While Kasganj communal riots may have exposed the true faces of many in the Indian media including some from the India Today group, there were a few whose brave reporting stood out as shining examples of how a reporter ought to have functioned.
One such example is Tanushree Pandey, a young reporter employed with CNN-News18, who recently impressed all and sundry with her brave interview of BJP MP Vinay Katiyar. Katiyar, a motor-mouth leader, known for his inflammatory speeches along religious lines.
He was once again in the news on Tuesday because of his stunning allegations that pro-Pakistan demonstrators had incited the Kasganj violence last week that ultimately led to the death of 22-year-old Chandan Gupta.
Katiyar was quoted by ANI as saying, “The Kasganj incident is extremely unfortunate. There were no communal clashes in the district in the past as all communities lived in harmony. But some miscreants have come into light who support Pakistan and will go to any extent to defy the tricolour. They need to be dealt with strictly.”
Katiyar’s comments were far from the truth because even the local administration, which reports to the state’s BJP government, had confirmed that the Muslims were readying themselves to celebrate Republic Day when a group of men carrying India’s tricolour and saffron flags arrived at the scene, leading to a heated exchange of words.
At no point, was the Pakistani flag displayed or hoisted, no were pro-Pakistan slogans chanted in Kasganj.
As a good journalist, Tanushree, during her interview with Katiyar, kept her focus on challenging the BJP MP on his false claims. In his interview to Tanushree, Katiyar reiterated that ‘it had become a fashion for some anarchists’ to raise pro-Pakistan slogans and hoist Pakistani national flag whenever ‘somebody chanted Bharat Mata Ki Jai.’
Tanushree asked Katiyar if he will apologise for making unfounded allegations since he had failed to present any evidence for the same. In the viral video of her interview, the young reporter is seen asking, ‘You have not given any proof yet to support your allegations. Because even the DM (District Magistrate) and SP(Superintendent of Police) have said and they are the security officials. You have not even gone to Kasganj.”
To which Katiyar interrupts angrily stating that the statements of the DM and SP had no weights.
“So what, I have all the information. Even I have my own channel,” Katiyar says prompting the reporter to ask him to go and present the evidence to the Yogi Adityanath government if he had any evidence to support his allegations. Even in the face of a hostile reaction from Katiyar, the CNN-News18 reporter doesn’t give up and keep following the BJP lawmaker repeating her question on whether he will apologise.
The video of her interview has now gone viral on social media platforms with many hailing her as a hope for the Indian media, whose integrity has come under immense scrutiny in the recent times.
Speaking to Janta Ka Reporter, Tanushree’s boss, Bhupendra Chaubey, said that he was extremely proud of his colelague’s hard-hitting journalism.
Chaubey said, “Tanushree Pandey is a reporter who I personally take great interest in. She brings a certain passion in her work, which has increasingly reduced across media space. Her interview with Vinay Katiyar is an example of that passion. She in the past has done great reportage during demonetisation and Naxal crisis on Chattisgarh. As an editor, I am very proud of her work.”
We are often quick to criticise when a reporter falters in his or her duty. It’s, therefore, utterly important to appreciate when a journalist displays a moment of brilliance.