Tag Archives: Times Now

The Anti-Democratic ‘Republic’: Bobby Kunhu

Guest post by BOBBY KUNHU

English language television news in India nowadays is nothing more than exaggerated visual editorials. They pick two or three stories, sensationalize them, run them in a loop through the day, alongside panel discussions where the editorial ideology of the channel is forced down the throat of the panelists and the viewers. In short there is hardly little journalism left in these channels. Though they do have panel discussions, regional language channels – at least Malayalam and Tamil channels that I watch – have a wider and more diverse reportage than self-proclaimed national television.

It wasn’t always like this. When Prannoy Roy pioneered private television content for Murdoch – regardless of the ideological content – there was reportage. Editorial proselytizing and endless panel discussions were limited most often to when psephologists stepped in.

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Communication Students, Practitioners, and Professors in Solidarity with Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya, Rama Naga, Ashutosh Kumar, and Anant Prakash Narayan and Jawaharlal Nehru University

 

 We, students, professors, and practitioners of Communication and Media, condemn the recent attacks by the Indian state on students and faculty at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus. Given the spurious nature of the claims mostly circulated through traditional and social media, we demand an immediate end to all police action on campus, a withdrawal of charges against the President of JNU Students’ Union, Kanhaiya Kumar, and JNU students Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya, Rama Naga, Ashutosh Kumar, and Anant Prakash Narayan, as well as an engaged effort to return peace and a climate of open debate to the university. We are troubled by the climate of authoritarianism being actively promoted by the Indian government in educational institutions and the concerted effort by the government to silence critical conversations. We are also disturbed by the attack on journalists by lawyers and goons close to the structures of power. Continue reading Communication Students, Practitioners, and Professors in Solidarity with Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya, Rama Naga, Ashutosh Kumar, and Anant Prakash Narayan and Jawaharlal Nehru University

Sambit Patra Flying the Tricolour on Times Now, in JNU and on Iwo Jima – History Re-Imagined (Once Again) by the BJP

A recent ‘Newshour’ non-debate on Times Now on whether or not an order emanating from the Ministry of Human Resources Development to erect 207 feet high steel flagpoles and giant tricolour flags in Central Universities across India featured a wonderful intervention by Sambit Patra, BJP spokesman and digital magician extraordinaire.

Continue reading Sambit Patra Flying the Tricolour on Times Now, in JNU and on Iwo Jima – History Re-Imagined (Once Again) by the BJP

A Solicitous Enquiry after the Mental Health of Arnab Goswami

Arnab,

I am wondering if all has been going well with you. I saw your show on television the other night and you were shouting at a young man who has now been accused of sedition because of a meeting he attended on his college campus. In this show you shouted this young man down, did not let him speak, turned off his mike while he struggled to make himself heard. You called him a terrorist. You said people like him are dangerous elements and wondered who was funding him. You told him he should be grateful for things that India has apparently given him and others like him. You even had a tweet for the purpose #FlashpointAfzal. We will not go into the extraordinary idiocy you displayed in your own version of what you are pleased to call an ‘argument’. It seems in the world you inhabit, and people like you inhabit, the nation is a god-given entity before the idea of which we must all lie prostrate in quaking terrified adulation. But leave all this aside for now, you are not a very intelligent man and your stupidity, dangerous though it is, is not my concern here.

What concerns me though is your style: you are a bully and a brute.  It may seem a strange thing to say, that it is how you say things more than the things you say that seem to bother me. Let me try and explain why and hopefully once I am done you will see that the things you say are not separate from how you say them. So, a few questions:

Did you even see the young man, Umar Khalid, in front of you? What did you see Arnab? Because you certainly didn’t see what I saw.

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Zehn ki Loot – The Plunder of Reason in a Times Now TV Studio: Kavita Krishnan

Guest Post by Kavita Krishnan

“Phool shaakhon pe khilne lagey” tum kaho,
“Jaam rindon ko milne lagey” tum kaho,
“Chaak seenon kay silne lagey” tum kaho,
Iss khule jhooth ko,
Zehn ki loot ko,
Main nahin maanta,
Main nahin jaanta

“Branches are abloom with flowers” you say!

“The thirsty have got to drink” you say!

“Wounds of the heart are being sewn” you say!

This open lie…

A plunder of reason…

I shall not accept!

I shall not recognise!

(Habeeb Jalib, translated by Ghazala Jamil)

In Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, Petrucchio declares the noontime sun to be the moon: “I say it is the moon,” to test his wife’s loyalty and obedience. As long as she stands by her reason and asserts “I know it is the sun”, she continues to be a ‘shrew’. Only when she consents to ‘zehn ki loot’ (plunder of reason), when she agrees to subordinate her own reason to the whim and diktat of her husband, and deny the self-evident truth, does she achieve approval as a suitable wife.

