Press Council of India
Indian Express is letting itself down so badly on the ethics of journalism that it’s a cause for concern for its loyal readers, more so since the Press Council of India (PCI) and Editors’ Guild appears an acquiescing party due to its silence.
Indian Express has a bottom-spread on its Monday’s Delhi edition where excerpts of film-maker Vishal Bhardwaj’s comments at Express Adda are quoted. The headline states: “TV News comedy circus…maybe Cinema must tell truth” (attributed to Bhardwaj).
However, Bharadwaj’s quote in the text-copy of the story states: “…present-day journalism…feels like a comedy show, it’s like a comedy circus.” Nowhere, Bhardwaj mentions TV news. He mentions present-day journalism. The readers have no way of knowing if Bhardwaj didn’t have Indian Express itself in mind, for all you know.
I suggest readers to read the full story. Real quotes are added and subtracted to expand or reduce the newspaper’s own agenda/interpretation. For example, see this para below:
That was one of Bollywood’s most political filmmakers, Vishal Bhardwaj, opening up at the Express Adda Friday on why the industry hesitates to speak up when political controversies impact mainstream films such as Ae Dil E Mushkil, which faced calls for bans due to the casting of a Pakistani actor, and Padmavat, which withstood protests for its portrayal of Rajput queen Padmavati.
I have no way of knowing if Bhardwaj did take the name of films such as Ae Dil E Mushkil or Padmavat to make his point (for the full interview would only appear later this week) or whether the newspaper is adding this name to buttress its point/agenda. The above para of the newspaper insinuates he did though I seriously doubt so.
Same is the case in another front page story Indian Express has on Monday, headlined: Godhra line in book: FIR against four for “misleading students on beloved PM.” This is on an academic book in circulation in Assam.
Just looking at this headline, it would appear the state is trying to muzzle the freedom of speech, neutrality of academic-text books, all because PM Narendra Modi has been portrayed in poor light.
Indian Express, in its report, doesn’t touch the concerned “line in book” till they are in the second-half of the story. The first half is all about a “well-known…90-year-old renowned publisher” and a description of three authors who have been “heads of political science department” of established colleges in Assam. (Shades of a certain retired son of a headmaster in the Valley by the name of Burhan Wani).
So here comes the relevant para on Godhra in the book which offended a couple of citizens enough to file an FIR against the authors and publishers:
“In this incident (burning of coach) 57 persons died including women and children. On the suspicion that Muslims were behind the incident, next day Muslims were mercilessly attacked in different parts of Gujarat. This violence continued for over a month and over a thousand people were killed. Most of those killed were Muslims. Significantly at the time of the violence, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government was a silent spectator. Morever, there were allegations that the state administration helped the Hindus.”
Now let’s look at the FIR which states: “It’s well-known to you that Special Investigation Team (Sit) under the supervision of Supreme Court gave clean-sheet on PM Narendra Modi (sic) dated September 12, 2011, on the issue.”
Aren’t the complainants appear rightful on all counts to go ahead and file the FIR? By terming Modi government as silent spectator, aren’t authors suggesting complicity even as the Supreme Court gave a verdict to the contrary, giving clean chit to Modi, no less than seven years back? Doesn’t such mis-representation would only potentially lead to Hindu-Muslims tensions, may be communal clash and certainly a polarization between the two largest religious groups in the country? And what about the innocent children who are thus poisoned by half-truths? In a state, as sensitive to Hindu-Muslim polarization as Assam is?
Not a day passes by when I don’t read such reports in Indian Express which makes me squirm in my chair. As a practicing journalist, I see one guiding hand behind the reporters, sub-editors, headline-givers and positioning of stories on front-pages making them work in sync in antipathy to BJP/RSS. Whosoever this hand is: An activist editor, his employer and his leanings, or the forces keeping the newspaper in an ideological bind or otherwise, the fact is, it is anything but journalism. And that’s a betrayal most heinous to its readers by any newspaper in circulation.
On the HRD’s move on “fake news”, now jettisoned, the strategy of Mainstream Media (MSM) has been two-pronged: One, it’s an assault on freedom of press (yawn); two, government must define what’s “news’.
The second defence is a stonewalling lawyer’s argument and it fittingly it has come from Manish Tewari who is from the Congress stable of Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Sanghvi (the names say it all).
So what’s “news”? News is information. If it is not truthfully reported, it’s “fake news”. One wonders why Tewari, once an Information minister, never came to ask the media houses: “Sirs and Madams, that you are in the business of news, what does news really amount to?” Wish somebody had asked him while he was in the minister’s chair: “Sir, what do you think is news”. Mr Minister himself would’ve escorted the journo out of the door. (As an aside, imagine worrying about the freedom of press when not being able to define news as per se!).
