MSM gets away with fake news… again
The 48-hour ban imposed by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on two Malayalam news channels Asianet News and Media One – on charges of airing false, fake and fraud news with the intention to promote communal hatred during the recent Delhi riots and the revoking of the order within hours is being debated hotly all over India.
Media One is believed to be owned and financed by Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaiesh-e- Mohammed through their frontal organization Jamaat-e-Islami too was allowed to resume their telecasting.
The charge against these channels submitted by a Keralite housewife Mini Krishnakumar to the ministry was that they telecast docu-fiction shot at the premises of a Hindu management run school and made the characters featured in it to allege that the school owned and managed by the Muslim community was burnt down by Hindu zealots and Muslims were beaten up by the rioters.
“The docu-fiction was beamed through Asianet News as a news item and this instigated Muslims to come out in the streets elsewhere in the country,” said Mini Krishnakumar, the housewife who wrote to the ministry about the same. But what has become the subject of discussion is the urgency with which the channels were allowed to resume their transmission.
Asianet News, owned by Rajeev Chandrasekhar, a BJP member of Rajya Sabha from Karnataka was allowed to resume their operation from 1.30 AM on Sunday after the channel was taken off the air at 7.30 PM on Saturday. Media One believed to be owned and financed by Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaiesh-e- Mohammed through their frontal organization Jamaat-e-Islami too was allowed to resume their telecasting by 9.30 PM after the intervention of Prakash Javdekar, the union minister of Information and Broadcasting (I and B).
It is an open secret that channels like Asianet News, Media One (which has no viewership worth mentioning), Mathrubhumi TV, Manorama News, Kairali News are all anti-Hindu TV channels. They spit venom on BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in all their news bulletins and news based propaganda programs. All ethics associated with journalism and media are openly violated by these channels. Recently, the Mathrubhumi News asked Sandeep Warrier, spokesman of the BJP to “Get lost” during a live debate. The news anchorperson, having been caught, extended a public apology the next day though it was not convincing.
The question being asked now is why the government lifted the 48-hour suspension banning telecasting by these channels issued by it was lifted even before the ink with which the competent authority signed on the order was dried up? Initially, it was believed that Rajeev Chandrasekhar, took up the matter with the union minister and got the order revoked. But even BJP leaders in private admit that a union minister from south India played a major role in getting the 48-hour long suspension order revoked in exchange for pelf. “The minister is notorious for making cash. His own driver had told me that how the minister managed to make a big suitcase of cash from the leader of Samasta, an Islamic organization for some services rendered by him as a member of parliament,” said a veteran scholar in Kerala who is close to the said minister.
Mohanan later got into many controversies including the 2003 case in which a 15-year-old girl was sexually assaulted and murdered in Kiliroor in Pathanamthitta district.
What causes anxiety in the minds of people of the state is that there is enough proof of the criminalization of the media by some unscrupulous elements who have infiltrated into media organizations masquerading as journalists and TV anchorpersons.
The strange case of K P Mohanan
There was an instance of K P Mohanan, a Kuwait based wheeler-dealer stole Rs 50 crore from the Indian School run by expatriate Malayalees, escaped from the oil-rich country only to emerge in India as the head of Asianet News as its managing editor in 1999. This issue was publicized in Kerala by Madhyamam, a Malayalam newspaper as well as Kairali News, the TV channel owned by the CPI(M). John Brittas, the present managing director of Kairali News, had produced and telecast a one-hour “Investigative programme” featuring Mohanan which was aired many times in 1999 itself.
Mohanan later got into many controversies including the 2003 case in which a 15-year-old girl was sexually assaulted and murdered in Kiliroor in Pathanamthitta district. But he had a miraculous escape from the case because of the involvement of many political higher-ups in the sexual assault.
Mohanan’s involvement in these cases made it easy for other journalists too to enter the world of crime, nay, white-collar crime. A self-styled reporter by name Indu Kumar working for Asianet was in the dock over charges of money laundering in association with a Nagercoil based hawala operator. Since he had the backing of M M Hassan, leader of Congress in Kerala. Indu Kumar too could wriggle out without getting injured. But these are just tips of the iceberg as there are many flies by night operators who have made it to TV channels and dailies in the State.
More TV channels than the population of Kerala?
Private TV news channels are mushrooming in the state much to the surprise of the viewers. It is humanly impossible for the government to monitor the contents transmitted by these channels. Interestingly, barring Janam TV and Amrita TV all news channels are beaming anti-national propaganda on a 24X7 basis.
The general observation is that though there are rules to catch hold of fake medical doctors, there are no provisions in the rule books to initiate action against fake journalists. Dr. T P Senkumar, a former Director-General of Kerala Police while condemning the kind of programmes aired by Asianet News and Media One pointed out that this is part of a wider conspiracy aimed at breaking up India. “These channels and media professionals are funded by anti-India forces and the government should order a thorough probe into the functioning of these channels and journalists. The media persons are certainly getting paid from abroad to peddle fake news,” said Dr. Senkumar.
While there are provisions in the law books stating that all public servants should declare their wealth and property details, journalists do not fit in this provision. It was not that long back when Sree Iyer came out with shocking disclosures in his book NDTV Frauds, the inside story of NDTV and how Prannoy Roy manipulated NDTV management to distort and dilute news about Muslims and Christians.
M G Radhakrishnan, editor, Asianet News, who is also the son of late P Govinda Pillai, a CPI(M) leader, said the ban on Asianet News was lifted following an international outcry. He has belittled the statement by union minister for I and B Prakash Javdekar. The same was the case with C L Thomas, the Marxist editor in chief of Media One who charges that the action against his channel was for telecasting news critical to RSS and the BJP.
Interestingly, though it was widely reported in the national, media that the ban was lifted following the intervention of Javdekar, who himself stated that the Modi government was against any kind of intervention in the functioning of the media, none is willing to believe the Maharashtra BJP man who keeps on smiling 24X7 – if it was true, then why was the ban imposed?
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