Citing he wasn't allowed to report "truth" on farmers' protest, a journalist from ABP News announced his resignation from the channel during the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) Mahapanchayat in Meerut on Saturday, February 27.
Rakshit Singh worked as a special correspondent at the Indian Hindi news channel. He had gone to cover the rally at Uttar Pradesh for the channel when he publicly resigned.
The RLD has been organising rallies across the state in protest against the three contentious farm laws.
The video of him publicly resigning from the channel has been widely circulated on social media platforms. "My parents gave me an education with the money earned through their sweat and blood. I chose this profession. Why did I choose this profession? Because I wanted to show the truth. But I am not being allowed to show the truth," Singh can be heard saying.
"Laat Maarta hoon aisi naukri ko ( I kick this job)," he further said.
Detailing the condition, the journalist said that he was earning nearly ₹12 lakh annually and that he may not find another job because of his stand on the protest. He would rather beg on the streets or for another job over his present job, he said in the video.
The resident of Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh, Singh said that he had worked in several newspapers, including Patrika and Bhaskar. "No one can point fingers at me. I have only worked as an honest journalist in the last 15 years. I can't even open a shop (due to paucity of funds)."
He pinned a tweet saying that he was under great pressure to make a premature video of the Mahapanchayat and show it a 'flop'. "The media channel is owned by the bourgeoisie and the government of the bourgeoisie," he added.
Shortly after resigning, he tweeted two videos describing the scenario in various media houses.
"There was a sense of respect for news channels in the past when they went out to cover stories, and that was the main reason for me to pursue this profession. But today, that respect is lost. Today, the condition is such that many reporters have to take off their Identity Cards to cover the story. We have slogans like 'Godi Media', 'Murdabad' for the channels. I have worked in various organisations in the past 10-12 years and had good experience. But it was entirely different from what it is now, and I can't be a part of such an environment," he said.
Many people questioned why he especially resigned in Meerut, to which Singh said he was asked to cover the area's protest by the channel and didn't choose it intentionally. "I have also been asked whether I want to become a politician...I know the reporting job, which I have been doing for years now, and I might continue with it only if I get an opportunity to report the truth and facts, and that is true journalism. Making an opinion is not my job; that must be left to the citizens,' he said.
Singh told The Sunday Express that the channel's reporting of the farmers' protest bothered him for three months. "Stories which were even slightly critical of the government were not carried by the channel. As a journalist, one is bound to feel something," he added.
Speaking to the media, the channel's spokesperson said that they believed in the highest degree of ethical journalism and had strict policies in place for the reporters to maintain impartiality, independence and fairness in their reporting and editorial principles. "Also, fact-based reporting has always been central to our editorial policy. We are shocked and saddened to see that one of our reporters has misused our brand and has made false remarks and statements to fulfil personal motives."