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Aaj Tak’s communal agenda surfaces as it targets Shaheen Bagh, mosques over Covid-19

The recently aired show asked why only temples were shut and mosques and gurudwaras were allowed to run

Sabrangindia 19 Mar 2020

coronovirus

While the coronavirus contagion is growing in India, some of the media is still going all guns blazing to keep spreading the communal hatred contagion in the country.

Aaj Tak, a Hindi news channel with a history of shows with a communal angle to its credit, has once again put out a news programme in a clear bid to single out minority religious organizations and an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protest in Delhi in particular, and ostracize them for not taking precautions to prevent the deadly Covid-19.

Its primetime show titled Halla Bol presented by the channel’s executive editor Anjana Om Kashyap, opened with showing how all the major temples in India, mostly the ones runs through a trust – the Siddhivinayak Temple, the Akshardham Temple, the Vaishnodevi Temple, The Shirdi Sai Dham, Trimbakeshwar Temple, The ISKCON temple at Vrindavan had all closed their doors to the public to fight the pandemic.

It also mentioned how the number of guests were reduced at the Kashi Vishwananth Temple and that the frequency of the Ganga Aarti in Benaras was reduced to limit the number of visiting devotees.

The show then went on to mention that these temples had been closed as per the decision of the temple managements as a responsible step towards the safety of the citizens. Then, it targeted, though indirectly, the mosques and Gurudwaras still open and the Shaheen Bagh protest at Delhi in particular.

 


Singling out Shaheen Bagh protesters

The anchor singled out the Shaheen Bagh protest for continuing despite the public advisory given by the Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal which banned a crowd of more than 50 people at any religious, social, political or cultural gathering. However, she failed to inform her viewers 

It must be noted that post the Delhi government’s orders, the Shaheen Bagh protestors have taken strict measures to reduce the number of people at the protest site, apart from getting it sanitized. They have volunteers with a temperature gun to test people entering the site, have disallowed children from being present there and have installed sanitizers throughout the protest area.

The show presenter also forgot to mention that weddings were spared in the CM’s advisory. The number of people attending a wedding could be around a 100, while at the time of presenting the show, the number of people at Shaheen Bagh was less than 40. Don’t weddings count as community events where the threat of the virus is real too?

The media has been targeting Shaheen Bagh once again amid the coronavirus scare posing it to be the only threat to the lives of the people. 


Building a communal narrative

Though the presenter did not come down heavily on the Gurudwaras throughout the show for not being shut down completely, the channel went on to criticise mosques saying that mosques were not shut, even though all the temples were. This, forgetting that major temples like the Kashi Vishwanath temple were not completely shut and had only placed visitor curbs and sanitization facilities in the premises. The channel also did not mention how Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath is unwilling to cancel the Ram Navami Mela to be held in Ayodhya from March 25 to April 2, 2020. She also forgot to mention how completely defying the ban on large public gatherings, thousands of people participated in an annual religious procession - the Kadiri Narasimha Swamy Brahmotsavam in Andhra Pradesh on Sunday.

Also, most mosques have issued directives suspending mass prayers that take place on Friday and have restricted the number of devotees entering the premises to offer prayers. Instead of showing the true picture, the channel failed to mention how the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) which is home to around 20 mosques, asked students and staff to stay away from Friday prayers and stop ‘wuzu’ (collective washing of hands) and maintain a distance between each other while offering prayers.

The channel also did not mention how Christian bishops and top clergymen had issued official communiques and advisories against large gatherings at masses and prayer services, exempting parishioners from attending services to check the spread of the virus. In fact, the Bishop of Delhi has put on hold all services till March 31. But the show did not highlight any proactive measured taken by members of religious minorities.
 

Conclusion

Through its TV programming, Aaj Tak has not only engaged in spreading communal hatred, but also insinuated that if the corona virus spreads in Delhi, only minorities will be to blame. This is a classic example of ostracizing minorities and also a smear campaign against the anti-CAA campaign, a fight that is being taken up to protect the identity of the minorities. It is just another attempt of the channel appears to side disproportionately with the ruling government to paint the Shaheen Bagh protesters who are staging a legal protest, as those who can bring harm to the nation. The TV programme did not in any way revolve around the safety of the Shaheen Bagh protesters or the safety of the general public, but instead was aimed at spreading vitriol against them.

Not only was the TV programme communally charged – proof being the ticker showing that mosques and gurudwaras are open while temples are shut, it also holds the potential to go viral on social media to further deepen the communal divide – the continual agenda of the alleged state-sponsored media.

Channels like Aaj Tak have been issued advisories by the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) in the past. It is time, the same is done again to ensure that news channels deliver real news to the public and not engaged in state-sponsored agenda.


Related:

"Does the Coronavirus ignore wedding parties, and attack only peaceful protests?"

