Did Indian media jump the gun by standing in support of Rajdeep Sardesai?

The entire Indian media fraternity was shocked and expressed solidarity with India Today group's consulting editor, Rajdeep Sardesai after reports that he was heckled and assaulted outside the Madison Square Garden in New York by a group of Narendra Modi supporters shortly before the prime minister's address.

Quite naturally, many from the journalistic community across different media houses were forthcoming in saying how the freedom of expression, a must for the profession, was being stifled and how people are becoming increasingly intolerant towards critical views. Sardesai too tweeted about how he was targeted by a bunch of "idiots" and how civility was blatantly disregarded by the "rule of the mob". However, now there is a twist in the tale.

 Did Indian media jump the gun by standing in support of Rajdeep Sardesai?

Senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai. Image courtesy: Surinder Nagar/IBNLive

In a piece Crass, low-level and hooliganism to the core, a blogger identified only as Sudhir, lashed out at Sardesai for playing the victim by giving an incomplete account of what had actually happened but also at the media fraternity for reacting too quickly without verifying the facts. The blogger also did not spare the media house with which Sardesai is currently associated.

"India Today released an "official" video in which Rajdeep was heckled (as if heckling is a nasty crime). In an attempt to gain sympathy, they have unwittingly exposed the low-level journalism their high-level journalists resort to!"—Sudhir wrote in his blog.

The blogger blames Sardesai for inciting the crowd with his questions, some of which he claimed were needlessly critical and for questioning the audience about their love for India.

The blogger said he was appalled at the support Sardesai garnered from fellow journalists and how Modi supporters were blamed entirely for the incident on the basis of a clipped video. He writes:

"It is crystal clear from this video that it was Rajdeep who first manhandled the person after calling him an "asshole". I watched the video 3 times just to make sure it was Rajdeep who attacked first. Entire fraternity went silent."—Sudhir wrote.

He goes on to say:

"It is a sad reflection on this fraternity that they pursue an agenda and don't like to own it up fully. The agenda in this instance was to discredit not just the Prime Minister of India, but private individuals of India (or Indian origin) and their hard work in trying to live a good life. It is appalling and beyond belief that an entire fraternity can lie, stick to it, and even discredit those putting the truth out there. This is a very very scary side of the English TV media."

He has demanded the release of the complete video of the incident which shows that Sardesai was assaulted or apologise for raking up the incident.

While Sudhir has pointed out that there is no obvious evidence of the crowd doing anything apart from heckling the senior journalist, there is also this account by a Facebook user who claims to have hit Sardesai while he was attempting to talk to people.

Click here to read the complete blog by Sudhir.

Updated Date: Oct 27, 2014 19:11:31 IST