Media is the fourth pillar of a democratic nation. The objective of establishing it is to empower the denizens with facts. It bears the weight of educating people and make them aware of the activities, controversial issues as an impartial institution. With every step taken upward by technology, news portals are now gaining attention from a good number of readers. However, the responsibility of spreading the right news fairly, stays eternally. During the days where entire world is under lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic, some media controversies came into light where journalists are under arrest from different parts of India.
The founder of news portal SimpliCity, Andrew Sam Raja Pandian, is under arrest for publishing about alleged failure of government and healthcare system. The incident happened in Coimbatore. When an official M. Sundararajan, Assistant Commissioner (Personal) complained about it. He alleged the reports to be false and inappropriate. Also, Mr. Pandian undergo interrogation for reporting PDS (Public Distribution System). He reports stealing of the essential supplies and hoarding by PDS. Magistrate sent him for remand. However, he is guilty for offences under Sections 188, 505 (i) of the Indian Penal Code. As well as under the Section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act. On the other hand, Journalist forum stands against the police.
Dhaval Patel, an editor of Face of the nation got for publishing a post which looks deceiving. Looking into the case, Vijay Rupani, the Chief Minister Gujarat government may be replaced with Mansukh Mandviya. He says that Rupani will go to Delhi to answer their failure fighting this pandemic. The accusation are invalid according to the government. Mr. Patel has been booked for violating section 124 of Indian Penal Code. Still for further actions, Patel is in a COVID care center and reports are yet to come.
10 FIRs are filed against 6 journalists in Himachal Pradesh. Some of these journalists are under arrest. During the lockdown Ashwini Saini posted some videos of migrants. It claims the government failure of giving them proper ration. The response from Sub Divisional Magistrate, Mr. Rahul Chauhan says : “Ashwini Saini is not a journalist. I’ve made an enquiry into this matter. He’s not authorised by the government.” As well as there was no response to the question “who has the authority to establish if a person is a journalist” by Saini.
As in case of Vishal Anand, FIR claims for using a wrong picture at place. As in his article he posted a picture of Gandhi Chowk on an article about Chamba. This seems a misrepresentation to the official. These kind of feed can provoke audience. Whereas, Mr. Anand sees it as an act of misuse of power to intimidate journalists. Many other cases are under observation in Himachal for violating IPC codes.
In closing comments, it seems both Judiciary and Media should take apt steps. Also, being honest to their work is must for them. Both institution must take strict actions, as conflicts between them will lead to a national disturbance.