The CBI’s extraordinary raids on the houses of the NDTV promoter and veteran journalist Prannoy Roy has come just days after the channel’s anchor, Nidhi Razdan, had on-air altercation with a BJP spokesperson, Sambit Patra.
Razdan had told Patra to leave the show if he did not apologise after he accused the NDTV of spreading misinformation with an agenda.
A defiant NDTV, meanwhile, posted a message on its website promising to fight ‘the attempts to blatantly undermine democracy and free speech in India.’
Its statement said, “This morning, the CBI stepped up the concerted harassment of NDTV and its promoters based on the same old endless false accusations. NDTV and its promoters will fight tirelessly against this witch-hunt by multiple agencies. We will not succumb to these attempts to blatantly undermine democracy and free speech in India.
“We have one message to those who are trying to destroy the institutions of India and everything it stands for: we will fight for our country and overcome these forces.”
Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu denied the charges of vendetta saying, ‘Law is taking its own course, there is no witch-hunting at all.’
He added, “This govt don’t believe in interfering. They(CBI) must have some information, that’s why they might have taken steps.”
The raids on Roy evoked angry reactions from journalists, historian and social activists, all of whom dubbed it an undeclared emergency.
Here are some of the reactions;
The duty of a free media is to question and to report. If the price is harassment and attempted intimidation then so be it.
— Vikram Chandra (@vikramchandra) June 5, 2017
What sort of an India do we really want ? One where the govt snuffs out our right to ask questions ? Is this democracy? Is this freedom?
— Vishnu Som (@VishnuNDTV) June 5, 2017
Raid on @PrannoyRoyNDTV for a 2010 case in 2017? CBI/IT must put details in public fora else will face charge of vendetta against media.
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) June 5, 2017
Cowed Indian media! Prannoy Roy being raided and intimidated by govt and not one other media house is carrying story. Their turn will come!!
— Ajai Shukla (@ajaishukla) June 5, 2017
— Sagarika Ghose (@sagarikaghose) June 5, 2017
— Alka Lamba (@LambaAlka) June 5, 2017
A message to those in the media who are still independent and do their job by fearlessly asking questions. We won't be intimidated https://t.co/sNC7pEPnOW
— Nidhi Razdan (@RazdanNidhi) June 5, 2017
Message is clear: any independent voices in media will be bullied and shut down. Black day. https://t.co/lKE93K29cp
— Sreenivasan Jain (@SreenivasanJain) June 5, 2017
— nikhil wagle (@waglenikhil) June 5, 2017
Alleged that Roys owe banks Rs 48 crore. Adanis owe banks 72000 crore:https://t.co/Nhb6ru4BkV
May we expect Gautam bhai to be raided next?
— Ramachandra Guha (@Ram_Guha) June 5, 2017