In brazen abuse of power, Param Bir Singh-led Mumbai Police launched an unprecedented second wave of attack on Republic and its journalists, demanding editorial access of the news channel. Continuing its witch-hunt, the Mumbai police has seemingly crossed all its limits and have sought details of all the journalists working in the newsroom. Mumbai Police has now sent a notice effectively seeking each and every detail of the Republic news desk, including addresses of the technicians of Republic TV, IDs and passwords of newsroom software, roster details of its journalists, and has given a time-period of two days to furnish this, in a shameful trespass of free speech.
Issuing a statement over the unmitigated witch-hunts, Republic Media Network's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami stated that he is unwilling to relent in his fight for justice.
"This has never happened in the history of media and I hope it doesn't happen to anyone else. I hope we understand with absolute clarity that what the Mumbai Police has done. The Mumbai Police has demanded login access of our newsroom. Now how can we give login access into the editorial operations of the news channel which gets the license of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting? If Param Bir Singh wants access to the newsroom, I am afraid he will have to approach the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting," said Arnab.
Arnab further said that he is going to write to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the Prime Minister's office, and the Home Ministry and stated that this move by the Mumbai police will destroy the foundation of Indian Democracy
"We are going to complain to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting immediately. I will write a letter, henceforth, to the ministry, to the PMO, to the Home Ministry and I shall want to know from them whether in India police can demand this kind of information. He wants our iNews access. He wants to know how files are transferred from Mumbai to Delhi. Now, this is absolute interference in the functioning of the newsroom, and it compromises the privacy and the sanctity of the newsroom. We have cooperated so far. I do believe if I start giving him access to my newsroom officially, then it's going to set precedence that is going to destroy the foundation of Indian Democracy and therefore I am not going to comply. I am going to launch a movement in the country. And I request everyone to join this movement."
Asserting this to be an outright attack on the newsroom, he requested the people of the country to join the Republic's movement in order to fight Mumbai police's shameful trespass of free speech.
"It is a complete attack on my newsroom. A newsroom is a sacred place. Journalists work here. It is our newsroom, we built it and therefore Republic is going to officially refuse access to newsroom functioning to Param Bir Singh. And a result of this, if he wants to arrest all of us, he can. He has been threatening to many people and it has gone out of hand now. He has gone crazy. You can consider this as a public statement that we are not going to give Param Bir Singh access to the newsroom. If you are watching this viewers, let there be a wave of protest across the country. Republic should not be made to fight alone. I request the Ministry of Broadcasting and the Central government to intervene very strongly in the matter," Arnab added.
The details sought include copies of the mail of the news desk's personnel schedules, roles and responsibilities of every person on the Republic TV Output desk, contact numbers and addresses of Output desk journalists, shift-in-charges of the desk, printouts of anchor link scripts of the day Republic aired its report that has garnered the Mumbai Police's consternation, details of the iNews news software rundown between 7 pm and 10 pm that day, all user login activity on news from 7 pm to 10 pm. The notice by Mumbai Police, under 65 (d) of the Indian evidence act demands the name, designation, contact, and address of the technician who is aware of iNews.