INDIA’S opposition alliance on Thursday (14) decided to boycott shows of 14 television anchors in a move a journalists’ association called “unacceptable”.
The media committee of INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) said it will not send its representatives to debates hosted by them.
The journalists include Arnab Goswami of Republic TV, Navika Kumar of Times Now, Shiv Aroor of India Today and Anand Narasihman of News 18, according to a News Minute report.
Opposition Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said some channels have put up a “market for hatred” for the last nine years and the INDIA parties have decided not to legitimise the narrative which was “corroding our society”.
“We have taken this decision and issued this list with a heavy heart. We hope these anchors will do some introspection and take some corrective measures,” he said.
However, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) termed the boycott as an attack on democracy, alleging the opposition parties have politicised the media.
Its president Ras Bihari said in a statement that the move is a “black chapter” of repression on the media.
“This is totally wrong and unacceptable,” he said, adding that this reflects the lack of democratic values in these parties.
“The opposition alliance of 26 parties has shamed democracy through this action of boycott,” he said, adding that they are conspiring to weaken the fourth pillar of democracy.
The governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of prime minister Narendra Modi slammed INDIA’s decision, comparing it to curbs on media rights during the Emergency the country endured when Indira Gandhi of the Congress was the prime minister.
Union minister Hardeep Puri said in a post on the social media platform X, “the only instance we have seen of civil liberties being curtailed in India was during the Emergency in 1975.
“Open calls for eradication of Sanatan Dharma, FIRs (police cases) against journalists and boycott of media reflect politics of those dark years of emergency. True face of I.N.D.I.Alliance,” he said.
The BJP’s information and technology cell chief Amit Malviya also took to X to say, “So I.N.D.I Alliance has released a list of journalists, who refused to even bend, when the Opposition expected them to crawl. They should wear it as a badge of honour. More power to them…”