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Monday, September 20, 2021

Daily Briefing: TMC MP tears IT Minister’s statement on Pegasus; Oppn calls searches at media houses ‘bid to stifle free press’

Will the Olympics become a stage for activism? Some athletes, such as American hammer thrower Gwen Berry, have every intention of staging a protest when they get the chance.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: July 23, 2021 8:02:09 am
A look at the top news today, July 27, 2021.

Good morning,

The Big Story

The Pegasus row continued to rock Parliament with the afternoon session of the Upper House witnessing some charged moments when Union Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw was making a statement denouncing reports that the spyware could have been used to snoop. It is then that TMC MP Santanu Sen rushed to the well of the House and tore the minister’s statement. 

Only in the Express

The opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be held at the same stadium as it was in 1964. The Indian Express speaks to people who attended the Games then as the entire world keeps comparing between then and now. “You can’t compare the 2020 Olympics to 1964,” the Tokyo resident says. “1964 was a much bigger deal.”  

Had there been a data privacy law in place in India, the government would have been answerable as any private entity for the alleged breach of privacy of individuals by Israeli company NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware, former Supreme Court judge Justice B N Srikrishna told The Indian Express

From the Front Page 

In a move that has been slammed by Opposition leaders as “steps to stifle the free press”, the Income Tax Department conducted searches at the offices of the Dainik Bhaskar Group across the country for alleged tax evasion. Dainik Bhaskar said the searches were the result of its aggressive and fearless journalism on mismanagement during the second Covid-19 wave — it had done a series of stories on deaths during the second wave, and of bodies being dumped along the Ganga. 

Hours after the Income Tax Department conducted searches at the premises of the Dainik Bhaskar Group, the Opposition hit out at the government, calling it a “brazen attempt” to “scare the media” and “suppress the voice of truth”, and a “brutal attempt to stifle democracy”. Countering the allegations, Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said there is no interference in the functioning of government agencies.

Must Read

For the first time since the vandalism at Red Fort on January 26, a small group from among the farmers camping at Delhi’s borders were allowed to stage a protest at Jantar Mantar. Meanwhile, outside Parliament, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said the government was ready to discuss their grievances about the Centre’s agriculture reform laws with an “open mind”.

Amnesty International has issued a statement debunking a claim made by the BJP and stressing that it stands by the findings of the global Pegasus Project media investigation. This comes after the BJP denounced the media investigation, claiming that the human rights organisation said that the list of phone numbers suspected to be under surveillance was not directly related to the Israeli company NSO Group.

The Competition Commission of India has served Amazon a show-cause notice over “discrepancies” in filings made by the company while seeking approval for its acquisition of a 49 per cent stake in Future group company, Future Coupons Pvt Ltd. Amazon is currently in a legal tussle with Future group over the latter’s plans to sell its retail businesses to Reliance Retail. 

And Finally 

Will the Olympics become a stage for activism? Some athletes, such as American hammer thrower Gwen Berry, have every intention of staging a protest when they get the chance. These fist-raising, knee-taking, glass ceiling-breaking athlete activists aren’t content simply by pushing the boundaries of human endeavour.  For them, the Olympics are also a platform to leverage their influence to bring about change, even if that means inviting the wrath of the Olympic bosses. 

Delhi Confidential: In what seemed to be a morale boost to his party MPs from Punjab, Rahul Gandhijoined their protest in front of the Gandhi statue in support of the agitating farmers against the contentious farm laws. He then sat in the Lok Sabha, even during the 45-minute break it had. 

In today’s episode of ‘3 Things’, we look at what’s happening at the Tokyo Olympics, why it is difficult to medically conclude that someone died due to the lack of oxygen, and businessman Raj Kundra’s arrest related to an adult film racket.

Until tomorrow,
Rahel Philipose and Rounak Bagchi

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

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