Is decline of the Fourth-Estate here and happening?

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  • Distinguished Editor and Author of our times M J Akbar is removed from the Chairmanship of ‘The Asian Age’ and ‘Deccan Chronicle’.

First it was the abrupt removal of M V Kamath from the Chairmanship of Prasar Bharati and now its the turn of M J Akbar. MJ who has, for the past 15 years been identified among the most admired journalist-editor has been booted out from the Editorship of ‘The Asian Age’ and ‘Deccan Chronicle’. As per some confirmed sources, UPA Chairperson Ms. Sonia Gandhi is said to be behind the scenes. 


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Two of India’s legendary journalists cum editors are being humiliated, though indirectly, by the Congress led UPA government and yet our own journalist friends don’t seem to be interested in reporting this to the public. ‘That’s not news’ is what they said to me when I informed and sought their support towards taking up the matter on their respective mediums. Well, what then is news? I need someone to help me understand.


Turn on a channel and you will find illegitimate relations between two couples being presented to the national audience. Even if a robber is being beaten up, after being caught red handed by the public, even that is telecast. But when asked to speak about the injustice caused to the nation’s finest journalistic personalities they do nothing. Why is it so? Could someone explain this?


The allegation against MJ is that ‘he has joined a political party’, BJP to be precise.  But my investigation into the matter impresses upon me to say that it’s the Congress which is spreading the canard that he has joined a political faction in order to place a thin smokescreen across its guilt for having pushed out the only Muslim Editor in the English media in the sixty years of free India.  And they (Congress) say that they are committed to the uplifting of the minorities.


I am a recognized ‘Right Wing’ writer and considering that I have little reasons to sympathize with MJ, but sympathize I will.  Not simply because MJ is a guide and friend to me, but also because this just isn’t the way to treat a person who has, with his countless columns and books, brought forth this nation several issues of social and communal problems to the best of his abilities.  We all need to respect him for his commitment to his mission, for his enduring spirit in presenting the case of the Muslims in front of the Hindu brethren.  I still remember his words that have inspired me for ever ‘We have built walls for years now? we have to bring them down, and at all costs.’


Akbar may have been anti-BJP, he may even have differed with us and strongly, but he didn’t deserve to be booted out in such an undignified manner.  I cannot but agree with MJ when he says, in his farewell letter, ‘We may not have been the biggest, but we held our head high because there was one non-negotiable asset in our family: we could not be bought.  We were independent. We were free. We held our head high.’


The departure of MJ is a historic occasion which is sad not just for The Asian Age and the Deccan Chronicle but also for Indian Journalism. I put forth my mark of protest against the management of Deccan Chronicle holding and all the forces playing part in such undignified removal of a respected journalist from Editorship.  This is an act of lunacy.


The Author is the Editor-In-Chief of Aseemaa: Journal for National Resurgence.


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[The author is Editor-in-Chief of Aseemaa: Journal for National Resurgence]

Author: U. Mahesh Prabhu- Mangalore


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