News website Cobrapost has released a series of explosive undercover videos against 14 media houses, who, according to their investigation, agreed to push Hindutva agenda and run nasty campaign against opposition leaders including Congress President Rahul Gandhi for a fee.
These media houses are DNA of Zee New group, Rajat Sharma’s India TV, ScoopWhoop website, Hindi Khabar, Rediff.com, SAB group, Amar Ujala, UNI, 9X Tashan, Samachar Plus, HNN 24X7, Punjab Kesri and Swatantra Bharat.
The lead reporter behind this astonishing undercover operation was journalist Pushp Sharma, who posed as a Hindutva figure to influence the media houses to run campaign against the opposition leaders including during Karnataka assembly elections.
Using an alias, Acharya Atal, Sharma met owners or personnel of more than three dozen media houses who are in decision-making positions. Offering them anything between Rs. 6 crore and Rs. 50 crore if they agreed to provide a platform to his media campaign, Sharma made his agenda explicit to them.
- In the initial phase, the first three months, promote Hindutva through customized religious programmes to create a congenial atmosphere.
- Then, the campaign will be geared up to mobilize the electorate on communal lines by promoting speeches of Hindutva hardliners, the likes of Vinay Katiyar, Uma Bharti, Mohan Bhagwat and others.
- As elections approach, the campaign will target opposition leaders, namely, Rahul Gandhi, Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav, caricaturing them using less than dignified language like Pappu, Bua and Babua, respectively, for them, in order to show them in poor light before the electorate.
- They will have to run this campaign on all platforms available with them – print, electronic, radio or digital including, e-news portals, web sites and social media such as Facebook and Twitter.
Shockingly, Cobrapost claimed, almost all media houses showed their eagerness to undertake such a diabolical media campaign. Here is a gist of interactions that Sharma had with them.
The revelations by Combrapost established the long-held notion that the media houses had severely compromises their editorial integrity under the current government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Since its revelation on Monday, no government functionary has openly commented on the issue. This is in sharp contrast to how Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had reacted in issuing threats to Facebook on the pretext of influencing India’s electoral processes.