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TV anchors conducting ‘media trials’, researcher tells SC

An application filed in the Supreme Court on Tuesday said an independent study conducted by author and researcher Kota Neelima showed that journalists Arnab Goswami and Navika Kumar are conducting “media trials”.

“Media Trials is another facet of hate speech. Media trials can take place for a variety of reasons, for instance, it can be in order to grab a higher share of Television Rating Points (TRPs) or it can be something more sinister whereby certain private television channels act as proxy propaganda machines for the Central government,” the application, filed through advocate Sunil Fernandes, said.

It has sought the court’s permission to file additional documents.

The application is part of a joint plea made by Ms. Neelima with Sangeeta Tyagi, the widow of Congress national spokesperson Rajeev Tyagi, to intervene in a pending case against Sudarshan TV’s ‘Bindas Bol’ programme, which accused Muslims of “infiltrating” the Civil Services with the help of terror-linked organisations abroad.

“The applicant No. 1 (Ms. Neelima) through ‘Rate the Debate’ (independent research platform) has evaluated the content of the news discussion, and debates undertaken by two renowned journalists i.e. Mr. Arnab Goswami and Ms. Navika Kumar, who have been engaging themselves in conducting ‘media trials’. This includes the detailed analysis of 32 week days’ news content, 55 hours of programming and 76 debate topics conducted by Mr. Arnab Goswami (The Republic) and 24 days of news content, 20 hours of programming and 32 debate topics conducted by Ms. Navika Kumar (Times Now),” the application said.

It said the study showed that “65% of the total debates conducted by Mr. Arnab Goswami from July 31 to September 15 and 69% of the total debates conducted by Ms. Navika Kumar from July 16 to October 6 were on a singular topic, i.e., Sushant Singh Rajput death case”.

It said the statistics, however, do not reveal the complete picture.

“Not only an overwhelming and inordinate amount of time is devoted to a single topic, the manner, tone, tenor and content of the ‘news coverage’ and ‘TV debate’ was highly toxic, polarised and filled with innuendos, salacious gossips, wild allegations and character assassinations,” the application said.

It said the Sushant Singh Rajput case presented a “disturbing case-study of the modus-operandi employed by such TV anchors”.

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Printable version | Mar 1, 2021 7:36:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tv-anchors-conducting-media-trials-researcher-tells-sc/article32848868.ece

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