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Monday, October 06, 2008

IBN7 Hindi News Channel: Journalism or preaching prejudices!

It is no longer a joke if you say that 24 hr TV channel is a monster. Firstly, it has to telecast something round the clock and then also ensure that the TRPs don't fall. But one does expect some basic ethics of journalism to be followed even in the process of grabbing eyeballs.

Ironically, IBN7, a Hindi News channel, seems to have lost all sense of propriety even though it is headed by a senior journalist Ashutosh, who has a credibility.


I am forced to write, as for weeks I have been witnessing how the 'opinionated reporters and anchors' of this channel are trying to poison the minds of people and fan communal hatred.

On Monday, I was shocked to hear the views of the anchor Sandeep Chaudhary in the discussion programme 'Mudda'. Though a seasoned journalist, he appeared convinced when he thundered that why 'liberal Indian Muslims don't speak up against terrorism'.

Doesn't he know that we do hold innumerable protests but not one does his channel show. When Chhamman Miyan holds protest, it is not mentioned. We don't own newspapers and channels and so blogs and sites are our sole media to express our anguish.

After every act of terrorism, on umpteen blogs, Muslims condemn it. Dozens of times I have written on my blog and every other guy is doing it. Can't you see it. When lakhs of Muslims sent curse to terrorists in an extraordinary event, you don't report it.

What do we do? Chaudhary Sahab, besides the fact that you are not aware and don't bother to read, you are doing great injustice by spreading canards and repeating the allegations of right-wing groups. Your attitude during the whole debate clearly showed that you are not at all receptive, not ready to listen and asked questions that were bordering on hatespeak: that's unfair journalism.

You have a power, so you should act responsibly. Delhi alone has half-a-dozen Urdu papers and I wonder you ever get a copy at your office. You can have a translator and get the reports translated to know, how much Muslims are anguished by the terrorism, as we find it most difficult to get a house or job after such events.

The irony is that a same set of panelists appear on these shows. It's not for diverse views but for 'heated exchanges' so that the TRPs soar. Whenever the anchor is uncomfortable, he will force the guy to stop and ask another person to reply or simply fire a fresh question, jump to another topic or say, 'let's meet after break'. He has no accountability.

You can see the show at the website of IBN 7 at IBN Khabar.

It is strange to see how the anchors are speaking the language of BJP and VHP. 'Vote bank politics'. Isn't every politics about votes? Doesn't BJP do it, when it aims to fan communal feelings, as it wants polarisation and in turn aims at 'Hindu vote bank'?

Then there was the same issue of madarsas (though now it seems techies are involved). Yaa, for godsake understand that if one madarsa guy is involved you can't simply demonize the lakhs of madarsas in India, just because you have borrowed the terminology of United States. The topic of the debate in the programme Mudda was 'Aatankvad and Musalman'. Again linking Islam directly to terror.

Even in coutries of Europe where Muslims haven't been living for over a century, there is much sensitivity. Bhai, sab ko gaali doge to kyaa faida hoga. I am writing on blog, the guy who doesn't have a blog and is equally anguished will stop watching TV, get more cynical as his letter to paper may not be published and lose faith in media.

If you are doing an analysis, you can still write that. But when you say it news that 'No stricter laws because of vote bank politics', you simply put the blame on entire Indian Muslim community, as if they are soft on terror.

And this was what IBN 7's Shirish Srivastava was emphatically doing just ten days back. I have got nothing against you or your channel. But the fact that millions watch your channel and such prejudiced views lead to increased communalism and hatred in society.

People trust media and when mediamen air such prejudiced views, it hurts the nation. Yes, Muslims are doing inward looking and are condemning terror and also ready to fight it, but don't judge the 150 million Indian Muslim community on the basis of the actions of a few or pronounce a verdict.

It is unfortunate that a news channel needs this lecture. In times of turbulence we ought to be more careful but it seems you are getting swayed away faster than the common man.

Though I am nobody. I can ask much tough questions but I don't. You guys should also do an inward looking and introspection that what service you are doing to nation by airing such views that only end up hurting a community by your stereotypes and biased charges.

