Well-known TV news anchor Ravish Kumar has written a strong open letter to MJ Akbar after his appointment as the new Union Minister. In his open letter, Ravish raises several questions to the veteran journalist and Rajya Sabha MP on how he balanced his profession and politics for all these years, and now his new assignment.
Ravish congratulated Akbar, who once unsuccessfully contested Lok Sabha elections on a Congress ticket, for his elevation from a BJP spokesperson to a minister. However, he also asked how it feels to be a politician after being a journalist.
Ravish, who quit Twitter after being trolled for questioning the government, asked Akbar if he was ever abused during his days as a journalist the way he is being treated after the black screen episode during the JNU row. “If you also had faced such a backlash, how did you deal with it,” asked Ravish.
Lamenting the social media outrage against him, Ravish wrote that the trolls didn’t even spare his mother. “She doesn’t even know what a news anchor does and what prime time is. She hasn’t even seen the studio of NDTV. But she reads the newspaper and when she came to know about the trolling she had sleepless nights,” mentions Ravish in the letter.
He reminded Akbar of the days when he used to report against the saffronisation of education during the tenure of Murali Manohar Joshi as HRD minister in Vajpayee government, but “was never called a Congress pimp” by BJP partymen. “Joshi never even refused to give interviews. But things have changed now.” He accepted that even he had committed grave errors in reporting crucial events, but was never criticised the way he has been in the last three years.
Condemning the language of the trolls, Ravish wrote: “There is a new culture of political control. There is now a group that sees every news report from the lens of political inclination. This group attacks you with cuss words. They mostly have the profile picture of our prime minister or some articles related to the RSS. Some of them follow ministers and some are followed by ministers. They label some journalists as anti-BJP while applauding others.”
Akbar will join General V K Singh in the ministry of external affairs. “Do you believe if a journalist asks tough question he is actually doing a propaganda in favour of a party. When did these questions became propaganda. If you can show some light on this issue, I will be obliged.”