Bihar. Such immiscible relations do not survive the test of time. That is attributed to a lot of reasons. Different working styles, contra distinctive political ideologies were clubbed merely to taste the spoils of power. Both the JD (U) and RJD are trying to salvage but without much success. 
The so called ‘grand coalition’ of secular parties coming together in Bihar against PM Modi seemingly is falling apart. It was firstly due to tainted men like Sahabuddin and then it followed up by the subsequent emergence of scams and scandals. The breaking point nevertheless is still evading them, only if RJD gives Nitish Kumar a reason to break the alliance on a platter. Perhaps the latest development in Patna may just trigger into a much anticipated divorce.

After the recent cabinet meeting, Deputy CM Tejaswi Yadav was supposed to address the press conference. As he later evaded the waiting media persons, there was a scramble to ask him if he would resign. The media waiting outside the Patna secretariat were treated badly from his own security guards. They were almost beaten, pushed and manhandled. The media fraternity reacted and lambasted Tejaswi Yadav and even a memorandum was created to protest against the whole incident.

Media persons even met the Bihar police chief demanding action against policemen who were present at the time. The memorandum said scribes of various media had to even bear with heckling and shouting by angry RJD supporters outside 10 Circular Road official residence of Rabri Devi on Friday last week after the CBI raids.

The media expecting his resignation over a scam were met with a brutal expression of frustration by Tejaswi Yadav ’s own security men.

The subsequent result of these scenes captured in the form of video will have profound ramifications on the political landscape of Bihar. Nitish Kumar is going uneasy as his chair is covertly preyed upon by his alliance partner. This may somewhat provide the required ammunition for Nitish Kumar to trigger a separation from the alliance.

For the past few months, the relations between the foes turned friends were reaching a certain low. The RJD clan was smeared by scams like the soil scam along with the latest disclosure of hotel dealings. Politically, this ill treatment to the media may take many serious turns. However when it comes to the media and its response, it was nothing more than just a lukewarm action. Even if the media did hand over the memorandum to the authorities, its much larger necessary hyper ventilation was conspicuously missing.

There have been a series of examples where the media has cherry picked situations and branded them into a commotion based on their whims and fancies. When NDTV was banned for a day owing to violation of certain guidelines, the opposition like Mamata Banerjee didn’t hesitate to compare it with emergency. A panel had concluded that NDTV India had allegedly released “strategically crucial” information when the terror attack on Pathankot’s Air Force base was being carried out.

The Information and Broadcasting ministry, while invoking the powers under the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act, said it “orders to prohibit the transmission or re-transmission of NDTV India channel for one day. The ban was justified yet politically the opposition made a furore out of the same. The media was quick to brand it as an incident of intolerance.

Opposition parties had termed it as an attack on press and compared even with emergency like situation. This time around after the misbehaviour by Tejaswi Yadav’s men, there was a complete silence from the opposition parties. There was no hounding by the press now unlike the way it was portrayed in case of NDTV head Pranoy Roy. When raids were carried out at his residence, journalists were invited to stage a protest. Honestly, issues with NDTV pertained to only financial misappropriation but they were duly highlighted as curbing the freedom of expression.

There are many strings of examples where media has been biased in its quest of an outraging situation. And this selective approach only has rendered them names like presstitute and so on. The way riots are covered by the media; there is a vast difference in their coverage depending upon the states. If there will be a riot in Gujarat, media will undergo that hyperventilation which will be in contrast meted with a studded silence in case of those recent communal flare ups in West Bengal. On the contrary media which still evokes 2002 Godhra has failed to carry a similar coverage when it is about riots in Odisha or otherwise.

Even the award wapsi brigade who highlights increasing intolerance in the country is under hibernation when non BJP states exhibit such incidents. The attack on press by Tejaswi fails to garner that same interest which they imbibe themselves into when something amiss happens in a BJP ruled state. The recent cases of lynching allegedly by Gau rakshaks was clubbed into rise of violence in the country. When the same had happened with DSP Ayub Pandit in Kashmir, the same furore over lynching was met with a not that much of a necessary reaction.

What would have been the reaction if instead of Tejaswi Yadav, we had a BJP leader doing the same? Perhaps just a memorandum to the police may have been assisted with candle light marches, protests, linking it to cow vigilantes and then it slowly would have percolated into polarisation, intolerance and Hindutva issues. Basically, a BJP leader in place of Deputy CM Tejaswi Yadav would have pushed the same into beliefs of fascism and dictatorship. This demarcation of a BJP ruled and a non BJP ruled state has been the basis of all the hypocrisy that the main stream media can offer.

I remember a leader from the opposition had allegedly called the army chief as General Dyer in the most ridiculous fashion. Perhaps such voices need to sprout from the oblivion now since Tejaswi Yadav actually had brutally tried to suppress the press. He rightly was like exhibiting shades of General Dyer in man handling the people from the press and the whole episode unceremoniously seemed like a lathi charge.

TV clippings showed the policemen attached to RJD supremo Lalu Prasad’s two minister sons grabbing a cameraman by his shirt and beating him. Political subsequence and symbolism to this incident may actualize Nitish Kumar into breaking the alliance and returning to the BJP fold and the NDA. But the way press was treated, its retort was nothing more than just a whimper.