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 making 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 the entire world is under lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some media controversies came to 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 the alleged failure of the 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 undergoes interrogation for reporting PDS (Public Distribution System). He reports stealing the essential supplies and hoarding by PDS. Magistrate sent him for remand. However, he is guilty of offenses under Sections 188, 505 (i) of the Indian Penal Code. As well as under Section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act. On the other hand, the Journalist forum stands against the police.
Dhaval Patel, an editor of Face of the nation got for publishing a post that 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 is invalid according to the government. Mr. Patel has been booked for violating section 124 of the 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’s 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 inquiry 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 the case of Vishal Anand, FIR claims for using a wrong picture at a 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 kinds of feed can provoke the 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 with their work is a must for them. Both institutions must take strict actions, as conflicts between them will lead to a national disturbance.