A Senior Journalist Raises Important Questions About Media Trial Following Gauri Lankesh’s Killing

8:13 pm 6 Sep, 2017

Gauri Lankesh, a 55-year-old journalist from Karnataka, was shot dead at her home in Bengaluru on Tuesday evening.



Her murder triggered a massive outrage across the country. Lankesh was known for sympathizing with the Naxals and her attempts to bring them to the mainstream. She was a known critic of right-wing and Hindutva forces.

Following her assassination, Twitter erupted in anger. Many, rightly, condemned the killing of a journalist. Others, appropriately, termed it a “murder of democracy”. Some of them even pointed out that the killings of journalists deal a blow to India’s image. Some of them even questioned the state of declining law & order in Karnataka where everything from mass molestations to murders have become common.

But such rational comments were soon washed away by a deluge of synchronized and selective outrage from an esoteric group of Left-leaning journalists and politicians hell-bent upon scoring brownie points against their favorite opponent – the BJP.

Even before the police could say anything, the Left-wing journalists, politicians and intellectuals had already decided that the killers were from the right-wing. They relentlessly blamed the BJP for a crime that happened in a state ruled by the Congress.

Ayyub is a journalist who had in 2015 blamed the RSS chief for the gruesome rape of a 74-year-old nun in West Bengal. The police investigation later proved that the culprits were Bangladeshi nationals; one of them, an illegal immigrant. Of course there was no RSS connection, not even remotely.

More and more Leftist voices joined in connecting the murder to the right-wing:

And this tweet was posted by Rahul Gandhi. That the Congress vice-president, someone who thinks he can be the future PM of India, too, is passing judgment before the law takes its course is shameful especially when the crime happened in a state ruled by his own party.

And at least one Left-wing media house dug out handles justifying Lankesh’s killing and put the ball in the PM’s court just because the PM follows the handles. The tweets were posted by sick-minded individuals, but instead of condemning the tweets and the inherent hate in the hearts of those who posted such tweets, the objective was to attack the PM.

In the name of freedom of speech, in the name of defending democracy, and in the name of condemning the silencing of journalists, the journalistic fraternity itself forgot how to do journalism.

And this is exactly what a senior, right-thinking (don’t confuse with right-leaning) journalist lamented about on Twitter.

Journalism has always been under threat. Journalists writing against Naxal terrorism are under threat from Naxals. Journalists writing against politicians of any color or party are under threat from the politicians.

But the most disturbing thing is that journalists are now political spokespersons and more loyal to their respective ideologies than their profession.

It becomes apparent when you compare the reactions to the killing of Gauri Lankesh with the killing of Jagendra Singh, a journalist from Uttar Pradesh. Headlines in the mainstream media were ordinary, as if just another murder had happened. Not a single Left-wing party or journalist took out marches or wrote lengthy articles about Singh’s death because the man who was allegedly involved in his killing was a minister and member of Samajwadi Party.

The question of ‘why’, therefore, sustains.



Correction: A previous version of this article did not contain the 11th tweet in the thread posted by Mr. Sinha. It has been included.