Friday, October 23, 2020

Did the Republic TV rig the ratings system?

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India’s Republic TV and its management has been accused of “of rigging the ratings system by paying poor people the equivalent of a few dollars a month to tune into the station and leave their televisions on,” reported The New York Times.

The report claims that Arnab Ranjan Goswami, an Indian journalist, who is the managing director and editor-in-chief of Republic Media Network, has recently been a critic of the incumbent government and Mumbai police. “Come to my house, come to my office, if you have the guts,” he taunted the police on Thursday night. “Come and arrest me!” He called Mumbai’s police chief, Param Bir Singh, “a spineless man” and “a pliable tool.”

The report also claims that the “Republic TV has been one of India’s most-watched, most-talked-about and most-contentious television news channels”. Its lead anchor, Arnab Goswami, has made a name for himself shouting down opponents, embracing right-wing causes and aggressively backing up Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his right-leaning administration, it added.

The report claims that “police officials said, people, being bribed to watch the English-language channel did not speak English and were annoyed to tie up their television sets with programming that they couldn’t even understand”. Those viewership levels are not just a source of pride: They are also a major factor in a station’s ad revenue, therefore fueling its continuing ability to shape the public discourse.

Media and civil society members are under constant threat in India after the recent attacks on journalists. There have been reports of the Muslims being deliberately targeted by the police during the deadly pandemic. “We saw that how the Indian government attempted to control media and civil society to run its ideological program,” an analyst told GVS.

Read More: Delhi Burns: Anti-Muslim Pogrom at the hands of Hindu Fascists

Arnab Goswami is infamous for being Islamophobe. “During this lockdown, why does every crowd gather only near mosques Arnab Goswami recently asked on Republic TV.

Is the world denouncing India?

As India has lost its democratic sheen, maintain analysts, it is on its way to international isolation. It is worth noting that the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has re-entered India into its list of ‘Country of Particular Concern (CPC)’ because of the Modi government’s policies against the Muslims.

The report recommended the US government to impose targeted sanctions on Indian government agencies and officials responsible for severe violations of religious freedom in India by freezing those individuals’ assets and/or barring their entry into the United States under human rights-related financial and visa authorities, citing specific religious freedom violations.

In India, there is a relentless anti-Muslim and anti-Islam campaign even at the government level in the times of COVID-19. Rana Ayyub, an investigative journalist, wrote in the Washington Post, “Muslims became the sole culprits responsible for the spread of the coronavirus in India.”

The Guardian reports, “Muslims have now seen their businesses across India boycotted, volunteers, distributing rations called ‘coronavirus terrorists’, and others accused of spitting in food and infecting water supplies with the virus. Posters have appeared barring Muslims from entering certain neighborhoods in states as far apart as Delhi, Karnataka, Telangana, and Madhya Pradesh.”

Read More: Islamophobia in India: New attacks on Indian Muslims

Resultantly, India’s friends, some countries from the Muslim world, are not issuing strongly-worded statements to not only condemn the violence but also to urge the government to curb it. As Jyoti Malhotra, a prominent Indian Editor noted: “India’s carefully cultivated Gulf policy has been at risk of unravelling over the past fortnight, with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Kuwaiti government, a UAE royal princess, and the Arab intelligentsia decrying hate speeches by Indian nationals accusing the Tablighi Jamaat of deliberately exacerbating the coronavirus pandemic as well as a crude tweet by a BJP MP on the sexual impulses of Arab women”.

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