Millennium Post

NDTV searches: Journalists see shades of Emergency

Several senior journalists on Friday came together to protest against an "Emergency-like situation" which they alleged was due to "attempts to muzzle the voices" of media with NDTV founder Prannoy Roy demanding that issues involving his channel be resolved in time-bound manner.

The protest, which senior journalists like Kuldeep Nayyar, Arun Shourie, H K Dua and S Nihal Singh in attendance at the lawns of the Press Club of India, came days after the CBI conducted searches at the residence of Roy here and three other locations for allegedly causing losses to a private bank.

Former Union minister and veteran journalist Shourie alleged that the government has been controlling the media through two major instruments -- one by "offering bribe" through advertisements and the other by "subterranean spreading of fear".

"Now they are using the third instrument, which is overt pressure and they have made NDTV an example of that. I believe this will intensify in the coming months," he said. Shourie alleged that the government would in future not only resort to managing but also suppressing the voices of dissent.

"If you (journalists) think that if you give prominence to articles of some of the ministers in newspapers or give them air time, they will help you in crisis. In fact, when the assault comes on you, none of them will help," Shourie said.

He said the present government is run by "two and half men", without elaborating whom he referred to.

"Instead of buying peace with concession, I would urge non cooperation...just boycott their (government's) press conferences, deny them that," Shourie said.

Eminent jurist Fali S Nariman said no one is immune to being prosecuted from criminal offence. "But the manner and circumstances and the so-called justification of the CBI raids give me reason to believe that all this is definitely an unjustified attack on press and media," he said.
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