By Syed Zubair Ahmad
Well-known journalist and the former press adviser to the former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Pankaj Pachuri said the Indian media particularly electronic media has “divorced” journalism. And in the just concluded general elections, it has been once again proved that the media especially the TV channels have been unofficial spokespersons of the ruling party particularly Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his right hand Amit Shah.
So at last some opposition political parties lost their patient and decided to boycott these so-called news channels which have “divorced” journalism and brazenly become mouth-piece of the ruling party. Calling it ‘enough is enough’, first Samajwadi Party and then the largest opposition Congress pasty also announced that its spokesperson won’t take party any TV discussion. This decision has also sparked a debate in the Muslim circles and they want that those Muslim persons who are regular feature in the lopsided and TV debates must also follow the suit in the interest of the community. They are of the firm view that TV debates are designed to promote the ideology of hate in the country and these so-called Muslim debaters are strengthening hands of communal forces as the elections results proved this point.
In this context, the SP’s decision to not send its spokespersons to participate in news channel debate is being seen as the right decision by many. Following this, Congress media department in-charge Randeep Surjewala announced that the party’s spokespersons will not take part in TV debates for a month. He also requested the TV channels not to invite the party’s spokespersons.
This development has triggered a debate among Muslim intellectuals and activists as the community has been a ‘whipping boy’ in such TV debates with a sole intention of polarizing the Indian society on communal ground to benefit a certain political party. Now, the community wants that ‘Muslim’ debater should also boycott these TV debates.
In fact 24x7x360 Hindu-Muslim debate on news channels have cornered the whole Muslim community and many so-called ‘ Islamic Scholars’ are being used as pawns in their game of divisive agenda. Those so-called ‘Islamic scholars’ with a horrible look without knowledge of the subject kept participating in many news channels whose owners proximity with RSS and BJP no ore a secret. Most of them shout like dogs, are short-tempered and ready to misbehave with women or thrash their opponent.
It is a well-known fact that most of the TV channels pay Rs 2,000-5,000 INR to each panelist. No doubt money is big attraction for these so-called Muslim TV warriors but they have been inflicting irreparable damage to the community by their mental bankruptcy. The Indian society was never divided in such a way even after the horrific events such as demolition of Babri Masjid or Mumbai bomb blasts.
‘By participating in air-conditioned studio discussion, they (Muslim TV warriors) wittingly or unwittingly help in promoting the agenda of RSS and BJP. How and why? As the TV channels always call half-baked Maulvis. Who don’t have a glib tongue and good knowledge of the subject. They don’t go prepared. Perhaps they don’t even ask about the topic of the debate to prepare themselves accordingly. Several times it has surfaced that they were invited for something else and when you go there you find the topic changed, said NasimAkhtar, ex professor King Abdul Aziz University , Jeddah.