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PIB twitter handle faces “technical issue”; likes pornographic tweets

It seems like its twitter account was hacked which led to such unusual activity

23 Mar 2020

PIB

The official twitter account of Press information Bureau (PIB) which is the public relations arm of the Indian government was allegedly hacked on March 22 as many twitter users noticed that the handle had liked tweets of pornographic handles and some Japanese language tweets such as these:

https://twitter.com/Noelcosplay_/status/1238838829131296768

https://twitter.com/jennifergable8/status/1241547041311870976

https://twitter.com/PennyLandon1/status/1241611593575583745

When twitter users pointed this out via tweets, the PIB twitter handle posted the following clarification tweet: https://twitter.com/PIB_India/status/1241737200045187073

The tweet says that this was caused due to an unknown malfunction. In times when a lot of misinformation is being circulated through the medium of Whatsapp, it is important that government’s agencies disseminating information take utmost care and caution regarding their social media activity. People generally look up to official government accounts on social media for credible information and if these accounts remain susceptible to such malfunction, it could spell trouble.


Related:

Doctors need more protective gear now, before COVID-19 cases explode

Covid-19 Update: Delhi under lockdown, Mumbai lockdown extended

Covid-19 update: Positive cases over 400, 7 deaths; lockdown in 75 districts

 

PIB twitter handle faces “technical issue”; likes pornographic tweets

It seems like its twitter account was hacked which led to such unusual activity

PIB

The official twitter account of Press information Bureau (PIB) which is the public relations arm of the Indian government was allegedly hacked on March 22 as many twitter users noticed that the handle had liked tweets of pornographic handles and some Japanese language tweets such as these:

https://twitter.com/Noelcosplay_/status/1238838829131296768

https://twitter.com/jennifergable8/status/1241547041311870976

https://twitter.com/PennyLandon1/status/1241611593575583745

When twitter users pointed this out via tweets, the PIB twitter handle posted the following clarification tweet: https://twitter.com/PIB_India/status/1241737200045187073

The tweet says that this was caused due to an unknown malfunction. In times when a lot of misinformation is being circulated through the medium of Whatsapp, it is important that government’s agencies disseminating information take utmost care and caution regarding their social media activity. People generally look up to official government accounts on social media for credible information and if these accounts remain susceptible to such malfunction, it could spell trouble.


Related:

Doctors need more protective gear now, before COVID-19 cases explode

Covid-19 Update: Delhi under lockdown, Mumbai lockdown extended

Covid-19 update: Positive cases over 400, 7 deaths; lockdown in 75 districts

 

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Journalism in the times of Corona is not a mere ‘job’

Journalists covering the Covid-19 outbreak have found themselves on the frontlines of what is perhaps one of the most dangerous assignments of their lives. Especially in India where the CoronaVirus pandemic is expected to enter a crucial stage in the next few days. 

21 Mar 2020

cornovirus

Across the country journalists have reported the situation, tracked those who may have set off a chain of contamination, and brought all the news and updates to their readers and viewers at great personal risks. Most have not got proper, or official guidance or protective gear, from their seniors, and editors, and of course are replying on information being shared by medical experts. Washing hands, carrying sanitizers, wearing masks, even gloves if possible is all that a journalist has for protection, apart from our own common sense. 

Reporters, photo and video journalists especially, cannot work from home. Every day reporters, and photographers have visited, reported from, and mapped the areas. We have spoken to survivors, documented relief work and seen things unfold in real time. While taking the best of precautions when outdoors, CoronaVirus outbreak continues to attack unsuspecting victims, especially in the poorer, crowded areas where basic hygiene is out of reach in the best of times. Journalists, especially freelancers and those who work with independent media houses should be seen as a vulnerable community. 

Many were shocked to read, and see this piece by Editors Guild Of India president Shekhar Gupta, one of the senior most journalists working in the media today says: “Journalism in the time of corona: This is the biggest story of our lives. A billion-plus people expect us to be around, watching, reporting, editing, recording this for posterity, blowing the whistle on injustices and state failures,”  He wrote an editorial that accompanied a video where he reminds all journalists of our duties, but concludes by saying: “I think all of us will survive. This is not the plague of the 19th century… This disease itself is not like the plague of the 19h century in the pre antibiotic days' ' First of all,  COVID-19 is a virus and antibiotics do not treat viral illnesses. 

Mr Gupta continues to ‘reassure’ journalists that they “will not die” covering CoronaVirus and adds with a chuckle that “in the most unlikely event of someone ever died. There will be other journalists on hand to cover this.”

In case indian journalists had forgotten, he reminds us that “this is a big story, and journalism in the time of corona will be a different challenge.” In the video, recorded in what is perhaps his office, or his study at home, he does not share any information or tips from his vast career covering various, and many dangerous events. As the founder of the online portal The Print, he could have shared many tips and advice on ethical ways of reporting, processing, presenting information digitally. 

He signs off with, “once again fasten seatbelts, there is a job to do.” 

Not at all helpful for the scores of  journalists who have been reporting the Anti-CAA-NPR-NRC protests, the Delhi Pogrom that was unleashed on February 2020, and now the humanitarian relief work in the riot scarred areas that continued well into March 2020, even in the wake of the CoronaVirus pandemic. 

The journalists, especially the younger ones, need proper guidance on how to cover the biggest news development for even those with decade long careers. They need to be told how to stay safe while they report from the field, and how to avoid unnecessary travel if the information can be sourced over the phone.

The risks of exposure to COVID-19 are amplified in Delhi as journalists, across the media, have also been covering the massive Anti-CAA-NPR-NRC protests, including the Jehangir Puri protest where an organiser recently tested Covid-19 positive. While the protest organisers are not seriously considering suspending the movement, and efforts are on to convince the women of Shaheen Bagh to also suspend the protest in the interest of community health. Journalists who were at both the sites, and some may have already put themselves at risk. 

Interestingly the most proactive measure was taken by Delhi  Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal who tweeted that his government will conduct all their meetings digitally now. “It’s very important that all journalists, who are on the forefront of our battle against Corona, also protect themselves as they are in a high exposure environment,” he stated.

 

 

Now is also a good time to spare a minute to remember Tehelka photo journalist Tarun  Sehrawat who died of cerebral malaria that he contracted when we reported, unprotected and not trained enough by his seniors, from Chhattisgarh. He fell ill, but continued to work after his return too, till his health spiraled downhill. He died a few days later. He was 22.

 

Journalism in the times of Corona is not a mere ‘job’

Journalists covering the Covid-19 outbreak have found themselves on the frontlines of what is perhaps one of the most dangerous assignments of their lives. Especially in India where the CoronaVirus pandemic is expected to enter a crucial stage in the next few days. 

cornovirus

Across the country journalists have reported the situation, tracked those who may have set off a chain of contamination, and brought all the news and updates to their readers and viewers at great personal risks. Most have not got proper, or official guidance or protective gear, from their seniors, and editors, and of course are replying on information being shared by medical experts. Washing hands, carrying sanitizers, wearing masks, even gloves if possible is all that a journalist has for protection, apart from our own common sense. 

Reporters, photo and video journalists especially, cannot work from home. Every day reporters, and photographers have visited, reported from, and mapped the areas. We have spoken to survivors, documented relief work and seen things unfold in real time. While taking the best of precautions when outdoors, CoronaVirus outbreak continues to attack unsuspecting victims, especially in the poorer, crowded areas where basic hygiene is out of reach in the best of times. Journalists, especially freelancers and those who work with independent media houses should be seen as a vulnerable community. 

Many were shocked to read, and see this piece by Editors Guild Of India president Shekhar Gupta, one of the senior most journalists working in the media today says: “Journalism in the time of corona: This is the biggest story of our lives. A billion-plus people expect us to be around, watching, reporting, editing, recording this for posterity, blowing the whistle on injustices and state failures,”  He wrote an editorial that accompanied a video where he reminds all journalists of our duties, but concludes by saying: “I think all of us will survive. This is not the plague of the 19th century… This disease itself is not like the plague of the 19h century in the pre antibiotic days' ' First of all,  COVID-19 is a virus and antibiotics do not treat viral illnesses. 

Mr Gupta continues to ‘reassure’ journalists that they “will not die” covering CoronaVirus and adds with a chuckle that “in the most unlikely event of someone ever died. There will be other journalists on hand to cover this.”

In case indian journalists had forgotten, he reminds us that “this is a big story, and journalism in the time of corona will be a different challenge.” In the video, recorded in what is perhaps his office, or his study at home, he does not share any information or tips from his vast career covering various, and many dangerous events. As the founder of the online portal The Print, he could have shared many tips and advice on ethical ways of reporting, processing, presenting information digitally. 

He signs off with, “once again fasten seatbelts, there is a job to do.” 

Not at all helpful for the scores of  journalists who have been reporting the Anti-CAA-NPR-NRC protests, the Delhi Pogrom that was unleashed on February 2020, and now the humanitarian relief work in the riot scarred areas that continued well into March 2020, even in the wake of the CoronaVirus pandemic. 

The journalists, especially the younger ones, need proper guidance on how to cover the biggest news development for even those with decade long careers. They need to be told how to stay safe while they report from the field, and how to avoid unnecessary travel if the information can be sourced over the phone.

