New Delhi: The Editors Guild of India Monday said it is “pained” to see hundreds of FIRs filed against Republic TV journalists, adding that the “victimization” of journalists should stop.
“The Editors Guild of India is pained to see the unedifying spectacle of hundreds of FIRs being filed against journalists of Republic TV, which is under probe for allegedly manipulating TRPs and spreading discontent against the Mumbai police,” the statement read.
“We do not wish to influence the probe by the authorities, even if we recognise it has the potential to bring in much needed transparency on the manipulation of popularity, and creation of ‘proceeds of crime’- as claimed by the police; but the victimization of the journalists should immediately stop. The use of arbitrary state power is not and has never been in the interests of working journalists,” the statement added.
The last couple of days have witnessed an intense standoff between the Mumbai Police and Republic TV, which is under probe for allegedly manipulating TRPs and airing news about a revolt against Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh.
The Mumbai Police has registered several FIRs against journalists of Republic TV, booking its executive editor, anchor, two reporters and other editorial staff members for allegedly inciting “dissatisfaction” against the Mumbai Police commissioner.
The Editors Guild also said the standoff between the news channel and the city police “threatens” the balance between “media freedom and the imperative for it to reside within the rule of law”.
“Right to free speech does not mean a licence to promote hate speech,” the statement said.
Conduct in Sushant Singh Rajput death case
The Guild also noted that the channel’s “high-strung conduct” in actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death raises “issues about media credibility and the limits to reporting”.
“Besides the unsavory details pertaining to the manipulation of TRPs, the Republic TV’s high-strung conduct during the unfortunate demise of film actor Sushant Singh Rajput also raises issues about media credibility and the limits to reporting,” the statement said.
The News Broadcaster’s association (NBA) had said Saturday it doesn’t “approve” the kind of journalism Republic TV endorses, while urging the government to withdraw the CBI probe into the TRP scam case.
The Mumbai High Court had last week asked the channel if asking the public who should be arrested is a part of “investigative journalism”.
“These are important issues that should have been resolved long ago, but were allowed to fester. It is high time the channel behaves responsibly and not compromises the safety of its journalists as well as hurt the collective credibility of media,” the Guild said.
“The police must ensure that its investigation does not hurt the channel’s journalists or makes any arrests. And that the investigation does not become a tool to suppress media rights,” it added.