BJP asks Express to apologize—here’s why

11th September 2016

11th September 2016

BJP wants Express to apologize for misreporting PM

It so happened that Indian Express’ lead story today (September 9, 2016)  is an exclusive interview with Muzaffar Hussain Baig of PDP which it has headlined as “open dissent in PDP” in its print edition. Never mind Baig in his interview says that he has every hope that the PDP-BJP alliance will deliver in coming years in Jammu and Kashmir. Never mind that Baig in this “exclusive” claimed surprise that the separatists didn’t try to meet the all-party delegation.

Never mind that Baig said the opposition parties (and I quote Indian Express)—“National Conference and Congress—and the vested interest of Pakistan” has been “rendered speechless by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s peace initiatives.” But Express would rather have it headlined as “open dissent.”

Misreporting and a disconnect in headlines has been a feature of Indian Express since Modi government has come to Centre. If you do mind, please go through the dozens of such omissions I have brought out in public discourse lately. All Express has done is to bury its head in the sand and hope that the storm would go away.

But it won’t. Express won’t mend its way and Civil Society can’t stop its “dissent.” In the last month or so, Arun Jaitley has taken Express to task for “misreporting” his Jammu speech for which Express had to offer an apology. Recently, BJP asked Express to apologize for “incorrect reporting which is against the principle of journalism.” BJP pointed out Indian Express as one of the forces “disturbing social harmony in the country are continuously involved in vicious propaganda.”

Express misquotes BJP UP state unit chief Keshav Prasad Maurya; it puts Anandiben against Amit Shah--all of this and dozens of other such links you can find here. Law Commission had reprimanded Indian Express in August 2015 for its false reporting.

Recently, it gave a screaming headline that there is “No Muslim judge in Supreme Court.” So it wants a religious quota in matters of justice? Horrible to all but probably not to Express.

The million-dollar question is why Express can’t mend its way. Why is it compelled to “spin” stories which every subeditor of conscience would die a dozen deaths before publishing? Is it a compulsion of funds? Or are their levers being controlled by those forces who want a perpetually weak India?

Any sensible Indian would admit the following: (a) Modi government isn’t corrupt as the previous UPA; (b) that it’s making a structural changes to India’s governance; (c) that India’s economy of today bears no resemblance to the mess in which UPA left the country with in 2014; (d) that “intolerance”, curb on “freedom of speech” etc isn’t our experience in daily life (e) that communal frenzy and “law and order” is a state subject; (f) that the Prime Minister of this country himself has taken on “gau rakshaks,” arguably his own vote bank, if communalism is the charge against him.

I guess readers would also agree to the below: (a) That the cases of Una, Kanhaiya, Rohith and Akhlaq—unfortunate as they are-- have been blown beyond proportion; (b) that the separatists of Jammu and Kashmir are being eulogized in Lutyens media while there is not a drop of tear shed on our soldiers losing lives in Kashmir valley.

This brings us back to the Baig story. A fortnight ago, Ms Barkha Dutt interviewed Baig on NDTV. She tried her best to eke out from Baig that PDP-BJP alliance is bad for J and K. Baig, to his credit, kept parrying the slimy Barkha. You can watch the full tape here and judge for yourself the veracity of my claim. Barkha’s desperation is pathetic. Yet she preens in her tweet the next day how Baig in the interview has slammed PDP-BJP alliance. The same misreporting which Indian Express has done today.

Indeed, you watch NDTV and read Indian Express and you can’t help feel that they are Siamese Twins. Each follows each other’s agenda. When Barkha spat out at Arnab, look what Pratik Kanjilal wrote against the latter in Express. The piece against Arnab goes beyond hostility—it’s abusive. It’s filth being given prime space by the so-called national daily.

But then Express has been a rag of late.

My question to them and you readers is precise: (a) Why Express does what it does and is so brazen, unbound by any law of this land; (b) and to you readers, what stops you from being outraged by such betrayal of your trust by your newspaper? As a consumer, can’t you demand the rightful returns on your money?

Express would only get shriller in coming days and months. Every assembly election which falls every quarterly somewhere in India, would see this naked parade get more suggestive and obscene. Who bells the cat? Who stops them? Or NDTV which is now an NGO stopping developmental projects?

So Readers, be your own voice. Don’t let Lutyens Media claim to be your voice. They think you are dumb. Show them that you aren’t dumb.Your dream of India is different from their nightmare of India. Show them the mirror. And do whatever it takes to stop their dirty designs.

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