“I won’t answer questions. Remove the mic,” Jignesh told journalists in the room.
PTI File photo

In a show of solidarity, journalists belonging to TV channels in Chennai chose to walk out of a press conference by politician Jignesh Mevani. This after the MLA from Gujarat chose to single out Republic TV’s reporter, asking him to leave his briefing.

On Tuesday, the Vadgam MLA was participating in an interaction with academics, activists and students in Qaid-E-millat International Academy of Media Studies in Chennai. Following the two-hour interaction, a media briefing was organised with Jignesh.

It was when journalists from television channels placed their microphones on the table that Jignesh, on seeing the Republic TV’s mic, asked who the channel’s reporter is. “Who is the Republic TV’s reporter? I won’t talk to Republic,” Jignesh reportedly said. While journalists from the other channels attempted to pacify the political leader, stating that it was only a “general bite” and not an exclusive interview, Jignesh stated that it was his policy not to speak to Republic TV, the channel led by Arnab Goswami.

“I won’t answer questions. Remove the mic,” Jignesh told journalists in the room. It was then that Shabbir Ahmed, a reporter from Times Now replied, “You can’t demand that (which mic should be there and which should not). We don’t want this press conference, you can go.”

With other journalists coming together to show support for Republic TV’s reporter, the press briefing ended with Jignesh not taking any questions. 

The show of support by the otherwise competitive news media has been commended by journalists on Twitter.

Jignesh's opposition to Republic TV is in reaction to the Gujarat Assembly Elections, where the channel targetted him for calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi old and suggesting that he go to the Himalayas. Many came out in support of Jignesh's stand, arguing that people like Mevani had no other choice but to boycott channels like Republic TV. 

Tuesday isn’t the first time that reporters belonging to Republic TV have been boycotted. In December, reporters belonging to Times Now and Republic TV were banned from the Congress party’s press conference in New Delhi. This as the channels were engaging in an alleged witch-hunt against Congress President Rahul Gandhi, and the UPA.