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Unbiased media is a Myth in India; if there are BJP workers there are Congress stooges too

Most media moguls also have many other business interests, for which they must always need some obligations or support from the governments of the day.

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The media was never biased towards BJP; rather, there is a big social media and mainstream media group that impatiently attacks BJP and its leaders. The media was always biased towards the ruling party of the time. Since the BJP is ruling India now, the media naturally supports it. The BJP does not control “all” media. That can never happen in a democratic country like India. If it did, you would be living in a dictatorship. If we believed we were living under a dictatorship, I wouldn’t be writing this editorial.

Yes, the BJP influences some media outlets that toe its line. Media, whether print or electronic, is a costly proposition that requires a lot of resources. So when they do not toe the line of the ruling party of the day, the government can and most of the time does try to block the flow of these resources, mostly in the form of advertisement revenue, directly by stopping government advertisements to these non-compliant media and indirectly by inciting other private industries and trade to follow suit. No media house wants or can withstand this for long. When the government changes, even the media changes. But in the near future, Congress will have no such privilege; they really need to fight for their existence by all means.

Most media moguls also have many other business interests, for which they must always need some obligations or support from the governments of the day. So it goes against their grain not to be supportive of the ruling party in their media presentations. Same goes with most of the journalists, who feel it convenient to fall in line either to enjoy some inducements or at least to avoid any harassment in the discharge of their journalistic activity. This applies to all ruling parties, whether the present BJP or the Congress in earlier decades. Only the inducements and threats might be sometimes overt but most of the time more covert and subtle.

Very few media houses and journalists show some spine to stand up for their professional independence and courage of conviction. If the BJP has dedicated media barons as their flag bearers, then we should know that the nexus of Congress is also very strong, as you can’t imagine. They have their people everywhere; even the paid historians who have written the history in the NCERT children’s books are in their favor. They too have their nexus with editors and writers who threw the word like ISI for RSS in the media when Congress was at high pitch.

When Congress was in power, almost all pro-BJP (or even centre-right ideologues) journalists were thrown out of their jobs due to pressure from the ruling party. Many journalists were arrested for their anti-Congress voices. No opposition was ever kind to the media because they blamed them for being the ruling party’s lap dogs. Remember the great venerable Ramnath Goenka, frustrated and broken by repeated I-T raids and ED investigations, who ultimately had to fire Arun Shourie twice from the Indian Express, which was once the best Indian newspaper in the 1970s and 80s? That was the team — Goenka the owner, Shourie the editor, and S. Gurumurthy the fearless journalist—that brought political heavyweights like Indira Gandhi down on her knees and even took on corporate honchos like Dhirubhai Ambani.

Very little centre-right ideology then existed in Indian media, and that too in minor publications. Almost all the mainstream media houses were thoroughly infiltrated and coerced into towing the Congress’ line, sometimes just through ideology and relationships and not even money power.

The Congress party owned and controlled virtually every mainstream media outlet in India, including the Hindustan Times, The Times of India, NDTV, CNN-IBN, The Hindu, Tehelka, Outlook, and others. When the BJP came to power, the first thing they straightened out were anti-BJP campaigners. I have a small media house, which is considered to be a parallel media. We don’t fit into mainstream media either by our reach or by our size, but still, the constructive criticism we make is accepted by the BJP and its leaders. We were never under pressure to speak the truth, be it against the BJP. PM Modi rather volunteered, saying the media should offer constructive criticism so that the ruling party can improvise on various fronts.

There is a stark gap in trust among supporters of political parties in news outlets. Patterns of news consumption differed among supporters of the ruling BJP and opposition parties. It is claimed that most readers of English newspapers support the Congress, while consumers of Hindi news seem to lean towards the BJP. The proportion of individuals that mostly read the newspaper in English is around 3%, but among this tiny segment, the Congress enjoys the most support. This is not the case among readers who read newspapers in other languages.

We have to believe that the Modi government is well received in the Indian news media. The media is made up of people who deal a lot with politics or politicians. And it’s natural that they are still toward one or the other ideology. We are in a very complicated political environment where deciding what is right and what is wrong is difficult. Every event has multiple facets, and it depends on the reporter as to what he sees and what he wants to show. But calling journalists “prestitutes,” “bazaru,” “bikau,” “darbaari,” or party workers is not new in Indian politics. What people need to understand is that they are served what they want to buy, and the media needs to realize that they still need a balance.

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for the past 21 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. Vaidehi has three books in her name, "Sikhism vs Sickism", "Life Beyond Complications" and "Vedanti". She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs.
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