Expressing dismay at the arrest of ABP Majha reporter Rahul Kulkarni, ABP News Network releases a statement in defense of the passenger trends related stories run by the channel.
In connection to the crowd of migrant workers gathered outside Bandra station on Tuesday, the Mumbai Police arrested several persons for alleged rumour-mongering. One of them is ABJ Majha reporter Rahul Kulkarni. The ABP News Network has released a media statement in connection to the incident, the channel’s reportage and the conduct of the said reporter. The channel has claimed innocence, stating that there should be due verification of facts and circumstances before a journalist is arrested for a story.
The statement, in full, reads:
“There are several reports purporting to draw a connection between the gathering at Mumbai’s Bandra West station and a news story run on ABP Majha. The reports are entirely misconceived and are being circulated with the sole intention of baselessly maligning ABP Majha. Our news story was broadcast in the public interest and on the basis of valid documents and information. Subsequent to the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s announcement at 10 am of the continuation of the lockdown and announcements thereafter from the Ministry of Railways with regard to cancellation of trains and refunds till May 3, 2020, we ran multiple stories, starting from shortly after the Railway Ministry’s announcement starting from12:30 pm to 1.30 pm, on our channel clearly announcing that no trains will be running. There is no conceivable way in which the crowds that gathered at the Bandra West Station from around 3:45 pm can be linked to our stories.
To insinuate that our running of the story and the updates thereafter amounts to a criminal act is outrageous. We are shocked and dismayed that our reporter Rahul Kulkarni has been arrested in connection with the story. We will be taking necessary and immediate steps in law. We can say with full confidence that we have not deviated from practices of responsible journalism. Journalism and the media are essential services. There is no denial of the Railway Ministry’s letter of 13.4.2020 recommending running of trains to return migrant labourers to their hometowns. We are a responsible and respectable channel running an essential service in providing information and news to society and community at large. We make every possible good faith endeavour to ensure the accuracy of our information and news from credible sources before broadcasting the same. Consequently, despite the morning news before the PM’s speech, shortly after the Railway Ministry announcement that no trains will run till May 3, 2020, we immediately started running the story on our channels as ee a responsible media institution.
We would like to say that before journalists are arrested there should be due verification of all facts and circumstances.”