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Weaponised Journalism: How many news publications really understand the gravity of illegal demolitions?

The selective coverage of the Prayagraj demolition also presents the state of journalism in India

Sabrangindia 16 Jun 2022

Indian mediaRepresentation Image

A section of India’s news media is working round the clock to paint Prayagraj (Allahabad) local activist Javed Mohammad as the so-called “mastermind” of the June 10 protests. From OpIndia to the Times of India, media houses reported on Mohammad’s role in the Atala violence on Friday without speaking to the accused. The narrow coverage of the incident by these organisations further feeds into the ‘weaponisation of journalism’.

Cities across India reported widespread protests by the Muslim community against the hate spewed by suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma about Prophet Mohammad and Islam. In some areas, particularly Uttar Pradesh, these protests became violent with reports of lathi-charge, tear-gassing by police and stone-pelting by protesters. Although these protests were spontaneous, administrations listed the alleged “masterminds” behind the violence, most of whom were anti-CAA and anti-NPR activists.

Although New Indian Express and Millennium Post identified the label of ‘mastermind’ as an allegation, Zee News, ABP Live and others engaged in shocking reportage of Mohammad’s ordeal. The latter in particular engaged in a play-by-play destruction of Mohammad's home. A five-minute video of the demolition hailed the police for overseeing the destruction from the terrace of a nearby house “during a severe heatwave”. The reporter explicitly called the demolition a “warning” for those who challenge the authorities. While giving a painstakingly detailed narration of the bulldozing, the reporter also acknowledged how such demolitions have become regular in the last two years i.e., the Yogi Adityanath-regime.

ABP


Meanwhile, the Sudarshan News on June 13 reported on the demolition of houses owned by “Islamic fundamentalists”. Focusing on the Atala incident where the Friday protests turned violent, the right-wing mouthpiece termed the demonstrators as rioters. It also went on to claim how the administration found incriminating evidence in Mohammad’s house such as illegal weapons, posters, flags, literature of Islamic countries and documents “commenting” on courts. Times of India too gave a similar reportage although it was careful to specify the “mastermind” comment as an allegation.

Sudarshan TV

Meanwhile Zee News used the headline “Big action on the mastermind of Prayagraj violence”. In none of these reports do the media houses mention how Mohammad, his wife Parveen Fatima and younger daughter were illegally detained on Friday night. Or how his eldest daughter Afreen Fatima had to argue with the police to protect herself and her sister-in-law. The reports also do not bother to acknowledge that while the administrative notices may be addressed to Mohammad, the house was in Fatima’s name.

zee

Worse still, OpIndia failed to properly identify Mohammad, calling him ‘Javed Ahmed’ instead. Claiming that “Ahmed” executed the stone-pelting, OpIndia accused him of using “stone-pelting kids as rioters’ shields”. Further it claimed that his daughter – whom the website identified as Sara Ahmed – was also “involved in such activities”.

opindia

The reportage is not as surprising when you consider the persons handling the news. For example, Sudarshan News’ Editor-in-Chief Suresh Chavanke is a notorious hate-offender. He has been flagged many times for his words targeting minorities, and a call for arms. His penchant for disposing of a journalist's tool (a pen) for weapons of hate (swords, guns, hate speech) recently went viral on social media. Chavanke was shown standing at what appeared to be a Sudarshan News conclave with a sword in hand. More internet searches will also show you images of him holding guns and pointing them at the camera.

 

 

On February 13, 2021, SabrangIndia published an article by “A Concerned Indian” that talked about the toxic news channels, WhatsApp forwards and social media posts, managed by the IT cell of the ruling party to spread hatred towards minorities. It also talked about how media persons were targeted for being critical of the government.

Nowadays, this machinery is being used to muzzle dissenters, inching closer towards a fascist regime. Journalism, supposedly meant to inform the masses, is used to manipulate the masses. In this case, outlets like Zee and OpIndia fail to highlight that while there were violent incidents and many arrests in Uttar Pradesh, many other protest areas in the rest of the country were peaceful.

In some instances, women too joined the protest and handed over memorandums to police officials. Instead, they talk about the number of people named in the violence and the style of bulldozing. By cherry-picking facts, a journalist thus becomes a weapon for the ‘bigger bully in the playground’ be it a regime from the left, right or the centre.

Related:

SC to hear urgent petitions against UP demolitions today

Bulldozer Injustice: Homes of June 10 rioters to be demolished?

Anti-CAA Muslim activist Afreen Fatima’s family members illegally detained!

Spontaneous pan-India protests against Nupur Sharma

Friday protests: More people booked for unlawful assembly

Why is Jharkhand governor in favour of doxing alleged riot participants’ names?

Friday protests: At least 325 arrests in UP alone!

Jahangirpuri Demolition: SC to take “serious view of demolitions after Mayor was informed of order”

Bengaluru Police raid, tear down homes of Bengali Muslim migrants

From Watchdog to Lapdog, Weaponisation of the India Media

Weaponised Journalism: How many news publications really understand the gravity of illegal demolitions?