Where has objectivity got lost? Even Ashutosh's post on this subject on his blog on IBN7 website isn't mature enough. He also airs the same views and praised his anchor, who only airs one-sided views.[Jamia Milia Islamia professor Aalam Anwar has meanwhile written a reply to Ashutosh's blog post, which has been published on CNN-IBN (English) channel's website.]

Thank God, the channel doesn't reach entire rural India else they could have ran riots by the reporting. When such programmes get repeated, and are shown all the time with similar biased views, even the most unbiased ordinary person will get affected.

Maun ham nahi saadh rahe. Aap pura sach nahi bol rahe.

Post script:
News channels like Aajtak, Star News and others are again playing up the 'votebank' issue over statements of politicians demanding judicial inquiry.

No one is belittling the death of Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma, but the fact remains that these TV channels are so upset that a martyr [shaheed] is being dragged in controversy after death, but have no concern that by this repetition of votebank theory they are defaming 150 million Indian Muslims each and every day, round the clock.

Ever thought of it? If you don't like a politician's statement, castigate him but don't brand Muslims again, and give the impression that they are soft on terror.

14 comments:

vagabond said...

You may already be knowing this but let me repeat it here, these hindi news channels (IBN,aaj tak,star etc) and their english counterparts, though they appear as if they are the one's who are the opinionmakers of this country hardly get a a TRP of 0.05-0.07 compared to normal entertainment channel which get a trp of about 3-4. Simplistically speaking these channels are watched by 4-5% of the population which watches entertainment channels.Put these stats in perspective and you will know tht these guys have got 0 credibility. For them everyhting is a revenue generating machine, logic be damned and trust me everyone watches these channels just for entertainment sake. How else will you define their zeal to have shows on ghosts and other such supernatural things.

Most of the times they do reportings which they believe will help increase their TRPs.The same Mr Chaudhary has at various times being so very abusive to the hindu beliefs and being very vocal about it. IBN7 is the one which has done a number of reports about Gujrat and other BJP ruled states without any facts and have had to issue denials when confronted with facts.Sometime back they had started a series on how lalu yadav had done major recruitment scams as railway minister, but lalu scolded the reporters on ther show and from then on they simply didnt follow up on their investigations.There are numerous other such instances whereby they have proved tht no one shud take them seriously.

P.S if you watch IBn7 for a week, then you will conclude tht the BJP,RSS, Bajrang Dal and VHP are their pet enemies whom they openly abuse in their programs. Teesta Setalvad, mahesh Bhatt, Javed Akhtar and Shabana Azmi are their star panelists on any discussion on social issue.IBN 7 also believes that all BJP ruled govts dont have a right to continue in office.Wonder how for a change this time they did a show titled musalmaan aur aatankvaad.

indscribe said...

Thanks for your insightful comments, Vagabond. Ya, you are right in the sense that for them, it's all frivolous--the news business.

Anonymous said...

Adnan

I dont know abt IBN7 (dont even get this channel at home)... or others...
But as an Indian, what does irritate me is
-when the jamia shootout is happening, already a certain SAR Geelani whose own credibility is suspect is making statements about how Delhi police is victimizing them... and how crowds in the locality are already using the religion card of victimization... and how a certain University blindly gives a clean chit to the suspects because they belong to a certain religion...
Now you may claim that the police is always dubious in its acts in India...so if the police says these people have terror links, they are definitely lying... If thats the arguement, then well - every channel anchor or every tom-dick-harry on the road has his/her own argument and the nation goes to dogs.
Already yesterday on the tv channel tickers - after the capture of techies in the terror network, the SMS tickers scrolling on the screen had statements like "these kids are being targetted just because they are doing well and getting good salary inspite of being muslims"... why is the muslim community always bring forward the religion card and playing the victim,...

These acts reiterate and remind those who may not have been linking the terror= muslim angle...

I know you dont like my comments and would moderate this out...
But for once think rationally - 100% terrorists in Kashmir are Muslims... But have u ever heard anyone call them "Muslim terrorists" so far. Never... Actually no one (govt nor media) calls them terrorists - but rather calls them Militants...even though Pak President chose to call them terrrorists...
Why? Because even though the underlying foundation of the terror there is based on religious identity and a desire of Nizam-e-Mustafa - the card played is of Kashmiri identity... So no one pays attention to the muslim identity.
On contrary, elsewhere - the moment something happens, the Javed Akhtars/Shabana's/Hashmis and other self-styled dramatist activists play the muslim-victimhood-card... And the attention is drawn to the religion.

