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What assets of your's are at stake Bharat Maa.....
"Of all the religions in the world, perhaps the religion of liberty is the only faith capable of purity." – Tiffany Madison

The Editors would like to imagine they are simply guides and gatekeepers who facilitate the interaction between new makers, opinion moulders, news reporters and authors who wish to impart information and people who want to read it. This is simple journalism. Dear me, it was never like that and it is not like that!

The Year 1778

James Augustus Hicky, the "Papa of Indian Press' was a merchant navy professional, a surgeon and a journalist – a no so successful combo 3 in 1. He had started his practice as a surgeon in London, It didn't work. He boarded a ship bound for Calcutta as a surgeon's mate in 1772. Upon landing in Calcutta, Hicky practiced as both a surgeon and merchant, shipping and trading goods along India's coast.

But, by 1776, his shipping business collapsed as his vessel returned to port with its cargo badly damaged. Unable to reassure his creditors, Hicky entered debtor's prison in October 1776. While in jail, Hicky acquired a printing press and types and by 1777 began a printing business from jail. In 1778, he began publication of 'Hicky's Bengal Gazette' on January 29, 1780.

He maintained a neutral editing policy but refused to say ditto the Colonizer's policies. He had a brush with Marian Hastings, the wife of Warren Hastings, the first Governor of Presidency of Fort William (Bengal) and thereby the first de facto Governor-General of India from 1772 to 1785. He was accused of corruption and impeached in 1787, but after a long trial he was acquitted in 1795.

Hastings' Supreme Council forbade Hicky from mailing his newspaper through the post office. Hicky claimed Hastings' order violated his right to free expression, and accused Hastings of corruption, tyranny, and even erectile dysfunction. Hicky also accused other British leaders in Calcutta of corruption, including the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. However, Hicky's editorial independence was short lived as he was sued for libel and after four dramatic trials in June 1781; the Supreme Court found Hicky guilty and sentenced him to jail.

Hicky continued to print his newspaper from jail, and continued to accuse Hastings and others of corruption. He was finally shuttered when Hastings instituted fresh law suits against him. Hicky's Bengal Gazette ceased publication on March 23, 1782 when its types were seized by an order of the Supreme Court. He was the champion figure of journalism has inspired a crop of dauntless journalists in India.

April 14, 2017

The veteran news anchor Karan Thapar leaves the India Today Group. He used to anchor a program called 'To the Point' that was one the most objective, bold and restrained programs that was held in great respect.  The TV Today is led by Aroon Purie. Earlier, he was working with CNN-News18. Following the formal takeover of Network18 by Reliance, he had ended his long-standing association with CNN-News18 by joining India Today in April 2014. He is the son of former chief of army staff General Prem Nath Thapar. He had begun his journalistic innings with The Times (UK) in Nigeria. His association with print media was short lived and Thapar moved on to work with London Weekend Television.

After spending a decade in Britain, Thapar returned to India. He is known for his probing interviews; prominent personalities like Narendra Modi and Ram Jehtmalani walked out during tapings of Devil's Advocate.

July 2017

New Delhi: Economic & Political Weekly (EPW) editor Paranjoy Guha Thakurta became the first top-level editorial casualty of corporate India's increasing tendency to file multi-crore defamation cases as a means of countering critical reporting, resigning after the directors of the trust which runs the storied journal ordered him to take down an article on the Adani group.

Last month, Adani Power Ltd sent a letter via its lawyers to EPW, the article's four authors (which included Thakurta) and Sameeksha Trust, which owns and runs the journal. The lawyer's letter demanded that immediate steps be taken to "remove/delete and unconditionally retract" an article 'Modi Government's RS 500-Crore Bonanza to Adani Group (June 24, 2017) that they said was defamatory and harmful to the reputation of their client. The letter also objected to the publication of an earlier article, 'Did the Adani Group Evade RS 1000 Crore in Taxes?' (January 14, 2017), but did not specifically ask for it to be removed. The letter said that unless this was done, "our clients shall be constrained to take such action as they may be advised".

On Tuesday, the Sameeksha Trust board, which met in Delhi, ordered the editorial department to take the article down (alongside which Thakurta had also posted a copy of the Adani letter and a legal response by EPW). The EPW Group was founded in 1949 as the Economic Weekly, EPW took on its current name in 1966 and is one of India's most respected publications. Paranjoy Guha Thakurta is a highly regarded business journalist and political commentator.

July 2017

Pune: The well known journalist Nikhil Wagle began a popular show on Marathi television two and a half months ago and it was cancelled by the channel's management without any explanation. Wagle was suddenly informed on Wednesday that his show, 'Sadetod', which aired on TV9 every night between 9 pm and 10 pm, would not be screened from the next day. In its short span, the show – in which Wagle would moderate a debate with representatives of different political parties and organisations – had reached the highest viewership among Marathi news shows. Wagle was shocked as his agreement with the channel was to host the show for a year.

"It is political pressure. I don't think there can be other reason. The debate show had the highest ranking and a large number of viewers. The show helped the channel to get a higher ranking," Wagle told the press.

"I had been sensing trouble for the last one month and the management would crib over trivial issues. I was asked why I talk against Narendra Modi or the BJP. My show had spokespersons from all the political parties including the BJP. How could I then be blamed for criticising a single party or man?"

This would not be the last case of throttling and intimidation of freedom of expression and the voice of reason. The INTERVEL is already passed but the KHEL abhi baqi hai. Vox populli will win in the end!

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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