Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Express is toxic beyond words: You only have to look at its front page today

Image: Courtesy BBC

I find Indian Express very toxic. A State could be partial; a judiciary questionable but the Media, the watchdog of democracy, is committing a sin when it appears to be “colouring” the events. 

The newspaper has splashed its front page with four stories today. Let’s view them one-by-one. 

1- UAPA over reports: SC stops Tripura from “coercive action” against lawyers, journalist: The newspaper failed to mention that the SC didn’t STOP the police from pursuing its investigation. The Apex Court also refused to tag the matter with other petitions challenging a few provisions of UAPA. The rest of the news report is only details of the petition taken up by—no need for guessing—advocate Prashant Bhushan. 

As for “coercive action” in inverted commas by the newspaper, the report ought to have pondered: 

  1. The fact-finding report was self-appointed by these lawyers only (sic);
  2. The claim of Masjid being burnt was rubbished by the Tripura police as doctored and unrelated to the event on ground; 
  3. that it had the bearing in far-off Amravati, Maharashtra after a stone-pelting Muslim mob sparked off violence.

2-Handles of Govt critics, activists targeted by police: The headline makes no secret of newspaper’s leaning on the matter: That the Tripura govt and police are beating down on Twitter handles of its critics and activists. 

The newspaper won’t ponder:

  1. How a majority of Twitter handles came up overnight in sync with lawyers’ visit in Tripura and their in-house fact-finding report; 
  2. Why 57 tweets vanished overnight after Police put a microscope on them; 
  3. Why Twitter—which defies the Indian government with impunity—would itself take down 24 profiles. 

3-Across the divide in Gurgaon, gurdawaras offer space for namaz: This report mentions a committee managing five gurdwaras in Gurgaon offering their premises to Muslims to offer namaz on Fridays in view of the protest by local Hindus/groups to occupation of public space. 

This news report won’t ponder: 

  1. occupation of Public spaces is disapproved even by the Supreme Court;
  2. that the order granted by the district administration to namaz in a few of the 37 designated spots was only for a day in 2018; 
  3. that Muslim group are calling over brethren from neighbouring districts of Pataudi and Nuh, Mewat—the latter often referred to as mini-Pakistan—to beef themselves up during the Friday namaz; 
  4. that shops are being forced shut, even of Muslims, and livelihoods compromised so that namaz could be held on public roads. 

4-Lakhimpur Kheri: SC names former HC judge to monitor probe, upgrades SIT: It’s a factual account but the newspaper won’t question the apex court: 

  1. Your Honourables now that you have made your distrust in the UP administration in the Lakhimpur Kheri case apparent, and took a suo motto notice, how do you think it would come across to citizens that Palghar, where the Maharashtra police was seen on-camera handing over the Hindu Sadhus to the mob for lynching; or Chhattisgarh where the State police shot dead three tribals; or the post-poll violence in Bengal where hundreds of Hindus have fled following rapes and murders isn’t seen as worthy of your urgent attention?
  2. Hasn’t the judiciary itself failed in its duty in overlooking that (i) farmers flouted their own promise given to you before the Republic Day incident; (ii) that citizens are unaware of what happened to the report of the committee you appointed early this year; (iii) that the honourable court put on hold the laws passed by the Parliament, representing the will of the people, for it “didn’t want blood on their hands;” (iv) and that all this has led to lawlessness in the name of farmers’ protest in far-off places, such as Kheri, even when the movement essentially is now limited to only one state of Punjab. 

Even a dimwit can see that the existing Powers till 2014—Political parties, Left-Liberals, Lutyens Media, Abrahamic forces—have joined hands to subvert the wishes of India’s citizens who have decisively voted for Modi government in succession. 

And that they are subverting India’s democracy by taking over the Streets—be it CAA, farmers’ protest or namaz in public places. 

It’s also a manifest aim of Naxal movement in their policy document, “the Urban Perspective.” That’s to create unrest in Urban India which alone helps build the propaganda. Either the country stops, or police swings batons or riots occur—read CAA, farmers’ protest and Delhi riots—which all is of invaluable imagery for the global audience. 

All this breaks the will of Govts and consumes judiciary. It’s the same pattern we have seen in Ukraine, Hungary, Egypt, Tunisia etc where nationalist governments were forced on their knees by street protests and violence. Hoping against hope, you pray for Media to stand up in such an hour of crisis. To be neutral and leave their biases aside in the interest of nation. 

And if you think Indian Express is not one, show me ONE story presenting the Hindus’ point of view in this “journalism of courage” and I would offer a public apology. I stick my neck out for I haven’t seen one such story in the last half a dozen years–or you show me one during this span.

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