So the idea is, if you can’t define what’s news, how would you define what’s “fake news”? This jugglery was meant to stonewall and embarrass Smriti Irani. Tiwari and presstitutes of course would take no note of a number of fake news which appear on MSM daily and which OpIndia so brilliantly clubbed together recently.
Don’t expect presstitutes to come clean when caught with pants down. It runs to Press Council of India (PCI) for every speck of dust in the eye. But when the PCI chairman sees value in government’s move, the rogues of the stable—that’s mainstream media—don’t publish it.
These rogues are not obliged to any regulatory measure.
These shameless feel no accountability towards their readers.
They wouldn’t care to inform you that accredited journalists do not amount to entire community.
These thugs won’t tell you that the charm of being “accredited journalists” are the perks and benefits which comes with the tag.
Only if the Editor’s Guild of India and News Broadcasters Association were under the RTI, we would’ve known how many, IF ANY, transgressions of mainstream media in all these years these two august bodies have censored. Or whether the only time they clear their throat is when they cry “Assault on Freedom of Press.”
Where all this jockeying leaves the readers? No better than vegetables in the eyes of the presstitutes. Freedom of press? My foot. Freedom to loot and subvert; and scavenge on dead is more like it.
And India can go to hell.
Indian Express ran a front page story on Tuesday with the screaming headline: “Maya to Party: Back SP again in coming bypolls…” Times of India, the same day, ran the headline “Maya won’t support SP in bypolls.” One of them for sure is lying.
It doesn’t take long to detect who’s lying. The Times of India story is based on a press statement by the BSP. It’s exact words are: “BSP will not activiate its cadres in any bypolls in future, the way it did it in Gorakhpur and Phulpur.” The backdrop of these developments is the upcoming bypolls in Kairana and Noorpur assembly seats in UP.
Yet Indian Express has completely ignored the press statement. It’s telling its readers—in line with it’s primary function of propaganda abroad—of a communion between the two “warring kingdoms” even though a schism has occurred. (Meanwhile, it’s gleefully jumping up and down in concocting a schism between Reserve Bank of India and the government as its second front page lead).
So create schism where none exist and bury a schism where it does exist!!! Who bells the cat? Surely not your sanctimonious Editors’ Guild or Press Council of India!
Mayawati may change her mind and support SP in UP bypolls in coming days. But that’s a different matter altogether. The issue for the moment is that Indian Express willfully spikes a story which shows not all is well between “babua and bua.” It also ignores Mayawati chiding an “immature Akhilesh Yadav” for SP’s devious role in the recent Rajya Sabha poll.
Meanwhile Indian Express, which catches even a sneeze of the “piddi”, completely ignores the words of Ranjan Chowdhury. The West Bengal Congress chief has plainly said that “Mamata Benerjee is an opportunist leader.” Chowdhary has claimed that Mamata can’t be trusted as anti-BJP voice. He has cited the instance of Mamata siding with Telangana Rashtriya Samithi (TRS) which in turn supports BJP inside the Parliament. He has accused Ms Banerjee of inviting BJP in West Bengal in the first place, “who espoused the policy that BJP was not untouchable;” and during her regime “hundreds of RSS shakahas were opened.” Chowdhury further says: “In future, if she thinks she will gain more benefit by allying with BJP, she will do it.”
Tellingly, Chowdhury says: “Mamata is aspirational and wants to become the PM. She does not express her desire in words but her actions make her ambition amply clear.”
So there you are: BSP doesn’t trust SP; Congress doesn’t trust Mamata; one part of the left says join Congress, the other says don’t. And we have Congress declaring in plain words—in the words of Chowdhury—that all “the regional parties want is to ensure that they are able to extract their pounds of flesh whoever comes to power. Or, if they are lucky somebody can become a Chandrashekhar or Deve Gowda (as PM).” Chowdhury’s words betray the Congress anxiety in case Rahul Gandhi misses out on Prime Ministership.
So this is the bunch of opportunist opposition who don’t care a hoot about what happens to you or me or to this country. All they want is to extract their “pounds of flesh,” as Chowdhury says. Yet our English mainstream media is swooning over the Grand Alliance in offing.
I mean how shameless could they really get!
(This is a reprint from NewsBred)
Bharatiya Janata Party Rajya Sabha MP, Ravindra Kishore Sinha, has sought Privileges Proceedings against top brass of Indian Express, namely, (a) Vivek Goenka, chairman; (b) Rajkamal Jha, chief editor; (c) Ritu Sarin and (d) Shyamlal Yadav on its “motivated attempt to tarnish his reputation” via expose on “Paradise Papers” on November 6, 2017.
In a letter written to Venkaiah Naidu, Chairman, Rajya Sabha, published as an advertisement in newspapers on Wednesday, Sinha has accused Indian Express of “unethical journalism…in the name of freedom of the press.”
Indian Express had alleged that Sinha was “illegally associated with (a) an offshore company, viz SIS Asia Pacific Holding Limited (SAPHL), incorporated in Malta; (b) that his nomination papers of Rajya Sabha election in 2014 didn’t declare his interest in offshore entities.
