Reporters Without Orders Ep 140: Sakal Media’s harassment of Newslaundry reporter and Bihar election

A reporters’ podcast about what made news and what shouldn’t have.

BySnigdha Sharma
Reporters Without Orders Ep 140: Sakal Media’s harassment of Newslaundry reporter and Bihar election
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In this episode, host Snigdha Sharma is joined by Newslaundry’s Basant Kumar and Prateek Goyal

The conversation hits off with the arrest of Arnab Goswami by Mumbai police. For the first time in the country, some of the most important ministers of the union cabinet came together and called for press freedom to condemn the event. Considering the numerous incidents of journalists being harassed for doing their job that did not see public denouncement from anyone from the government, Snigdha asks if press freedom in India is selectively applied.

In the same context, Snigdha brings up a recent case involving two reports by Newslaundry’s Prateek Goyal about one of Maharashtra’s leading media houses Sakal Media Group and how it had sacked its employees in violation of a government directive to not terminate workers during the pandemic. After the publishing of two reports, Newslaundry was slapped with a sixty five crore rupees defamation notice along with an FIR against Prateek.

Prateek goes on to divulge the details of the case and how the Pune police have been harassing him, visiting his home unannounced and attempting to seize his laptop. Snigdha asks Prateek about press freedom in India, and he says, “No matter which political party it is, they react if someone opposes them or raises their voice against their wrongdoings.”

Snigdha then moves on to discuss Basant’s coverage of the Bihar elections, focusing on the second phase of the polls. Basant talks about his report on the sugar mill of Motihari where farmers and workers have been waiting years for their pending dues. Highlighting the problems that farmers face, Basant says, “All the farmers in Bihar are worried. If the going of grains is Rs 1800 per quintal, here farmers can’t even sell it for Rs 1100-1200 because there’s no MSP system in Bihar.” He also talks about how agriculture, one of the most important concerns for voters in Bihar, has barely featured as a key issue during these elections.

This and a lot more as they talk about what made news, what didn’t, and what shouldn’t have.

Tune in!

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Recorded by Lipi Vats, Produced by Parikshit Sanyal, edited by Harshula Sharma.

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