The risks of exposure to COVID-19 are amplified in Delhi as journalists, across the media, have also been covering the massive Anti-CAA-NPR-NRC protests, including the Jehangir Puri protest where an organiser recently tested Covid-19 positive. While the protest organisers are not seriously considering suspending the movement, and efforts are on to convince the women of Shaheen Bagh to also suspend the protest in the interest of community health. Journalists who were at both the sites, and some may have already put themselves at risk. 

Interestingly the most proactive measure was taken by Delhi  Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal who tweeted that his government will conduct all their meetings digitally now. “It’s very important that all journalists, who are on the forefront of our battle against Corona, also protect themselves as they are in a high exposure environment,” he stated.

 

 

Now is also a good time to spare a minute to remember Tehelka photo journalist Tarun  Sehrawat who died of cerebral malaria that he contracted when we reported, unprotected and not trained enough by his seniors, from Chhattisgarh. He fell ill, but continued to work after his return too, till his health spiraled downhill. He died a few days later. He was 22.

 

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Khan Saheb in Kashi

Ustad Bismillah Khan, 1916–2006. In the Ustad’s shehnai lies the note of reason

21 Mar 2020

Khan Sahab

There are moments when I love my job or rather, my business of journalism – even I, a hard-nosed cynical hack of nearly three decades. It is because you love and cherish these moments that you are so grateful you are in this business. How else would I, a hopeless, hopeless philistine, hope to find myself on a rain-drenched terrace in old Varanasi with Ustad Bismillah Khan? As it happens, it was almost exactly the same time last year.

I can fill the rest of this space just describing the beauty of his face, his spirit, his talent, his madness, even his commercialism. To date, he is the only guest who demanded, and was paid – though only a very reasonable tribute – for appearing on Walk the Talk. He said he had a large family to support, even at 91, and could do with whatever money came his way. And when I reminded him, while leaving, that he had to come and perform at my children’s weddings, he said yes immediately. And then quoted the price: five lakh, plus air tickets and stay for seven people. You could touch his innocence with bare hands in the heavy monsoon air.

Khan Saheb let me down on this one though. He will not come and perform at my children’s weddings, whatever the price. But he left me with memories – and lines – that will never go away. What was the difference between Hindu and Muslim, he asked. What, indeed, when he sang to Allah in raga Bhairav (composed for Shiva) and brought to tears the Iraqi maulana who had just told him music was blasphemy, "evil, a trap of the devil". Khan Saheb said, "I told him, Maulana, I will sing to Allah. All I ask you is to be fair. And when I finished I asked him if it is blasphemy. He was speechless." And then Khan Saheb told me with that trademark mischievous glint: "But I did not tell him it was in raga Bhairav."

Why did Khan Saheb not migrate to Pakistan with partition? "Arre, will I ever leave my Benares?" he asked. "I went to Pakistan for a few hours," he said, "just to be able to say I’ve been there. I knew I would never last there." And what is so special about Benares, his glorified slum of a haveli in a grandly named Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan Street that had more potholes than footholds and more heaps of chicken entrails from nearby meat shops than garbage heaps from homes? "My temples are here," he said, "Balaji and Mangala Gauri." Without them, he asked, how would he make any music? As a Muslim he could not go inside the temples. But so what? "I would just go behind the temples and touch the wall from outside. You bring gangajal, you can go inside to offer it, but I can just as well touch the stone from outside. It’s the same. I just have to put my hand to them."

How is that devotion in a week when our parliament was rocked by issues like the forcible, and criminal, chopping of a Sikh boy’s hair in Jaipur and the controversy over state-mandated singing of Vande Mataram in schools to launch the 150th anniversary of 1857? Or when we were all so outraged by the paranoia that caused the Mumbai bound KLM-Northwest flight to return to Amsterdam, the racial profiling of Muslims, particularly Asian-Arab Muslims and so on?

Khan Saheb’s was a talent worthy of a Bharat Ratna and immortality. But he also personified, so strikingly, the fact of how the Muslims of India defy the stereotypes building up in today’s rapidly dividing world. They may be poorer than the majority, or even other, smaller minorities, they may still live in ghettos of sorts, but they are a part of the mainstream, nationally as well as regionally and ethnically, more than Muslim populations are in most parts of the world. A Tamil Muslim, for example, is as much an ethnic Tamil as a Hindu or a Christian and certainly has more in common with his ethnic cousins than with fellow Muslims in Bihar or Uttar Pradesh. India’s Muslims work in mainstream businesses where their interests are meshed inextricably with the rest, particularly the majority Hindus, even if they happen to spar occasionally.

That is why, unlike Bush’s America or the western world in general, India cannot even think of the diabolical idea of "Islamic" fascism or terrorism. No country can survive if it starts looking at nearly 15 per cent of its population as a fifth column. That is why India’s view of the war against terror has to be entirely different from the western world’s, more nuanced, more realistic and, most importantly, entirely indigenous.

It is a difficult argument to make in times when it is so tempting to tell America and Europe that see, the people who are terrorising you are the same as the people who have been terrorising us. So far you never believed us. Now with every other terror suspect being traced back to Pakistan and, more precisely, Jaish or Lashkar, accept and acknowledge that we have been in the forefront of the global war against terror for a decade before it hit you. The danger in that approach is, the Americans and the Europeans can choose that approach – though it is not working for them as well – because for them these Muslims are outsiders, different, and therefore candidates for racial profiling. You can racially profile a million people in a universe of 27 crore. Can you profile 14 crore in a universe of a hundred crore? Particularly when most of them, in their own big and small ways, are as integrated in the mainstream, as zealously proud and possessive of their multiple (ethnic, linguistic and professional) identities as of their faith?

That is why the key to fighting, okay, this wave of terror emanating from Muslim anger is to absolutely avoid the "global war on terror" trap.

The terrorists know it. That is why attacks in India, even by angry Indian Muslims, are not directed against some evil global power or its symbols. Nor are they meant to support some pan-Islamic cause, Palestine, or even, for that matter, Kashmir. Their objective, always, is to strike at our secular nationalism. Every single attack has had the same purpose, starting with the first round of Bombay bombings in 1993.

Sharad Pawar made a bold confession to me earlier this month that he parachuted from Delhi into a riot-torn Bombay then figured immediately that the terrorist plot was to kill a large number of people in Hindu localities to trigger large-scale mob attacks on Muslim areas where automatic weapons and grenades had been stored with their agents. Once the mobs were stopped with these automatic weapons it would lead to a carnage that would be uncontrollable. It is for that reason that, he says, he lied on Doordarshan that there had been 12 blasts (where there had been 11) and added the name of a Muslim locality as the 12th. Today we can all rue the fact that judgement in the case of those blasts is still awaited, 13 years later (this article was written in 2006). But we should also cherish the fact that in eschewing any rioting and actually returning to work the very next morning, Bombay had defeated the larger design of the terrorists.

Every attack since then, the temples at Ayodhya, Akshardham and Varanasi, Raghunath temple in Jammu, even the bombs at Delhi’s Jama Masjid, had the same purpose: widening that divide. But it is tougher in India where any notion of ‘Them versus Us’ is an impossibility given how closely communities live, work and do business together. It is one thing to say that we have learnt to live with diversity for a thousand years. It is equally important that we internalise the idea of diversity, equality and fairness that is in our Constitution and in the process of nation building make the very idea of a global war against ‘Islamic fascism’ totally alien and ridiculous for India.

There is a war on for us and there is no getting away from the fact that some of those on the wrong side today are fellow, angry Indians, and we have to deal with them firmly and effectively. But we will need to evolve an idiom and a strategy entirely our own, in tune with a society which loves equally Ustad Bismillah Khan and Pandit Ravi Shankar, who both sing and pray to Allah and Shiva, Krishna in ragas composed for either. Today India enjoys great respect in the world because of its unfolding economic miracle. If India can get this nuance right, it could be the toast of the world tomorrow for an even greater socio-political miracle, a secular but deeply religious nation that defeated terrorism while taking its 14 crore Muslims along.

Courtesy: The Indian Express

Archived from Communalism Combat, August-September 2007, Anniversary Issue (14th), Year 14    No.125, India at 60 Free Spaces, Music

Khan Saheb in Kashi

Ustad Bismillah Khan, 1916–2006. In the Ustad’s shehnai lies the note of reason

Khan Sahab

There are moments when I love my job or rather, my business of journalism – even I, a hard-nosed cynical hack of nearly three decades. It is because you love and cherish these moments that you are so grateful you are in this business. How else would I, a hopeless, hopeless philistine, hope to find myself on a rain-drenched terrace in old Varanasi with Ustad Bismillah Khan? As it happens, it was almost exactly the same time last year.

I can fill the rest of this space just describing the beauty of his face, his spirit, his talent, his madness, even his commercialism. To date, he is the only guest who demanded, and was paid – though only a very reasonable tribute – for appearing on Walk the Talk. He said he had a large family to support, even at 91, and could do with whatever money came his way. And when I reminded him, while leaving, that he had to come and perform at my children’s weddings, he said yes immediately. And then quoted the price: five lakh, plus air tickets and stay for seven people. You could touch his innocence with bare hands in the heavy monsoon air.

