In the latest shocking chapter in the atrocious witch-hunt against Republic Media Network, the Param Bir Singh-led Mumbai Police has now sent a notice effectively seeking each and every detail of the Republic news desk, including addresses of the technicians of Republic TV, IDs and passwords of newsroom software, roster details of its journalists, and has given a time-period of two days to furnish this, in a shameful trespass of free speech.
The details sought include copies of the mail of the news desk’s personnel schedules, roles and responsibilities of every person on the Republic TV Output desk, contact numbers and addresses of Output desk journalists, shift-in-charges of the desk, printouts of anchor link scripts of the day Republic aired its report that has garnered the Mumbai Police’s consternation, details of the iNews news software rundown between 7 pm and 10 pm that day, all user login activity on news from 7 pm to 10 pm. The notice by Mumbai Police, under 65 (d) of the Indian evidence act demands the name, designation, contact, and address of the technician who is aware of iNews.
Mumbai Police’s witch-hunt against Republic
Despite being called out nationally and also now globally over its witch-hunt, Mumbai Police has so far questioned Republic’s Deputy Editor Shawan Sen, Executive Editor Niranjan Narayanaswamy, Output Editor Sagarika Mitra and Shivani Gupta, as well as top members of Republic Media Network’s management staff. They were questioned on the story about Mumbai Police officers being unhappy with commissioner Param Bir Singh and the alleged TRP case. The journalists maintained that they won’t reveal their sources.
Apart from that Mumbai Police effectively sought details of every financial transaction the company has engaged in since its inception after sending notice under section 91. These effectively include trivial details such as the cost of microwaves and cutlery in the pantry. This was followed by an FIR against the entire editorial team of Republic Media Network, that sent shockwaves across the nation.
Arnab Goswami’s statement of intent
Earlier, Arnab Goswami had issued a statement when the Mumbai police proceeded to summon Republic’s journalists without abandon:
“I am sharing with a sense of disbelief that Param Bir has intensified attack on my journalists. He has started a series of summons. Journalists from our Delhi, Noida and Mumbai operations have been summoned. They are all being given under 24 hours notice. Even when some are recovering from COVID, the Mumbai police says they have to travel and be before their police stations. Apparently, he has asked his cops to go “all-out”. During the interrogations, we are being told to tone down or else Param Bir will file more fake cases against us. In all, we have endured 150 hours of semi custodial interrogation. They say they want to ‘break us’. As it is now public knowledge one of the interrogators is a Shiv Sena leader who has pending cases for charges like extortion. All Republic employees and journalists are resolutely fighting this. For us, this is a battle we are certain to win. We are exercising legal remedies. The courts will hear the people. I am shocked that the Uddhav government has endorsed the use of the 1922 British era law against my network. I say once again, the time has come for a mass movement against this injustice. I am a self-made media entrepreneur. I will fight my battle from Mumbai. The people of Mumbai and the people of India are with me. By way of this message, I am calling upon the people of India to fight this madness that the rogue cop and his insecure political masters have unleashed. Please share this message. In whichever way you can. We have to win this.”
Republic sues Param Bir Singh
Republic Media Network has sent a defamation notice to Param Bir Singh for making false allegations, seeking Rs 200 crore in damages, over the TRP manipulation case in which he had tried to implicate Republic. The notice sought withdrawal of his false statements on the network over the TRP scam in the press conference dated October 8 and other media interviews conducted. The notice sought that he desists from making any more defamatory statements against Arnab Goswami and his media network, or be liable to face appropriate civil and criminal proceedings.