Against Highly Biased Reporting by Certain English News Media in India sign now

We, the undersigned, are deeply appalled at the highly biased reporting by most of English news media in India, specifically (in order of decreasing culpability) by CNN-IBN, NDTV, Hindustan Times, and Times Now. Just to enumerate certain instances:

- The disproportionate coverage given to an alleged speech by a 28 year old politician and to viewpoints pillorying this politician while negligible coverage to opposing viewpoints. NDTV had a news report where Soli Sorabjee briefly mentioned that the use of NSA was an abuse but during the course of panel discussion, this view was ignored and the view of another lawyer who was in favor of NSA imposition was being propounded as the considered legal opinion.

- While hours of airtime and reams of newspapers are being devoted to the above mentioned speech, negligible coverage has been given to the CPM seeking support of a known terrorist in Kerala and Congress aligning with a political formation whose head declared a price of Rs.250 million for killing a former US President.

- Refusal to show the bribe CD before the confidence vote in parliament is defended under a legal opinion. However, a CD showing a politician of opposition party accepting 1 lakh rupee to ask a question a parliament is shown non-stop. Looks like this media believes that bribing MPs to vote in parliament is a smaller offence compared to taking bribe to ask a question in parliament.

- Even a small speech by a certain descendant of a political dynasty is given disproportionate prominence. A one night stay in a certain village is shown as a great achievement; not to mention that the foreign guest of this gentlemen slapped India on its face the very next day by linking 26/11 to Kashmir issue. This budding politician is projected as the face of youth and a future PM. No one in media questions his qualifications or experience for the top job or asks him uncomfortable questions.

- Paintings showing highly obscene depictions of Hindu gods are defended in the name of Artistic Freedom, while any mention of the word Hindutva is branded by media as divisive politics and communalism.

- Blatant release of blocked funds in Bofors kickback scandal to a close friend of a political dynasty was dismissed as routine by media. The law minister of this country traveled to London to facilitate this release but media gave miniscule coverage to this as if it were a routine matter.

- DNA newspaper has been running an expose for last 10 days about a $2bn defense deal signed by UPA days before election code kicked in. DNA has raised issues of propriety and whether kickbacks were paid in the deal. We are shocked to see other English news media is maintaining silence on this issue; this same media went into frenzy on Tehelka expose.

- Systematic subservience of democratic institutions in this country (Election Commission, Governors etc) by a certain political party is forgotten or ignored, but anyone questioning this is continuously pilloried on some pretext or other. For example, media questioned CECs report on Naveen Chawla on its timing, but largely ignored the contents of this report. Media kept playing the views of Law minister of this country who was an interested party supporting Naveen Chawla.

- Blatant arbitrary allocation of telecom licenses for alleged kickbacks is ignored by the media but the sale of a hotel through auction process during NDA regime is continuously questioned.

- When the PM of this country says that a certain religious community has the first claim on the resources of this country, the media applauded this statement on pretext of promoting equality and social harmony. However when the other political party says that equality of all, appeasement to none media termed as communal politics.

- This media can not talk about a certain politician without mentioning Gujarat riots in the same breadth, but systematic elimination of Hindus from Kashmir hardly finds any mention. In fact, even in the opinion polls being aired currently, questions are asked on whether there is a fear factor in Gujarat, seven years and two peaceful assembly elections after the event. However, no such fear factor amongst the general populace of the entire country is being talked about inspite of the sequence of serial bomb blasts across the country (Jaipur, Bangalore, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Guwahati) over the last one year.

We could go on an on; the list is endless. Now is the time to show a mirror to these media houses and question whether they are practicing politics in the name of journalism; whether they have become subservient (like other democratic institutions) to a particular political party; whether the lure of Padma Shri has blinded them to their duty.

Please support this petition by signing below. We plan to submit this to these media houses and to large media buying agencies and advertisers to nudge them to think hard before advertising on these media outlets.

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