This week on NL Hafta, Abhinandan Sekhri, Manisha Pande, Raman Kirpal, Anand Vardhan, and Jayashree Arunachalam of Newslaundry are joined by Dhanya Rajendran, editor-in-chief of the News Minute.
Commenting on the murder of a lawyer couple in Telangana even after the state’s high court had ordered that they be protected, Dhanya says, “Whoever executed the murder, whoever gave the contract for the murder knew clearly that the court is closely watching this couple, but they just didn’t care.” In this context, the panel discuss police brutality in the country and police’s loss of public credibility.
Talking about the arrest of climate activist Disha Ravi in the “toolkit case”, Dhanya explains that the Fridays for Future India has been on the police’s radar since they launched an email and social media campaign against the Environment Impact Assessment Notification of 2020. Commenting on the insecurity of the current government, Raman says, “We had done so many stories damning the EIA in the past. We had done really good stories exposing the government during the Congress’s time. But no action was taken against us.” They further discuss how the hysteria around the “toolkit” was first generated on primetime TV news.
The panel also discuss journalist Priya Ramani’s acquittal in the defamation case brought against her by BJP leader MJ Akbar. Talking about the MeToo movement that led to the case and the impact it could have on the movement, Jayashree says, “We should never really forget that Priya Ramani accused a man of sexual harassment and the case that has played out now is not about her sexual harassment. It wasn’t about the accusations or about MJ Akbar’s culpability. So what we are celebrating is the fact that she wasn’t penalised for speaking out and the battle that she went through was to acquit a victim, not an accused. So when you say that, will this drive more people to speak up, I don’t think so.”
They also discuss the Koo app and the sedition case against journalist Rajdeep Sardesai.