[The following is a public statement issued by Shabnam Hashmi regarding her harassment by Times Now. The report is truly alarming and shows the extent to which this form of ‘media vigilantism’ – Arnab Goswami/ Times Now style can go. It is of course, another matter that when confronted by a Raj Thakre, the same macho anchor can turn into a small and helpless mouse. We are reproducing this statement in public interest.]
I was in Gujarat for over six months and returned to Delhi two weeks ago. While in Gujarat I was asked to appear on different television channels constantly. On one such talk show on Times Now I felt that I was especially being pushed into a corner and it was an absolutely unbalanced panel, I told the Times Now guest coordinator that I will not come on the channel any longer. It continued for about a week or so. Then a representative came from Mumbai and met me in Gujarat office and ensured that it will not happen in future and requested me to come for the Talk Shows.
I agreed and went again whenever I was called.
On December 28, 2012 I released a public statement in Delhi regarding the Gujarat Verdict 2012 and resigned from various UPA committees that I was part of. On the same day I was invited to Times Now and I found the same attitude of being highly aggressive towards me.
January 2, 2013, I filed a police complaint against Mr Akbaruddin Owaisi in Parliament Street Police Station against the hate speech which he made in Andhra Pradesh. I was called on Times Now and met the same uncivilized and aggressive behavior.
On January 4, 2013 I put the status on my facebook ‘TIMES NOW- MY STATUS- NOT AVAILABLE-GOODBYE MR ARNAB GOSWAMI- SORRY FOR DENYING YOU THE PLEASURE OF BEING THE ‘CONSCIENCE KEEPER’.
All hell seems to have broken out since then. I have been receiving calls after calls from various Times Now reporters. They have barged into Anhad several times, threatening to do stories against Anhad and me.
Anhad has been running from 23, Canning Lane’s Garage for 5 years now. There have been over 30-40 press conferences big and small at Anhad itself attended by all media fraternity including reporters from Times Now. Times Now reporters have come and taken my interviews in this office tens of times, they have attended press conferences, sent their ob vans and pick up cars for Talk Show.
They have suddenly come up with the new evidence Now that Anhad runs from 23, Canning Lane, New Delhi which is Dr Syeda Hamid’s garage.
Despite being informed by my colleagues that the garage was provided to us free, they have asked me the same question four times-How much money you pay?
Anhad has been a space where scores of journalists and media friends have come and visited. We have always respected the media and continue to do so and Anhad has received tremendous support from the media fraternity across India and we greatly value and respect that.
Yes, Anhad runs out of 23, Canning lane, New Delhi-110001, Yes we have FCRA, we raise resources through funding agencies both foreign and Indian, from friends and corporates, Yes we have taken on fundamentalists of all hues.
This is the first time that we are faced with a situation where I personally in 32 years of my grass root activism and Anhad as an organisation in its 10 yrs of work feel being harassed, stalked, and blackmailed.
January 10, 2012