Khan Saheb let me down on this one though. He will not come and perform at my children’s weddings, whatever the price. But he left me with memories – and lines – that will never go away. What was the difference between Hindu and Muslim, he asked. What, indeed, when he sang to Allah in raga Bhairav (composed for Shiva) and brought to tears the Iraqi maulana who had just told him music was blasphemy, "evil, a trap of the devil". Khan Saheb said, "I told him, Maulana, I will sing to Allah. All I ask you is to be fair. And when I finished I asked him if it is blasphemy. He was speechless." And then Khan Saheb told me with that trademark mischievous glint: "But I did not tell him it was in raga Bhairav."

Why did Khan Saheb not migrate to Pakistan with partition? "Arre, will I ever leave my Benares?" he asked. "I went to Pakistan for a few hours," he said, "just to be able to say I’ve been there. I knew I would never last there." And what is so special about Benares, his glorified slum of a haveli in a grandly named Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan Street that had more potholes than footholds and more heaps of chicken entrails from nearby meat shops than garbage heaps from homes? "My temples are here," he said, "Balaji and Mangala Gauri." Without them, he asked, how would he make any music? As a Muslim he could not go inside the temples. But so what? "I would just go behind the temples and touch the wall from outside. You bring gangajal, you can go inside to offer it, but I can just as well touch the stone from outside. It’s the same. I just have to put my hand to them."

How is that devotion in a week when our parliament was rocked by issues like the forcible, and criminal, chopping of a Sikh boy’s hair in Jaipur and the controversy over state-mandated singing of Vande Mataram in schools to launch the 150th anniversary of 1857? Or when we were all so outraged by the paranoia that caused the Mumbai bound KLM-Northwest flight to return to Amsterdam, the racial profiling of Muslims, particularly Asian-Arab Muslims and so on?

Khan Saheb’s was a talent worthy of a Bharat Ratna and immortality. But he also personified, so strikingly, the fact of how the Muslims of India defy the stereotypes building up in today’s rapidly dividing world. They may be poorer than the majority, or even other, smaller minorities, they may still live in ghettos of sorts, but they are a part of the mainstream, nationally as well as regionally and ethnically, more than Muslim populations are in most parts of the world. A Tamil Muslim, for example, is as much an ethnic Tamil as a Hindu or a Christian and certainly has more in common with his ethnic cousins than with fellow Muslims in Bihar or Uttar Pradesh. India’s Muslims work in mainstream businesses where their interests are meshed inextricably with the rest, particularly the majority Hindus, even if they happen to spar occasionally.

That is why, unlike Bush’s America or the western world in general, India cannot even think of the diabolical idea of "Islamic" fascism or terrorism. No country can survive if it starts looking at nearly 15 per cent of its population as a fifth column. That is why India’s view of the war against terror has to be entirely different from the western world’s, more nuanced, more realistic and, most importantly, entirely indigenous.

It is a difficult argument to make in times when it is so tempting to tell America and Europe that see, the people who are terrorising you are the same as the people who have been terrorising us. So far you never believed us. Now with every other terror suspect being traced back to Pakistan and, more precisely, Jaish or Lashkar, accept and acknowledge that we have been in the forefront of the global war against terror for a decade before it hit you. The danger in that approach is, the Americans and the Europeans can choose that approach – though it is not working for them as well – because for them these Muslims are outsiders, different, and therefore candidates for racial profiling. You can racially profile a million people in a universe of 27 crore. Can you profile 14 crore in a universe of a hundred crore? Particularly when most of them, in their own big and small ways, are as integrated in the mainstream, as zealously proud and possessive of their multiple (ethnic, linguistic and professional) identities as of their faith?

That is why the key to fighting, okay, this wave of terror emanating from Muslim anger is to absolutely avoid the "global war on terror" trap.

The terrorists know it. That is why attacks in India, even by angry Indian Muslims, are not directed against some evil global power or its symbols. Nor are they meant to support some pan-Islamic cause, Palestine, or even, for that matter, Kashmir. Their objective, always, is to strike at our secular nationalism. Every single attack has had the same purpose, starting with the first round of Bombay bombings in 1993.

Sharad Pawar made a bold confession to me earlier this month that he parachuted from Delhi into a riot-torn Bombay then figured immediately that the terrorist plot was to kill a large number of people in Hindu localities to trigger large-scale mob attacks on Muslim areas where automatic weapons and grenades had been stored with their agents. Once the mobs were stopped with these automatic weapons it would lead to a carnage that would be uncontrollable. It is for that reason that, he says, he lied on Doordarshan that there had been 12 blasts (where there had been 11) and added the name of a Muslim locality as the 12th. Today we can all rue the fact that judgement in the case of those blasts is still awaited, 13 years later (this article was written in 2006). But we should also cherish the fact that in eschewing any rioting and actually returning to work the very next morning, Bombay had defeated the larger design of the terrorists.

Every attack since then, the temples at Ayodhya, Akshardham and Varanasi, Raghunath temple in Jammu, even the bombs at Delhi’s Jama Masjid, had the same purpose: widening that divide. But it is tougher in India where any notion of ‘Them versus Us’ is an impossibility given how closely communities live, work and do business together. It is one thing to say that we have learnt to live with diversity for a thousand years. It is equally important that we internalise the idea of diversity, equality and fairness that is in our Constitution and in the process of nation building make the very idea of a global war against ‘Islamic fascism’ totally alien and ridiculous for India.

There is a war on for us and there is no getting away from the fact that some of those on the wrong side today are fellow, angry Indians, and we have to deal with them firmly and effectively. But we will need to evolve an idiom and a strategy entirely our own, in tune with a society which loves equally Ustad Bismillah Khan and Pandit Ravi Shankar, who both sing and pray to Allah and Shiva, Krishna in ragas composed for either. Today India enjoys great respect in the world because of its unfolding economic miracle. If India can get this nuance right, it could be the toast of the world tomorrow for an even greater socio-political miracle, a secular but deeply religious nation that defeated terrorism while taking its 14 crore Muslims along.

Courtesy: The Indian Express

Archived from Communalism Combat, August-September 2007, Anniversary Issue (14th), Year 14    No.125, India at 60 Free Spaces, Music

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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

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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Bengaluru group files complaint against channel inciting violence against Amulya Leona

The complaint against Public TV seeks an apology and seizure of equipment

19 Mar 2020

Public TV

In february this year, Amulya Leona, a student activist, was taken into custody by Bengaluru police after she raised 'Hindustan Zindabad' and 'Pakistan Zindabad' slogans at an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) rally organised by AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi in the city. She had been charged with the offence of sedition and for promoting enmity at the Upparpete police station. On February 20, Public TV telecast a TV show where statements were made allegedly calling for violence against her. Now, a group called Campaign for Ethical Media Reporting in Bangalore has submitted a complaint to the District Level Monitoring Committee for Private Television Channels against Public TV in its endeavour to make news media accountable.

This is a group of concerned activists, parents, lawyers, academicians who are working towards making media more accountable to journalistic standards, ethics and principles. The complaint dated March 12, was aimed at holding HR Ranganathan of Public TV accountable for making statements in violation of the Programme Code in Rule 6 of the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994 in a TV show called ‘Big Bulletin with HR Ranganathan’ that aired on 20th February 2020.

In this show, Ranganathan, while speaking about Leona, made some deeply offensive statements against her and allegedly even gave a call for violence against her. The transcript of what he said has also been provided in the complaint which reads as follows:

“She should have been punched in the face, and her teeth knocked out, right there on the dais. Letting her on it was the mistake. It would have been fine if her teeth had been knocked out. She could have then been chopped up and thrown away.” 

 “Oh, if you bash her head in you won’t find cow - dung there.”

“If she comes out, she should be lynched with cow - dung, wherever she can be seen.  If we hit her will they file cases? Let them file the cases, let us see.”

“If three of them are chopped up and thrown away, the rest will fall into line.”

 “That is why, sometimes, I think it’s better to dispense mob justice/aranya , though it is wrong.”

 “Whether it is being incited or not, the legs of those who get caught should cut off and thrown away.”

 “Their faces should be bashed in, what kind of people are these.”

The deeply offensive video can be viewed at viewer's discretion at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhzUuVHVPSw&feature=youtu.be%2C

The complaint states that Ranganathan’s statements amount to incitement of violence and have created an atmosphere of lawlessness and fear. Additionally they amount to a statement conducing to public mischief, and also criminal intimidation. This is being seen as a violation of the Programme Code which states as follows:

“(d) Contains anything obscene, defamatory, deliberate, false and suggestive innuendos and half - truths ; 

(e) is likely to encourage or incite violence or contains anything against maintenance of law and order or which promote anti - national attitudes; 

(i) Criticises, maligns or slanders any individual in person or certain groups, segments of social, public and moral life of the country”

The complaint sought strict action against the news channel in the form of seizure of equipment used for operating the cable television network under Section 11 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act as well as for violation of the Programme Code requiring Public TV to scroll an apology for a 2 months and suspension of broadcast of Public TV for a period of 2 months. 

The complaint can be read here.