Its not the common hindu who is doing this damage to the muslim community, its these self-styled champions of victimhood...

-A Soul in Exile
soulinexile.blogspot.com

A Soul in Exile said...

Adnan

I dont know abt IBN7 (dont even get this channel at home)... or others...
But as an Indian, what does irritate me is
-when the jamia shootout is happening, already a certain SAR Geelani whose own credibility is suspect is making statements about how Delhi police is victimizing them... and how crowds in the locality are already using the religion card of victimization... and how a certain University blindly gives a clean chit to the suspects because they belong to a certain religion...
Now you may claim that the police is always dubious in its acts in India...so if the police says these people have terror links, they are definitely lying... If thats the arguement, then well - every channel anchor or every tom-dick-harry on the road has his/her own argument and the nation goes to dogs.
Already yesterday on the tv channel tickers - after the capture of techies in the terror network, the SMS tickers scrolling on the screen had statements like "these kids are being targetted just because they are doing well and getting good salary inspite of being muslims"... why is the muslim community always bring forward the religion card and playing the victim,...

These acts reiterate and remind those who may not have been linking the terror= muslim angle...

I know you dont like my comments and would moderate this out...
But for once think rationally - 100% terrorists in Kashmir are Muslims... But have u ever heard anyone call them "Muslim terrorists" so far. Never... Actually no one (govt nor media) calls them terrorists - but rather calls them Militants...even though Pak President chose to call them terrrorists...
Why? Because even though the underlying foundation of the terror there is based on religious identity and a desire of Nizam-e-Mustafa - the card played is of Kashmiri identity... So no one pays attention to the muslim identity.
On contrary, elsewhere - the moment something happens, the Javed Akhtars/Shabana's/Hashmis and other self-styled dramatist activists play the muslim-victimhood-card... And the attention is drawn to the religion.

Its not the common hindu who is doing this damage to the muslim community, its these self-styled champions of victimhood...

-A Soul in Exile
soulinexile.blogspot.com

Pinku said...

they can slap a case on an RJ for saying that Nepalis are securitymen...cant they do something similar to anchors who incite communal tensions by this kind of irresponsible behaviour and attitude?

Forget terrorists I think we need more stringent rules and regulations for TV channels.

Anser Azim said...

Freedom of speech and freedom of press is a big issue in this debate. The origins of these laws are enshrined in US constitution and western countries and have a more positive/negative impact on the society.
Having said all this its implementation is a big issue in third world countries and democracies that are evolving. It is absolutely next to impossible to implement these laws where education is a big issue. some of these laws are counter productive and leave a negative impact and at times detrimental in poisoning the minds that are blank.
Some of these news media harm and poison minds rather educate and inform for petty monitory gains.
anser azim

mohammadshamim said...

Chamman miyan cannot help. We need people like you, we need professional communicators, a solid campaign to fight out these evil mongers. They are monsters, too much spread out, who cannot be defeated by small efforts. We have to fight Political leaders/scoundrels,born communalists/ fascists,horrendous Maulvis and Pudits. A joint effort by sane Hindus and Muslims will have to succeed one day. India is a great country, a very patient country where a 'Gujrat', a 'Kashmir', a 'Babri masjid' should not lead us to our grave. Before banning public smoking or child labor, India should have banned 'Racism'. Before schedule caste reservations, they should have forced Govt Depts,Police, Army and industries not to deny an employment due to his religion. Bombay is not for Marathas as Kashmir is not for Kashmiris. All created by our so called 'leaders'

Varma said...

Indescribe...You must have seen this but wanted to ensure you do not miss it.
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Sons-of-soil_Muslims_face_attacks_from_migrants/articleshow/3571590.cms

This is in regard to your article on 17 July 2005. Couldn't post it there as the comments are disabled.

Niyantha said...

Please do me a favor and watch Fox News for a week. Especially Bill O'Rielly's show. And Try to think what all these fools would do if there was no TV.

How do we know said...

