CORONA SE DARO NA, PAR PK SE DARO
From govt to media – More afraid of naming Punjab Kesri than of Coronavirus!
- kanwar manjit singh
From govt to media – More afraid of naming Punjab Kesri than of Coronavirus!



 
YOU CANNOT SAY PUNJAB KESRI OR JAGBANI OR HIND SAMACHAR. Bus PK se aage mat jaana...!

What is so goddamn holy about a newspaper office that it cannot be named even if top authorities consider it a possible hotspot, find multiple employees of the newspapers as corona-positive, and press massive government health machinery into contact tracing?

Why is it that newspapers are everyday naming all other companies where multiple number of employees are found virus-positive, are naming families, individuals, even one-year-old babies and six-year-old girls, often publishing photographs of people's houses if officials come to affix a plate outside announcing that they are in quarantine, but suddenly turn sanctimonious about naming a newspaper house?

By now, many employees of this Jalandhar-based newspaper group, Punjab Kesri-Jagbani-Hind Samachar, have been found positive. Test reports of hundreds of employees are awaited. There is a sense of palpable fear in the area. Everybody in the town and his uncle knows.

The Deputy Commissioner, the district police chief all know.

In a town swarming with journalists and teeming with media houses, the brave and the courageous are suddenly incapable of spelling Punjab Kesri. One newspaper, which has been reporting the issue better than others, initially knew how to write "Jagbani", but then suddenly the media house became "Pucca Bagh-based newspaper house".

It may be the most unkind cut for the mighty house of Vijay Kumar Chopra, the king of all he surveyed over decades in Jalandhar, to see his mammoth empire described as a "Pucca Bagh-based newspaper house" but then we are all living in uncommon times.

Lala Ji is yet to say anything about the crisis in the house, but the town is talking in Wuhan-whispers. Sorry, Chinese-whispers. Excuse us for messing up our proverbs. 

But the scare that naming the Punjab Kesri group seems to be very real. Punjab's Special Chief Secretary and the pivotal man in this situation of crisis, close confidant of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Mr. KBS Sidhu, seems to be shaking in his pants while naming the media house.

Sidhu kept on referring to the mass-circulation multi-language print and online newspaper house as a "leading vernacular daily newspaper" but eventually grew some muscle and identified it as PK in his facebook/Twitter accounts. 

With our limited common sensical guessing powers, we take it that the top bureaucrat wanted to say 'Punjab Kesri' but might have opted to limit himself to scribbling a mere 'PK' in the interest of brevity, an immensely appreciable quality not often associated with babus, but may be spelling it out would have proffered some clarity.

The Health Minister has not, and will not, utter the name of this media house, if we know him well.

The other "leading vernacular daily newspaper", Barjinder Singh Hamdard-led Ajit, chose to not hit a rival media house when it was down, and stuck to a professional approach. Industrialist Sheetal Vij-backed Dainik Savera newspaper, which carries some weight in the region at least in terms of numbers if not influence, pursued the story but continued to call it "Pucca Bagh-based newspaper house."

We are not sure that's how the proprietor-editor would have ever imagined his paper being referred to in wider media.

Jalandhar's coronavirus positive cases had clocked 63 by Friday, but the figure does not reflect reality since a large number of test results, the highest in the state for any district, more than one-third for all of Punjab, were still pending. 

Vijay Kumar Chopra
 
Neither the Jalandhar-based media houses nor others in the region have bothered to report whether the management of Punjab Kesri offered all cooperation to the health authorities, whether the media house had taken all steps to maintain social distancing measures, whether all efforts were put in to ensure that those employees who could work from home are asked to do so. One key question still remains for the brave journalists in Jalandhar to ask: had the newspaper stopped biometric attendance system, and if so, on what date?

One would be very interested to know if the Health Minister of Punjab took any step to ensure that all required contain, detect, trace and report actions were taken by the authorities, but so far he has not even opened his mouth to talk about this Pucca Bagh based media house.

Just one 40-year-old employee of this media house, who is a resident of Raja Garden Colony, reportedly spread the infection to 29 more persons. The Indian Express on Saturday, without naming the media house, said "the first case from this media house was reported on April 13."

"Following this, 29 more persons in his chain tested positive in next 11 days till Friday," the Indian Express report said about the Raja Garden resident of Pucca Bagh media house.

Punjab Today has learnt that authorities have by now procured samples of 200 persons related to the Punjab Kesri-Jagbani-Hind Samachar group, and while more need to be tested, the figures of those found positive in Jalndhar make little sense since a large number test reports remain pending.

As per an official bulletin, as of April 24, results of 2,003 of the total 10,611 samples were pending, including 671 of those collected in Jalandhar.

In his signed editorial comment on April 24, editor in chief Vijay Kumar Chopra asked how can we win the "invisible war" against the deadly virus if cops and other corona warriors keep facing attacks.
 
It also hailed the fact that attacking such corona warriors has now been made a non-bailable crime and demanded that it be implemented seriously. 

One wonders if the larger media's stance in "invisiblising" a company by calling it an unnamed "media house" or "PK" helps at a time when multiple employees working in that Pucca Bagh Se Prakashit Akhbar" are either found virus-positive or are suspected carriers.

Post Script: 

While the April 25, 2020 edition of Jagbani did not mention anything about the covid cases found in house, it did report on the front page a completely bogus and fake story about Japanese Nobel laureate Dr Tasuku Honjo claiming that the corona virus was manufactured in a Chinese lab, that he knows this because he has worked for four years in the Wuhan laboratory, that he was fully acquainted with all the staff there, that all the lab technicians in that lab have died,and that if his claim was not proven right, his Nobel prize may be withdrawn.

Not one of the above facts reported by Jagbani on the front page is true. 

Honjo won the Nobel in 2018 for work on cancer therapy, has never worked in the Wuhan laboratory, never called there, did not investigate the virus origin. It is possible that the Pucca Bagh school of journalism might be missing some staff due to a virus and fact-checking was lacking.

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

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Comment by: Sahib singh

The views expressed in this article, are true.

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