 

Related:

FIR Against VHP Leader For Hate Speech in Lal Kuan Communal Violence Case: Delhi

‘Naming & shaming’ instead of rule of law: UP recovery of damage to public & private property ordinance, 2020

Protest against indiscriminate arrest of hundreds of Muslims in violence affected NE Delhi

 

Bengaluru group files complaint against channel inciting violence against Amulya Leona

The complaint against Public TV seeks an apology and seizure of equipment

Public TV

In february this year, Amulya Leona, a student activist, was taken into custody by Bengaluru police after she raised 'Hindustan Zindabad' and 'Pakistan Zindabad' slogans at an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) rally organised by AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi in the city. She had been charged with the offence of sedition and for promoting enmity at the Upparpete police station. On February 20, Public TV telecast a TV show where statements were made allegedly calling for violence against her. Now, a group called Campaign for Ethical Media Reporting in Bangalore has submitted a complaint to the District Level Monitoring Committee for Private Television Channels against Public TV in its endeavour to make news media accountable.

This is a group of concerned activists, parents, lawyers, academicians who are working towards making media more accountable to journalistic standards, ethics and principles. The complaint dated March 12, was aimed at holding HR Ranganathan of Public TV accountable for making statements in violation of the Programme Code in Rule 6 of the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994 in a TV show called ‘Big Bulletin with HR Ranganathan’ that aired on 20th February 2020.

In this show, Ranganathan, while speaking about Leona, made some deeply offensive statements against her and allegedly even gave a call for violence against her. The transcript of what he said has also been provided in the complaint which reads as follows:

“She should have been punched in the face, and her teeth knocked out, right there on the dais. Letting her on it was the mistake. It would have been fine if her teeth had been knocked out. She could have then been chopped up and thrown away.” 

 “Oh, if you bash her head in you won’t find cow - dung there.”

“If she comes out, she should be lynched with cow - dung, wherever she can be seen.  If we hit her will they file cases? Let them file the cases, let us see.”

“If three of them are chopped up and thrown away, the rest will fall into line.”

 “That is why, sometimes, I think it’s better to dispense mob justice/aranya , though it is wrong.”

 “Whether it is being incited or not, the legs of those who get caught should cut off and thrown away.”

 “Their faces should be bashed in, what kind of people are these.”

The deeply offensive video can be viewed at viewer's discretion at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhzUuVHVPSw&feature=youtu.be%2C

The complaint states that Ranganathan’s statements amount to incitement of violence and have created an atmosphere of lawlessness and fear. Additionally they amount to a statement conducing to public mischief, and also criminal intimidation. This is being seen as a violation of the Programme Code which states as follows:

“(d) Contains anything obscene, defamatory, deliberate, false and suggestive innuendos and half - truths ; 

(e) is likely to encourage or incite violence or contains anything against maintenance of law and order or which promote anti - national attitudes; 

(i) Criticises, maligns or slanders any individual in person or certain groups, segments of social, public and moral life of the country”

The complaint sought strict action against the news channel in the form of seizure of equipment used for operating the cable television network under Section 11 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act as well as for violation of the Programme Code requiring Public TV to scroll an apology for a 2 months and suspension of broadcast of Public TV for a period of 2 months. 

The complaint can be read here.

 

Related:

FIR Against VHP Leader For Hate Speech in Lal Kuan Communal Violence Case: Delhi

‘Naming & shaming’ instead of rule of law: UP recovery of damage to public & private property ordinance, 2020

Protest against indiscriminate arrest of hundreds of Muslims in violence affected NE Delhi

 

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Decoding Hate

Twitter blasts Zee News’ Sudhir Chaudhary on #ZameenJihad

Sabrangindia 12 Mar 2020

Peddling hate seems to have become Zee News editor Sudhir Chaudhary’s favorite thing to do. After attempting to give a earful to Delhi residents for only caring about free things and personal issues (supporting the Aam Aadmi Party) government and overlooking the national issues of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, Balakot air strokes and the abrogation of Article 370 (the issues that BJP asked for votes on), he is back at it again, on his show Daily News and Analysis, coining a new term – “Zameen Jihad”.

 

While most of the responsible Indian and international media picked up issues related to Jyotiraditya Scindia’s exit from the Congress and the rapidly spreading Coronavirus respectively, Sudhir Chaudhary was looking to divert attention from the real issues to an anti-Muslim, communal hate peddling agenda.

 

Showing his viewers a ‘Jihad ka diagram’ he went on to explain viewers the Roshni Act according to which he said, “25,000 people were rehabilitated on government land in Jammu, while 5,000 in Kashmir.”

Advocate Ankush Sharma who petitioned against the alleged land scam said that 1 million to 1.5 million kanals of forest land was given to the encroachers under the Act in Jammu and that 85-90%t of the beneficiaries were likely to be Muslims.

His basic intention of doing the program was to say that 90 percent of Muslims were dominated in a Hindu-dominated Jammu. This, he claimed was a conspiracy to capture government land and change the demography in terms of religion.

“Just like love jihad, our country is also witness to zameen jihad in Jammu and Kashmir, he said, adding, “Sarkari zameen par kabza kar ke aabadi ka dharam ke aadhaar par badal dene ki saajish ki jaa rahi hai.”

He then went to explain how there were two types of Jihad – Hard Jihad and Soft Jihad further ‘educating’ his viewers by saying, “Hard Jihad includes Population Jihad, Love Jihad, Land Jihad, Education Jihad, Victim Jihad and Direct Jihad, while Soft Jihad includes Economic Jihad, History Jihad, Media Jihad, Movies and Songs Jihad and Secular Jihad.”

The program drew a lot of ire on Twitter, with journalists from other publications and the general Twitterati denounced Chaudhary’s views.

Throughout the program, he kept talking about #ZameenJihad, and how his was the only channel that would talk about this ‘real’ issue. The hashtag received more than 30,000 tweets mainly from the right-wing Hindu population who hailed Chaudhary’s programming and supported his claim.

Chaudhary did chest thump about his newly coined hashtag reaching the number 1 spot in India saying that the topic that he raised was close to people’s hearts, but the media ignored them.

However, it has come to light that Chaudhary’s diagram was nicked from a Facebook page called “Boycott Halal in India” – page that is aimed at spreading conspiracy theories.

Sudhir Chaudhary

The question now is, will Zee News be pulled up (censored) for its polarising content by the Central government? It must be noted that the Centre had banned news channels Asianet and Media One for their coverage of the Delhi violence saying it could ‘enhance communal disharmony’ across the country.

So, in the same vein, will Sudhir Chaudhary and his news channel be penalised forviolations of Cable TV Regulation rules and blatantly spreading hate against the minorities?

 

 

Related:

Regime fails to muzzle the watchdog

CJP urges NBSA to inquire into Aaj Tak's communal programming

NBSA issues stern advisory to news channels: Ayodhya case

Twitter blasts Zee News’ Sudhir Chaudhary on #ZameenJihad

Speaking about the Roshni Act and how it benefited only Muslims, Chaudhary went to show a ‘jihad a diagram’.

Peddling hate seems to have become Zee News editor Sudhir Chaudhary’s favorite thing to do. After attempting to give a earful to Delhi residents for only caring about free things and personal issues (supporting the Aam Aadmi Party) government and overlooking the national issues of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, Balakot air strokes and the abrogation of Article 370 (the issues that BJP asked for votes on), he is back at it again, on his show Daily News and Analysis, coining a new term – “Zameen Jihad”.

 

While most of the responsible Indian and international media picked up issues related to Jyotiraditya Scindia’s exit from the Congress and the rapidly spreading Coronavirus respectively, Sudhir Chaudhary was looking to divert attention from the real issues to an anti-Muslim, communal hate peddling agenda.

 

Showing his viewers a ‘Jihad ka diagram’ he went on to explain viewers the Roshni Act according to which he said, “25,000 people were rehabilitated on government land in Jammu, while 5,000 in Kashmir.”

Advocate Ankush Sharma who petitioned against the alleged land scam said that 1 million to 1.5 million kanals of forest land was given to the encroachers under the Act in Jammu and that 85-90%t of the beneficiaries were likely to be Muslims.

His basic intention of doing the program was to say that 90 percent of Muslims were dominated in a Hindu-dominated Jammu. This, he claimed was a conspiracy to capture government land and change the demography in terms of religion.

“Just like love jihad, our country is also witness to zameen jihad in Jammu and Kashmir, he said, adding, “Sarkari zameen par kabza kar ke aabadi ka dharam ke aadhaar par badal dene ki saajish ki jaa rahi hai.”

He then went to explain how there were two types of Jihad – Hard Jihad and Soft Jihad further ‘educating’ his viewers by saying, “Hard Jihad includes Population Jihad, Love Jihad, Land Jihad, Education Jihad, Victim Jihad and Direct Jihad, while Soft Jihad includes Economic Jihad, History Jihad, Media Jihad, Movies and Songs Jihad and Secular Jihad.”

The program drew a lot of ire on Twitter, with journalists from other publications and the general Twitterati denounced Chaudhary’s views.

Throughout the program, he kept talking about #ZameenJihad, and how his was the only channel that would talk about this ‘real’ issue. The hashtag received more than 30,000 tweets mainly from the right-wing Hindu population who hailed Chaudhary’s programming and supported his claim.

Chaudhary did chest thump about his newly coined hashtag reaching the number 1 spot in India saying that the topic that he raised was close to people’s hearts, but the media ignored them.

