The same party and TV channel which cried foul and made lofty speeches about Freedom of Press when Sakshi accounts were frozen as a part of the CBI investigation today launched an unprecedented attack on Crime Reporters involved in reporting the Jagan Mohan Reddy disproportionate case.
YSR CP leaders today released a call-list of 2 cellphone numbers belonging to CBI Joint Director Lakshminarayana and put out a press note with the number of calls made to Crime Reporters from TV9, ABN Andhrajyothy, Indian Express, NTV, Eenadu and the Times. Citing the calls made to these reporters, the YSRC leaders said the CBI JD was involved in a conspiracy along with the Press to defame Jagan Mohan Reddy through selective release of information. The reporters also, they allege, are part of this “conspiracy”.
What was shocking about the entire press note and allegations is that since 1PM today, Sakshi TV also began to prominently telecast the names and numbers of crime reporters (including Satyanarana of ABN, Mahatma of TV9 and others) along with their numbers saying they were involved in this conspiracy against Jagan. This has opened a flood gate of anonymous calls to these Reporters threatening them with death and bodily harm. The numbers and names were also constantly scrolled on Sakshi TV.
The shocked Reporters have just held a Pressmeet (pictured above) and explained that as a part of a crime reporters job, it was natural that they would call not just the JD but a number of other Police officials. They also recorded and replayed some of the threats they were receiving since the Sakshi broadcast. The reporters also warned that Journalists unions would protest against Sakshi TV and YSRC if personal attacks of this kind did not stop and demanded an apology. They said that if Sakshi or YSRC wanted to pick a fight with the CBI or JD Lakshminarayana it was extremely unfair to make ordinary Reporters pawns in that fight.
Sakshi TV also blacked out this pressmeet and refused to telecast the same.
Whether the loyalties of Media houses as alleged by Sakshi are imagined or real, this is quite possibly the first time in India that a political party has so blatantly attacked individual journalists working at the ground level.
(Note: The call list itself and YSRCP’s allegations are full of holes and these will be detailed in another post soon)