Don't investigate us

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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Don't investigate us

By Justice Markandey Katju

Huge protests are being held by Indian journalists against the action taken by the authorities of investigating many of their fraternity.

Don't investigate us By Justice Markandey Katju
Don't investigate us By Justice Markandey Katju

In sum and substance what these journalists are saying is that since we are critical of the government we must not be investigated, even for our alleged wrongdoings.

In August this year, The New York Times published an article alleging that the website NewsClick, an organisation founded in 2009, is funded by US billionaire Neville Roy Singham for pushing Chinese propaganda. It is well known that Mr Singhum has close ties with the Chinese government, and the journalists against whom the Indian authorities took action were alleged to be associated with Newsclick, and thus possibly receiving Chinese funds.

I am a supporter of media freedom, but I am very suspicious of publications and portals which are foreign funded. What is the real purpose and design of such foreigners who fund such publications and websites? Surely no one would invest a lot of money for benign or charitable objectives.

I support independent journalists, even if they criticise the government.

But should journalists who allegedly get foreign funds for ulterior motives not even be investigated ? If the allegations against them are true, such persons are in my opinion not even journalists but hirelings of foreign powers. Should such alleged hirelings not even be investigated just because they have been critical of the government?

I too have been very critical of many of the things which the Indian government has done. But that does not justify everything which these anti-government' independent journalists' do. Freedom of the media does not mean abuse of media freedom. Should allegations of peddling Chinese propaganda not even be investigated?

I have been very critical of the pro-government 'godi' media, and regard them vile, shameless, and sold out. But does that mean that the anti government mediapersons claiming to be independent be given a free hand to do wrong things such as selling themselves to foreign powers hostile to the Indian Government and receiving money from them?

I think one is as despicable as the other.

(Justice Katju is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. These are his personal views.)

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