MUMBAI: New channels normally throw the spotlight on politicians. As the ensuing elections to the Lok Sabha are turning out to be the most bitterly fought, it is the new channels that are coming under attack from politicians.
Former Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal recently lashed out at TV news channels. He accused the news channels of being biased towards BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and Congress’ poll campaign chief Rahul Gandhi.
On Monday, home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde shocked the media fraternity when he claimed that the intelligence wing had been keeping a tab on news channels and that the government would ‘crush’ the elements in electronic media engaged in spreading false propaganda.
In the wake of these attacks, the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) has decided to hit back. It has objected to the kind of unwarranted criticism news channels are faced with.
A statement issued by the NBA said:
“News Broadcasters Association (NBA) objects to the unverified, unsubstantiated and highly defamatory charges being levelled against news channels by Mr Arvind Kejriwal of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and their members attributing corrupt motives and accusing the electronic media for not giving enough coverage or ignoring this or that party, without specific details to substantiate such charges. It is shocking to note that the very parties that gained immensely from media coverage are today turning against the electronic media, when they are under scrutiny on issues of governance.
NBA is equally shocked by the statement of the Home Minister of India that he would crush the electronic media and that a “close watch” was being kept on them.
NBA categorically states that a news channel’s endeavour is to cover news worthy events across all segments of national and international life and to present news to viewers, which is current and relevant. The media provides a service that is essential for any democratic society. This is particularly important when the most fundamental aspect of a democracy, the elections, are round the corner. At such a time, the media plays an indispensable role in enabling citizens to stay well informed and make important choices. There can be no acceptable reason for attacking the media on frivolous unsubstantiated grounds. Intimidation and preventing the media from performing its duties amounts to interfering with the freedoms enshrined in and guaranteed by the Constitution.
NBA appeals to political leaders from all parties and public figures not to level baseless charges against the media and keep the discourse civil and sane.”