Spy vs Spy

And finally, the prosecution and the police have compromised themselves by changing the charges while arresting two Zee journalists. One charge is non-bailable while the charges applied earlier were not, suggesting that the police are putting on the screws on behalf of government. On the other hand, the prosecution will always seek to frame charges that they can prove and for technical reasons, the earlier ones were a little uncertain.

However, this has allowed Zee to launch a loudly self-righteous multimedia campaign on TV, in print (DNA) and on its website, with a logo showing the word 'media' in chains, and the company leadership likening the proceedings against them to attacks on press freedoms during the Emergency. Since they have no footage of the 'sting', they were looping an old tape in which Naveen Jindal pushed Zee journalists about — after they hounded him.

The courts will take their time mulling the evidence but trial by media is fast moving and, as N Ram said, the two journalists arrested "will have a hard time explaining what they were doing in those meetings." So will the JSPL representatives, who cannot prove that they weren't trying to do an ad deal which went sour.

Until the courts pronounce a verdict, however, two limited questions can be pursued. Was arrest proper under these circumstances? On the other hand, is it proper for media to protest of an Emergency-like attack on its freedoms when it is charged with attempted extortion?

pratik.kanjilal@expressindia.com

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