Since 2014, the Indian media evidently got divided into parts. There are battalions of journalists and mainstream media houses that are hell-bent on proving how Modi is the only appropriate Prime minister of India and how there is no other choice if not he. On the other hand, there is an opposite brigade of Media, which has strained all the guns to expose and attack Modi and his government.
Apart from these two categories, there are some rare journalists, who are no supporters of any political party but they make Modi and his ministers accountable for all those things they promised, they expose the government for all that wrong they did and they equally stand by the ruling government when worth appreciating things happening. They are the media people who follow no ideology; a party of political person or propaganda, their simple agendas are media, news, and ethical journalism. These rare species in the media are not liked by many or hated by much. They are always in silence and not much regarded for their neutrality because they speak against everyone and they stand by all when it’s worth it. So, this media has no buyer or taker. The other two could grab a lot of fan following and attention due to their attacks on each other’s side.
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Well, there has been a lot of propaganda spread around by the Media and a peculiar influential people’s group. Some media houses have a pro stance on Modi and his work while others never fail to criticize him. Also, the 2002 Riots in Gujarat and the Hindutva Tag attached to BJP has made people feel that BJP and Modi are anti-minority, especially Muslims. The opposition takes advantage of this to create that fear among the minority. Also, the appeasement by the previous governments towards the minority has largely affected the perception of the minorities towards BJP.
But if you look at recent elections, BJP was on toes to please minorities and Congress President Rahul Gandhi was visiting all temples by telling his “Gotra” and displaying his sacred thread. When BJP realized, Hindu sentiments may get hurt they announced a ten percent reservation to the economically poor upper-class community. While political parties were playing their vote games, the Media was playing for TRP. They were going with their pre-set agendas, of fame or defame their counterparts. I strongly believe that Indian media is divided into Pro Modi and Anti Modi groups. The pro-Modi groups leave no chance to abuse the people who criticize Modi based on his work and that is indeed a sad state. The anti-Modi groups on the other hand leave no chance to criticize Modi even though he has done some really good deeds as a Prime Minister of India.
Some Indian media groups served the news in a way that was less news and more of their opinion towards BJP and Modi. For example- in some state, someone killed its opponent in a personal land dispute, but just because the one who got killed was Muslim and the one who murdered was Hindu, the media and social media bigots gave it a shape as minority hate supported by BJP government, just because Modi did not comment on the subject.
On the other hand, if we have to give an example, some Hindu men get accused of illicit activities and victims are also Hindu (for example, their self-declared Godmen), immediately social media groups and Right-wing media publish it as an attack on Hindutva and Hindu saints. There are many such examples, but the point is that news should be a report based on facts but not the fantasy that comes to your mind. Journalists can’t resist making the breaking news out of any shit. If there is no news, they create propaganda against Modi/ for Modi. He once said that even if a puppy is hurt, I feel bad let alone be human beings! Media showed that Modi compared Muslims with puppies. This is how news is baked these days. But if we look at the broader facet of it, the Modi government or its supporters have not tolerated the anti-Modi media brigade, rather not even those who make constructive criticism, because BJP and its supporters cannot handle criticism. To counter such audiences, voices, and viewers there were new additions to the ever-growing Indian media.
The launch of the much-talked Republic TV channel anchored by Arnab Goswami in May 2017 is assigned to shut opinions, till today he is doing his job as a loyal combatant to BJP. Over screaming Arnab plays his role as BJP and PM’s mouthpiece. To beat Arnab, other prime time television anchors of Indian mainstream media are following his footsteps. Meanwhile, on the other side, these additions to the existing avalanche of channels, newspapers, and online portals in the country will witness the return of several so-called high profiles and established journalists like Barkha Dutt, Karan Thapar, Punya Prasun Bajpai Abhisar Sharma, and many others who are familiar to the television viewers. What has heightened the interest in the media and political circles about these new additions to the mushrooming Indian media is that politicians are backing many of these ventures for their own motives. These both side channels have become mouthpieces keeping the journalism at bay.
Also read: BJP subdued on Republic’s TRP scam? Republic TV to file a criminal defamation case against Mumbai police commissioner
Considering that the general elections are around the corner in just a few months it is not surprising these new entrants are being launched at this juncture to make the most of the charged atmosphere and the political drama that is expected to unfold. Scandalous journalist Barkha Dutt is making a grand comeback to the electronic media as its prime anchor along with Karan Thapar, another known name in Indian journalism through Harvest TV a 24-hour English news channel. High-profile Congress politician Kapil Sibal is funding the channel.
Barkha Dutt who served NDTV for over two decades quit the channel under controversial circumstances in January last year. Other prominent television journalists such as Seemi Pasha and Vineet Malhotra, former India Today and former Times Now respectively, are also said to be part of the new channel and will vie for the viewer’s attention. A Hindi channel will soon follow after the launch of the English Channel. The channel is owned by Veecon Media, which has secured licenses for English, Hindi, and regional language channels. The channel has promised to ‘provide space for an alternative narrative without being jingoistic’.
Arnab Goswami’s Republic launched with a big bang and landed in the TRP rigging scandal. Arnab is known for his incomparable style of anchoring in his Republic channel with the decibel levels reaching feverish pitch often and the channel has its own band of followers. It remains to be seen whether the channel is going to continue with a similar style of anchoring in the Hindi channels also. With the entry of the Republic Hindi TV, the Hindi television media, which is presently dominated by the likes of Aaj Tak, Zee News, and India TV, there is going to be a real media battle for supremacy. Hemanth Sharma, another known face in Hindi television who was part of India TV, is also said to be launching a Hindi channel for the TV9 group with the support of other television journalists like Vinod Kapri and Ajit Anjum. Hemanth Sharma who quit India TV following differences with Rajat Sharma.
The print media is not left behind either. Media conglomerate Network 18, the promoters of CNN News18 and the promoters of the web portal Firstpost, launched its first weekly newspaper with the same name on the Republic Day with Praveen Swamy as editor. Well, 2020’s Bihar and West Bengal elections are all about the media, but remember you the voters may not be in power but hold controls and ask questions to the government and they are obligated to answer us.
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