‘Journalism’ and the Modi Bashing Cottage Industry
The riots that took place in Gujarat in 2002 were unfortunate, akin to any riot that take place in the country or in the world. However, the Gujarat riots stand isolated in nature, for a unique purpose. The episode is seen more as an unending conspiracy crusade by a relentless team comprising of Teesta Setalvad, Sanjiv Bhatt, Sreekumar, Mukul Sinha and yes: some inevitable ubiquitous journalists. Their end goal is obvious and specific: vilify, demonize and slander Chief Minister of Narendra Modi. And the garb they use? ‘The so called justice’.
What we have been witnessing for quite some time in India is biased news at its best: this time Times of India has done complete justice to the aspect. Mainstream media, especially TOI has been quite vocal about the report related to Gujarat riots given by Raju Ramakrishnan, the Amicus Curiae. The entire report has never given any dismal picture about Narendra Modi. It has however a sentence which means vaguely that if circumstances go in a certain direction, there might be a possibility of Modi being prosecuted. Mainstream media swooped down on the sentence, made a monster out of the same and plastered the walls of their news displays “Amicus Curiae says investigate Modi”. DNA at least had the sense to edit their title at a later stage (see the image). Many news sources still shamelessly retain their old titles.
Here comes the obvious question: why is the mainstream media silent about the SIT report which has given a clean chit to Modi? Mainstream media says everything under the sun, except the clean chit given to Modi. Instead the bandwagon has been highlighting the Amicus Curiae’s statement which is a fragment of a complete report, which further is a chip of the major SIT report.
This is not the first time TOI has done its dirty trick. In 2012, the Godhra episode trailed behind by 10 years. TOI decided to capitalize the event. They embarked on their favourite pastime : Modi hunting, this time with a special dedication to their Ahmedabad edition. The front page was streaked with a ‘Godhra Report, TOI Version’. The day was referred to as ‘Doomsday’, with a title ‘Action, Reaction and Inaction’. For those of you who have perused the report, they had proclaimed their version of judgement, a multiple number of times, before the Honourable Court of India pronounced the real judgement. TOI’s judgement was based on assumption and myths, with a glaring absence of any shred of evidence. The judgement was declared in title: ‘inaction’, obviously daggering the Chief Minister. What followed on the entire page was a single sided report, supposedly a list of occurrences of the day.
I am curious: the Anti-Sikh Riots and Massacre of Kashmiri Pundits are some of the worst episodes of gore witnessed by modern India. Does TOI and other mainstream media houses observe the 1984 Anti-Sikh Riots the same way? So far, nothing has been seen on the Decennial, Vicennial observances of the gruesome incident which spanned for 4 days from 31 October 1984 − 3 November 1984, where Congressmen mercilessly slaughtered 2,700 Sikhs. No reports ever, so far voicing concern for those 20, 000 who fled Delhi and 50, 000 who were displaced. TOI has not yet taken up similar campaigns on the largely displaced and badly scarred Kashmiri Pandit community that still awaits justice.
SIT report, which is the outcome of a long investigation, prepared by a team after 3 years has not even a murmur in the media. But solitary utterances by a person or so gets blown out of proportion. The ‘controversial meeting convened by Narendra Modi’ was attended by other senior officers as well. Has any one of us ever heard their statements ringing out? However, the statement made by a rogue elephant gets full coverage. Sanjiv Bhatt is media’s latest darling as his statements and views are palatable to media houses. The larger picture is easily discernible: there is a vested interest behind their stories.
Coming to the present scenario, lets begin with the shocking revelation made by the Special Investigation Team, regarding the role of media, to be precise ‘Times of India’, in the ‘Narendra Modi Vilification Campaign’: the reports reveal how Manoj Mitta, TOI journalist helped in the drafting of a cleverly structured ‘anti-Modi affidavit’. He was the one who added flesh and spice into a cartload of defamation originally framed by Sanjiv Bhatt. And so with the entire affidavit looking spruced up, Sanjiv Bhatt marched to the Supreme Court.
Quoting the paragraph in the report where the SIT exposes one among those numerous dirty plots hatched by the Anti-Modi conspirators:
That Ms. Teesta Setalwad, her lawyer Shri Mihir Desai and Journalist Shri Manoj Mitta of Times of India were in constant touch with Shri Sanjiv Bhatt, IPS and were instrumental in arranging / drafting of the affidavit for filing the same in honourable Supreme court. Vide email dated 10-4-2011, Shri Bhatt solicited “Co-ordinates” from Ms. Teesta Setalwad, who had also arranged for a meeting with her lawyer Shri Mihir Desai at Ellis bridge Gymkhana, Ahmedabad. Shri Sanjiv Bhatt sent the first draft of his proposed affidavit to Shri Manoj Mitta on 13-4-2011, after meeting Shri Mihir Desai, Advocate and invited his suggestions. Shri Manoj Mitta advised Shri Sanjiv Bhatt to incorporate a few more paragraphs drafted by him which were incorporated by Shri Sanjiv Bhatt in his final affidavit sent to honorable Supreme Court of India as suggested by Shri Mitta.
