ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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How to Silence Critics

By targeting critical voices like NDTV, the government is sending out a message.

All rulers love to be surrounded by adoring courtiers. It makes the task of governance so much easier. All youhave to do is make pronouncements from the top, and your followers will sing hallelujahs. Only the foolhardy will break ranks and ask a question, or worse still, offer some criticism. If they do, they know the consequences. Fantastical as this might sound, Indian democracy is veering close to this imagined scenario. Within three years of being in power, the Narendra Modi government has successfully turned a once vibrant and even hectoring television news media into a chorus line that endorses and adores the leader while roasting what little of the opposition that still exists.

It is this that makes the television news network NDTV, its shortcomings notwithstanding, stand out as different. There has already been much debate about whether the 5 June raids by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on the establishments of the founder–owners of NDTV, Prannoy and Radhika Roy, represent a direct assault on the freedom of the press in India. While NDTV’s financial arrangements have been under investigation since 2009, it is extraordinary that the CBI felt the urge to conduct raids to investigate a private person’s complaint against the channel regarding its dealings with a private bank. Inevitably, the timing of the raids, as well as the target, has raised questions about the intent.

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Updated On : 16th Feb, 2018

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