After the Independence of India in 1947, the nation has always leaned on newspapers and other portals to get daily updates. Trust for the media served as the most significant factor for its role as a concierge of the public interest. 73 years after Independence, where the Indian media stands now seems like they have forgotten the real job of the press, which is “reporting the truth.” Media is now totally falsified by the authorities who aim to slaughter stories to save their image.
“Today’s media, under either threat, luring, or manipulations, is not only crawling but is happily licking the ‘boots’ of the present regime and wagging their tails to appease their ‘masters’ by overzealous publicizing government’s narratives. Not only owners but most of the journalists have toed the line, either as a survival instinct or willingly. And that is the beginning of the end of journalism which used to be in India and which ought to be in India.” quoted Gail Saltz, MD, a psychologist and host of the Personology podcast, told Health.
Within just 5 years, India’s place in reporters without border “press freedom index” has dropped from 136th in 2015 to 142nd in 2020. Last year the Foreign Policy reported that “New Delhi cut off state advertisement for at least three publishers of prominent English newspapers. The media is now standing in the representation where officials are not even trying to hide the fact that they are wielding the fourth pillar of democracy- freedom of the press.”
In 2018, TV news anchor Punya Prasun Bajpai exposed that the administration has welcomed 200 people to provide directions to the editors and on how they must write a report on the Prime Minister’s activities. Bajpai quitted his job at ABP later.
Further 10 policemen also filed a complaint against journalists who investigated India’s migrant crisis. According to the report, 600 individuals have lost their lives due to COVID 19 pandemic for reasons like starvation, depression, and police brutality. Why are people of India not updated with issues like this from the news? Why do the issues that LGBTQ communities are facing or news like those who lost everything during the pandemic do not pop up on the channels? The main objective of journalists is to spread information and keep everyone updated to make the world a better place to live.
A recent report by the Rights and Risks Analysis Group suggests that more than 50 journalists who aim for independent thinking have been arrested and raised police complaints against them, even physically assaulted in custody.
Indian media, at present, is at such a point where they have to choose to be subservient as part of their survival. So there is no point of thinking about whether they need to get their priorities straight or not. I may sound dystopian, but there is no place for a young journalist, at least not in the mainstream media, who are dreaming to do journalism here.” said Apurva Trivedi.
It is just not in India where press freedom has been shut down, countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, China, and others also have attempted to silence freedom of speech. Anyone who dares to speak the truth may fall prey to imprisonment under the brutal Democratic Act. So, why does India call themselves “Democratic”?
Indian media nowadays are using “fake news” as propaganda during elections. Whatsapp and Facebook are the platforms to spread fake stories. Most people even without knowing the truth share it with others. For example, according to the report by Zee News’s Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand segment published on April 6, it was claimed that a medical team escorting coronavirus-positive members of the Tablighi Jamaat was attacked with stones in Uttar Pradesh. In reply to this, Firozabad police debunked the claim saying, “You are spreading false and misleading news when neither a medical team nor any ambulance has been pelted with stones in Firozabad district.”
State troll armies in Russia, India, Philippines, and Vietnam use the weapon of disinformation on social media,”- the RSF report states.
The government is asserting that they are working fine whereas 10millions are roaming jobless in India, thousands are dying every day of COVID 19, and thousands have been locked up in unstable conditions without any charge. Bollywood actor’s unfortunate death is all over the television and that, of course, is newsworthy but what about the continuous rapes happening in UP, floods in Assam, and countless arrests of activists? There can be two reasons for this, one “Media is biased” and the other “Media is politically neutral”.