Amidst rapidly declining ethics in the Indian media, certain news outlets have stood out for their ability to uphold the journalistic values. One of them has been The Hindu, an English newspaper, headquartered in Chennai.
However, the paper has now come under immense scrutiny for a report, carried on the paper’s website on BJP President Amit Shah. Titled ‘Fever did not deter this warrior,’ the 230-word story paid rich tributes to Shah explaining how despite running ‘1020 degrees’ temperature, the BJP president had gone ahead ‘with his tour of the coastal districts as scheduled.’
The website, however, corrected the temperature to 102 degrees after it came under criticism from social media users, particularly journalists. Another striking aspect of The Hindu report was how the paper’s ‘Special Correspondent’ successfully managed to obtain the details on what Shah ate in dinner and breakfast the following morning. One really needs skills of a top-class investigative reporter to get hold of this information! A special correspondent in a newsroom is usually a fairly senior journalist.
Here’s what the ‘special correspondent’ wrote, “A team of doctors from Wenlock Hospital, led by Taluk Health Officer M.R. Subrahmanya, carried out a health check and allowed him to take medicines prescribed by his physician. Mr. Shah took rest for the night after having rice, sambar and curds. Mr. Shah’s campaign on Tuesday morning had a delayed start as he got up only at around 8 a.m. Following another round of health check, Mr. Shah had idli, sambar, upma, kesari bath followed by some fruits and black coffee. He then proceeded for darshan of the presiding deity of Kukke Subrahmanya temple at 9 a.m., followed by a meeting with Subrahmanya Mutt seer Vidyaprasanna Tirtha Swami.”
As expected, The Hindu report was widely condemned on social media platforms. Journalist Jarshad NK wrote, “Bull**** article of the day. “He was running 1020 temperature”, unless he is a celestial body, no way can he be that hot. And headline? Less said the better.”
Senior journalist and former editor of Business Today magazine, Josey John, wrote, “Never heard of subs with an evil sense of humour?” “He. he…..Maybe Motabhai can stand that much heat after doing yoga with ramdev!” wrote journalist Aditi.
Journalist Shivam Vij on Facebook sarcastically wrote, “Interesting headline in Organiser.” Organiser is the mouthpiece of the RSS, published in English.
Shah is in Karnataka for election campaign as the southern state goes to crucial assembly polls in April or May. The BJP is desperately trying to wrest the power from the Congress, which has been in the government for last five years.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath too have made several trips to Karnataka.
(Since the publication of our story, The Hindu has changed its headline with the following comments ‘The original headline was inappropriate and had the tone of a comment. It has been changed.”)