By Sourya Majumder:
“How will you dissent when the basic right of asking questions is under constant threat?” asked NDTV’s Ravish Kumar yesterday, in an unprecedented but certainly not unwarranted episode of his show, ‘Prime Time’.
Even as the Information and Broadcasting Ministry recommended, a couple of days back, that NDTV be banned for a day on November 9 for revealing “strategically important” details while covering the Pathankot terrorist attack that took place in January, the conversation regarding censorship and the Freedom of Press was opened up anew.
2016 has seen widespread protests from students and minorities, and Government crackdowns on said protests in various forms. It has also seen the rise of a strong, particularly vicious new nationalist media – something that was called out by Indian Express editor Raj Kamal Jha in front of the Prime Minister himself at this year’s Ramnath Goenka Awards for journalism. The ideal of journalistic integrity that Raj Kamal Jha emphasised in his speech – one that involves standing up to the Government and asking questions, the very cornerstones of democratic discourse – was displayed not just by veteran journalist Akshaya Mukul, who boycotted the Ramnath Goenka awards because the Prime Minister was presenting them, but also by Ravish Kumar in this episode.
In the episode, Kumar envisions, with the help of mimes, what might become of journalistic discourse if questions were permanently silenced – or replaced by a stream of unintelligible gibberish, hiding the real problems of society. Drawing analogies with Hindu mythology and the toxic state of Delhi’s air, Kumar creates a chilling and bold message, one that should be heard across the nation.
Watch the video below: