Cobrapost investigation exposes many Indian media houses willing to aid communal polarization for electoral gains, and to defame political rivals as part of a malicious media campaign, all for money
New Delhi: “Any covert or overt attempt to misuse Social Media including Facebook to influence India’s electoral process through undesirable means will neither be tolerated, nor be permitted,” thus spoke Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister of Law and Justice and Information and Technology, in his tweet on March 21, 2018, at 1:34 India time when a huge breach of Facebook data was reported a day earlier.
Well, this is exactly what Operation 136 establishes, for the first time in the history of Independent India and the world at large: Yes, Indian media houses do have the propensity to “influence India’s electoral process through undesirable means.”
The proposition was diabolical: If I reward you handsomely, would you peddle Hindutva in the garb of spiritualism to polarize the electorate and allow the party in power to harvest electoral dividends in coming elections? Ideally, the proposition should have been rejected at the outset.
But as this undercover investigation by senior journalist Pushp Sharma reveals, the lure of lucre proved too irresistible for almost all media houses, be it print, electronic or digital, to say no. To our utter shock, most of them not only agreed to do what he asked for but also suggested myriad ways for undertaking a well-orchestrated, overtly communal media campaign on behalf of their prospective big-ticket client.
In the course of this investigation, Sharma met owners or personnel of more than two dozen media houses, many marquee names, who are in decision-making positions. In return, he offered to pay them anything between Rs. 6 crore and Rs. 50 crore if they agreed to provide a platform to his media campaign. He made the agenda of this campaign explicit to them...
Read the full report on Cobra Post.