Almost 7 to 8 years back when Mumbai was attacked and almost the live coverage and unhindered updated coverage for more than 72 hours from Times Now drawn the attention of the whole country and its editor in chief who barely stood from his chair in those hours stunned the viewers with his commitment and stamina as well as his passion for the news and those 72 hours not only gave birth to a new kind of journalism in Indian media particularly in TV media but the mixture of excitement, manifestation of people’s anger or frustration coupled with debate and news reshaped the whole concept of news which was earlier supposed to be follower and broadcaster not the agenda setter but since then the new concept of news brought into people’s domain where media does not follow the agenda but it sets the agenda .
Since 2008 Times now herself and its editor in chief Arnab Goswami has walked a long path in reshaping the news world and although their claims are so high on various fronts but still they are claims and their claims on wiping out the competition in TV media and electronic as well as new media is a new trend which needs to be addressed and looked upon because in any democratic society if any institution claims to wipe out the competition and try to enjoy the monopoly it is not a healthy trend to live happily with it.
Times now which got the pat on its back and was praised for exposing various scams during the UPA 2 regime has become mysteriously silent on the “Panama papers leak”. Times Now which among those TV channels in country those have wider international exposure and connect with global political climate would very well understand that “Panama paper leak” issue is simmering and sooner or later its political implications will be overblown everywhere but the channel’s silence on this issue is hard to digest and better is known to be its editor in chief.
In last few years the role of news channels have changed and they claim to set the agenda for country and it is really interesting to evaluate this claim in the background of certain news breaks in last few months.
Times Now along with other English news channels got the adverse social media campaign and sometimes become favorite whipping boy from Hindutva forces for being on a mission to tarnish their image and pushing the liberal left agenda with a clear bias and it was a coincidence that the entire coverage of JNU episode broke the supposed unity of English News Channels against Hindutva and Times now earned the largest goodwill among the Hindutva viewers and like “ Fox” channel of USA it successfully infused the economic and political right with nationalism of Hindutva slant and in this process their coverage and editorial comments on certain issues and incidents sometimes seem to be crossing the thin line of narrating the views or imposing the views.
Given the fact and claim of Times Now group on its overwhelming viewership and monopoly on the minds of people it is worth asking question that when the issue of freedom of expression or freedom of choice arises in every area of life the same rule applies with the freedom of viewers to not get swayed away or influenced by imposition of any preconceived news agenda or views. Let the people decide after going into the facts but when they are being consistently pursued to think in the same way with bombardment of information which sometimes difficult to distinguish from propaganda then the question on the role of media arise.
In last few days several news items in media emerged and was followed for few days and conveniently wiped out without any logical end or further follow up and were was replaced with some other news items.
As it has been the case with few cases of Terrorism and famous encounter controversy surrounding Ishrat Jahan. Truth can only be the one either this way or that way and unless the whole truth will be unearthed in any case it is always advisable to follow it till the last breath but it seems it is not the case with our media , when the whole media got hysterical about some new revelations on terrorist attacks in Malegaon, Samjhauta blast which they claimed demonstrate the prejudice of previous government to attach the narrative of color with these blasts and the same time the stories behind Ishrat Jahan cases also become headlines in the media with the same curiosity but the most interesting part is that how the cases which were rated as the paramount importance for national security and it was debated in length among in media for hours with a question to certain political parties that how the national security was compromised to fix the political adversaries and these cases were given narratives which suited the then political establishment , for the audience and people of country thee were very serious charges and should have been followed by the media till the whole truth came out but on the contrary we witnessed that media shifted its focus and these issues are out of debate and new exposure of “ Augustawestland deal” has become the today’s story . It is really confusing and difficult to believe that who sets the agenda for country and who follows. In this scenario it is not moment to be glad when “News hour” sets the agenda but it is time to worry.