The selective coverage of the Prayagraj demolition also presents the state of journalism in India

Indian mediaRepresentation Image

A section of India’s news media is working round the clock to paint Prayagraj (Allahabad) local activist Javed Mohammad as the so-called “mastermind” of the June 10 protests. From OpIndia to the Times of India, media houses reported on Mohammad’s role in the Atala violence on Friday without speaking to the accused. The narrow coverage of the incident by these organisations further feeds into the ‘weaponisation of journalism’.

Cities across India reported widespread protests by the Muslim community against the hate spewed by suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma about Prophet Mohammad and Islam. In some areas, particularly Uttar Pradesh, these protests became violent with reports of lathi-charge, tear-gassing by police and stone-pelting by protesters. Although these protests were spontaneous, administrations listed the alleged “masterminds” behind the violence, most of whom were anti-CAA and anti-NPR activists.

Although New Indian Express and Millennium Post identified the label of ‘mastermind’ as an allegation, Zee News, ABP Live and others engaged in shocking reportage of Mohammad’s ordeal. The latter in particular engaged in a play-by-play destruction of Mohammad's home. A five-minute video of the demolition hailed the police for overseeing the destruction from the terrace of a nearby house “during a severe heatwave”. The reporter explicitly called the demolition a “warning” for those who challenge the authorities. While giving a painstakingly detailed narration of the bulldozing, the reporter also acknowledged how such demolitions have become regular in the last two years i.e., the Yogi Adityanath-regime.

ABP


Meanwhile, the Sudarshan News on June 13 reported on the demolition of houses owned by “Islamic fundamentalists”. Focusing on the Atala incident where the Friday protests turned violent, the right-wing mouthpiece termed the demonstrators as rioters. It also went on to claim how the administration found incriminating evidence in Mohammad’s house such as illegal weapons, posters, flags, literature of Islamic countries and documents “commenting” on courts. Times of India too gave a similar reportage although it was careful to specify the “mastermind” comment as an allegation.

Sudarshan TV

Meanwhile Zee News used the headline “Big action on the mastermind of Prayagraj violence”. In none of these reports do the media houses mention how Mohammad, his wife Parveen Fatima and younger daughter were illegally detained on Friday night. Or how his eldest daughter Afreen Fatima had to argue with the police to protect herself and her sister-in-law. The reports also do not bother to acknowledge that while the administrative notices may be addressed to Mohammad, the house was in Fatima’s name.

zee

Worse still, OpIndia failed to properly identify Mohammad, calling him ‘Javed Ahmed’ instead. Claiming that “Ahmed” executed the stone-pelting, OpIndia accused him of using “stone-pelting kids as rioters’ shields”. Further it claimed that his daughter – whom the website identified as Sara Ahmed – was also “involved in such activities”.

opindia

The reportage is not as surprising when you consider the persons handling the news. For example, Sudarshan News’ Editor-in-Chief Suresh Chavanke is a notorious hate-offender. He has been flagged many times for his words targeting minorities, and a call for arms. His penchant for disposing of a journalist's tool (a pen) for weapons of hate (swords, guns, hate speech) recently went viral on social media. Chavanke was shown standing at what appeared to be a Sudarshan News conclave with a sword in hand. More internet searches will also show you images of him holding guns and pointing them at the camera.

 

 

On February 13, 2021, SabrangIndia published an article by “A Concerned Indian” that talked about the toxic news channels, WhatsApp forwards and social media posts, managed by the IT cell of the ruling party to spread hatred towards minorities. It also talked about how media persons were targeted for being critical of the government.

Nowadays, this machinery is being used to muzzle dissenters, inching closer towards a fascist regime. Journalism, supposedly meant to inform the masses, is used to manipulate the masses. In this case, outlets like Zee and OpIndia fail to highlight that while there were violent incidents and many arrests in Uttar Pradesh, many other protest areas in the rest of the country were peaceful.

In some instances, women too joined the protest and handed over memorandums to police officials. Instead, they talk about the number of people named in the violence and the style of bulldozing. By cherry-picking facts, a journalist thus becomes a weapon for the ‘bigger bully in the playground’ be it a regime from the left, right or the centre.

Related:

SC to hear urgent petitions against UP demolitions today

Bulldozer Injustice: Homes of June 10 rioters to be demolished?

Anti-CAA Muslim activist Afreen Fatima’s family members illegally detained!

Spontaneous pan-India protests against Nupur Sharma

Friday protests: More people booked for unlawful assembly

Why is Jharkhand governor in favour of doxing alleged riot participants’ names?

Friday protests: At least 325 arrests in UP alone!

Jahangirpuri Demolition: SC to take “serious view of demolitions after Mayor was informed of order”

Bengaluru Police raid, tear down homes of Bengali Muslim migrants

From Watchdog to Lapdog, Weaponisation of the India Media

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