In his detailed letter/advertisement, Sinha has pointed out
- Malta has an approved jurisdiction of full Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with India and doesn’t amount to “tax evasion, money laundering or any malafide intent”;
- His holding company recently underwent “in-depth scrutiny by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)…covering all regulations, including the Companies Act, Income Tax Act, SCRA, Stamp Act, FIPB, FEMA etc…no deficiency was found in terms of compliance.”
- Rajya Sabha nomination form requires only “provisions of details of Assets and Liabilities of which I am the owner or direct beneficiary” which is not true in Sinha’s case (see the full advertisement in pic).
Sinha’s anguish stems from a clearly “vested interest” of Indian Express in publishing the report—and a sneering a mocking version of it online—which he termed as “misleading and devoid of facts,” despite Sinha having shared the details with Indian Express !
Over to Sinha:
“These facts were transparently shared with the Indian Express team prior to publication of the news report. Despite that, they have carried the misleading report devoid of facts and indulged in reputation assassination for vested interests.”
“If the Indian Express claims to be the beacon of independent journalism, why are they not targeting other reputed public figures such as Sachin Pilot, P. Chidambaram, Pinarayi Vijayan etc who have all been named in the ICU Paradise Papers?”
“The Indian Express report is unethical journalism in the name of freedom of the press/freedom of speech and is motivated attempt to tarnish my reputation built over decades. It is extremely sad to see the high standards of neutral and independent journalism set by Ramnath Goenka being destroyed under the current editorial leadership.”
In one word: Damning!!!
One doesn’t know if Sinha tried to put this advertisement in Indian Express for it’s not in its today’s edition. Or, if he did and failed in his attempt. Still, the matter is now in public domain and Express would’ve to come up with an explanation.
At least the Privilege Proceedings against Indian Express is being sought for. Whether Editors’ Guild of India reacts to it is a guess as good as yours as mine. Press Council of India, a Central Statutory Authority, under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting—Mrs Smriti Irani being at the helm—surely should step in as Fake News in Mainstream Media—Lutyens’ Media—is more rampant than ever.
Not a day passes when Indian Express doesn’t peddle in Fake News. The latest to catch my attention was on Sunday, the slug of which read: “Accused working with NTPC as contract employee.” (see pic). This is with reference to a juvenile accused in the murder of Mohammad Akhlaq in a Dadri village two years ago.
Now who is the accused juvenile? Express doesn’t name him. Now how do they know it? There is another accused juvenile who said so to the newspaper. And what’s the name of this source-accused-juvenile? Express doesn’t name him either.
Maybe the newspaper is following the decent practice of not naming a juvenile till the charges against him is proved. (Never mind though the newspaper went to town in naming five “suspects”—or Sanatan Sanstha–for killing Gauri Lankesh which even the Special Investigating Team (SIT) know nothing about!).
NTPC promptly came up with an official rejoinder within a few hours of the Indian Express story. Pankaj Saxena, spokesperson for NTPC, Dadri, said as for juvenile accused being offered job “…none of them have been employed.”
This Express “rocket” had been launched on a carefully prepared communal ground. Express links the story to the BJP MLA of the constituency, Tejpal Nagar, for recommending a job. Recommending the job to the accused? No, but to the ‘bhabhi” of the accused! And is the “bhabhi” employed by the NTPC? No. Then who the hell is this accused juvenile who is working with the NTPC as contract employee about whom the newspaper has gone to the town? And about whom the BJP MLA is somehow projected as favouring in the background?
After naming BJP MLA Tejpal Nagar as favouring the family of this ghost-of-a-juvenile-accused, the Indian Express states that the NTPC hires locals “through a contractor, in this case an MLA.” A non-suspecting, gullible reader would immediately presume that Tejpal Nagar and this MLA are the same person. But “an MLA” is not “the MLA” and thus the Indian Express cleverly has covered its tracks, without dousing the insinuation.
In a rush to pull the wool over its’ readers eyes, Express doesn’t follow some basic journalistic principles. It makes no effort to explain what is an NTPC in this four-column story. NTPC is an acronym of National Thermal Power Corporation.
Predictably, Indian Express doesn’t carry the official rejoinder of NTPC in its today’s edition. May be it would in days to come or spin a new fantasy. The Fake Train of Indian Express keeps hurtling down its rubbery track at a breakneck speed every day without a care in the world for journalistic ethics or its paying readers or worrying about the censure from the Press Council of India. It remains un-derailed for the laws of this land have its hands full with the stains of a firecracker. Who has the time to be a vigilante on Holy Cows of Lutyens’ Media?
(Facebook has set out 10 tools to check Fake News. A few give-aways are headlines, source, evidence and photos. Indian Express on Thursday’s edition has been found out in peddling a Fake News).