The coverage of the news of a bangle seller being beaten up on a road of Indore carried the expected shedding of crocodile’s tears by a large section of the media in the week gone by. As usual, either the reporters or the editors did not care to check why people were so angry with the man; his Muslim identity was enough to spin yarns of the discredited theory of intolerance of Hindus. And when it was found he had tried to sexually abuse a minor girl, they said the FIR was an afterthought! This has happened time and again since the ascension of Narendra Modi from the chief ministership of Gujarat to the highest political executive post in the country. During much of his first term, the narrative was centred around lynching. Be it a petty fight over reserved seats in a coach of a train or incidents where no Hindu was involved, they said the ‘bigoted’ Hindus were tormenting ‘poor’ Muslims and Christians not only with physical violence but also by way of desecrating their places of worship. Meanwhile, the torture of Hindus in the hands of Muslims and Christians went on unabated at a rate disturbingly greater than that of the fake reports of Hindu mayhem, but either none of those incidents was reported or a few found some mention only in the media of Hindi and other Indian languages. The shameless journalists lied through their teeth, unfazed by the constant tweets by news consumers who exposed the fourth estate’s evil shenanigans. Since the Supreme Court verdict favouring the Ram Janmabhoomi activists rightly, Muslims stopped being cry babies, resorting now to strikes, demonstrations and even rioting, as witnessed in the protests against the NRC and CAA. But according to the media with a big blind spot, they are still Hindus who are hitting and Muslims who are pitiably standing reaction-less at the receiving end of the blows!
The brazen media seems to be furthering the agenda of the second UPA government that was on the verge of bringing a Communal Violence Bill where the Sonia Gandhi-dictated regime posited that the majority community was perforce the guilty party to every dispute. But there have also been efforts to change the discourse — unfortunately not gaining as much traction for the simple fact that the pro-nation side is making do with bloggers who lack the finesse of trained journalists besides being resource-constrained. Worse, if it is a place like the state of West Bengal, the reporter will be hounded out of his profession if he is lucky or killed if he is not. Even scribes known to be affiliated with the RSS do not dare in such places because one’s life and those of the journalist’s kin cannot be sacrificed on the altar of truth. The sad state in which the Indian judiciary lies does not give much hope to the most ancient civilisation of the world either. Indians can hardly blame the West’s New York Times or BBC if this is the state of The Times of India, Hindustan Times, The Hindu, The Indian Express, etc, what to talk of new-age leftist websites like ThePrint, Quint and The Wire, the liar, and Scroll, the troll — run by some veteran journalists who are now doing everything against what they had been trained.
This generation has already moved away from newspapers. In the recent past, people have dumped their DTH connections and switched to OTT platforms, basically for entertainment, where news is not the priority even if it exists. It’s also hardly an escape, as films and web series drill the same anti-India content into the subconscious, and are arguably a more sophisticated tool than news mediums as the recipient of a filmmaker’s message often does not realise how he is subtly being brainwashed. Given the rampant peddling of untruths, it will not take news consumers long to shun all sources of information altogether. Until then, of course, the communist-jihadi combine is calling the shots and even managing to pressure the government to submission from time to time. That will be a grave change, as the youth will once again turn callous about society and the nation and turn self-centred and fending for oneself and one’s family like robots will be all that will matter. The voting percentages will plummet to the level of the 1990s and 2000s and the below 50% who exercise their franchise will bring in bad governments. Neither self-regulation nor Soviet TASS-like PIB can tackle the mainstreaming of fake views; fighting fake news is much easier. Those concerned with the state of affairs must fund patriotic journalists big-time to fight the menace of falsehood.