As the youth of the country are reclaiming their voices of dissent and putting it loud on the streets, the fourth pillar of Indian democracy, like always, is busy building false narratives and giving altered angles to facts and events. The mainstream Indian media, especially Hindi News Channels, is leaving no stone unturned to secure their places on the laps of their masters sitting on the throne.
The University students are at the forefront of the fight against CAA-NRC-NPR and have awakened the political and social souls of the countrymen. They have sparked protests all across the country and turned it into a nationwide movement. This is so obvious that mainstream Indian Media that acts as a PR machinery of the ruling government would try its best to somehow discredit and defame these student movements. For doing that, they have special skills which have been successful in the past.
Put the blame on victim
On 15 December 2019, the day when violence broke in Jamia Millia Islamia, most of the news channels barring few, were focusing on one bus that was burnt in the protests deliberately ignoring the injuries, assault & torture done on the students allegedly by Delhi Police. Social media was flooded with video evidence proving the brutality of Delhi Police but channels shifted the narrative and put all the blame on students. The selective coverage of the whole incident was a clear proof that how Indian mainstream media channels want to frame peaceful protesting students as “violent mobs attacking on peaceful policemen.”
Label the students as ‘Brainwashed Indoctrinated Youth’
Remember how the youth of Kashmir were constantly called as brainwashed, radicalised, stone-pelters on prime time TV shows. Taking lessons from that, they did the same with the students protests in rest of India. Sudhir Chaudhary of Zee News ran a full episode of how AAP and Congress are polluting the young minds and persuading them to be on the streets as if the Young India doesn’t have a brain of their own. News18 had a headline for its show which said, “Chhatron ke kando par kiski siyasi bandook.” They wanted to frame the young and educated students as political pawns. The famous ‘Nationalist’ Journalist of India, Founder of Republic TV made a point that why only students are protesting. Who is brainwashing them? Maybe he forgot the fact that students are protesting because they are educated. Chairman of Sudarshan News went on to an extent on Twitter that he called the students of Jamia ‘Poisonous Snakes.’
Give it an angle of Islamic Extremism
After around a month of violence in Jamia, students were protesting in front of the VC Office to file an FIR against the Delhi Police. Channels like Times Now selectively took one clip where there was slogan of Intifada Inquilab and called the protest as Non-secular and Unconstitutional. The main agenda behind this was to strengthen the toxic Islamophobia that has already ingrained in the minds of the people. The slogans like La illaha Ilallah were called ‘communal slogans‘ and even the legendary poetry of famous writer of the 20th century who was supposedly an ‘Atheist‘ was called as Islamic Extremism.
Brand them as Anti-Nationalist and part of Tukde-Tukde Gang
This is a year old technique of these channels to simply discredit the protesters and spread jingoism and verbal violence on their TV shows. This had started with JNU and now reached to AMU and Jamia. I guess it was easier to brand AMU and Jamia because of the fact that both of them are Muslim-majority university. Though the students didn’t let them succeed by wearing secularism and reclaimed nationalism on their sleeves. Sudhir Chaudhary of Zee News also suggested to shift universities like JNU to Siachen or any other hill area so that students become ‘Nationalistic.’ That brings us to the same old debate – What is Nationalism? Shweta Singh of Aaj Tak, the anchor very claiming nano-technology in 2000-rupee note, applied the same old funda of bringing the issue of taxpayers to discredit the students’ movement ignoring the basic maths and science of taxes in India.
One may think of boycotting these channels but can’t ignore their reach. These channels have a large viewership and their weekly ratings are the proof. The Digital Media or one or two TV channels that aim to present all sides of the story cannot wish away the poison, hatred and communalism spread on TV every day. The fourth pillar of Indian democracy is largely rotten and with its poisonous broadcast and selective coverage will rot the whole democracy too.
Aman Singh from TJR
The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Jamia Review or its members.