However, it has come to light that Chaudhary’s diagram was nicked from a Facebook page called “Boycott Halal in India” – page that is aimed at spreading conspiracy theories.

Sudhir Chaudhary

The question now is, will Zee News be pulled up (censored) for its polarising content by the Central government? It must be noted that the Centre had banned news channels Asianet and Media One for their coverage of the Delhi violence saying it could ‘enhance communal disharmony’ across the country.

So, in the same vein, will Sudhir Chaudhary and his news channel be penalised forviolations of Cable TV Regulation rules and blatantly spreading hate against the minorities?

 

 

Related:

Regime fails to muzzle the watchdog

CJP urges NBSA to inquire into Aaj Tak's communal programming

NBSA issues stern advisory to news channels: Ayodhya case

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Delhi violence: Fundamental change in nature of assault on journalists, identity of assaulter  

Report by CAAJ also shows how complicity and partisanship of the media itself has led to journalists on ground paying the price

09 Mar 2020

attack on media
Image: Altaf Qadri/AP Photo

The Committee Against Assault on Journalists (CAAJ) has released a report titled "Republic In Peril" that showcases recent cases of assaults on journalists in Delhi during the period from December 2019 to February 2020. The report documents a total of 32 such cases spread across three phases.


Phase 1: December 15-20, 2019

The report documents seven cases of journalists being assaulted when the went to cover the violence at Jamia Milia Islamia University (JMIU). According to the report, during this period, “These assaulted journalists included mainstream news channels, agency, international media BBC and digital platforms. The assaulters included mob and police.”

One of the most infamous cases of assault during this period was that of Shaheen Abdulla, who was covering the story for Maktoob Media, an English digital news platform based in New Delhi. Video of him being chased by cops, being dragged and beaten brutally and then being shielded by two young women Ayesha Renna and Ladeeda Sakhaloon outside the JMIU campus had gone viral. In an interview to NDTV Abdullah had recounted his story as follows:

“When I saw them trapped (the female students of Jamia Millia Islamia), I rushed towards them. I knew them personally. I tried to help them to move to a safe place. When the cops came running, I showed them my press card and told them that I am a journalist. 'Don't beat me up; I am not here for any kind of violence. I am just trying to help them for medical attention’. But they started tapping me with their lathis on my legs. While I tried explaining them with the ID in my hand, they kept beating me. Then we went to a safe place, cops came in a group and they were like 'now you come out'. They tried to induce me to follow their instruction. The girls protected me by shielding around. When girls started to come in-front, cops started to come inside. And somehow they (cops) got a hand on me and they pulled me outside."

Another case was that of BBC journalist Bushra Sheikh who was physically assaulted by a policeman. She said, “I came here for BBC's coverage. The police took away my phone and broke it. A male cop pulled my hair. They hit me with a baton and when I asked them for my phone, they hurled abuses at me.”

Nationwide, there were a total of 16 cases where reporters and camera persons were covering protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).


Phase 2: January 2020

The report says, “On January 5, 2020 journalists were targeted outside Jawaharlal Nehru University campus, which was attacked on the same evening by a veiled mob. The number of cases reported in various media outlets and first-hand cases reported on twitter count to half a dozen. Those assaulted were also specifically targeted, stopped from coverage and directed/intimated by the mob.” It adds, “This phase reached its peak on the last day of January, 2020 when journalists were hounded, beaten up and detained at ITO and Rajghat. The numbers included more than ten, many of them senior scribes who were there to report Satyagraha March and pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi on his death anniversary. More than half a dozen journalists were detained until dark in a local stadium. Delhi Police was solely responsible for this assault.”

The report quoted first hand accounts by many journalists. For example, Rohan Venkataramakrishnan of Scroll.in was recording a video of the sloganeering right-wing activists at the JNU main gate on January 5, 2020, when he was surrounded, called a “Naxalwadi”, shoved around and hit on the head. Karnika Kohli of Scroll.in reported that a group armed with bats and sticks was stationed near the main gate. She overheard one of the members of the group say: “Beat up NDTV guys if you see them.”

On January 31, 2020, many journalists were violently attacked at detained by the police at ITO. The Press Club of India in a condemnation statement said, "From the first reports we have, Rajesh Kumar, Shivesh Garg and a clutch of other journalists were forcibly taken away to an unknown destination- probably a distant detention centre or police station. We have no further information." Other journalists also attacked by police included photographer Sanjay K. Jha of The Telegraph, and S. K. Pande, a senior journalist and leader of the Delhi Union of Journalists.


Phase 3: February 2020

The report reveals several horror stories of intimidation, violence and humiliation inflicted upon journalists during this period. The report says, “The third phase is a dark chapter of horror in the history of Freedom of Press in Delhi that reminded many of the Emergency days. Around 18 cases were reported where journalists were not only stopped from coverage, but identified as Hindu/Muslims, ashamed publicly and beaten up by the rioting mob. There camera, equipment broken and vehicles burnt up by the mob.”

On February 24 Akash Napa of JK 24 was shot at while reporting from Maujpur. He was admitted to the GTB Hospital. "The bullet is stuck inside and the doctors have said operating is risky,” his brother told Newslaundry. “He has been shifted to a ward and they are doing some tests.”

On February 25, 2020, NDTV’s Saurabh Shukla and Arvind Gunasekar were brutally assaulted while covering the vandalism at a Muslim shrine at Meet Nagar. Shukla describes events saying, “I was just behind Arvind, 20-30 metres behind him. When we stopped recording, one protester, or one rioter for that matter, he spotted Arvind. They grabbed Arvind and started beating him up. I saw Arvind was lying on the floor. He was bleeding. I came for his rescue,” he said. “They were about to hit Arvind with a stick on his head. I intervened, and so that stick landed on my shoulder.”

Saurabh said the mob punched him and dragged him away from Arvind because they thought Arvind alone was filming. “Later, I did not show them my NDTV ID. I had a Foreign Correspondents’ Club card. I had shown them that and told them that I was not reporting for any Indian television; I was from some foreign agency,” he said. “They kept telling us, get Arvind to delete everything from his phone. And later, they did stop beating us up because they saw my name and said, ‘You’re from our own community. You should not be doing this. You should not be filming this.’”

But things were much worse for freelance journalist Sushil Manav who was allegedly forced to strip and even recite the Hanuman Chalisa to prove he wasn’t Muslim. Times of India’s Anindya Chattopadhyay also faced a similar ordeal on January 24, 2020. He wrote about his ordeal in the newspaper. Stepping out of the Maujpur metro station just past noon, he wrote, he was “taken by surprise when a Hindu Sena member suddenly approached me offering to put tilak on my forehead saying it would make my work ‘easier’. ‘You are also a Hindu, bhaiya. What is the harm?’ the man said.”

When Chattopadhyay tried to photograph a building that had been set on fire, a few men wielding bamboo sticks and rods surrounded him. They tried to snatch his camera, but his colleague, Sakshi Chand, stepped in, and the men went away. But later, he wrote, a group of men followed him. A youth accosted him and said, “Bhai, tu zyada uchhal raha hai. Tu Hindu hai ya Musalman?” Chattopdhyay said they threatened to take off his pants so they could confirm if he was Hindu or Muslim. Only after pleading with folded hands that he was let go.


Conclusion

The report concludes by drawing a grave image of the republic indicting the legislature and the executive in equal parts for their role in the entire matter. It also speaks about the polarization of media and its disastrous consequences. It says, “In recent times, we have witnessed a complete partisan character of media owing to its ownership and business model. The coining of new terms such as "Godi" (lapdog) media and "Rashtrawadi" media suggest a complete polarisation among media outlets. This has created a perception polarisation among media consumers who consume the information and news from "our" media and reject "their" media. The polarisation of news landscape has resulted in identification of individual journalists from their banners/brands. This identification either glorifies an individual journalist or vilifies it.”

It adds, “Here comes the polarised character of assault too. The assaults on journalists have increasingly become some sort of "identity punishing", depending which group he/she is representing. This we have shown in first two phases of assault in December and January. Whenever this sort of assault takes place, the reaction inside the media fraternity is also divided on the same lines. Never has been a single incident of assault in last few years when the whole fraternity spoke in a single voice.”

The report then showcases the consequences of polarization and lack of unity saying, “The natural result of this complicity and partisanship was what we witnessed in the last week of February when no one was in the condition to prove his/her innocence and credentials in front of a rioting mob, asking for identity proof. A scribe from a partisan media house was targeted for the same cause whereas another scribe from a non-partisan outlet was targeted due to the polarised perception. The reality and perception both stand polarised heavily. Journalists on ground are paying price for it.”

The entire report may be read here: 

 

Delhi violence: Fundamental change in nature of assault on journalists, identity of assaulter  

Report by CAAJ also shows how complicity and partisanship of the media itself has led to journalists on ground paying the price

attack on media
Image: Altaf Qadri/AP Photo

The Committee Against Assault on Journalists (CAAJ) has released a report titled "Republic In Peril" that showcases recent cases of assaults on journalists in Delhi during the period from December 2019 to February 2020. The report documents a total of 32 such cases spread across three phases.


Phase 1: December 15-20, 2019

The report documents seven cases of journalists being assaulted when the went to cover the violence at Jamia Milia Islamia University (JMIU). According to the report, during this period, “These assaulted journalists included mainstream news channels, agency, international media BBC and digital platforms. The assaulters included mob and police.”

