Stop Media Bans: A Joint Statement By News Organizations

Stop Media Bans

Bans on news organisations are a big, dangerous step backward. For India to progress, we must move forward in the direction of more democracy, not less. As citizens of a free nation and as journalists, we are keenly aware that an independent media is among the pillars of a vibrant democracy. Attempts to muzzle the free press must be resisted-we owe it to our fellow citizens.

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We would like to correct that now, as good a time as any, especially since the government has taken notice of the conversation around bans on media organisatons and made some statements in that context. We in the news media must acknowledge our complacency in not having spoken up at each instance. This may have encouraged the authorities to clamp down on more media organisations. Over the last few years, media gags in Kashmir, Chhattisgarh, Kerala and Assam have been ignored or reduced to footnotes.

The power to gag or ban a news media outlet is intact and the government’s ability and willingness to use it is intact too. We do acknowledge the statements in support of freedom of expression and “liberal democratic ethos and principles” by those in the government.

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Actions and utterances that endorse attempts to crush these rights – a television channel, a newspaper here there unless they toe the line – will lead us to the precipice. The news media are a vital line of defence with regard to the invaluable right to expression, speech, information and dissent

We – The Quint, Southlive Network, Newslaundry, Narada News, Janta Ka Reporter, Cobrapost, BOOM News, IndiaSpend, Scroll.in, The Hoot, The News Minute and The Wire and thousands of journalists all over the country — stand united in support of freedom of the press. We hope you will join us to support democracy. #StopMediaBans , We have to raise our voice against these pernicious practices collectively. Enough is enough.