Mumbai local trains likely to be suspended after city’s first Covid-19 death

 

Aaj Tak’s communal agenda surfaces as it targets Shaheen Bagh, mosques over Covid-19

The recently aired show asked why only temples were shut and mosques and gurudwaras were allowed to run

coronovirus

While the coronavirus contagion is growing in India, some of the media is still going all guns blazing to keep spreading the communal hatred contagion in the country.

Aaj Tak, a Hindi news channel with a history of shows with a communal angle to its credit, has once again put out a news programme in a clear bid to single out minority religious organizations and an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protest in Delhi in particular, and ostracize them for not taking precautions to prevent the deadly Covid-19.

Its primetime show titled Halla Bol presented by the channel’s executive editor Anjana Om Kashyap, opened with showing how all the major temples in India, mostly the ones runs through a trust – the Siddhivinayak Temple, the Akshardham Temple, the Vaishnodevi Temple, The Shirdi Sai Dham, Trimbakeshwar Temple, The ISKCON temple at Vrindavan had all closed their doors to the public to fight the pandemic.

It also mentioned how the number of guests were reduced at the Kashi Vishwananth Temple and that the frequency of the Ganga Aarti in Benaras was reduced to limit the number of visiting devotees.

The show then went on to mention that these temples had been closed as per the decision of the temple managements as a responsible step towards the safety of the citizens. Then, it targeted, though indirectly, the mosques and Gurudwaras still open and the Shaheen Bagh protest at Delhi in particular.

 


Singling out Shaheen Bagh protesters

The anchor singled out the Shaheen Bagh protest for continuing despite the public advisory given by the Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal which banned a crowd of more than 50 people at any religious, social, political or cultural gathering. However, she failed to inform her viewers 

It must be noted that post the Delhi government’s orders, the Shaheen Bagh protestors have taken strict measures to reduce the number of people at the protest site, apart from getting it sanitized. They have volunteers with a temperature gun to test people entering the site, have disallowed children from being present there and have installed sanitizers throughout the protest area.

The show presenter also forgot to mention that weddings were spared in the CM’s advisory. The number of people attending a wedding could be around a 100, while at the time of presenting the show, the number of people at Shaheen Bagh was less than 40. Don’t weddings count as community events where the threat of the virus is real too?

The media has been targeting Shaheen Bagh once again amid the coronavirus scare posing it to be the only threat to the lives of the people. 


Building a communal narrative

Though the presenter did not come down heavily on the Gurudwaras throughout the show for not being shut down completely, the channel went on to criticise mosques saying that mosques were not shut, even though all the temples were. This, forgetting that major temples like the Kashi Vishwanath temple were not completely shut and had only placed visitor curbs and sanitization facilities in the premises. The channel also did not mention how Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath is unwilling to cancel the Ram Navami Mela to be held in Ayodhya from March 25 to April 2, 2020. She also forgot to mention how completely defying the ban on large public gatherings, thousands of people participated in an annual religious procession - the Kadiri Narasimha Swamy Brahmotsavam in Andhra Pradesh on Sunday.

Also, most mosques have issued directives suspending mass prayers that take place on Friday and have restricted the number of devotees entering the premises to offer prayers. Instead of showing the true picture, the channel failed to mention how the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) which is home to around 20 mosques, asked students and staff to stay away from Friday prayers and stop ‘wuzu’ (collective washing of hands) and maintain a distance between each other while offering prayers.

The channel also did not mention how Christian bishops and top clergymen had issued official communiques and advisories against large gatherings at masses and prayer services, exempting parishioners from attending services to check the spread of the virus. In fact, the Bishop of Delhi has put on hold all services till March 31. But the show did not highlight any proactive measured taken by members of religious minorities.
 

Conclusion

Through its TV programming, Aaj Tak has not only engaged in spreading communal hatred, but also insinuated that if the corona virus spreads in Delhi, only minorities will be to blame. This is a classic example of ostracizing minorities and also a smear campaign against the anti-CAA campaign, a fight that is being taken up to protect the identity of the minorities. It is just another attempt of the channel appears to side disproportionately with the ruling government to paint the Shaheen Bagh protesters who are staging a legal protest, as those who can bring harm to the nation. The TV programme did not in any way revolve around the safety of the Shaheen Bagh protesters or the safety of the general public, but instead was aimed at spreading vitriol against them.

Not only was the TV programme communally charged – proof being the ticker showing that mosques and gurudwaras are open while temples are shut, it also holds the potential to go viral on social media to further deepen the communal divide – the continual agenda of the alleged state-sponsored media.

Channels like Aaj Tak have been issued advisories by the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) in the past. It is time, the same is done again to ensure that news channels deliver real news to the public and not engaged in state-sponsored agenda.


Related:

"Does the Coronavirus ignore wedding parties, and attack only peaceful protests?"

Mumbai local trains likely to be suspended after city’s first Covid-19 death

 

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