One of the most infamous cases of assault during this period was that of Shaheen Abdulla, who was covering the story for Maktoob Media, an English digital news platform based in New Delhi. Video of him being chased by cops, being dragged and beaten brutally and then being shielded by two young women Ayesha Renna and Ladeeda Sakhaloon outside the JMIU campus had gone viral. In an interview to NDTV Abdullah had recounted his story as follows:

“When I saw them trapped (the female students of Jamia Millia Islamia), I rushed towards them. I knew them personally. I tried to help them to move to a safe place. When the cops came running, I showed them my press card and told them that I am a journalist. 'Don't beat me up; I am not here for any kind of violence. I am just trying to help them for medical attention’. But they started tapping me with their lathis on my legs. While I tried explaining them with the ID in my hand, they kept beating me. Then we went to a safe place, cops came in a group and they were like 'now you come out'. They tried to induce me to follow their instruction. The girls protected me by shielding around. When girls started to come in-front, cops started to come inside. And somehow they (cops) got a hand on me and they pulled me outside."

Another case was that of BBC journalist Bushra Sheikh who was physically assaulted by a policeman. She said, “I came here for BBC's coverage. The police took away my phone and broke it. A male cop pulled my hair. They hit me with a baton and when I asked them for my phone, they hurled abuses at me.”

Nationwide, there were a total of 16 cases where reporters and camera persons were covering protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).


Phase 2: January 2020

The report says, “On January 5, 2020 journalists were targeted outside Jawaharlal Nehru University campus, which was attacked on the same evening by a veiled mob. The number of cases reported in various media outlets and first-hand cases reported on twitter count to half a dozen. Those assaulted were also specifically targeted, stopped from coverage and directed/intimated by the mob.” It adds, “This phase reached its peak on the last day of January, 2020 when journalists were hounded, beaten up and detained at ITO and Rajghat. The numbers included more than ten, many of them senior scribes who were there to report Satyagraha March and pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi on his death anniversary. More than half a dozen journalists were detained until dark in a local stadium. Delhi Police was solely responsible for this assault.”

The report quoted first hand accounts by many journalists. For example, Rohan Venkataramakrishnan of Scroll.in was recording a video of the sloganeering right-wing activists at the JNU main gate on January 5, 2020, when he was surrounded, called a “Naxalwadi”, shoved around and hit on the head. Karnika Kohli of Scroll.in reported that a group armed with bats and sticks was stationed near the main gate. She overheard one of the members of the group say: “Beat up NDTV guys if you see them.”

On January 31, 2020, many journalists were violently attacked at detained by the police at ITO. The Press Club of India in a condemnation statement said, "From the first reports we have, Rajesh Kumar, Shivesh Garg and a clutch of other journalists were forcibly taken away to an unknown destination- probably a distant detention centre or police station. We have no further information." Other journalists also attacked by police included photographer Sanjay K. Jha of The Telegraph, and S. K. Pande, a senior journalist and leader of the Delhi Union of Journalists.


Phase 3: February 2020

The report reveals several horror stories of intimidation, violence and humiliation inflicted upon journalists during this period. The report says, “The third phase is a dark chapter of horror in the history of Freedom of Press in Delhi that reminded many of the Emergency days. Around 18 cases were reported where journalists were not only stopped from coverage, but identified as Hindu/Muslims, ashamed publicly and beaten up by the rioting mob. There camera, equipment broken and vehicles burnt up by the mob.”

On February 24 Akash Napa of JK 24 was shot at while reporting from Maujpur. He was admitted to the GTB Hospital. "The bullet is stuck inside and the doctors have said operating is risky,” his brother told Newslaundry. “He has been shifted to a ward and they are doing some tests.”

On February 25, 2020, NDTV’s Saurabh Shukla and Arvind Gunasekar were brutally assaulted while covering the vandalism at a Muslim shrine at Meet Nagar. Shukla describes events saying, “I was just behind Arvind, 20-30 metres behind him. When we stopped recording, one protester, or one rioter for that matter, he spotted Arvind. They grabbed Arvind and started beating him up. I saw Arvind was lying on the floor. He was bleeding. I came for his rescue,” he said. “They were about to hit Arvind with a stick on his head. I intervened, and so that stick landed on my shoulder.”

Saurabh said the mob punched him and dragged him away from Arvind because they thought Arvind alone was filming. “Later, I did not show them my NDTV ID. I had a Foreign Correspondents’ Club card. I had shown them that and told them that I was not reporting for any Indian television; I was from some foreign agency,” he said. “They kept telling us, get Arvind to delete everything from his phone. And later, they did stop beating us up because they saw my name and said, ‘You’re from our own community. You should not be doing this. You should not be filming this.’”

But things were much worse for freelance journalist Sushil Manav who was allegedly forced to strip and even recite the Hanuman Chalisa to prove he wasn’t Muslim. Times of India’s Anindya Chattopadhyay also faced a similar ordeal on January 24, 2020. He wrote about his ordeal in the newspaper. Stepping out of the Maujpur metro station just past noon, he wrote, he was “taken by surprise when a Hindu Sena member suddenly approached me offering to put tilak on my forehead saying it would make my work ‘easier’. ‘You are also a Hindu, bhaiya. What is the harm?’ the man said.”

When Chattopadhyay tried to photograph a building that had been set on fire, a few men wielding bamboo sticks and rods surrounded him. They tried to snatch his camera, but his colleague, Sakshi Chand, stepped in, and the men went away. But later, he wrote, a group of men followed him. A youth accosted him and said, “Bhai, tu zyada uchhal raha hai. Tu Hindu hai ya Musalman?” Chattopdhyay said they threatened to take off his pants so they could confirm if he was Hindu or Muslim. Only after pleading with folded hands that he was let go.


Conclusion

The report concludes by drawing a grave image of the republic indicting the legislature and the executive in equal parts for their role in the entire matter. It also speaks about the polarization of media and its disastrous consequences. It says, “In recent times, we have witnessed a complete partisan character of media owing to its ownership and business model. The coining of new terms such as "Godi" (lapdog) media and "Rashtrawadi" media suggest a complete polarisation among media outlets. This has created a perception polarisation among media consumers who consume the information and news from "our" media and reject "their" media. The polarisation of news landscape has resulted in identification of individual journalists from their banners/brands. This identification either glorifies an individual journalist or vilifies it.”

It adds, “Here comes the polarised character of assault too. The assaults on journalists have increasingly become some sort of "identity punishing", depending which group he/she is representing. This we have shown in first two phases of assault in December and January. Whenever this sort of assault takes place, the reaction inside the media fraternity is also divided on the same lines. Never has been a single incident of assault in last few years when the whole fraternity spoke in a single voice.”

The report then showcases the consequences of polarization and lack of unity saying, “The natural result of this complicity and partisanship was what we witnessed in the last week of February when no one was in the condition to prove his/her innocence and credentials in front of a rioting mob, asking for identity proof. A scribe from a partisan media house was targeted for the same cause whereas another scribe from a non-partisan outlet was targeted due to the polarised perception. The reality and perception both stand polarised heavily. Journalists on ground are paying price for it.”

The entire report may be read here: 

 

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Regime fails to muzzle the watchdog

I&B Ministry forced to lift 48-hour ban on two Malayalam channels

07 Mar 2020

OrderImage Courtesy: jammulinksnews.com

On Friday evening, in a shocking order, two channels from Kerala, Asianet News TV and Media One TV, were placed under a 48-hour ban by the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry. In it order the ministry accused both of highlighting attacks on places of worship, siding with one particular community and blaming the police for alleged inaction.

Asianet had also been accused of reporting that rioters were attacking people after asking their religion. Meanwhile Media One was also accused of being critical of not just the Delhi Police, but also of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological progenitor of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government. Media One also ruffled feathers for reporting that supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) had caused widespread violence. Both channels were placed on a 48 -hour ban starting 7:30 PM on Friday. They were issued show cause notices.

The entire order of the I&B Ministry may be read here:

Order

Order

What is most noteworthy about the order, is that it doesn’t say even once that the reportage was factually incorrect! This appeared to be a clear case of a vindictive regime attempting to misuse resources available to it to muzzle the fourth estate. The move set the cat among the pigeons and drew sharp criticism.

Youth leader and scholar Umar Khalid tweeted:

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor meanwhile said:

Senior journalist Vinod K. Jose tweeted:

In their response to the ridiculous order, both channels defended their coverage and maintained that it was based on what their reporters saw and what eyewitnesses told them. The Telegraph reported Media One as saying in its response that it “is the duty of the media under Article 19(1)(a) read with Article 15(2) of the Constitution of India to bona fide investigate and report news truly and correctly.” Asianet News TV is owned by BJP Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrashekhar, and their reporter on the ground PR Sunil, also stood steadfast by his reportage.

On Saturday morning, the I&B ministry was forced to take back the order and lift the ban. While Asianet was back on air in the early hours of the morning, Media One was back on air at about 9:30 AM.

Regime fails to muzzle the watchdog

I&B Ministry forced to lift 48-hour ban on two Malayalam channels

OrderImage Courtesy: jammulinksnews.com

On Friday evening, in a shocking order, two channels from Kerala, Asianet News TV and Media One TV, were placed under a 48-hour ban by the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry. In it order the ministry accused both of highlighting attacks on places of worship, siding with one particular community and blaming the police for alleged inaction.

