Our constitution has given enough rights and powers to our journalists and media at large to question anyone at anytime including the most powerful and influential people of the India. Ironically, today’s media is run by a bunch of people who eat and drink with politicians and are powerful, arrogant and capable enough to change the perception about anything in the society.
Today’s TV anchors act like superstars, who are the only sane voice to pronounce the right and wrong in every issue. And they are actually superstars because channels no more run on news, they run on faces and the amount of drama and chaos these faces make.
Having said that, I will come straight to the point.
Hoping nobody is unaware about the JNU row, let us go straight to the Kanhaiya Kumar issue. The guy is a 28 years old ‘doctoral’ student from a small town in Bihar, who was arrested on the charges of sedition and beaten brutally inside the court premises after a video went viral in which he was allegedly making anti-India statements. The video was run repeatedly on leading news channels including Times Now (channel which claims to be the nation’s voice from the top of it’s voice on every weekday night) and Zee News (the most nationalist Hindi news channel of India) without checking its authenticity and source. And later the video was proved to be doctored by other rival channels including ABP News and India Today TV.
Since the day video was found out to be doctored and vicious, I am expecting an apology from the channels at fault. But, what they did instead is stopped telecasting the fake video with grim silence and business is as usual for them. Where have your ‘journalistic ethics’ disappeared?
Today, there was an article published in The Hoot, a media watchdog organisation citing how “How Zee TV fuelled state action against JNU students”. The report has categorically stated how the local police filed FIRs on the basis of the video footage made available by the Zee TV when the Delhi police was itself present at the event a day before. And later today, a resignation letter of the Zee News producer Vishwa Deepak has clearly exposed the pro-BJP campaign of the channel.
The Prime Time show of Ravish Kumar aired on 19 February 2016 is the naked truth which media conveniently avoids every single day. It’s also important to note that the various ‘self watchdog’ bodies made by the media are mute spectators of this bizarre show of arrogance and power by news channels.
Problem is the unprecedented rise of BJP in national politics has made ABVP more arrogant and careless in its actions. What the BJP students’ body now aims is to have control of the campuses having the Left ideology and it has got the backing of some of the most influential media houses thanks to its parent party. It has resulted in a Dalit’s suicide in the recent past and now a poor student is jailed on the charges of sedition. It’s like now neither they can’t swallow it nor they can’t spill it. Accepting the mistake and apologising will make them look like they screwed up and getting out of it with a scapegoat will be like repeating the Hyderabad incident all over again. And prosecuting Kanhaiya Kumar will make him a bigger hero and eventually courts will set him free from sedition charges because he hasn’t done anything ‘anti-national’ at first place. So, its better to brazen it out and eat an entire aviary of crows.
And the people in question here are not only media people and the political leaders, it is the police too. How can you arrest a person on the basis of a fake video that too on the charge of sedition? It wasn’t your responsibility to get the video verified by forensic experts to check its authenticity before making the arrest?
That being said, we are living in very dangerous times where hyper-nationalists are living with the nationalism on their sleeves. A time where a smallest voice of dissent is called anti-national. A time where criticising the government is termed as anti-national, when the same government in power has criticised the previous government for a decade without being called anti-national ever. A time where having a different political opinion is considered the opinion of an anti-national.
Let me tell. There is a silent MAJORITY of people who are nationalists in every way and they will never ever say how patriotic they feel whenever they see our national flag or every time they listen to the national anthem, it gives them goosebumps.
Their silence is golden for this chaos and nobody can decide the barometer of their nationalism.