Recently, ABP news has been garnering a lot of attention because of the resignation of their two top editors. The first resignation was that of the ABP News Network Managing Editor Milind Khandekar, followed by fellow journalist Punya Prasun Bajpai. The series of events happened apparently after Punya Prasun Bajpai show Master Stroke did a fact check on claims made in PM Modi’s Mann Ki Baat.
The two resignations are being seen as an attempt to curb freedom of speech and an example of a media house bowing down to the ruling government to get their affection.
According to The Wire, on July 1, ABP’s management in an unanticipated move announced the resignation of its editor-in-chief, Milind Khandekar. Just days after, the anchor of popular Hindi prime time show, ‘Master Stroke’, Prasoon Bajpai was also allegedly asked to resign. On July 2, Prasoon confirmed his resignation to Scroll but did not give more details on the matter.
In fact, these two prominent journalists were asked to resign by the channel or did they quit on their own is still in the dark. The sources from ABP news have told The Logical Indian that till now no official statement has been issued from the company, but there are rumours that a meeting to brief the current situation will be held today.
These waves of activity that took place in ABP news in a very short span of time is being considered as the repercussions of the reporting done by these former ABP employees. Reportedly, the company’s decision to pull Abhisar off the air came after he tried questioning Prime Minister Modi for his latest speech in Lucknow, where PM said that the law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh has improved. The anchor juxtaposed this with the two brutal murders that took place in the state on the same day, as reported by The Wire.
It is been also alleged that as soon as Abhisar mentioned Prime Minister’s name on the show, CEO of ABP News Network Atideb Sarkar insisted on taking the show off the air.
After this, some sources in the ABP newsroom told the Wire that the editor-in-chief, Khandekar got a reprimand from Sarkar for not immediately ending the show, to which the latter said that it could not be done as only five minutes of the bulletin had passed. However, after the bulletin, Abhisar and the show producer was told not to criticise the Modi Government again on any of their bulletins. This led to Abhisar’s termination from the show for the next 15 days and also the slot for his bulletin was given to another anchor Chitra Tripathi. Allegedly this decision had come directly from Sarkar.
Masterstroke by Prasun Bajpai
Last month, Prasun Bajpai on his prime-time show did a fact check of Chhattisgarh farmer claims of getting doubled income(which can be read here). On June 20, PM in his monthly show, Mann Ki Baat did a video interaction with beneficiaries of various government programmes. During the video conversation, a woman farmer from Chhattisgarh, Chandramani Kaushik, told PM Modi that her income had doubled after she switched from cultivating paddy to growing custard apples. PM specifically asks her if her income has doubled and she replies in affirmative. Television anchor, Prasun Bajpai from the medium of his show ‘Masterstroke’ claimed that the women had been tutored to make false claims. He sent reporters on the ground to find out the truth.