Editors Guild and journalists back Smita Prakash after Rahul Gandhi calls her 'pliable'
The Congress President has called PM Narendra Modi’s TV interview 'staged' and that it was conducted by a 'pliable journalist'
Published - 04-January-2019
The Editors Guild of India has issued a statement condemning Rahul Gandhi’s remarks at ANI Editor-in-Chief Smita Prakash. The Congress President had called Prakash a ‘pliable journalist’ at a press conference held within 24 hours of her interviewing PM Narendra Modi.
The statement issued by the Guild mentioned journalists have been called ‘Presstitutes’ and ‘news traders’ in the past and that their freedom has been curtailed through ‘boycotts’. It commanded that this attitude should be reversed and that “the Guild as an apex takes strong exception to this incident and called for its halt”. The Guild's remarks were trending on Twitter as well.
The Editors Guild of India has issued a statement. pic.twitter.com/XJ8OAylXxx— Editors Guild of India (@IndEditorsGuild) January 3, 2019
Senior journalists like Vir Sanghvi and Maya Mirchandani came out on Twitter to back Prakash. Mirchandani, who anchors a show at The Wire, asked Gandhi to take on his ‘opponent’ (Modi) and not the ‘messenger’ (Prakash). Meanwhile, Sanghvi has urged other journalists to come together in 'repulsing attacks' directed at them.
Smita is a very old friend who I like and respect. But even if she wasn’t , I think everyone in the media should join together in repulsing attacks on journalists. The moment we let politicians call any of us names, it is journalism itself that loses. https://t.co/j0RqoBvQuI— vir sanghvi (@virsanghvi) January 3, 2019
Take on your opponent, Mr Gandhi, don’t shoot the messenger. And remember a time before 2014 elections when you vetted qns for interviews too. With this nastiness you prove that political leaders- across the divide have little or no respect for the media. #SmitaPrakash https://t.co/xXE00R5WxZ— Maya Mirchandani (@maya206) January 3, 2019
According to media reports, Gandhi also took a dig at the Prime Minister and termed the interview ‘staged’. Some reports quoted him saying, “He (Modi) does not have the guts to come and sit in front of you. And I am coming here… you can ask me any question… I come here once in seven-ten days… and you saw the Prime Minister’s interview yesterday…matlab pliable journalist, woh question bhi kar rahi thi, pradhan mantri ka answer bi de rahi thi, side mein (she was asking questions as well as giving answers).”
The ANI Editor-in-Chief responded on Twitter, calling Gandhi’s remarks ‘a cheap shot’. Gandhi was also criticised by the National Union of Journalists (India) who said it was unbecoming of him to ‘ridicule’ the journalist.
Dear Mr Rahul Gandhi, cheap shot at your press conference to attack me. I was asking questions not answering. You want to attack Mr Modi, go ahead but downright absurd to ridicule me. Not expected of a president of the oldest political party in the country.— Smita Prakash (@smitaprakash) January 2, 2019
Shooting the messenger!! Not done Mr @RahulGandhi, cheap stunt at your press conference to attack @smitaprakash who was asking questions not answering. Go ahead fight @narendramodi @arunjaitley @BJP4India but its unbecoming of President @INCIndia to ridicule the @ANI interviewer. pic.twitter.com/EKe7oqdRRd— NUJIndia.org (@NUJIndiaOrg) January 2, 2019
Other senior journalists like Vikram Chandra too protested against the constant targeting of journalists and even observed that the comments thrown at Prakash were ‘obnoxious and vile’. NDTV journalist Nidhi Razdan condemned it by saying that this has become a norm and that the BJP shouldn’t ‘pretend’ as their leaders too have called journalists ‘presstitutes’ and ‘baazaru’. Suhasini Haidar, Diplomatic Affairs Editor, The Hindu, pointed out at the ‘kind of respect’ political parties have for journalists.
The constant targeting of journalists has become a sad reality - and it’s getting worse. Needs to stop. Some of the comments made about @smitaprakash by verified accounts are obnoxious and vile. https://t.co/yxn7Jg0USK— Vikram Chandra (@vikramchandra) January 3, 2019
I think @RahulGandhi ‘s words on @smitaprakash were uncalled for, unfair. Shooting the messenger has become a norm across parties. But spare us the outcry by BJP ministers whose leaders have called us ‘presstitutes’ and ‘baazaru’. Please don’t pretend you care about a free press— Nidhi Razdan (@Nidhi) January 3, 2019
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By using terms like "pliable", "presstitute","paid media",our political establishment, aided by their troll armies, show their scant respect for the fourth estate. Shameful comment by the Congress President. https://t.co/XJ3gGzOAXK— Suhasini Haidar (@suhasinih) January 3, 2019