In yet another attempt to focus on the growing online vilification of journalists, famous Hindi television news anchor Ravish Kumar has written an open letter to journalist-turned-politician and BJP leader M J Akbar asking him how he balanced his profession and party affiliation without inviting the wrath of online trolls.
“Akbar ji, when you came from journalism into politics, did people call you a pimp too, abuse you, vilify you – like they do me (especially after the episode with the black screen aired?) Then when you came back from the Congress into journalism, did people – especially the then opposition whose member you are today – see you as a pimp for 10 Janpath (the headquarters of the Congress) or any other party? What explanations did you give yourself then to carry on? Can you share those explanations with me? I need your help,” Ravish wrote.
Writing about the consistent targeting of him on Social Media for his reporting, the anchor also said in his letter that “there is a new culture of political control. There is now a horde of people who try to find political leaning and meaning behind every news story. This horde is flagrantly abusive.”
“Definitely there has been a decline in journalism. It wasn’t there at all when you fought an election, won, lost and came back to become an editor. That must have been the golden age of journalism. It can be called the Akbar age if those who abuse us don’t take offence. All this means that today some journalists have become an unannounced extension of the spokesperson. Those who abuse me don’t call these people pimps. The section that does is the same that trolls Smriti Irani,” the letter reads.
Commenting over the usage of term ‘Pressitute’ for journalists by BJP’s V K Singh, Ravish also writes that “do you think when journalists ask difficult questions, they are pimping another party? Which question can make one a pimp? If editors like you can tell me, I can learn a thing or two. I can tell young reporters don’t become Ravish Kumar, if you must become somebody become Akbar because maybe even Ravish Kumar will one day become an Akbar.”