Ethical journalism would demand that a journalist who is supposed to take an interview of another individual does not let a single soul know about the questions to be posed to the interviewee, leave alone to the interviewee.
However, we are talking about India Today and its journalist Tanushree Pandey. Speaking of ‘ethical journalism’ in the same line with them would be a grave sin on my part.
The JNU controversy refuses to die down, courtesy, the ability of leftist students to continue with their ever-ongoing agitation, and also the media houses like India Today, who thought this to be an opportune time for them to display their skills at some ‘investigative journalism’. That the investigative journalism of this media house involves cherry-picking interviewee’s and tutoring them as to how to go about the entire interview is a discussion we pay heed to in subsequent portions of this report.
Tanushree Pandey, a member of India Today’s Special Investigation Team (yes, they have such a thing), in a video clip, now viral, is seen allegedly tutoring the JNUSU Vice President, Saket Moon. This, mind you, is before Pandey goes live with news anchor and fearlessly bombastic journalist Rahul Kanwal, who has spearheaded these ‘investigations’ into the JNU fiasco, implicating the ABVP for all violence. Prior to going live on India Today, Tanushree is first seen having an open discussion with the JNUSU Vice President, and then, suddenly, she decides to make her discussion with him covert and begins whispering in his ear. The video then loses track of their discussion as Tanushree is particularly careful of not letting anybody in the public hear their conversation.
India Today journalist and JNUSU VP caught in a hush hush off the record conversation where she appears to be ‘coaching’ the person.
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) January 12, 2020
In the live footage, however, the journalist (if she can still be called one) and Saket pretend as though the conversation between them is impromptu, and has not been scripted. What is also admirable is Tanushree, despite being a journalist, goes over the top in providing the leftist specimen with a free platform to further his propaganda, so much so that Nathuram Godse also finds mention in their conversation. Further, not one tough question is asked to the JNUSU VP, despite the fact that JNUSU vandalized the university servers on January 5th. Pandey does not ask one counter-question to Saket Moon, who is more than happy to be live on national television to spread his vile propaganda. The interview, quite clearly, was a deliberate effort to provide the leftist organizations with a platform to peddle their agenda. The journalist is not seen asking a single question regarding the involvement of the leftist organizations and gives them a free pass completely.
At India Today, however, this is not a first. Journalists are seen openly coaching their prey to say what the editor wants to hear, or what perhaps, their political masters would like to hear. In the tweet below, a video is shared in which a TV Today group reporter is seen bribing a young boy with a quarter of alcohol. He says “tum mast hoke peeyo”.He also tutors the boy to speak against the government perhaps, for failing to provide food and shelter and forcing him to beg on the streets.
— Bikash Siwakoti (@Vkashxh) January 13, 2020
In January last year, Mausami Singh, a journalist at India Today, in a live show, went on to falsely claim that there was huge excitement among party workers following the decision of Congress President Rahul Gandhi to induct his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra into the party. However, it was later exposed that it was, in fact, Mausami Singh who orchestrated the ‘excitement’ by telling Congress workers to chant slogans in Vadra’s favour.
It is more than evident that India Today and journalism are terms which are not synonymous to each other, and that the media house perhaps has a stated policy of tutoring interviewees and orchestrating celebrations. It is a shame that the same media house continues to lecture others on the pathetic state of journalism in the country while being a willing and proactive contributor to the same. As for Tanushree Pandey, she might want to change her Twitter bio now, because contrary to her claims, she is neither ‘truthful’ nor a ‘nonconformist’. She is what all others in the media today are: biased and unethical. Period.