Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Do we need a Press to Hold the Current Socially Dangerous “Press” Accountable?

Earlier, in March this year, a news site started by an ex-NDTV “journalist” announced “Dalit man killed in Gujarat for keeping, riding horse”.  Jha also happens to be the State Coordinator of Social media for the Congress party in Jharkhand.  This post was tweeted by the official handle of the Congress party.

The truth, however, was that this guy used to harass girls and enter into fights with people, which was probably the reason for someone taking the extreme step.  There is no reason why he should have been killed over that and someone should have taken law into his own hands, but that is the nature of crimes between individuals.  Yes, murder was a crime, but not for the reason that it was made out to be.  The narrative that this ex-NDTV journalist’s website and the official handle of Congress sought to peddle was that “Dalits are not safe in India, specially Gujarat”.  Something that did NOT bear from the facts of the case.

There are laws to protect the freedom of the press’s speech, but none that are worth anything to protect the people from the press. 

Mark Twain, “LIcense of the press” March 31, 1873

This tango between Congress and those opposed to BJP and the Indian press – to the extent that the press can peddle unverified, mischievously spun narratives as new is a pandemic now in India. 

In another example, which was used by trolls to ding a Union Minister, Uma Bharati – she was attributed something so obviously different from what she had said.

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Journalists playing Political Games

In a recent example, a journalist who is known for managing the image of his favorite politicians, like how he conspired to promoted Arving Kejriwal in this “interview”, where in the end he promises great results for the politician – got kicked out for peddling relentless fake news.

Here he is in a story which was… yes tweeted by the Congress President, Rahul Gandhi.

Rahul Gandhi tweeting Punya Prasun Joshi’s Fake News

Now, what he showed was a motivated story which used parts of the whole story picking and choosing the elements he wanted.  The real story, which was shared by the woman with PM Modi.

The whole story was full of innuendos and mix and match of narrative without the confirmation from the woman in question.

The correspondent asks her if her income has doubled from the farming of rice (dhaan). Kaushik says, ‘no’. The voiceover says that Chandramani has ‘revealed’ that a team from Delhi had gone there to ‘instruct’ her to answer in a particular manner with the PM and say yes if the question of doubling of income comes up. However, we do no