The founding editor of The Wire, Siddharth Varadarajan claimed that criminal defamation is being openly misused by big business houses to harass journalists reporting uncomfortable truth. He told this while speaking at a panel discussion on “Reporting India in troubled times”. The programme was moderated by Apoorvanand, writer and columnist. Varadarajan cited the recent instances wherein businessmen like Gautam Adani and Anil Ambani have filed several defamation suits against media outlets and journalists.
He lamented that due to harassment of the journalists, media houses have abandoned reporting on several issues. National Herald has quoted him as saying “Today, we see that journalism is in peril because several democratic institutions are also under an organised and systematic attack.”
Varadarajan also slammed TV channels like Times Now and Republic TV for peddling anti-Muslim agenda on regular basis.
He also pointed out that that media itself has become the “enemy” of ground reporting. Journalists who try to expose the truth are described as anti-nationals and are harassed.
Varadarajan also recalled that “when ABP News debunked the claims of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the income of a woman farmer had doubled, the programme was dropped, the editor was sacked and thereafter we saw how the channel changed its stance.”
Manoj Mitta, Anumeha Yadav, Meena Kotwal and Bhasha Singh also participated in the panel discussion held on the first death anniversary of former editor-in-chief of National Herald Neelabh Mishra.