Change in Tripura
The cover story in Organiser claims that the BJP is all set to “dislodge the red from its citadel” in the coming assembly elections in Tripura. “Tripura has never disappointed the CPM ever since it returned back to power in 1993. So far, CPM hardly had any major political opposition, making it a one-party rule, capturing the entire political space with rutheless abuse of government and non-government institutions. This time the situation is transformed,” the article asserts.
It adds that “the strong antipathy among the people against the one-party rule of the CPM and new-found exposure to the people with greater connectivity with the rest of India are the two factors that are working in favour of BJP”. It claims that the “nearly two-and-a-half decade long uninterrupted CPM rule has rendered Tripura as one of the most backward states in the country as per any yardstick of development”.
The article notes that “it would be quite amusing to imagine as to how the CPM, which is hell-bent on disparaging the BJP’s Gujarat Model, is going to justify the party’s ‘Tripura Model of (under)development’”. It claims that that “while the CPM projects itself as the guardian angel of minorities elsewhere, the Muslims in Madhya Tilla village in Tripura have a different story to tell that unmasks the ugly face of Marxists.
In June 2017, the CPM local leaders managed to expel 25 Muslim families from the Mohalla committee and a local mosque. The reason is simple, they have joined the BJP and started working for the nationalist party in the locality”. It adds that “the law and order of the state has crumbled to such an extent that journalists from outside the state cannot travel even in broad daylight without armed police protection”.
Ethics of Press
The editorial in Organiser says that “two news stories pertaining to freedom of press created ripples about the restrictions and responsibilities of the media.
One was by a Chandigarh-based daily exposing the data breach of Aadhaar Cards of the region by a racket operating through anonymous WhatsApp groups. The other one, more alarming, where a news portal did a story claiming that Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is in Pakistani jail, was the spy of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), which was later retracted”.
Both the stories “can claim ‘freedom of press’ but need not necessarily pass the test of responsibility that adjuncts with the freedom,” the editorial contends. It notes “that the breach of Aadhaar Card data is a serious revelation and should be thoroughly investigated. The FIR in this case was inevitable as there are criminals involved in the racket.
Whether the journalist and the publication involved in the operation should be named in FIR is the point of contention and that has been there since the series of sting operations in late 1990s. There is no doubt that freedom of press is paramount in democracy and restrictions should be as per the Constitutional provisions, besides the self-regulation”.
The editorial adds that “it is beyond doubt that questions of privacy of data and digital security pertaining to Aadhaar Cards are crucial and many private players and agencies would try to grab this data for vested interests.
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) should come out clean on this predicament that is haunting common Bharatiyas since the idea was introduced in the UPA regime. Adding up of a 16-digit virtual ID is a welcome step and a direct impact of the story”. “When it comes to the Kulbhushan Jadhav, a lie was spread by a news portal. It was a clear violation of journalistic ethics and Constitutional provisions,” the editorial asserts.
“The matter directly related to national interest and a life of a person in enemy custody, and therefore falls in the category of irresponsible journalism,” it notes. A story by a “Pakistani journalist targeting ‘the unethical way Pakistan treated Jadhav’s family’ for a Bharatiya news channel had led to his harassment. This clearly indicates the sensitivity of the matter and how Pakistan is playing up the propaganda” the editorial says. “Reporters, especially active on news portals and social media platforms, will have to be careful and follow certain restraint on the matters of national security,” it says.
Lack of imagination
An article in Organiser casts aspersions on the Salman Khan-starrer, Tiger Zinda Hai. “Is it fair and justified to create a positive and nice image of a dreaded and rank anti-Indian Pakistani ISI in the name if creative freedom?”, it asks.
The article notes “that while the movie is doing well at the box-office, what is intriguing, rather shocking is, that the film director Ali Abbas Zafar is creating an image of the Pakistani Intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) as a friend of India in a very subtle manner”. The article asks: “Does the film director want to show that India is incompetent to rescue its trapped people? Is it that the censor board members were sleeping while watching Tiger Zinda Hai?”