Government has a centralised bully system: Josy Joseph

New Delhi, Jan 22 (IANS) Award-winning journalist Josy Joseph here on Saturday said that the BJP government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a centralised “bully system” and that it is “hostile towards intelligent and informed thinking”.

“The way this government goes after journalists, is something, I have never seen in the past. This government has a very centralised bully system. It is extremely hostile towards intelligent and informed thinking. It targets any progressive thought,” Joseph said during a discussion on ‘Non-fiction in the age of fear’, held here by the Caravan magazine and the Press Club of India.

Jet Airways and its Founder-Chairman Naresh Goyal have filed a civil defamation suit against Josy Joseph, after he wrote about the alleged links between gangster Dawood Ibrahim and the airline in his book “A Feast of Vultures”, published in 2016.

“Naresh Goyal successfully managed every minister, every secretary in the town. If you look at the files it is very clear that the agencies knew that he was linked with Dawood. There were questions about his source of funding,” Joseph said.

“I took it up as an example as I thought it was a fascinating story,” he said, adding: “Except for few, every business house is like that. We have had murder cases and money laundering being charged against biggest corporate houses and their owners…cases are filed but are never closed.”

He also said that massive amount of money is required to sustain Indian political system and it is funded by the corporates.

“The BJP has built a very expensive business model. Naresh goyal and people like him successfully managed the parties because Indian political parties require black money and financial support. Billions are required to sustain the political system… that is provided by the corporate,” he explained.

When asked if something can be done about the middlemen, Joseph said, “Modi cannot do anything about the middlemen. He will worsen the situation.”

“A Feast of Vultures”, which deals with corruption at all levels of Indian society, didn’t get to become a part of the Jaipur Literature Fest this year.

So was the case with senior journalist Akshaya Mukul’s “Gita Press and the Making of Hindu India” that places the institution from Gorakhpur within the larger context of the growth of Hindu nationalism.

Reacting to the whole controversy, Joseph said, “There is a problem with literature fests because they are not confident of pulling the audience. Though, it is not true that they cannot pull the audience with non-fiction texts. I think it’s a passing phase. India will go beyond this.”

“What we need for writers today is independent publishing houses.”

Mukul, who was also participated in the discussion, said, “Such minute monitoring of media, I haven’t seen ever before. You cannot ask questions. No cross questioning is allowed. Ministers get very angry if you ask what is new in their scheme, or that they’ve taken forward the previous government’s step with a new name.”

“Negative things don’t get sufficient coverage. None of the protest about demonetisation got reported.”

He further added, “Modi has been very apprehensive of media since 2002 when the entire Gujarat thing happened. We know what happened to NDTV recently. Then (Union Minister) Kiran Rijuju was once heard saying: ‘don’t ask questions’.”

Mukul had boycotted the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards ceremony instituted by the Indian Express as Prime Minister Narendra Modi presided over it.

He said, “The award is prestigious enough, you don’t need Modi or any Prime Minister…it won’t make it more prestigious.”

–IANS

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