Let us cast Mitta aside for some time and tackle the main perpetrator: mainstream media house, this time, again, Times of India. The news house seems to have gone rabid by splashing their website with so- called news clips, which contain anything but credibility. Taking up 3 of their latest news pieces:
The first one speaks of Sanjiv Bhatt being a ‘pivot’. Bhatt has been a proven conspirator in more than a single way. 9 police officers who were quizzed in the most intricate manner, separately have testified that Sanjiv Bhatt was not present in the meeting. This is enough for any discerning human to understand that Bhatt is lying. And if this is meagre evidence, the SIT has a 40 page section dedicated solely to Bhatt and his misgivings. “certain vested interests including Shri Sanjiv Bhatt, different NGOs, and some political leaders were trying to use honorable Supreme Court/SIT as a forum for settling their scores”. “Shri Sanjiv Bhatt had been colluding with the persons with vested interests to see that some kind of charge-sheet is filed against Shri Narendra Modi and others.”
However, TOI has been craftily avoiding everything else, coming up with the statement saying that the statements given by other police officers in the meeting is the only evidence that stands against Bhatt. Either they wrote the story without reading the SIT report (which is open to the general public now) or they turned chef and cooked a brilliant lie with the most obvious intention. According TOI, the 3 years of rigorous ground work put in by the SIT commissioned by the Supreme Court of India stands void.
The second news piece published by TOI voices a doubt if Narendra Modi paid for SIT Chief Raghavan’s foreign trips. The clip is not a news piece. It is based on multiple suppositions and assumptions and with a plunge into conclusion that Raghavan might have undertaken a foreign trip for which the Gujarat Government might have paid.Any proof TOI?Going by this wonderful logic of clubbing together suppositions to arrive at a conclusion, let us come back to the curious case of Manoj Mitta, a die hard anti-Ayodhya writer (his articles gives one the feeling that he never wants the temple to be built). Now, the Karsevaks returning from Ayodhya, were burnt in the train in 2002- the very same Karsevaks, who demolished the mosques, seeking the Hindu’s rights for re-establishing their temple. The scorching of the Karsevaks was obviously by an anti-Ayodhya crowd. And since Manoj Mitta has been ‘anti-Ayodhya’ in outlook, is it sane and sensible to suppose that he had a hand in the Godhra riots? (The same logic behind ‘if A=B and B=C, then A=C’)
No, is it not? Well, TOI, you need to learn much from your own stories!!
The third news clip speaks of the Chief Minister doing his best to curb the lawlessness that engulfed his land, but with a dig referring to him as ‘awfully busy Narendra Modi‘. Now, Narendra Modi is, as stated by media (truthfully, for once) a busy man. Step into the state of Gujarat and you can see what the person has been doing to justify for his ‘busy-ness‘. The state looks bloomed- not superficially, but from its very depths. Coming back to the riot-ridden days, Narendra Modi was indeed ‘awfully busy’, not lazing about sun-warming himself.
‘Narendra Modi‘, the Chief Minister of Gujarat, whose land was seized by riots, was “awfully busy with the steps to control the law and order situation, providing medical treatment to the riot victims, their rehabilitation, giving ex-gratia payment to the riot affected, NGO relief camps and with the payment of compensation for destruction of properties during the riots, and also with his efforts to restore peace and normalcy in the state,” says the SIT report. The report even states that the Army was brought in, at the right time. Why has TOI conveniently chosen the first two words of an entire paragraph, blissfully choosing to ignore the rest of the statement?
Not just now, but from the very minute the riots began, nasty journalism reinvented itself, with a new face. Quoting as example, Modi’s answer to SIT team, when he was thoroughly interrogated, where he exposed how Times of India ‘conducted an interview with him, without even contacting him’. When exposed, they hurriedly cooked up their denial story, which was cozily tucked up in some remote corner of the TOI newspaper.
(This is an interpolation done on 11 may, 2012) Here is an NDTV piece: Gujarat riots: Illegal orders within a room no offence, says SIT report on Modi
Is it so, NDTV? The actual SIT report says this:
What NDTV has done is selective quoting, by omitting a large section, making it appear again that …. Narendra Modi resorted to ‘illegal orders’ ! Shame on you NDTV. CNN IBN is not the least behind, when it comes to this kind of selective reporting.
This is not an isolated case of title manipulation by NDTV. Another interesting case was a mammoth blunder made by NDTV. Here goes it: 15 February, 2012, when many were waiting for the Gujarat court’s verdict: will a copy of the SIT report be handed over to Zakia Jaffrey or not? Court verdict said ‘No”. But NDTV had a kept ready, a copy of what can be termed as ‘media’s verdict’: ‘Give the 2002 riot reports to Zakia Jaffrey: Gujarat Court to SIT’. With the report ready, the same was published by them on their website, without actually looking into the real facts. There must have been jubilation and celebrations and the channel repeatedly nailed Narendra Modi on TV. Suddenly the story went off air, for mysterious reasons. Later the reason was known- the actual verdict by the court was something else: ‘No Report for Zakia in Gujarat Riots Case: Court’ . NDTV hurriedly made its correction and covered its folly by not taking up the issue for a couple of hours.
For mainstream media, ‘Narendra Modi’ continues to be its favourite fodder, vital for existence. Blame Narendra Modi, vilify Narendra Modi, add Narendra Modi as spice to the most irrelevant aspect and garner fame… the media tactics spinning around the Chief Minister of Gujarat are numerous. Media, as we see, will do anything to remain in the limelight and increase its viewership. They will also do anything to earn a few extra coins. They have known well enough that demonizing Narendra Modi incessantly will keep their pockets jingling with the yellow metal and so they continue to do it for ever…. Judas knew Jesus, he knew His mission, and yet for a few coins he betrayed him.
(Extending my heart felt gratitude to Vijay, Kiran Kumar, DeshGujarat.com and Sreeharsha Perla for all the vital and valuable information they fed me with) Short URL: http://indiawires.com/?p=10497