Trial of Media: Arvind Kejriwal’s battle with the fourth estate opens new gate of debate

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All news channels targeted Arvind Kejriwal on his statement on putting “media in a lock-up”, terming it as “dictatorial” – though not one them have ever taken up the issue of “paid-media” and how the 4th pillar of democracy is being used as a propaganda machinery for the highest bidder … why these double standards?

Trial of Media: Arvind Kejriwal’s battle with the fourth estate opens new gate of debate
Over the years, allegation counter allegations and unprecedented moves has been Arvind’s daily cup of tea. And today, by exonerating the media of being indulged into corrupt practices, he is yet again strangled in controversy. The crux of Arvind-media battle started after news reports showed Arvind’s controversial remarks on the media during a fund-raising dinner on the 13th of March in Nagpur, Maharashtra. In which, he alleged the media of been paid hefty amount of money to promote BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and maintain his stature.


Several media channels have opened extra fronts to tackle the increasing influence of Aam Aadmi Party
As per words of Arvind, “Around 800 farmers have committed suicide in Gujarat in the past 10 years but none of the channels have showed it. Farmers have sold their land to Adani in just one rupee but even this has not been shown by any channel. Arvind has taken security, Arvind has not taken security, he has taken Z category and Y security. Let the security go to hell but they won’t show Modi’s truth. The whole media is sold this time, it’s a big conspiracy, it is a huge political conspiracy.”

He went further and said that media should be put behind the bars and if his party is voted to power an enquiry would be initiated and these ‘mediawallas’ will be jailed.

This led to a large hue and cry with the media coming down fiercely on Arvind and the Aam Aadmi Party(AAP). Standing by Arvind’s statement and sticking up for their allegations, the AAP called for a presser the very next day which was addressed by AAP spokesperson Sanjay Singh; Lok Sabha candidate from Chandni Chowk, Ashutosh and New Delhi’s Lok Sabha candidate, Ashish Khetan. At the press meet, that continued to be chaotic, the AAP leaders further augmented the fire by coming up with names of news channels namely Zee News, Times Now, India News and India TV, which the AAP have not only accused of being sold out but also favoring Narendra Modi.

Arvind has been subjected to a huge criticism for his remarks that includes his political rivals, Congress, BJP and CPI. Whereas, few news channels came up with special broadcast condemning him and branding him as a liar.

Barely two years from today, ‘Arvind Kejriwal’, a name which today has become household bread-butter, didn’t have much entity. However, it was the August 2011 historic Jan-Lokpal fast by Anna Hazare at Delhi’s Ram Lila Maidan that changed the story. Arvind being the charioteer of Anna’s fast, along with an incessant and pioneering coverage by the media gave wings to Arvind. Though Arvind might have vied with sections of the media arena by his allegations, however it has yet again opened up gates of debate on issues like paid news, media self regulations among others.

It’s worthwhile to mention that these same news channels that Arvind mentioned of were under the purview of criticism due to their modus operandi during the Anna agitation. Chairman of Press Council of India, Justice Markendey Katju, introspecting the one sided inclination way of broadcasting had then said, “A large section of media lost its objectivity in covering the Anna Hazare movement”.

Certainly, media self regulation remains yet another hot topic of debate till date. Whatever we perceive, our actions and thoughts everything is perhaps influenced by the media. In a country like India, free press acts as a magic bullet. Any news broadcasted or printed by the media acts as a bullet for the audience. Before they can even think, the news engulfs and persuades the minds of the audience. Though, freedom of press confers the media with enormous power, but at the same time it further increases the responsibility of the media as well.

“I am saddened by Arvind Kejriwal’s attacks on the media. I am doubly saddened because what is he is saying is not entirely wrong”, eminent media personality and writer, Pritish Nandy, stated over the social media minutes after Arvind’s accusations went viral.

Another talking point that Arvind’s allegations have opened up is paid news. Reacting to the Arvind’s controversy, another AAP leader and former journalist, Manish Sisodia said, “Some sections of media are paid to make news. Paid media is dangerous for country. What media says about Modi is biased. Questioning it isn’t bad.”

Paid news is pre dominantly a dangerous virus for the media industry. And to retain the free and immaculate stature of media, paid news must be dumped and eradicated.

Meanwhile, a day after BJP declared Modi to be contesting from Varanasi, raising the curtain over all speculations, Arvind Kejriwal too has declared to contest against Modi. However, after Arvind Kejriwal’s recent standoff with the media, it would be interesting to find out, if his war with the forth estate, cuts off the nose to spite his face.

Written by Shamim Zakaria >>

Shamim Parveez Zakaria is a journalist, writer, social activist and anti-corruption crusader. He is working as an active team member for 'STOP ACID ATTACKS', an organization working in the interest of the acid attack survivors.
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Indian Exponent: Trial of Media: Arvind Kejriwal’s battle with the fourth estate opens new gate of debate
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