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Indian TV channels with misplaced priorities

Posted in Featured, View Point

Published on January 15, 2021 with No Comments

Ask any Indian, whether here in Canada or back home in India which Indian News channels he likes to watch.  Before he can he go to the right part of the question, he tends to share that it’s disgusting to watch some of the news channels as tend to enter into the private space of the people. Their earnest attempt is clean up the image of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, ask questions to the opposition that essentially need to be directed to the government, run prime time programs on agendas that are superfluous.  

India’s economy is at its worst, but for few media channels none asked a question to the government. India saw its worst reverse migration during the time to Covid 19, and the government claimed that it did not have the data for the deaths during this period. The channels that owe a lot to the government preferred to remain silent. Rather certain channels lead by Republic TV and its producer and anchor Arbab Goswami; Times Now and many Hindi Channels went all out against the Mumbai Film Industry vis –a vis the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput. Thus completely ignoring the issues that reflect on the poor performance of the Narendra Modi let government. The two mentioned channels ran an agenda that termed the death not a suicide but a murder. These channels ran Banana Courts and labeled an actress as a murderer of Sushant Singh Rajput and wanted the police and other investigation agencies to work on their theories and take appropriate action. They were to cast a spell on the audience while many attributed such debates to enhance Television Rating Points (TRP). Thus, these channels did leave hundreds of thousands of viewers impressed all over the world; there are psychological, social and emotional reasons for identifying with Indian cinema being the prime reason.

However, a larger game is being played! It was an attempt to increase its TRPs, and not to let the Indians think of larger issues that ail the country. An increased TRP means that these channels can now increase their tariffs for advertisements while getting more advertisements from the governments too. More revenue from government means that the ruling party and the central government can make these channels run programs that suit their need. Hate speech, Hindu –Muslim divide, bollywood engrossed in drugs etc are some of the common agenda on which both the sides strive.

That larger game did not there only. Mumbai police exposed that Republic TV was engaged in another unscrupulous activity. As per Mumbai Police, the figures for TRP were erroneous as the channel was paying viewers a handsome monthly sum to watch its programs.  The Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU) of the Mumbai police has claimed to have busted a mega Television Rating Points (TRP) scam and arrested four people, including two people who own local TV channels. It has been alleged that households were paid by certain TV channels to watch their channels to increase ratings and advertisements. Mumbai’s Commissioner of Police (CP) Param Bir Singh said details pertaining to Republic TV channel also surfaced, pointing to the channel and its editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami’s involvement, which is being investigated till date and the channel has found itself on rough waters.

The said channels in an attempt to please the government has brought the journalism to a new low, and redefined the unethical norms as the new ways to operate the business while ignoring that as the fourth pillar of democracy it does have a responsibility to perform. For a democracy, this is not a good sign. Intelligentsia in India have clearly seen how the channels have been bought over by the government.


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