“A free press is the cornerstone of democracy; there is no question about that- Hugh Grant”
It all started with NDTV Income tax raids and the drug which is nationalism which seems to be the order of the day on both English and Hindi news channels even though it is more like they have turned into entertainment channels. The whole idea was to isolate the viewer on nationalism issue and for them to make believe that it is their channel which is more patriotic and is the ‘real Indian channel’.
Now, there are other issues which a Government can focus on apart from the primetime shouting at Pakistani panelists whom these channels pay well. Imagine getting paid for being shouted at. A closer analysis if one could do on these channels is shocking since when it comes to Pakistan or Kashmir they are at their worst. In journalism we are told to look at facts and opinions are a strict no-no, however, as soon as you step into a studio one has to shout to gain viewership and advertisements. ‘The Indian media has never been so divided’, a senior journalist noted in solidarity with NDTV.
Now the argument of Right wing or North Korean Media has been that ‘a journalist should always be a nationalist’ said Arnab Goswami in his opening comments when his channel Republic TV was launched with support from NDA V-C of Kerala Rajeev Chandreshekhar. When Yogi Adityanath became chief minister of U.P, the Hindi news media was all gaga over the CM for logic’s sake he is a chief minister not your Chairman ? Since then the adulation of the CM has not stopped partly maybe because most of Hindi Media is in U.Ps Noida . The Pakistan and opposition bashing has become 24X7 without any semblance of reason war-mongering and constant praise for Prime Minister and hate for opposition. Does opposition take economic decisions?. The most notable outburst was on Major Leethul Gogoi issue. The hyper-yelling, copy-cat yelling, some yelling are few of the terms they can be categorised with. These English channels include Times Now, Republic TV who incidentally also command highest viewership among their peers just like Fox News of the United States. A notable trend in these channels were they picked their issues from Twitter and other social media and that maybe one of the reasons for high viewership.
The argument of liberal or Lutyens media is that, Journalism is purely based on facts and not opinion. Hyper-nationalism should never be the order of the day and criticism from the Government should be the batch of honour for a journalist since Media and Government are ‘Frenemies’ if not anything else. The coverage on these channels is much more mild and initiates a logical thought process .There is some amount of Pakistan bashing but in less measure. The most sober channel is NDTV where there is no shouting no heckling just plain debate and news . When you turn on NDTV it is so sane that it’s like nothing even happened. Not that I am a fan of the aforementioned network but rationale in foreign policy debates is certainly required. It is also said that these are Anti-India, Anti-Modi, Anti-National channels . These channels include NDTV, News18, India Today.
In the end one can only conclude that divide in the media is so visible that it is only benefitting Government of the day, the hounding of opposition to please masters is a short term and opportunistic move and must be resisted from. Lets hope that media is the watchdog of Government and not the other way round.
Perhaps, Thought of switching to print media will be more sensible than shouting matches with talking heads ?