Asianet had also been accused of reporting that rioters were attacking people after asking their religion. Meanwhile Media One was also accused of being critical of not just the Delhi Police, but also of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological progenitor of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government. Media One also ruffled feathers for reporting that supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) had caused widespread violence. Both channels were placed on a 48 -hour ban starting 7:30 PM on Friday. They were issued show cause notices.

The entire order of the I&B Ministry may be read here:

Order

Order

What is most noteworthy about the order, is that it doesn’t say even once that the reportage was factually incorrect! This appeared to be a clear case of a vindictive regime attempting to misuse resources available to it to muzzle the fourth estate. The move set the cat among the pigeons and drew sharp criticism.

Youth leader and scholar Umar Khalid tweeted:

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor meanwhile said:

Senior journalist Vinod K. Jose tweeted:

In their response to the ridiculous order, both channels defended their coverage and maintained that it was based on what their reporters saw and what eyewitnesses told them. The Telegraph reported Media One as saying in its response that it “is the duty of the media under Article 19(1)(a) read with Article 15(2) of the Constitution of India to bona fide investigate and report news truly and correctly.” Asianet News TV is owned by BJP Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrashekhar, and their reporter on the ground PR Sunil, also stood steadfast by his reportage.

On Saturday morning, the I&B ministry was forced to take back the order and lift the ban. While Asianet was back on air in the early hours of the morning, Media One was back on air at about 9:30 AM.

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Yusuf Jameel wins PEN-Gauri Lankesh Award

Kashmiri journalist chosen for fearless journalism and professional integrity

07 Feb 2020

yusuf jameel

Kashmir based journalist Yusuf Jameel has been selected to receive the prestigious PEN-Gauri Lankesh Award for 2019-2020. The announcement was made on January 29 on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Gauri Lankesh, a fearless journalist who was gunned down in cold blood by right-wing extremists.

In a press release the organisers said, “The 2019-2020 PEN-Gauri Lankesh Award for Democratic Idealism is awarded to Yusuf Jameel. His work in journalism shows an exemplary commitment to professional integrity and the ideals of democracy." Jameel started his career as a journalist with Aftab, the Srinagar-based Urdu daily, in the early 1980s. Since then, he has worked for various newspapers and media agencies including The Telegraph, BBC, Reuters, Time, Voice of America and The Asian Age.  The statement adds, "In the context of rising insurgency in the Kashmir valley in the late eighties and the nineties and the very complex conflict scenario that has evolved since, his work as a reporter pioneered fearless and candid journalism in Jammu and Kashmir.  As a print and radio journalist working in both Urdu and English languages for over three and a half decades, his work shows a deep level of social engagement and concern and has contributed immensely to the traditions of fair and courageous reportage.”

Offered annually on the birth anniversary of Gauri Lankesh, it carries a citation and a cash prize of Rs. One Lakh. Jameel was chosen by a jury of scholar Chandan Gowda, editor Vinutha Mallya and poet Asiya Zahoor. The jury is established afresh each year. The award was instituted by PEN South India and PEN Delhi to remember the Lankesh Patrike editor who was assassinated in 2017. PEN was founded in 1921 to promote friendship and intellectual co-operation among writers. PEN defends the rights of writers internationally. PEN has three centres in India – Delhi, Bombay and South India. PEN South India was founded in 2017 and is based out of a different city each year.

Yusuf Jameel wins PEN-Gauri Lankesh Award

Kashmiri journalist chosen for fearless journalism and professional integrity

yusuf jameel

Kashmir based journalist Yusuf Jameel has been selected to receive the prestigious PEN-Gauri Lankesh Award for 2019-2020. The announcement was made on January 29 on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Gauri Lankesh, a fearless journalist who was gunned down in cold blood by right-wing extremists.

In a press release the organisers said, “The 2019-2020 PEN-Gauri Lankesh Award for Democratic Idealism is awarded to Yusuf Jameel. His work in journalism shows an exemplary commitment to professional integrity and the ideals of democracy." Jameel started his career as a journalist with Aftab, the Srinagar-based Urdu daily, in the early 1980s. Since then, he has worked for various newspapers and media agencies including The Telegraph, BBC, Reuters, Time, Voice of America and The Asian Age.  The statement adds, "In the context of rising insurgency in the Kashmir valley in the late eighties and the nineties and the very complex conflict scenario that has evolved since, his work as a reporter pioneered fearless and candid journalism in Jammu and Kashmir.  As a print and radio journalist working in both Urdu and English languages for over three and a half decades, his work shows a deep level of social engagement and concern and has contributed immensely to the traditions of fair and courageous reportage.”

Offered annually on the birth anniversary of Gauri Lankesh, it carries a citation and a cash prize of Rs. One Lakh. Jameel was chosen by a jury of scholar Chandan Gowda, editor Vinutha Mallya and poet Asiya Zahoor. The jury is established afresh each year. The award was instituted by PEN South India and PEN Delhi to remember the Lankesh Patrike editor who was assassinated in 2017. PEN was founded in 1921 to promote friendship and intellectual co-operation among writers. PEN defends the rights of writers internationally. PEN has three centres in India – Delhi, Bombay and South India. PEN South India was founded in 2017 and is based out of a different city each year.

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Century ago, Mook-Nayak beckons a new Ambedkarite movement today

Foster young and new Ambedkarites to lead the new age of knowledge and information for an enlightened media

01 Feb 2020

Ambedkar

Today marks the centenary of the publication of 'Mook-Nayak', founded by Baba Saheb Ambedkar. Exactly on January 31, 1920, Baba Saheb Ambedkar launched this fortnightly to give voice to the voiceless as reflected in its name. I won’t go into many details of the newspaper as many scholarly articles have already appeared on it commemorating its century run. What is more important is to reflect on the influence Baba Saheb Ambedkar had on the media in India. What emerged out of Baba Saheb’s influence was what we can safely call was the Ambedkarite media. People may differ but I write based on my experiences and interactions with whole lot of Ambedkarites and those who were part of Baba Saheb's mission. I feel extremely proud that I could interact and learn a lot from intellectual giants Bhagwan Das ji, NG Uke Saheb, L R Balley, V T Rajshekar, J V Pawar, Raja Dhale, Vijay Surwade and many more who had been regularly writing and contributing in different forms to strengthen mission Ambedkarism and its intellectual ethos. There are hundreds other unknown soldiers of the movement who in different nooks and corners of the country started various journals and periodicals to spread it in their impact domains and areas.

Photographs and quotes of Baba Saheb Ambekar today are visible in every protest and dharna everywhere. His bitter opponents, both the Congress and BJP quote him. The Left forces which portrayed him 'constitutionalist' and too narrow 'caste' focused are quoting him now too, but things were not the same when Dr. Ambedkar started his journey. We were a country in awe of Gandhi as he represented the Savarna power of India even when he played patron saint for Muslims. No 'Manustream' media would focus on Ambedkar's work and thought. All his life, Baba Saheb fought not with Gandhi or Gandhians but the dishonest brahminical intellectual class too which felt threatened and had no keen interest that his thought and vision reach to the people of India. But his  mission of Ambedkarism was carried forward by his dedicated followers who started publishing periodicals and magazines everywhere and it is because of their work and dedication that Ambedkarites today are one of the most enlightened and intellectual class. It is these dedicated icons who took immense pain to make this literature available to us.

Today, we have a hugely powerful Ambedkarite opinion making class, a majority of who, would not like to get legitimised or justified by the brahminical intellectual of media yet many of those who are active and visible on social media and have made their way into the ‘Manustream’ media. The difference is that in the yesteryears, no brahminical intellectual had the capacity to publish the roar of an L R Balley or Bhagwan Das or V T Rajshekar or Raja Dhale. Today, they have started publishing the new young which is a good sign but for me, I would still appreciate and respect those more who don’t care for the brahminical mainstream media and continue to do their work of spreading Ambedkarite enlightenment through their own network. It is a fact that Ambedkarism is the most potent weapon against brahminism and it has survived despite India's power elite never wanting it to. Such was the power of the movement, which never got any good 'press' or review by the 'nationalists' and who always blamed Ambedkarites as Casteists.

Today, in the one hundred years of Mook Nayak, it is important to continue with autonomous publications. Let more flowers bloom and young Ambedkarites take charge of new media, use social media and engage in constructive debates. Dr Ambedkar was an intellectual giant who responded to various issues confronting the nation. We need to use his basic tools to respond to the current crises that we face today. Reach more and more groups diverse from your own and make alliances with common minimum programmes without undermining the basic identity of Ambedkarism. The real fight against the brahminical caste hegemonists or fascists in India can only come through an inclusive and diverse coalition of Ambedkarite Bahujans with Ambedkarism playing the lead role of coordinating these diverse groups, but in a collective leadership.

It is essential to understand that Baba Saheb Ambedkar paid great emphasis on interacting with his people and through his media. He could also have written in the Manuwadi media of his time but he preferred his own publications so that his view remained undiluted and unadulterated. Also important is that he changed his strategies from time to time - from Mook Nayak to Bahishkrit Bharat, and ultimately to 'Prabuddh Bharat' which was his vision for an enlightened India as he knew well that without providing an alternative to brahminism you cannot really liberate people; and hence it was essential to continue with the intellectual dialogue.