We, the people of India, are being similarly tamed of our ‘shrewish’ behaviour, with propaganda and public shaming in TV studios accomplishing the ‘zehn ki loot’. It is a process that seeks to bully us into declaring that the sun is the moon, that night is day, that ‘khula jhooth’ (open lie) is in fact the only truth. Refuse to part with your reason, and you are chastised for ‘bad behaviour’.

I would like to revisit the #GovtVsNGO News Hour show on Times Now, on 17th February, as a particularly glaring instance (Activism or Anti-nationalism, Parts 1 and 2 )

The topic of the show was the Government of India’s decision to deplane a Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai from a London-bound flight, because she was planning to depose before British MPs about the violation of India’s forest rights laws by a British mining company, Essar, in Mahan in Madhya Pradesh.

Continue reading Zehn ki Loot – The Plunder of Reason in a Times Now TV Studio: Kavita Krishnan

A crumbling fourth pillar, and the forgotten politics of boycott: Manav Bhushan

Guest post by MANAV BHUSHAN

Assaulted as we are by the deafening cacophony of India’s 24-hour news channels (183 of them, as Manav Bhushan tells us below), there are some of us who for a long time now, have simply refused to appear on TV “debates”, to give them sound bytes to be seamlessly incorporated into their endlessly looping mindlessness. Essentially, we have exercised a politics of refusal – we will not add to the din. At a recent meeting on media ethics at the Indian Women’s Press Corps, I had expressed a fervent desire that every single 24-hour news channel should shut shop for one week while they went into deep introspection – one week of blessedly blank screens, one week of healing quiet in which people could once again learn to listen, to remember that there can be more than 2 or 3 sound-bytes through which to capture the complexities of the world in which we live. MANAV BHUSHAN makes a more radical suggestion below –   that we exercise the only power we have under capitalism, our power as consumers, and exercise a week-long boycott of a news channel for specific reasons, to force drastic changes to its policy and style of functioning. “In an age where each channel depends more on our TRPs than we do on any one of them, we hold enormous, albeit unrealized power,” he says. Over to Manav:

In a speech delivered at the Reuters memorial lecture in November 2012 at Oxford University discussing the Indian news industry, Prannoy Roy candidly said that ”Indian news is currently in a race to the bottom”. He further added that upon comparing the average TV viewership in India (1 hour) to that in the US (5 hours), one is led to the utterly dismal conclusion that this race is far from over. Of course, this is nothing new, and anyone who has followed the ‘debates’ (if you can call them that) on the extremely unfortunate incidents at the LOC can testify that the shows conducted by Arnab Goswami and Barkha Dutt were less news and more war-mongering. In fact, the brutal truth about the flourishing news industry- which has gone from one state-run news channel to 183 independent news channels in just 25 years- is that many of its members are in the business of blackmail, of selling sex, violence and are prepared to go to any lengths for the sake of advertising revenues. And there is a difference, though subtle, between advertising revenues and television rating points (TRPs).  Continue reading A crumbling fourth pillar, and the forgotten politics of boycott: Manav Bhushan

Harassment by Times Now: Statement by Shabnam Hashmi

[The following is a public statement issued by Shabnam Hashmi regarding her harassment by Times Now. The report is truly alarming and shows the extent to which this form of ‘media vigilantism’ – Arnab Goswami/ Times Now style can go. It is of course, another matter that when confronted by a Raj Thakre, the same macho anchor can turn into a small and helpless mouse. We are reproducing this statement in public interest.] 

I was in Gujarat for over six months and returned to Delhi two weeks ago. While in Gujarat I was asked to appear on different television channels constantly. On one such talk show on Times Now I felt that I was especially being pushed into a corner and it was an absolutely unbalanced panel, I told the Times Now guest coordinator that I will not come on the channel any longer. It continued for about a week or so. Then a representative came from Mumbai and met me in Gujarat office and ensured that it will not happen in future and requested me to come for the Talk Shows.

I agreed and went again whenever I was called.

On December 28, 2012 I released a public statement in Delhi regarding the Gujarat Verdict 2012 and resigned from various UPA committees that I was part of. On the same day I was invited to Times Now and I found the same attitude of being highly aggressive towards me.

January 2, 2013, I filed a police complaint against Mr Akbaruddin Owaisi in Parliament Street Police Station against the hate speech which he made in Andhra Pradesh. I was called on Times Now and met the same uncivilized and aggressive behavior.
Continue reading Harassment by Times Now: Statement by Shabnam Hashmi