NEW DELHI: Reflecting on Congress chief Rahul Gandhi's recent attack on ANI editor Smita Prakash, Zee News Editor-in-Chief Sudhir Chaudhary explained that the party has always adopted a 'my way or highway attitude' towards journalists and journalism.
“It’s no surprise that the Congress chief is targeting a journalist. Their approach has always been - my way or the highway. They target and tarnish those who aren’t pliant. Sharing a letter I wrote to Mr. Gandhi in Oct’18 urging him to refrain from the same. Response - stony silence,” tweeted Sudhir Chaudhary.
It’s no surprise that the Congress chief is targeting a journalist.Their approach has always been - my way or the highway. They target & tarnish those who aren’t pliant. Sharing a letter I wrote to Mr.Gandhi in Oct’18 urging him to refrain from the same.Response - stony silence pic.twitter.com/gkQaLEthBB
— Sudhir Chaudhary (@sudhirchaudhary) January 3, 2019
Smita Prakash, the editor of ANI news agency, had interviewed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on New Year Year's Eve. Later, in a press conference, Gandhi said that the interview was conducted by a "pliable journalist". His comment evoked strong condemnation from various quarters.
Chaudhary's letter to Rahul Gandhi in October 2018 harps on similar tangents, asking the latter and his party to stop maligning the national channel.
Here's the complete text of the letter:
Dear Shri Rahul Gandhi,
Zee Media needs no introduction, but we would still like to offer one.
Its a media conglomerate that represents, cherishes and fosters the values of 'Bharat'. The 'Bharat' we refer to is not India (comprising of the rich/elitist/pseudo liberalists) but the Bharat which is thousands of years old, steeped in values, culture and tradition, which includes its people cutting across Religion, Caste, Creed, Color, Gender and Regions.
This encompasses the idea of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam - The World is One Family, of Hindutva (not the Hindu religion but the Hindu way of life), of वैष्णव जन तो तेने कहिये जे पीड परायी जाणे रे, of community and pride in one's roots and culture. This is our identity. This is what we've always stood for, no matter who is in government and what our ideological principles cost us.
We write to you because your party seems to have mistaken this with the political identity of your rivals. Let me say, Sir, that endorsing 'Bharat' doesn't amount to being beholden to a political ideology. It is unfortunate that the limited perspective of some individuals cannot distinguish between the two. Nobody can/should appropriate the idea of Bharatiyata. It belongs to all, equally.
We take serious exception to the fact that your party spokespersons routinely brand the Zee network as pro-BJP to wriggle out of difficult arguments. This is a 'hit and run' approach, which is unfair and hence unacceptable to us and certainly unsustainable, politically. We are nobody's mouthpiece and we refuse to be called so. We also believe in the principles of democratic protest, which is why we are writing to you. This is to politely yet firmly register our protest your party and its spokespersons for routinely indulging in baseless commentary in self-defense.
We speak for no one but this nation. We believe nationalism is a virtue and not a political tag which, unfortunately, your party has failed to realise. Your patty's interests would be better served if you advise your party spokespersons to fortify their arguments on TV debates with facts, rather than questioning the credibility of the journalist or the channel.
We encourage diverse opinions on our platform and would be happy to host your spokespersons in the future. Wish you the very best for the electoral challenges ahead.
1. Sudhir Chaudhary, Editor, Zee News, Business, WION
2. Purushottam Vaishnava, Editor, Hindustan, Bihar, Jharkhand, Kalinga, 24 Ghanta, Salaam, Rajasthan
3. Dinesh Sharma, Editor, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal
4. Dilip Tiwari, MP Chhattisgarh, UP, Uttarkhand
5. Vijay Kuvalekar, Editor, 24 Taas, 24 Talak
6. Brajesh Kumar Singh, Editor, Group Editor, Political Affairs