An independent press is one of the four pillars of democracy, a genuine one at that. The press in India is free, well largely, of government control. But is it free from prejudice?
The New Indian Express is largely anti-establishment while The Times of India is pro-whatever helps generate bottom-line.
Even regional newspapers have their own axe to grind. Take for example, the Hyderabad-based Deccan Chronicle which is pro-Congress while the vernacular daily, Eenadu, is pro-TDP and vehemently anti-Congress.
Not that I care about these newspapers. Newspapers tell us what they want to tell us.
When it comes to reflecting bias and a deep prejudice, one newspaper, which calls itself India’s only national newspaper, takes the cake. No marks for guessing the name of the newspaper. Yes, I am referring to The Hindu.
The Hindu is owned, managed, and edited by hardcore communists. Run like a family enterprise, The Hindu is unabashedly pro-Communism, pro-China, anti-Hinduism, anti-BJP, anti-U.S., and anti-Capitalism.
Never mind, the ‘liberal and secular’ media would have us believe otherwise.
Let me cite a couple of examples. The Hindu advocated a tough line against the Indo-U.S. civil nuclear deal. It said that the government should not go ahead with the deal as it was loaded in favour of the U.S., the epitome of imperialism. It also said that the deal impinged on our national sovereignty.
However, The Hindu maintained (and still maintains) an eerie silence on China’s nuclear deal with the U.S.. To get the deal, China agreed to all terms dictated by the U.S. To propel its fast-growing economy, China needs energy. So it got the deal, whatever be the conditions.
So what about India? Well, The Hindu preaches that India should rely on indigenous technology to get energy and also import such resources from untrustworthy nations like Iran. China should progress, India should not. Why? Because China is communist!
Look at what’s happening in Tibet. While the current unrest and self-immolations by Buddhist monks against Chinese tyrannical rule have been widely reported in world media and by most Indian newspapers, The Hindu didn’t carry any major news story on the explosive situation. The commie mouthpiece simply toed the Chinese government’s line, copied reports from the Chinese official media agency and published them in its pages.
The Hindu’s utter fascination with China has blinded it to the atrocities committed by Beijing against the unarmed Buddhist monks, protesting against the wanton destruction of their great cultural heritage by China.
If you think this is my rant, then you should read the letter written by N. Murali, one of the biggest pillars of The Hindu, to the staff of the newspaper a couple of days before he left the company.
Here are some excerpts from N. Murali’s letter:
The Editorial side is run like a 'banana republic' with cronyism and vested interests ruling the roost and finding space in the editorial columns.
'Murdochism' with some of its most undesirable and sinister features has taken firm hold of the newspaper.
Quite apart from the blatantly pro-CPI(M) and pro-China tilt in coverage, Ram's abuse of his position in The Hindu and influence peddling has been unrestrained by any ideology.
Two recent events have brought this to the fore.
The first is the coverage or non coverage of the 2G scam and turning The Hindu into a mouthpiece of accused A Raja, going out of the way to organize an interview with him and publishing it on the day of his resignation.
The second and most recent incident has been brought out by the Gujarat police officer Sanjeev Bhatt in his affidavit filed in the Supreme Court which shows Ram as being the recipient of an email on a matter as sensitive and serious as the investigation and related matters of post Godhra 2002 riots in Gujarat.
Sanjeev Bhatt has annexed an email to his affidavit which is very revealing. In that email that S Gurumurthy sent to Ram on February 17, 2010, he had annexed a note on the investigations into the Gujarat riots case. “Here is the note, I would like you to go through it that you understand the issues before you talk to the person concerned,” goes the email. We all know who the “person concerned” that Ram was supposed to talk to is.
The periodic and extensive friendly interviews of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksha done by N Ram and carried in full op-ed pages served only as a smokescreen to hide the alleged war crimes that the UN committee indicted the Srilankan government on.
In my book, the two major blots on the journalistic record of The Hindu over the last forty years relate to its stand on the Emergency that was in force between June 1975 and March 1977 and on the largest scam in the history of independent India, the 2G scam.
Under its then editor, G.Kasturi, The Hindu disgracefully extended tacit support to and even collaborated with the Emergency regime. On the 2G scam, under the Editor-in-Chief N. Ram, The Hindu shamefully acted as an apologist and mouthpiece of the prime accused A Raja. It had only muted coverage of the 2G scam.
While The Hindu editorially asked for the resignations of Ashok Chavan, Suresh Kalmadi and BS Yeddyyurappa, there was not even a whisper about A Raja's resignation.
On the other hand, two obliging interviews of A Raja were specially arranged to be done, not by the correspondent covering telecom, but shockingly by RK Radhakrishnan who used to cover matters relating to DMK. After A Raja's resignation and arrest, a change in stance reflecting a shameless and seamless U-turn is all too obvious even for a school kid to miss.
When media is used as a means to achieve private ends it undoubtedly becomes a calamity.
Primacy of editorial on which The Hindu has always prided itself has been sacrificed at the altar of vested interests and crass commercialism pushed by some directors who have scant regard for the legacy and larger calling and ideals of The Hindu.
Any claim of professionalisation in the appointment of Siddharth Varadarajan as Editor of The Hindu is a sham as professionally qualified and experienced family members on the editorial side - N Ravi, editor, Malini Parthasarathy, executive editor and Nirmala Lakshman, joint editor - have been selectively targeted for removal.
Double standards of the worst kind are at play.
For several years now, I have saying these precise facts about The Hindu in my interactions with folks around, especially the student community.
Let me conclude with one simple observation: Its obsession with the bankrupt ideology of communism has coloured the way The Hindu reports the truth.