Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani on Tuesday was forced to call off his impromptu media interaction in Chennai after he demanded Republic TV’s representative be kept out of the press conference venue.
Around six journalists had gathered for a quick Q&A session with the Vadgam MLA. Mevani, however, demanded that Republic TV’s mic be removed. This was unacceptable to the Chennai journalists, who refused to agree to Mevani’s demand and decided to boycott his press meet in solidarity with their colleague from Republic TV.
One journalist told Janta Ka Reporter, “We had gone to speak to Jignesh because there’s clearly plenty of interest here in Tamil Nadu in what has to say. But, what he demanded was unacceptable since agreeing to his demands would set a wrong precedent. In Tamil Nadu, no politicians dictate their terms. They are simply not allowed to do so. If Jignesh was allowed today, some other local politicians, say Stalin, would do the same to reporters in future.”
Justifying his decision, Mevani said, “The nation wants to know tonight why I did this. Answer is : my integrity is impaccable. Be critical but don’t try to hit below the belt.”
The nation wants to know tonight why I did this. Answer is : my integrity is impaccable. Be critical but don't try to hit below the belt.
— Jignesh Mevani (@jigneshmevani80) January 16, 2018
Republic TV and its founder Arnab Goswami have been carrying out a concerted campaign against the Dalit leader. Last week, the channel had run a hashtag #JigneshFlopShow after he organised a rally in Delhi.
Republic TV was forced to issue an on-air apology to ABP News journalist after it called him a ‘goon’ during its prime time broadcast.
While Chennai-based journalists received support on Twitter, there were others who did not agree with their action.
Here’s how journalists and other social media users reacted in praise of Chennai journalists;
TN media asks @jigneshmevani80 to leave…as he wanted a particular channel’s mic to be removed from a press conference. Chennai media says ‘No need for your Press conference’ you can’t dictate terms to us.
— Shabbir Ahmed (@Ahmedshabbir20) January 16, 2018
— Anusha Ravi (@anusharavi10) January 16, 2018
Great step. But next , lets also not constantly hound him with borderline physical intimidation. One step at a time.
— Pooja Shali (@PoojaShali) January 16, 2018
So proud of #Chennai journos today-they boycotted #JigneshMevani becuase he was being choosy abt which media he wil speak to.lesson to all journos across country. @Ahmedshabbir20 @imanojprabakar @Stalin_Tweets @Lokpria @priyankathiru @anna_isaac @Mugilan__C
— Pooja Prasanna (@PoojaPrasanna4) January 16, 2018
Here is how activists and other social media users responded to the news of Chennai journalists boycotting Mevani’s press conference.
I disagree. When you boycott a channel, it has to be complete in all aspects. If Kurnool feel compelled to stand with #RepulsiveTV, speaks as much of the values that the concerned Jurno endorses. https://t.co/RQmViTPzZ4
— SANJAY HEGDE (@sanjayuvacha) January 16, 2018
My respect for @jigneshmevani80 has gone up a few notches. Anyone who refuses to engage with the genocidal maniacs of Times Cow and Repubic have my respect. That’s the least expected of sane human beings.
— Brumby (@brumbyOz) January 16, 2018
If @jigneshmevani80 does not want Republic to cover his PC, he has the right to ask them to leave. The only reason R. & Times Now cover Mevani is to find new ways to tarnish his image.
— Akshay Marathe (@AkshayMarathe) January 16, 2018
Post-2014 my philosophy is simple: when other side has already taken civilised rules of conduct in public life & put them thru a shredder, u have to be an idiot to keep following the old rules. No need to be apologetic about confronting them with aggression like @jigneshmevani80.
— Krishan Partap Singh (@RaisinaSeries) January 16, 2018
I’ve been called a ‘lawyer for LeT’ on Republic; that’s not journalism, that’s slander! I’ve no money to file, fight, defamation cases, but I’m obviously not going to speak to them. @jigneshmevani80 has the same right. +
— Kavita Krishnan (@kavita_krishnan) January 16, 2018