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Media at present has stooped to its lowest in reporting minor issues and representing facts. And if you are a fresher at a local newspaper, you will witness the height of hatred. The narratives framed and built inside a newsroom via news from WhatsApp and Facebook are volatile. The kind of hate-mongering done by bigots sitting behind the keyboard in an editorial section is far more toxic than you witness it online or on your televisions.

Image Source- Precious Kashmir

I was an intern at an English local daily in my city. And this was the orientation speech by the Bureau chief – “Keep your bias away from journalism. That’s how we work here altogether. And you need to be very economically sound to be in journalism. Also, here you do what we ask you to do.

I took a long nod before I understood what he meant.

Why do these pseudo-intellectuals have no stand on the killing of the right-wing leaders? Why do they need to disguise themselves as secular leaders when all they do is religious conversion? Wait for a Muslim to be lynched and they will come out with all their energies on the street,’  said a senior correspondent.

This was my first encounter with their “being away from bias” standpoint. I turned to him, while he was engrossed in a newspaper.

These students need “freedom” from India, from our culture and this is what it brings the students on the street. What is the point of staying in this country when you want freedom? This land gave you food and shelter and in the end, you sympathize with militants and raise anti-national slogans on your campus. Why not they leave this country and find their shelter in Pakistan?

Have I heard the last sentence before somewhere? In a cubical electronic box in a panel or a loud politician? Or a chest throbbing, Hindu-nationalist.

Women-Centric issues

There was a local case in the outskirts of our city where six minor girls returning from a fair was abducted and allegedly raped by the 3-4 young boys. When this news came on the desk, one of the correspondents yelled, “It was not rape, just “casual molestation”. Few media houses are setting trends by exaggerating minor issue into a headline. This news might not take longer than 200 words.

This sort of approach towards rape is often seen for women who are from marginalised backgrounds, since they are not the “perfect victim”, even for the reporters. That is why their experiences of sexual harassment and rape is under-reported. The environment inside these newsrooms, reflect exactly the same apathy that exists in the society.

This sort of approach towards rape is often seen for women who are from marginalised backgrounds, since they are not the “perfect victim”, even for the reporters. That is why their experiences of sexual harassment and rape is under-reported. The environment inside these newsrooms, reflect exactly the same apathy that exists in the society.

Caste before Class

With 13-14 members working in that media house, 2 of them were women, excluding me. This was an office space where 6 to 7 men sat giggling on their sexist jokes, sharing tobacco, who sometimes ran an English newspaper. Upper caste Brahmins, Bengalis and Marwaris sat together writing news for minors and reporting women and child issues with their elite bias. Editor in chief welcomed himself in the office with aroma of incense sticks and reading aloud some religious scripts.

Also read: The Farrago Of Biased And Fake News: Media’s Role Before Lok Sabha Elections

Apart from this he also welcomed people with a very awkward question, “Which caste do you belong to?” Perhaps that qualifies your job title in a toxic office space. The selection of news about a person intrigued that caste background of the person. While in one hand the approach towards cases on violence against women were taken up lackadaisically, on the other hand, the marginalised inside the office were too not spared from micro-aggressive casteist and sexist comments.

Image Source: The Economist

Reporting CAA and NRC

Pro CAA rallies in nearby cities called for curfew and internet shut-down, to which the employees had an astonishing perspective: “Muslim population in that town has increased widely. Under BJP’s government, they had fear among themselves but after BJP lost in the state, they seemed to have wings. Burning vehicles and destroying public transportation, are the only way they can create chaos and unrest in the state.

The racial slur they used for minorities especially SC, ST and Muslims didn’t just suffocate me but also represented the hatred their mind was carrying. Religion and caste was the only perspective through which they overview any issue in the state. One of the reporters said that protesters in Shaheen bagh were sitting on the cost of 500 rupees.

The racial slur they used for minorities especially SC, ST and Muslims didn’t just suffocate me but also represented the hatred their mind was carrying. Religion and caste was the only perspective through which they overview any issue in the state. One of the reporters said that protesters in Shaheen bagh were sitting on the cost of 500 rupees. And I immediately knew where the news was from. Thanks to Amit Malviya and the team, people are believing his propaganda which is constructed upon loose, untrue grounds of sexism and Islamophobia.

Islamophobia

Islamophobic people in the office were mostly garlanded with laughs and applause. “Ye musalman toh hote hi hai, atankwad brhane ke liyee. Inka sirf ek hi maksad hai, “bacche paida Karo” or aabadi brhaoo (Muslim community aims at increasing the terrorism. And the motto is to make kids and increase the population).”

This line made me realize and question if I was sitting inside a media house or among right-wing goons. Bureau chief of the media house was sitting in the office and was being a part of this discussion. A senior correspondent blurted Islamophobia saying, ‘…all the Muslim women sitting on protest on several locations of India are illiterate and 50 knowledge about citizenship amendment act and national register of citizens. Just a few of the students from JNU you have come up to lead the protest and are fanning the number of women participation.’

At this point, I was curious about the framework of this particular media house where the correspondent and reporters were not only biased but their perspective was limited to the served ‘truth’ they were being fed by social media and T.V. news channels.

Also read: Prime Time Religion: Indian Media And Debates In 2019

They followed the news media networks that served information according to their bias. And that was what turned them into a crowd that degrades the value of journalism. These flag bearers of Journalism are therefore playing a crucial role in amplifying bigotry among citizens. They do not want to fact check, question their bigotry or empathise with oppressed people, as long as they are not a part of the oppressed population.

Say ‘Hi’ to local dailies, which will bring you fifteen-page of propaganda.


Featured Image Source: The Globe Post

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