‘Anti-democratic, intolerant mindset that resists scrutiny’

Ironically, these same TV channels had been criticised by political parties as well as Press Council of India for their coverage of Anna Hazare movement in 2011.

New Delhi | Updated: March 15, 2014 5:06 am

Aam Aadmi Party and its leader Arvind Kejriwal came under fire from journalists’ groups for his remarks at a Nagpur fundraiser that some TV channels have been bought over by Narendra Modi to project him as Prime Minister and that he would send media persons to jail if a probe found them guilty.

“I have a video that shows Kejriwal telling one of my reporters “desh mein Modi ki hawa to hai hi (there is a Modi wave in the country). I will air it tonight on my channel,” said Rajat Sharma, chairman and editor-in-chief, India TV . “If he himself believes there is a Modi wave in the country why wouldn’t TV channels cover it?”
Arguing that Kejriwal loved media when it showered its attention on him, he said: “Now that media is criticizing him for his loss of direction, he has taken to threatening us.” India TV was one of the four TV channels Kejriwal’s colleague Sanjay Singh alleged had been “paid for”. The others were India News and Zee News. AAP also singled out Times Now for what it called running a campaign against it.

According to Times Now editor Arnab Goswami, AAP leaders had been peeved with the channel following its questions about their motives. “AAP stopped participating in discussions on our channel following our hard-hitting questions seeking accountability. They need to ponder over why they ran away from serious discussion and resorted to baseless allegations. Is that the only way left to get noticed?”

Ironically, these same TV channels had been criticised by political parties as well as Press Council of India for their coverage of Anna Hazare movement in 2011 to which AAP owes its genesis. Justice Markendey Katju had, then, alleged that “a large section of media lost its objectivity” in covering the Anna Hazare movement.
Justice Katju had said a section of media did not “maintain detachment” and “most journalists practically became part of the movement”.

Ironically, Kejriwal had thanked the media from various public platforms for its role in boosting the movement, then. On being asked if he saw any contradiction in AAP’s views on media in 2011 and now, Ashutosh, AAP leader and former TV journalist said: “Media simply did its duty in covering the Anna movement. It was an event that reflected the mood of the people then. Whereas today, media is being coerced and tempted to cover certain things and people. That’s paid news. It is criminal.”
Senior journalists, however, said it is AAP that is indulging in coercion. “Never ever in my 32 years of experience has a political party threatened to put journalists behind bars,” said India TV’s Sharma. “Kejriwal is saying I can’t take your criticism, and when I have the power, I will put you in jail. Is  this not authoritarianism?”

The Editors Guild of India condemned the “repeated attacks” on the media by Kejriwal that “violate the norms of decent democratic debate,” said a statement by N Ravi, President of the Editors Guild.

Kejriwal’s accusation against the media as being bought by a particular party and candidate and his threat, even if it be an empty one, to send media persons to prison after an inquiry reflect “an intolerant mindset that resents any critical scrutiny”, the statement added.

The Broadcast Editors Association issued a statement saying: “It is wrong to say that TV channels are pursuing a biased agenda in favour of any person or party…such statements are a conspiracy to dilute the credibility of media.” It further said: “…we would request any aggrieved person to approach us with specific complaints and evidence. Vague and sweeping allegations are a sign of weakness.”

A day before Kejriwal’s remarks, Uday Shankar, CEO of India’s largest broadcast network Star India, noted  that “it was the media that created rock stars out of a bunch of street artists and protesters… that created a political party from thin air and installed them in the government.”

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  1. A
    Arjun
    Mar 15, 2014 at 12:12 am
    Cheers are intoxicating but getting drunk is an offense . If cheers can not awards humility it is dangerous .
    Reply
  2. B
    Basir Ali
    Mar 14, 2014 at 1:53 pm
    Most media outlets in India have shown bias against against Kejriwal and his party.
    Reply
  3. D
    Desi dude
    Mar 14, 2014 at 1:19 pm
    Look who is talking???
    Reply
  4. G
    George Cv
    Mar 15, 2014 at 3:19 am
    BEA should investigage arnab goswamy and timesnow.
    Reply
  5. D
    david
    Mar 14, 2014 at 10:43 am
    People knows that Kejriwal is a official agent of corrupt congress. His all leads goes in favour of corrupt congress.
    Reply
  6. D
    Devendra Singh
    Mar 14, 2014 at 10:27 am
    Arvind Kejariwal and his team is becoming nuisance in Indian Politics and they are preaching us not to obey Law of Land. He dines with Nagpurians for Rs 10000/- another way of corruption since AAM adami can not afford it which means he will be surrounded by corrupt public who do not care for money?
    Reply
  7. D
    Devi
    Mar 14, 2014 at 6:48 pm
    Partiality of Media is there. But this Cry and Threat of Kejari is only to get attracted. Congress want him cry louder and louder against Modi, avoiding Rahul, dreaming that AAP can at least do some harm to BJP. But intelligent Indians cannot be cheated by this tacit support of AAP by Congress. They want to bring a stable Government of BJP led by Modi and they know any vote for AAPis a vote for instability and anarchy and an indirect support to Congress.
    Reply
  8. D
    Dinesh
    Mar 14, 2014 at 3:57 pm
    When Modi and the BJP win the election, AK will accuse the BJP of paying off the voters.How rich the BJP must be.
    Reply
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