Finally Editors Guild reacts; Pained at victimisation of Republic TV, hits out at Mumbai Police

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(Online Desk)

Better late than never.  The Editors Guild of India, which has maintained a stoic silence over the Udhay Thakarey headed Maharashra government and its Mumbai police chief Parambir Singh unleashing witchhunt against the upright journalist like Arnab Goswami and his Reblic TV team. Mumbai Police had filed an FIR in which all 1000 staff of Republic TV, including Editors, production staff and others, were named.

Though, the Editors Guild  spoke out against the “victimisation” of journalists of Republic TV, but it had shown its true colors at the same time, by expressings its so called concern over the news channel’s ‘high-strung conduct’ while reporting the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.

It also said it is “pained to see the unedifying spectacle” of hundreds of FIRs being filed against journalists of the news channel, which is under probe for allegedly manipulating TRPs and spreading discontent against the Mumbai police.

In a statement, the Guild also called on the channel to behave responsibly and not compromise the safety of its journalists as well as hurt the collective credibility of media.

“The Editors Guild of India is pained too 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. We do not wish to influence the probe…but the victimisation 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 Guild said in a statement.

The use of arbitrary state power is not and has never been in the interests of working journalists, the statement said.

It said the standoff between Mumbai Police and Republic TV was “unprecedented” and threatened the balance between media freedom and the rule of law.

“This standoff between the Mumbai Police and the TV channel is unprecedented and threatens the tenuous but important to maintain balance between media freedom (sick) 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 (sick).”

“Besides the unsavoury details pertaining to the manipulation of TRPs, the Republic TV’s high-strung conduct (sick) during the unfortunate demise of film actor Sushant Singh Rajput also raises issues about media credibility (sick) and the limits to reporting (sick),” the statement said.

The police must ensure that its investigation does not hurt the channel’s journalists or make any arrests, the Guild said, adding that the investigation should not become a tool to suppress media rights.

An FIR was registered against four journalists of Republic TV in Mumbai on Friday for allegedly defaming the Mumbai police and trying to cause “disaffection” among members of the police force, the statement read.

Raising concerns about the news channel’s conduct, the Guild drew a reference to Mumbai High Court’s observation that Republic was encroaching into the police’s domain in the name of investigative journalism.

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