There are still a few out there who love writing. And some, who love reading! I am one who falls in both categories. Today I am going to write about someone who is an active part of my reading chronicles, someone who writes day in and day out and writes everything with a great sense of responsibility and research. What I am writing today is not a complaint against someone who tried to get better of him, neither is it a silent cry seeking justice for him. It is not one of those articles where I try to prove that he is right and be offensive towards the plaintiff whom I plan to depose. I am writing this with sadness. The sadness of a belief being shattered. The belief which was nurtured over a span of 24 long years. Well, I am talking about the shameful acts of a newspaper that has put a black mark on Ethical journalism. I grew up having newspapers as an indispensable part of my life. I look up to newspapers with great respect. But this article isn’t about me. It is about him. He who had the same attitude for newspapers. It is about how his sense of responsibility about society and ethical journalism has put him at the mercy of Justice! His mistake? Well, it was to point out the irregularities and discrepancies in print media and be an unbiased critic. And probably for being right in pointing out the bad, and for sticking on to his principles of journalism.
This is about a renowned young writer Rohith Chakrathirtha, and how vendetta personal attack from a print media head and a newspaper is trying to tarnish the image of this writer, First by filing a case against him and then publishing false news about the proceedings of the case. The present day issue dates back to 2 weeks when the Bangalore Police raided the house of an Ex- Gangster ( Read as” Gangster”!! Ex is just a prefix which makes no sense here) and confiscated weapons which were in illegal possession of the Gangster. 9 people were totally arrested. But the paper in its report which was around 300 words long made sure that the name of the Gangster was never mentioned even once!! Rohith was amongst the many who criticized this in a facebook post. Anyone in the right spirits and strong print media education would take this criticism positively. That is what I expected.
Sadly that isn’t the case with Vijayavani!! That is how the editor of the newspaper was educated to deal with critics!! His response to stimuli was to file a case against Rohith Chakrathirtha. And as it goes on 08/2/2017, he filed a case against the latter alleging him to have tarnished the image of the newspaper by posting a derogatory facebook status. The paper also went on to publish a report on the same. The report also had the audacity of backing the papers view point about the Gangster. The article stated, “ The paper is bound to publish news subjected to constraints. The paper mentions the constraints as Space, the person involved and circumstances. It also says that the paper publishes news after careful consideration!! ( Well Rohith they have you there!! They care for a person more than the society. So it’s after a careful consideration that they decided to leave the name of the gangster there.) It also mentioned the paper respects criticism, but doesn’t entertain autocracy!!
Regardless of what was published this act of idiocy from the paper just exposed the value, it gives to critics!! Even if we try to look at it in a logical angle it doesn’t make any sense. The legal proceedings are in place from both sides. Rohith had interim bail by 15th. He and his lawyer were present in the ShankaraPura Police station at 9PM on 16th. The inspector of the police station Meer Gouse was present there. The ASP was available by 10PM. Rohith completed the standard procedures and was out of the Station by 10.45 PM.
Let us look into the case in detail. The FIR Lodged against him is under section 66-c of the IT act 2000. This is against identity theft. Well defining identity theft in simple terms, you can be booked under this section if you steal a person’s identity, which is end up hacking a social media account, create a fake Facebook ID or hack a mail ID. Sounds fishy already? There is an additional section under which he is booked as well. That is the section 153( A) of the Indian Penal Code, which is against Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony.
Now let’s understand what is the actual reason behind this.
For those who are wondering what this fight is all about, the issue goes back to a year, when Rohith criticized the newspaper for publishing “Adult content ads” in the kids section of the newspaper. His point of view was very simple. Keep unwanted adult content at least out of the kids section. This criticism didn’t go well with the newspaper. There were a set of facebook posts from the media head who indirectly abused Rohith for criticizing the paper. It wouldn’t have been much of an issue if things had ended there, but it didn’t. The newspaper was probably waiting for an opportunity to pounce onto Rohith ever since then.
Once the case was booked, the paper went on to write a false report about Rohith. The paper published “Rohith was arrested in the sessions court on Thursday. The accused was released after an inquiry which went for 5 hours.” The paper also went on to say that the accused, Mr. Chakratirtha was avoiding and hiding away from Police for 10 days. Apparently, the newspaper has people who are bad at math in addition to people with bad attitude and judgement!!
Now the last nail to the coffin of unbiased journalism that Vijayawani enjoys practising and proving right, A few questions to them?
• How on earth does section 66-c of the IT act comes into picture here? What identity breach are we talking about? Did Rohith Impersonate someone? Did he hack or steal anything that is related to the paper? Let me answer it for Vijayawani. That’s the only non-bail able section of the IT act!! So the intention was to just get him arrested.
• The post of Rohith didn’t summon a fight. It spoke about “How the paper was wrong.” And how as a valued reader of the paper he wanted to oppose the move by the paper. If this act of Rohith is a violation of section 153-(A), well it is a clear act of vendetta attack from the newspaper.
• Is the newspaper and its editor upholding any values of unbiased Journalism? Do they think that the print media is invincible? Doesn’t a paper in a democratic nation value difference of opinion? Is the paper very weak to positively handle critics and criticism? Regardless of what we feel about Rohith or about the way the series of events have that have taken place in the last 10 days, we need to realize that the print media has failed us all in many ways. It is high time that we realize, and probably media realizes “Media is a transporter of News!! Not a manufacturer of news!!” I hope that Vijayawani understands the same and they value the principles of true journalism!