In a democracy, after judiciary, media is perhaps the only institution that is supposed to be neutral. The duty of a journalist is to report the events in the country in an impartial manner, regardless of their personal opinions. However, in India which happens to be the world’s largest democracy; the journalists, time and again lobby for political parties which are in accordance to their own personal interests. This has recently occurred over the social media platform over the AAP-Congress alliance talks.
Yesterday, Rahul Gandhi openly came out on Twitter, urging Arvind Kejriwal to ally with Congress for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The Congress president offered to give up 4 seats out of the 7 Delhi seats to AAP, in order to ensure that BJP does not come to power. He even accused Kejriwal for making a “U turn” where alliance talks are concerned.
An alliance between the Congress & AAP in Delhi would mean the rout of the BJP. The Congress is willing to give up 4 Delhi seats to the AAP to ensure this.
But, Mr Kejriwal has done yet another U turn!
Our doors are still open, but the clock is running out. #AbAAPkiBaari
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) April 15, 2019
In this regard, along with the grand old party urging Arvind Kejriwal to ally with them, there is another set of enthusiastic Congress worshippers who seek this. This group of people consists of the so-called ‘impartial’ journalists. The number of senior journalists who have come out on Twitter, urging and pointing merits of the alliance is alarming. The list boasts some prominent journalists who hold positions of influence.
After listening to “Neutral” Journalism over phone tapes, now watch “Neutral” Journalism in 4D. This is 2019. pic.twitter.com/qPFw6rYN0H
— Yo Yo Funny Singh (@moronhumor) April 16, 2019
One of the prominent names featured is that of Nikhil Wagle. He is a journalist in Maharashtra and has had extensive experience in media since the past 40 years. However, being married to Meena Karnik, who is the media cell convener of AAP, has led to his journalistic ethics going down the drain and his reporting being highly biased.
Tufail Ahmad is an international journalist of Indian origin who is currently serving as the director of Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) in Washington, D.C. Moreover, he often writes for FirstPost and The New Indian Express. Indulging in such biased tweets, clearly advocating the alliance of two political parties, going against another doesn’t suit his prominent status.
Saba Naqvi is unanimously regarded as one of the best political analysts of India. She has authored books on Arvind Kejriwal and BJP and writes columns in leading national dailies and websites. Moreover, she is also an election analyst and a known political commentator. Even though she holds such high acclamations, she is in her clear biased opinion urging Arvind Kejriwal to “stoop and conquer”.
Ashutosh is the co-founder of satyahindi.com, a political platform that wants to convey the truth. He has ironically diverged away from his own ideology of clear unbiased truth and is stating personal biased opinions. Being a former AAP leader, he obviously isn’t free from his political affiliations. Ashutosh is clearly advising and urging Arvind Kejriwal to ally with Congress as that is the best possible way to defeat BJP.
These journalists have long held personal political opinions but now they aren’t even being subtle about it. Having no regard to at least appear to be impartial, the journalists are openly preaching and advocating certain political parties. These journalists are often regarded as experts in the field, and hence hold immense influence on the people. On the basis of this perceived influence alone, the journalists hold a responsibility to stick solely to neutral reporting, and not pass biased opinions.
A decade ago, India had witnessed the Radia Tapes controversy which had revealed names of a few prominent journalists such as Barkha Dutt, Navika Kumar, Vir Sanghvi, Shankar Aiyar, M.K. Venu and Prabhu Chawla in which these media persons had been used to influence the decision to appoint A. Raja as telecom minister, who was involved in the 2G spectrum scam. The controversy had shaken the country to the core with the clear biased intentions of the journalists coming out. Now, right before the elections, we face a similar situation of prominent journalists being anything but neutral.