Siddhartha Varadarajan, former Editor of The Hindu, and currently editor of the online portal thewire.in, professes to be a great champion of freedom of speech.
The problem is that while claiming this freedom for himself, he denies it to others. Let me illustrate this with a personal example.
I sent several articles to Siddhartha for favour of publication in thewire.in, in which I said that parliamentary democracy in India is a fraud since it largely runs on caste and communal vote banks. Casteism and communalism are feudal forces which have to be destroyed if India is to progress, but parliamentary democracy further entrenches them. Hence the solutions to India’s massive problems lie not within but outside the existing Constitutional system.
Siddhartha did not even acknowledge these articles, far less publishing them. It seems he gets horrified by such ideas, and he will not permit their publication in his portal. He could have published them with a disclaimer that the publisher does not share the views of the author. He could have started a debate on the topic, and a debate is surely healthy. But no, he will not even permit expression of the idea, far from having a debate.
So much for this hero of democracy and free speech. He will permit criticism of BJP politicians, but he will not permit criticism of the entire system.
The rest of our ‘liberal’ media is no better. They call the pro-govt media as the ‘godi media‘, but what is their own performance ? Have they ever tried to penetrate below the surface and seen the realities in India ? They praised Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra skyhigh, though it was just a gimmick.
This is why I believe there is no substantive difference between the ‘godi’ media and the ‘liberal’ media. Donon ek hi thaile ke chatte batte hain.