Media Censorship: Govt Responsible For The Resignation Of The Two High Profile Journalist At ABP News?

Media Censorship: Govt Responsible For The Resignation Of The Two High Profile Journalist At ABP News?

Media Censorship: Govt Responsible For The Resignation Of The Two High Profile Journalist At ABP News?

New Delhi: The two top television editors' resignation and the benching of a third at ABP News is  observed as a latest example of a media house succmbing to the ruling party.

The resignation, of its editor-in-chief, Milind Khandekar was announced by the channels's management, on wednesday. Soon followed by the departure of anchor of the popular nightly show, ‘Master Stroke’, Punya Prasoon Bajpai.

However, it is not yet clear whether Mr Bajpai resigned or was asked to leave is not, coincidentally, the decision comes weeks after Mr Bajpai angered the government by saying that Chhattisgarh woman held up by Prime Minister Modi as a success story for his rural schemes had not “doubled her income” as he had claimed. The anchor was told, two days ago, that he would no longer be anchoring ‘Master Stroke’.

The Wire, was told by the sources in ABP, that alongside these two high-profile exits,  Abhisar Sharma, the senior news anchor has been pulled off air for 15 days. The reason is reported to be pulled off after he questioned instructions from management that there be no criticism of Modi on his programmes.

As per the information recieved by the Wire, in the run up to these changes at the channel, BJP president Amit Shah told a group of journalists in parliament house last week that he planned to “teach ABP News a lesson”.

Also Read: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal Slams Government Over Senior Journalists' Exit


‘No more criticism of Modi’
The action from the channel came after Abhisar made a comment on PM Modi's recent speech in Lucknow. In his speech, the PM stated that UP's law and order situation has improved.
After Abhisar took the name of the PM, a havoc was created in the news room with the CEO of ABP News Network Atideb Sarkar, himself insisting the show be taken off the air immediately. 

As per the sources in the ABP newsroom, Khandekar was remanded by Sarkar, for not immediately pulling the plug on the show, with the latter insisting it could not be done as only five minutes of the bulletin had elapsed. The anchor was asked not to criticise the PM again, soon after the bulletin ended. the management of the channel, later asked the anchor to be grounded for the next 15 days. Executive producers were asked, not to produce any content, that criticises the pm.

As per the sources, all these decisions were taken by Sarkar and Bajpai was replaced anchor Chitra Tripathi.

Unique form of censorship?

The sources at ABP news, also confirmed what has been the subject of speculation on social media for some days now. The ABP news channel has been deliberately blocking the telecast of Bajpai’s nightly ‘Master Stroke’ show from various DTH platforms in order to not offend the government.

The viewers across nation have complained to have unable to watch Bajpai’s show. The ABP news'senior journalist said that the blackout started a day after they aired a follow-up story. 

Last month, Bajpai tweeted hid criticism for the blackout. “You can black out the screen during Master Stroke, but we will convert it into a ‘blackboard’ and write the truth on it”. 

The journalist was recently criticised by Union ministers, including defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, minister of state for information and broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore and minister of state for agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat for “unapologetically aligning themselves to the agenda of deriding PM Narendra Modi’s efforts by all means”.

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