Today's leadership actually don’t want an intellectual debate. Most of them hate the idea and never felt that a professional media was required which could give its professional guidance by inviting community intellectuals, silent activists, grassroots workers to write and not merely report or produce all the garbage of party reporting or neta bhakti. Intellectuals need to come beyond the bhakti as Baba Saheb said categorically why 'bhakti' in politics was a way towards disaster. Through the media, leaders give their vision and people interact with them. More than that they listen to their own critique but today criticism is not liked and brahminical media will not critique Bahujan leadership for the point of the community interest but its own interest and therefore such media was needed which could warn leaders of their faults and not become their propaganda tool as it would never help in the long run. Media can also be used in creating new young leaders but for that one needs a long term strategy.

While we salute all those known and unknow Ambedkarites who carried forwarded the legacy of Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar's journalism, it must continue its work unmindful of whether others appreciate it or not. The real power does not lie in brahminical acknowledgement but in awakening the masses and making their issues public. The ‘Manustream’ media today is distorting facts, hiding them and vilifying dissenters. It is important therefore, we support and participate with all such forces who have stood with people for their human rights, social justice and raised their issues and provided space for all kind of discussions.

In the 21st century, Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar's philosophy will play the real 'liberation theology' for all the oppressed people and if we want that this philosophy is not distorted then it is essential we keep safe the legacy of all those who dedicated their life to spread Baba Saheb's 'Prabuddha Bharat' mission. Ambedkarite media is not reporting cut and paste from the manuwadi media but essentially a constructive ideological alternative of the hierarchical varna system, a complete annihilation of caste which is necessary for a stronger and democratic India. No Manuwadi media would be interested in annihilation of caste as it is only possible through Ambedkarite media but for that we all will have to learn to listen to even disagreements and try forge a coalition with all. Ambedkarite media can be an individual enterprise but will have to work in close association with the community and should not only raise their issues but work towards creating new young writers, photographers, cartoonists, reporters and editors. The task is tough but nothing is impossible and will ultimately benefit the nation enormously where media is the 'exclusive' domain of two or three jaatis.

In the 100 years of the celebration of Mook-Nayak, our main goal should be to break the hegemony of these exploiting castes and classes in our knowledge and information system so that brahminical exploitation is exposed, people get justice and rule of law is restored. We have seen the dirt and filth that ‘Manustream’ media has unleashed on us and to counter this we need an enlightened media and better analysis of the current situation. Ambedkarites can do that, and if they do so, it will be the best tribute to Baba Saheb Ambedkar.

 

Century ago, Mook-Nayak beckons a new Ambedkarite movement today

Foster young and new Ambedkarites to lead the new age of knowledge and information for an enlightened media

Ambedkar

Today marks the centenary of the publication of 'Mook-Nayak', founded by Baba Saheb Ambedkar. Exactly on January 31, 1920, Baba Saheb Ambedkar launched this fortnightly to give voice to the voiceless as reflected in its name. I won’t go into many details of the newspaper as many scholarly articles have already appeared on it commemorating its century run. What is more important is to reflect on the influence Baba Saheb Ambedkar had on the media in India. What emerged out of Baba Saheb’s influence was what we can safely call was the Ambedkarite media. People may differ but I write based on my experiences and interactions with whole lot of Ambedkarites and those who were part of Baba Saheb's mission. I feel extremely proud that I could interact and learn a lot from intellectual giants Bhagwan Das ji, NG Uke Saheb, L R Balley, V T Rajshekar, J V Pawar, Raja Dhale, Vijay Surwade and many more who had been regularly writing and contributing in different forms to strengthen mission Ambedkarism and its intellectual ethos. There are hundreds other unknown soldiers of the movement who in different nooks and corners of the country started various journals and periodicals to spread it in their impact domains and areas.

Photographs and quotes of Baba Saheb Ambekar today are visible in every protest and dharna everywhere. His bitter opponents, both the Congress and BJP quote him. The Left forces which portrayed him 'constitutionalist' and too narrow 'caste' focused are quoting him now too, but things were not the same when Dr. Ambedkar started his journey. We were a country in awe of Gandhi as he represented the Savarna power of India even when he played patron saint for Muslims. No 'Manustream' media would focus on Ambedkar's work and thought. All his life, Baba Saheb fought not with Gandhi or Gandhians but the dishonest brahminical intellectual class too which felt threatened and had no keen interest that his thought and vision reach to the people of India. But his  mission of Ambedkarism was carried forward by his dedicated followers who started publishing periodicals and magazines everywhere and it is because of their work and dedication that Ambedkarites today are one of the most enlightened and intellectual class. It is these dedicated icons who took immense pain to make this literature available to us.

Today, we have a hugely powerful Ambedkarite opinion making class, a majority of who, would not like to get legitimised or justified by the brahminical intellectual of media yet many of those who are active and visible on social media and have made their way into the ‘Manustream’ media. The difference is that in the yesteryears, no brahminical intellectual had the capacity to publish the roar of an L R Balley or Bhagwan Das or V T Rajshekar or Raja Dhale. Today, they have started publishing the new young which is a good sign but for me, I would still appreciate and respect those more who don’t care for the brahminical mainstream media and continue to do their work of spreading Ambedkarite enlightenment through their own network. It is a fact that Ambedkarism is the most potent weapon against brahminism and it has survived despite India's power elite never wanting it to. Such was the power of the movement, which never got any good 'press' or review by the 'nationalists' and who always blamed Ambedkarites as Casteists.

Today, in the one hundred years of Mook Nayak, it is important to continue with autonomous publications. Let more flowers bloom and young Ambedkarites take charge of new media, use social media and engage in constructive debates. Dr Ambedkar was an intellectual giant who responded to various issues confronting the nation. We need to use his basic tools to respond to the current crises that we face today. Reach more and more groups diverse from your own and make alliances with common minimum programmes without undermining the basic identity of Ambedkarism. The real fight against the brahminical caste hegemonists or fascists in India can only come through an inclusive and diverse coalition of Ambedkarite Bahujans with Ambedkarism playing the lead role of coordinating these diverse groups, but in a collective leadership.

It is essential to understand that Baba Saheb Ambedkar paid great emphasis on interacting with his people and through his media. He could also have written in the Manuwadi media of his time but he preferred his own publications so that his view remained undiluted and unadulterated. Also important is that he changed his strategies from time to time - from Mook Nayak to Bahishkrit Bharat, and ultimately to 'Prabuddh Bharat' which was his vision for an enlightened India as he knew well that without providing an alternative to brahminism you cannot really liberate people; and hence it was essential to continue with the intellectual dialogue.

Today's leadership actually don’t want an intellectual debate. Most of them hate the idea and never felt that a professional media was required which could give its professional guidance by inviting community intellectuals, silent activists, grassroots workers to write and not merely report or produce all the garbage of party reporting or neta bhakti. Intellectuals need to come beyond the bhakti as Baba Saheb said categorically why 'bhakti' in politics was a way towards disaster. Through the media, leaders give their vision and people interact with them. More than that they listen to their own critique but today criticism is not liked and brahminical media will not critique Bahujan leadership for the point of the community interest but its own interest and therefore such media was needed which could warn leaders of their faults and not become their propaganda tool as it would never help in the long run. Media can also be used in creating new young leaders but for that one needs a long term strategy.

While we salute all those known and unknow Ambedkarites who carried forwarded the legacy of Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar's journalism, it must continue its work unmindful of whether others appreciate it or not. The real power does not lie in brahminical acknowledgement but in awakening the masses and making their issues public. The ‘Manustream’ media today is distorting facts, hiding them and vilifying dissenters. It is important therefore, we support and participate with all such forces who have stood with people for their human rights, social justice and raised their issues and provided space for all kind of discussions.

In the 21st century, Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar's philosophy will play the real 'liberation theology' for all the oppressed people and if we want that this philosophy is not distorted then it is essential we keep safe the legacy of all those who dedicated their life to spread Baba Saheb's 'Prabuddha Bharat' mission. Ambedkarite media is not reporting cut and paste from the manuwadi media but essentially a constructive ideological alternative of the hierarchical varna system, a complete annihilation of caste which is necessary for a stronger and democratic India. No Manuwadi media would be interested in annihilation of caste as it is only possible through Ambedkarite media but for that we all will have to learn to listen to even disagreements and try forge a coalition with all. Ambedkarite media can be an individual enterprise but will have to work in close association with the community and should not only raise their issues but work towards creating new young writers, photographers, cartoonists, reporters and editors. The task is tough but nothing is impossible and will ultimately benefit the nation enormously where media is the 'exclusive' domain of two or three jaatis.

In the 100 years of the celebration of Mook-Nayak, our main goal should be to break the hegemony of these exploiting castes and classes in our knowledge and information system so that brahminical exploitation is exposed, people get justice and rule of law is restored. We have seen the dirt and filth that ‘Manustream’ media has unleashed on us and to counter this we need an enlightened media and better analysis of the current situation. Ambedkarites can do that, and if they do so, it will be the best tribute to Baba Saheb Ambedkar.

 

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