Dr Kafeel Khan is exonerated by a report prepared by a senior IAS officer who was asked to investigate the matter. The Allahabad High Court had already granted him the bail last year. The Indian Medical Council too came in his support though too late yet the it was good to see that it woke up.

The thing is that in the Poorvanchal, every year hundreds of children die due to Japanese brain fever. In August September of 2017, over 60 children died in Gorakhpur medical college due to lack of Oxygen in the medical college. Dr Kafeel Khan who was in charge of the unit maintaining Oxygen, is basically a pediatrician who took care of all the children coming to him. He was hailed as hero but soon the matter was converted into communal one which suits those in power to hide their inefficiency and failure. With the help of an absolutely thuggish media which created rumours, floated conspiracy theories built up around Dr Kafeel Khan. For all the deaths, instead of an inefficient political leadership, it was a doctor who was blamed for the same.

The police arrested him, humiliated him and kept him in jail for almost nine month before Allahabad High Court gave him bail.

Now Dr Kafeel Khan is given clean chit by the government itself, the question arises who will return him those two years of horror which he and his family went through. Dr Kafeel Khan’s hounding by the media, making him the biggest villain, harassing his family is the biggest scandal of our time and must be investigated. Who authorised media to do a fixated trial of Dr Khan and virtually created threat to his life. With regular stories and narrative being build by the media and circulating through whatsapp and other social media platform, the media or I rather call them the PR agencies of the ruling party, made him a criminal or a terrorist, prone to face violence of the people. Have we not learnt anything from mob-lynching and how rumour work in India in motivated killing of the innocent. Therefore, it is time to call for a complete account of those who made a mockery of the media ethics and reported mischievously on this incident. All of them must be made to explain.

It is time for the press council, the editors guild, the information and broadcasting ministry and even the courts to look into the affairs of the electronic media and the venom they have been spreading. Shouldn’t those media houses apologise for their slanderous campaign against Dr Kafeel Khan and it is not him alone, media today has become the biggest tool to spread falsehood, create fear, intimidate people. It is not the social media but electronic media or manustream media which need a resounding slap on its face for spreading all this poison which threaten the unity and integrity of the country. Will we see some hard hitting editorials against these party spokespersons sitting in the TV channels who virtually abused Dr Kafeel Khan. No need to make him a hero but as a citizen of India, he has his rights and right to defend himself from such slander.

It is time when news media and channels need to develop strong media ethics so that any one who is wronged, can file complain, seek not merely an apology but compensation too. Let Dr Kafeel Khan file defamation charges against these channels who sat on judgement before any court could do so.

We know government will do nothing as all news channels have been ‘Modified’, the Editors guild has no power and the Press Council is basically an extended body of Ministry for Information and Broadcasting. May be, the courts can take note of it and issue guidelines. It is essential because in the name of media freedom, attempt are being made to influence public opinion, intimidate individuals, influence the courts too. If the news anchors are allowed to sit on judgement then the result will be many more tragedies like Dr Kafeel Khan. We need to seriously ponder over it. All those anchors who lied and played political games by becoming pawns in the hands of their political masters or sponsors, must be made accountable and must clarify their position. Their editors must respond and a mere apology on the last page or a small scrolling will not work. Accountability must be fixed and Dr Kafeel Khan must be reinstated honorably as well as compensated fully. He need to seek accountability from those who wanted to trap him and finish his career to fulfill their ulterior political motives.

Let us hope those in power do not resort to further which-hunt to deny Dr Kafeel Khan his well deserved due.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social activist. Twitter @freetohumanity


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One Comment

  1. More than the control over media, there should be some check on random arrests without obvious evidence.. Police may summon, take bond but why to keep in jail and waste time and give torture