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India: The Rise of Right Wing Journalism

by Pratik Sinha, 5 November 2013

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On August 14, 2012, who’s who of right wing journalism including Arun Shourie, Ashok Malik, Tavleen Singh, Swapan Dasgupta, Kanchan Gupta et al. conglomerated and penned articles for a new propaganda website – “NitiCentral – Bold and Right”. Apart from these established journalists who have spent their entire careers brandishing their pens to promote the right wingers, NitiCentral also had a new blogger in their ranks – Narendra Modi.

Narendra Modi authors an article on NitiCentral on its day of inception

Narendra Modi authors an article on NitiCentral on its day of inception

No other ‘news website’ can boast of having Narendra Modi in their ranks. But why should we be surprised? Ultimately NitiCentral is a website Of Modi, By Modi, For Modi. But then, to organize NitiCentral, Modi appears to have used quite of bit of Gujarat Government Machinery as well. For instance lets take the case of one Roshni Bawari who is a NitiDigital (Company that runs NitiCentral) employee and clearly states in her LinkedIn profile that her “current” position is “Branding & communications consultant, Chief Minister’s Office, Gujarat”

Employee of Modi's Office Roshni Bawari works for  NitiDigital

It may be recalled that man who owns NitiCentral, Rajesh Jain, had been appointed as Director on the Board of Gujarat Informatics Ltd (GIL). Be that as it may, NitiCentral has now become the fountainhead of all political propaganda for promoting Modi and BJP. It has also become a website to carry forward right wing journalism, but at the same time tarnishes the images of very important Indian citizens by publishing defamatory literature against them.

In the recent past, NitiCentral has been promoting an E-Book written by a little known columnist, Priyadarshi Dutta. The E-Book titled “Amartya Sen and Nalanda Scam” is an extremely defamatory and abusive piece of literature against the Nobel Laureate and Bharat Ratna Amartya sen. A snippet from the Dutta’s book of yellow journalism would suffice to show the depth to which the right wingers can stoop to defame any person who disagrees with them.

Amartya Sen’s criticism of Narendra Modi is also a product of political sponsorship. It has to be understood in the perspective of the ‘politics of obligation’ practised within the Amartya Sen-JD(U)-UPA triangle. The cornerstone of this relationship is vested in the Nalanda University project. It is this fraudulent project that binds Amartya Sen, UPA and Nitish Kumar. It extends to supporting the policies of Manmohan Singh’s Government in New Delhi and Nitish Kumar’s Government in Bihar.

NitiCentral E-Books

Another publication which ought to amount to direct interference with administration of justice and should to be barred from being published in the public domain is the E-Book titled – “Congress is misusing CBI for political ends” authored by Arun Jaitley. In the aforesaid E-Book, Arun Jaitley attacks the credibility of the investigation of CBI by citing absolutely false and frivolous ‘evidence’. We have already written a detailed rejoinder to PM Manmohan Singh pointing out the utter falsity of Arun Jaitley’s assertions.

Quite apart from their own right wing propaganda machinery which includes NitiCentral and its sister websites namely NWRLive.com, India272.com, CenterRight.in, DeshGujarat.com, GujaratRiots.com etc. which have spawned in the recent past, the journalism in electronic media or a large part of it appears to have taken a right turn also.

Sometime back on June 13th 2003, Mr Rahul Kanwal, the Managing Editor of Headlines Today, came out with a special story claiming that Javed Sheikh, one of the persons killed along with Ishrat Jahan was a terrorist and for that purpose had played an audio tape claiming to be the recording of the dialogue between Javed and a terrorist in Pakistan. As an advocate of Javed, when Dr Mukul Sinha challenged the veracity of the tape and asked for simple details like the date, time, place and the phone numbers of persons involved in the phone conversation, Mr Kanwal simply refused any knowledge about the same. Now this piece of journalism was in aid of the BJP propaganda that persons killed were dreaded terrorists and therefore the fake encounter was justified and was telecasted just a few days before the CBI was to file charge-sheet in the Ishrat Javed fake encounter case. In fact, Arun Jaitley’s E-Book also makes similar assertions.

Such journalism aired through the electronic media can severely influence the public opinion and while we agree that all right winger parties will attempt to use the media, it is for the journalists not to bend over to accommodate such manipulation. Unfortunately this tendency is growing and apparently there is a competition amongst a section of the mainstream/regional electronic media to promote the right wing ideology and their icon.

Post: The Rise of Right Wing Journalism
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