So, the top leaders of Congress are making great noise through calls of ‘arrest Arnab Goswami’. Reason? In his TV show, Arnab Goswami, questioned Sonia Gandhi for her silence on the recent mob lynching and murder of two saints in Maharashtra where her party is part of the government. Two saffron-clad saints were murdered while the police meekly handed them over to a mob and all that Congress can do, rather than prevent such lynchings is to silence journalists who question this.
Members of the Congress party may like to take Sonia Gandhi’s name in certain ways. But can they deny that her birth name is something else? Since when did it become a crime to refer to her by her original name?
Sonia Gandhi’s birth name is out of bounds but a Yogi who has given up his earlier name under Hindu traditions is disrespected by the Congress by still addressing him thus.
At least three state Chief Ministers of the Congress party have openly called for the arrest of a journalist. A Cabinet minister of the Congress government in Chhattisgarh has filed a police complaint against Arnab Goswami while other Congress functionaries have done the same in many states of the country.
And all this baying for Arnab Goswami’s blood seems to have had its effect too. Goswami has alleged that Youth Congress workers tried to attack him.
Two Journalists – Congress Reply
For the Congress, if it is politically useful, even fake news is freedom of expression. But when it is a matter of questioning its party president, even a rhetorical question based on facts does not come under freedom of expression.
A few days ago, the editor of The Wire spread outright fake news and attributed a fake quote to Yogi Adityanath. Here was an instance of fake news, which naturally invited legal action. However, Congress quickly came to the rescue of The Wire editor and termed the legal action as an act intended to suppress freedom of expression.
However, Arnab Goswami has not spread any fake news when he said that two Hindu saints murdered and Sonia Gandhi has been silent on the issue.
But the ‘Freedom of Expression’ camp of Congress party is now demanding arrest of Arnab Goswami. Shashi Tharoor who came to the rescue of a fake news peddler is now retweeting tweets that demand the arrest of a journalist under false pretexts.
Freedom of Expression Be Damned for Sonia?
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot openly demanded for the sacking of Arnab Goswami while Kapil Sibal did it in his own way too.
some moral lepers
appear on the screen
abusive and vulgar
seen venting their spleen
but one special journo
knows not what he says
his vicious agenda
he daily displays
time to disinfect
to “arrest” the disease
he then will surrender
and fall on his knees
— Kapil Sibal (@KapilSibal) April 22, 2020
Another Congress minister TS Singh Deo personally lodged a police complaint.
I have just filed a complaint against @republic's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami in Raipur for deliberately making inflammatory statements on his channel to invoke hatred among different communities and using derogatory language against Congress President Smt Sonia Gandhi. pic.twitter.com/jCErsyN2gZ
— TS Singh Deo (@TS_SinghDeo) April 22, 2020
But the same Congress claimed multiple times in past that it stands for freedom of expression.
Here are other instances of Congress vouching for freedom of expression.
We have come here to fight for the idea of India where everyone has a voice and the freedom of thought and expression: Rahul Gandhi
— Congress (@INCIndia) November 7, 2015
Back in October 2019, when an FIR was registered against 49 ‘celebrities’ by a private citizen, Congress dished out rich advice to the government on freedom of expression. See the hypocrisy – a private citizen trying legal action against some ‘celebrities’ was decried by the Congress but now, Chief Ministers of state governments such Bhupesh Baghel, Ashok Gehlot and Captain Amarinder are out to intimidate and egg on legal action against a journalist.
As a matter of fact, the case against ‘celebrities’ was lodged after an order was passed by Chief Judicial Magistrate Surya Kant Tiwari two months ago on a petition filed by local advocate Sudhir Kumar Ojha. Which means, it was an action from an individual and the government had nothing to do with it.
But Congress leader Shashi Tharoor wrote to the PM over this individual complaint and feigned concern about ‘freedom of expression’.
Now, all the top leaders, chief minister and ministers of state Congress governments are demanding the sacking/arresting of Arnab Goswami, since he questioned Sonia Gandhi’s silence. Congress functionaries are filing complaints in different parts of the country. Some Congress workers, Arnab Goswami alleges, have even attacked him.
Perhaps, questioning Sonia Gandhi is beyond the ambit of freedom of expression!