Aaj Tak managing editor rejects conspiracy theories about govt putting ‘pressure’ on media

Supriya Prasad, the Managing Editor of the Aaj Tak and India Today news channels, has said that he never faced any kind of pressure from the government regarding news broadcasts or running ‘favourable news’.

Supriya Prasad was speaking at an event called ‘Media Mahakumbh’ organised at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) in New Delhi, where he answered questions put by Abhishek Mehrotra of Samachar4Media.

“I have never seen political pressure. Sometimes we do get press releases on behalf of the government, there are requests to cover events but that’s it. It can be called ‘request’ not ‘pressure’. I hereby say that there is no pressure on media from the government,” Prasad was quoted as saying.

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Prasad said that being involved with a trusted institution minimises the possibility of political pressure. On being asked again, possibly to clarify his stand, he expressed categorically that there was no pressure on the media from the government.

Prasad though added that certain journalists might get under pressure, but that was due to their own reasons. Speaking for the media house he works for, he added that Aaj Tak has never faced any pressure from the government with regard to any news broadcast.

Perhaps hinting at the reasons journalists might get under pressure of their own, Prasad stated that being unbiased is the basic principle of journalism and indulging in the politics of ruling or opposition party is not journalism. He disapproved of ‘agenda journalism’.

Supriya Prasad also disapproved of journalists being too aggressive on social media, especially with regards to their ideological or political preferences. He said that this had ‘harmed’ journalism.

“Be it myself or anyone else, we all vote for a political party and are inclined towards it but by declaring such things on social media, we gradually become a biased journalist,” he said.

Supriya however rejected the possibility of social media replacing television journalism, as he argued that social media did not have the same levels of credibility and trust.

The comments by the Managing Editor of India Today and Aaj Tak is interesting in wake of many journalists from the media group being openly vocal about their political and ideological leanings on social media, especially Twitter.

The comments also come at a time when journalists like NDTV’s Ravish Kumar and India Today group’s very own Rajdeep Sardesai, while trying to raise the bogey of ‘undeclared emergency’ or while commenting on CBI raids against NDTV promoters, have tried to insinuate that the Narendra Modi government was trying to muzzle voices in media by putting pressure.

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