Those who are trying to uncover the truth are being labelled “anti-national” in the country, M.V. Shreyams Kumar, Rajya Sabha MP, has said.
Opening a protest meeting to mark the year-long incarceration of Delhi-based Malayali journalist Siddique Kappan here on Tuesday, he said that independent news media organisations had been made puppets of the Central government through intimidation and threats.
Mr. Kappan was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police last year while he was on his way to report the brutal rape and murder of a Dalit girl in Hathras.
“It is the job of the media to tell the truth to the people, who have the right to know what is happening in the political, social, and cultural spheres. Democracy is being strengthened through this. This freedom, however, has ceased to exist in India,” he said. Mr. Kumar said that many national mainstream media organisations were reluctant to report important incidents.
“But simultaneously, fake information is being manufactured and spread across the country. The damage it is causing to democracy is severe,” he said.
The Loktantrik Janata Dal leader said that Mr. Kappan was jailed after being slapped with sedition charges for just trying to report a serious issue. Efforts were being made to create an emotional atmosphere saying that the country was in danger.
This was to prevent people’s right to know, Mr. Kumar said.
N.P. Rajendran, senior journalist, said that the media fraternity was facing a big challenge now as the authorities were freely slapping charges on journalists.
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