Indian TV anchors masquerading as journalists have played one of the most crucial roles in creating hysteria on war with Pakistan since the Pulwama attack on 14 February, when 45 CRPP soldiers were killed in a suicide attack. Far from questioning the government for its failure, these anchors, known to be the flag-bearers of the RSS and the BJP, have wasted no opportunity in glorifying Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The same group of TV anchors were seen ecstatic and almost dancing in their studios in excitement on the day the Indian Air Force carried out its air strikes deep inside Pakistan. Known as ‘Modi’s minions’, these anchors claimed how the air strikes by India had completely destroyed the terror camps operating out of Pakistan.
The same TV studios turned into war rooms a day later as the anger gave way to the dancing and orchestrated praising of Modi after reports emerged that Pakistan had responded by breaching the Indian air space and capturing Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.
While Indians continue to hold their breath while anxiously waiting for the safe return of Wing Commander Abhinandan, some of the antics of Indian TV anchors have gone viral. Leading the pack is a TV9 anchor, who decided to present his programme by wearing army fatigues and holding a gun. Yes, toy gun. So much for his bravery. The bravery shown by the Telugu TV anchor was enough to send shivers down the spine of the Pakistanis it seems.
What was even more comical was the use of graphics inside the studio, making fighter jets land with the photos of three Indian service chiefs in the background.
The Telugu TV anchor wasn’t the only one providing the much-needed entertainment value to his viewers in the time of negativity with fear of war looming large. Aaj Tak’s anchor Nishant Chaturvedi took to Twitter to threaten Pakistan with a Rampuri knife as he wrote, “This Made in India Rampuri knife especially for Pakistani terrorists.”
In 2016, Chaturvedi’s colleague in India Today, Gaurav Sawant, had left Twitter users in splits after he presented a TV programme in faux military gear with his studio turned into a ‘war room.’
The list of Indian TV anchors causing disgrace to themselves and their profession through cheap theatrics is endless. But, most recently, A Telugu channel Mahaa News was in the news after one of its representatives shot his programme while lying down inside a bathtub to illustrate how Sridevi may have died in her washroom in a Dubai hotel last year.
These are just some of the antics involving India’s famous TV folks masquerading as journalists. Many argue that these theatrics are allowed to be passed off as news in the absence of a robust regulatory body, ensuring ethics in Indian media.