The news media is often referred to as the fourth estate in a functioning democracy. Brazenness and partisanship of the news media neither astonishes nor shames me anymore. “When asked to bend they crawled”, is how Lal Krishna Advani described the role of the media during Emergency, proclaimed by Mrs. Indira Gandhi of Congress. Devoid of any objectivity, which is a prerequisite to call oneself a journalist, members of the media in Bharat act as cheerleaders of the Government when Congress is at the helm of affairs; and assume the role of a mindless crusader against the Government whenever there is a non-Congress Government at the centre.
During the campaign trail of the Lok Sabha elections, the same media fueled the malicious campaign of propaganda and hate, waged by political and ideological adversaries, against both the BJP and its Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. The media did everything it could to stop Narendra Modi marching towards Delhi; if one relied solely on the media, the paranoia of certain ‘journalists’ and ‘public intellectuals’ would have made him/her believe that ‘If Modi becomes PM… aag lag jayegi’! Nevertheless, rejecting the propaganda of paranoia and politics of fear psychosis, the people of Bharat overwhelmingly voted in favour of the NDA and gave BJP a decisive mandate to govern for the next five years.
It took a while for the media to recover from the severe setback of 16th May, 2014 and re-launch the propaganda of deceit and paranoia. Almost a hundred days! They began with the black-money. Notwithstanding the facts that no leader of the BJP ever said that they would bring back black-money within 100 or 150 days of forming a government at the centre and the first cabinet decision of the Modi Government was to set up a Special Investigation Team to hunt for all the black-money stashed abroad, the media has been working in cahoots with Congress to needlessly attack the government over it. So-called anti-corruption crusaders, e.g. Anna Hazare too have joined the bandwagon despite ongoing efforts to prosecute black-money hoarders by the SIT and sincere efforts of the government to curb the menace of black-money. Then they attacked the Modi government over The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015. However, such attacks failed to deplete the popular support for the Modi government or tarnish its image; hence a propaganda of fear psychosis was launched.
It all began with casual rumblings of religious intolerance, towards so-called religious minorities, having been ramped up right after 16th May, 2014. The agenda is clear- to paint the government at the centre as intolerant and fascist! The message is also obvious- to showcase so-called religious minorities being under siege. Despite Law & Order being the state subject, BJP was dragged into the Saharanpur riots between Muslims and Sikhs in order to cover-up the Muslim aggression which led to these riots and inept handling of situation by the state government. An honest and upright journalist Gaurav C Sawant was publicly rebuked by a controversial journalist Rajdeep Sardesai, notorious for abusing and assaulting an NRI at Madison Square Garden, New York, for asking a few bold questions vis-a-vis Saharanpur riots. Sawant was forced to retract and to delete his tweets. When Trilokpuri riots broke out, media in cahoots with the Aam Aadmi Party alleged that BJP perpetrated those riots in order to polarize bye-elections in Delhi and electorally capitalize from the polarization without even a shred of any evidence.
A new dimension was added to this propaganda of deceit when the media went on and on with the story of churches in Delhi being vandalized and ascribing some pattern to such incidents, despite Delhi Police dismissing the possibility of any such pattern. The propaganda of paranoia took a bizarre turn when attempts were made to ascertain that ‘Ghar wapsi was the motive behind Ranaghat attack’, the unfortunate incident of a gang rape of an elderly Christian nun. Without even a shred of any evidence and fathomable logic! When the findings of investigation agencies broke out, that all gang-rape accused were Muslims whose activities were traced to Bangladesh, those who were holding Ghar wapsi responsible for the incident of gang-rape mysteriously went silent. Nevertheless, no one, including the National Commission for Women, had time to hear the plea of a Hindu Sadhvi, of Ramkrishna Mission, who was brutally gang-raped a day before the gang-rape incident with the elderly Christian nun. The Sadhvi in question, when she went to the police station to lodge an FIR against her culprits, was asked by the West Bengal Police to compromise with her rapists, instead of being assured of prompt action.
The issue here is skewed coverage of events and incidents and deliberate concealing of the truth! The media went hyperventilating when the office of Holy Child Auxilium School of Delhi was allegedly vandalized and a theft of merely 8000 rupees took place. The PM had to summon the Commissioner of Delhi Police, under the media pressure. Repeated assurances of security were issued by the government, followed by prompt actions. Nobody ever cared to ask what happened to those 206 temples and 30 gurdwaras which also were ATTACKED in the year 2014! Talking about the year 2015, 14 temples and 5 gurdwaras had been attacked at the time this data was released.
Nobody is bothered about incidents of theft in Hindu temples. The casual attitude of media, when it comes to Hindu temples, is evident from the reportage of such incidents. Nobody feels outraged over incidents of theft, robbery or vandalism when it comes to Hindu temples!
So what exactly is under siege? The truth is under siege, credibility of journalists is under siege, the trust of readers/viewers upon media houses is under siege, the reputation of a vibrant democracy is under siege! Above all, the leftover mutual trust between communities is under siege. So I ask of you – Will you protect the truth from predators?