Aaj Tak Journalist Terminated Over Tweets Critical of Modi

Shyam Meera Singh said that 'there is the freedom to murder and lynch but there is no freedom to criticise Modi or the current government; if there was freedom, why would he face termination?

aaj tak
Image: Shyam Meera Singh/Twitter

In an autocratic move, Aaj Tak, a Hindi-language news channel operating under the India Today group has terminated the services of one of its journalists citing two tweets made by him on his personal account. Shyam Meera Singh, a journalist with the channel since December 2020 took it to Twitter to inform that the termination of his services was because of two tweets that were critical about PM Modi.

The termination letter from Aaj Tak which Singh shared on his Twitter account mentioned that the contract of employment for the journalist under the India Today group prohibited the use of social media for airing personal views.

Even though the termination letter mentions that he had already received ‘two warnings’, in reality, he was not given any warning personally. However, Singh further added that during meetings journalists at the channel were repeatedly told to not post personal views on the social media platforms.

‘When journalists in any country are asked to refrain from expressing their ‘personal views’ it means that they are being asked to refrain from being critical about the ruling government,’ Singh told Gauri Lankesh News.

Earlier Singh had tweeted that whenever he shares a personal opinion on his Twitter account, some people tag his news company demanding his termination. He further added that he will continue to express his views and reiterated that ‘Modi is a shameless Prime Minister.’

Addressing the larger question of press freedom in the country, Singh told Gauri Lankesh News that ‘freedom exists in this country, there is the freedom to murder, lynch, and if you look at news channels running 24*7, you might feel that there is definitely freedom of expression too. However, there is no freedom to criticise Modi or the current government; if there was freedom, why would I face termination?’

An alumnus of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), Singh prior to joining Aaj Tak, worked with the English-Language newspaper The Economic Times. Following his tweets about job termination at Aaj Tak, several journalists and media personnel took to social media to write in his support.

Also Read: PM Modi Identified Again As One of the ‘Predators of Press Freedom’ by RSF

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May 2024
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