Rajasthan Patrika Editorial Takes Stand Against Vasundhara Raje’s Draconian Law; Not To Publish Any News On State Govt
November 1st, 2017
In an editorial piece written by Rajasthan Patrika editor-in-chief Gulab Kothari, the newspaper has taken a stand against the state’s new ordinance that seeks to protect serving and former judges, magistrates and public servants in Rajasthan from being investigated for on-duty action and the reporting of the same by the media – without its prior sanction.
Kothari said that Rajasthan has become akin to a “totalitarian rule”, one where Freedom of Press and free speech are gagged – all because of the publication’s efforts in exposing the looting, plundering, anarchy and corruption in the state.
This is what he wrote:
Kothari talked about how advertising to Rajasthan Patrika has been suspended by the Central and a few state governments. “On Tuesday the Congress MP Kantilal Bhuria from Madhya Pradesh sought permission in the Lok Sabha to discuss the matter of withholding all advertisements by the Central and a few state governments to Rajasthan Patrika Group of publications. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan refused to give the permission. Upon denial of the discussion, the documents regarding the matter were tabled in the House. MP Bhuria said that attempts at controlling media were dangerous for democracy. Once the matter had been tabled the government should explain what did Rajasthan Patrika Group do for the matter to reach such extremes. At what instances have the respective governments sent letters of warning to Patrika Publications, what were the specific reasons and when did the Information and Broadcasting Ministry send out a notification regarding banning the advertisements. The issue raised by Patrika should have also been taken up in the House. Without this, all the concerned governments will have to concede that they have absolutely no faith in democracy.”
After the general elections everyone had hoped and believed that “Achche Din” (better days) were surely dawning, he continued; but soon Raje, Sushma Swaraj and Shivraj Singh Chouhan were surrounded in such controversies that everyone thought that they will be removed. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has certainly made some kind of compromise with them but nonetheless the sword still is dangling above their heads. Our Chief Minister is sure today that BJP will not make her the CM again. Ergo she is busy securing the future of her next seven generations. She is saving the skin of every corrupt bureaucrat.”
The governments have the liberty to misuse the power bestowed upon them by the people, he continued.
“Angered by our news, the BJP governments, one after the other or rather in a planned systematic manner stopped all government advertisements to us. Chhattisgarh government targeted Patrika in the very beginning. Meanwhile, we experienced “Good Days” in Madhya Pradesh. Though the advertisements did continue later files didn’t move fast. Rajasthan has gone absolutely ballistic. It’s been almost eight months since they stopped advertisements to Rajasthan Patrika. One advertisement agency from Mumbai informed us that it had got a call from CM office to stop the advertisements. BJP MP from Rajasthan Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore is Minister of State for I&B. What can’t be achieved through him? There is no hope that “Achche Din” (Good Days) will emerge while this government is in power. We shall continue our fight with the support and patronage of our loyal readers and survive these next two and half years by disposing of some property if need be. But the question here is, will BJP retain power in the next election if the present atmosphere continues? Will Dushyant be the new CM? It is better that CM shouldn’t become Dhritarashtra in her love for her son and, instead, leave her ego aside and start caring for the people. Maybe then, God might listen to you.”
The Logical Indian severely criticises the Rajasthan government’s move to bring in the restrictive ordinance that protects erring public servants from being penalised. We commend Rajasthan Patrika’s stand in this regard. Journalism is the fourth pillar of democracy and the citizens’ link to its elected representatives. The Vasundhara-Raje government has attacked freedom of press which is enshrined to the media by our Constitution.
Read the Rajasthan Patrika editor-in-chief Gulab Kothari’s entire statement here.