Adnan, I really think you should do a post on the "Victim mentality" perception that is coming up again and again in some of the comments. I'd really really like one, and will be waiting for it.

Zahid said...

that is major issue.

Sudha said...

The truth is that unless you surf sites looking for a spectrum of opinions you don't have access to information about what many liberal Muslims think of the current situation. I agree there are many blogs etc and the IndianMuslims blog is another one that's great (like yours). But why don't we petition the mainstream channels for programmes and time slots for liberal voices to be heard? Have you sent this write-up of yours to the channels? if not, i'd like to because it is important that this opinion be heard. For some reason, we 're all waiting for the Bollywood Khans to speak, but in the meantime so many Indian Muslims are going unheard. Write to rajdeep sardesai!!

I too feel sometimes however that the victim card is played often. The truth is that India is so diverse we're all in a minority at some point in some part of the country (ask Tamil Brahmins in Tamil Nadu and they will tell you that they have had little space in the public sphere for almost 50 years). Not everything is a conspiracy ...

to the poster who has compared this with the US media, I just want to say that the American media has been engaging in blatant self-censorship since the war began, plus its journalists have also been imprisoned for not revealing sources to the government. In fact an indian student is languishing somewhere in a US jail for having written in his blog that he wanted Bush dead (or something along those lines). I think media freedom in the west is not as great as one imagines it to be.

Ijtema said...

we. need. our. own. news. channel.

a urdu channel will have some viewers among the 150 million we are. a businessman has to be convinced that it's a good business idea.

Anonymous said...

well frnds ,
Without any preface to the problem of these type of news channels ,i come on point.....
i want 2 tell u an incidence abt Gyani Zail Singh (form. pres.). Once he called Arun Shourie(now BJP leader) on tea. After smtime his PA told him that this man is a big critic of yours.Arun Shourie fascinated , watching this Zail Singh answered "Doesnt matter , he writes in English , nobody reads."
So in India if u really want to reach smbody , d medium must b traditional , & offcourse in the mothertongue. Out of 1000 million , routine blog reader hardly reaches no. of 1 lac.
I really dont want to dissapoint u , as ur attempt is very appreciable , but really not efficient.
There is nothing to discuss why these channels r doing so bcoz they r doing d same , knowingly. Now the Q is how to answer , A nice suggestion is to launch a Urdu channel(many urdu channels r there) , but i would say a neutral channel serves better.We have to make
more attempts like Chaman Miyan only then we have right to raise questions on Batla House issue, otherwise again blaimed as pro - terrorist for raising questions.

Now some comments on other posts:
1. Vagabond has produced strong arguments.Although intentions r still vague(definitely he successfully said which he cant say straight,prfect timing).
Still he constructed a concrete article.

2. Adnan , it does'nt matter ppl like ur thought or not it matters whether true or not.
Just answer urself
1.Delhi Police solved that case in 3 days , what about other blasts years ago in delhi cant solved still (Ignore d political scenario , mr.home minister was in biggest problem of his political carrier, and this encountered truly rescued him.)
okkkk..... some terrorist wr there , but not must that all died there wr terrorists......
if this , can u imagine what there parents/ relatives suffer throghout their lives/generation.U can hav a glimpse , SAR Gilani was declared blameless from SC still
u dont give him right to speak, what 2 say about those who r not lucky as gilani.
2.technocrats caught have enough money to appoint a good lawyer, if guilty none can save him , if not then their chances r 50-50.
3. KASHMIRIS-
FRONTLINE(May,2006 ) published a statistics of casualities in Kasmir during Millitant/Terrorist attacks (source was Home Ministry). 4-5 times Muslims killed than others.How can one call Islamic Terrorism.

3.Mr.Verma , plz read the last line article
suggested by urs.Many things r in Assam still unreported.

We, the indian muslims , cant get success to xpress ourselves to our hindu brothers until we in our heart r clear about the matter.
We should understand that word MUJAHIDIN is most annoying for our hindu brothers when prefixed by INDIAN.Belive , whoever , the mastermind behind this org. the motto is not take revenge of Gujrat / Babri Masjid, it is just to destroy communal harmony.

As this my first post on web, mistakes regarding writing manners should be regrtted.

Arsha