India Today ‘standing by’ their unethical journalist won’t cut it: They have to answer for their lies and propaganda

Rahul Kanwal, Tanushree Pandey

India Today has decided to stand by its reporter after OpIndia broke the story of how their journalist Tanushree Pandey was seen having a hush-hush conversation with the Vice-President of the JNU Students’ Union, Saket Moon, from the leftist organisation Democratic Students’ Federation (DSF).

According to India Today, the shoddy ‘sting’ they did was a piece of ‘pathbreaking investigation’ and requested its audience to ‘pay no attention’ to journalistic work that exposes their propaganda. The journalist, apparently, was ‘exchanging updates’ on ‘latest developments’ which is a ‘usual process’. However, the nature of the interaction did not come across as a ‘usual process’. If this indeed is the ‘usual process’, then perhaps it explains why the entire mainstream media is a gargantuan edifice of propaganda.

Conspicuously, however, they also see nothing suspicious about the fact that their journalist was discussing the issue of servers with the leftist student, a matter over which she has spread fake news. Quite clearly, India Today has chosen to brazen it out even after their ‘pathbreaking sting’ fell flat on their faces and it was exposed to be a spectacular farce.

Read: Watch: India Today journalist and JNUSU VP talking in a hushed, off the record conversation. Does this point to collusion?

It is also apparent from India Today’s stance that the definition of ‘pathbreaking investigation’ they endorse does not include asking tough questions to people who initiated the cycle of violence as long as they are leftists. They have also demonstrated that their version of ‘pathbreaking investigation’ entails buying whatever the leftists at JNU are selling without even bothering to verify whether the claims that have been made are true.

Even in the interview that followed the hush-hush off the record conversation, the India Today journalist can be seen providing the leftist JNUSU VP with a platform from where he can launch attacks on the ABVP without any consequences. Saket Moon even dragged Nathuram Godse into the whole controversy and yet, there was not a single counter-question from the India Today journalist.

Read: India Today journalist who was caught whispering in JNUSU VP’s ears had heckled Republic reports along with Aishe Ghosh in November

India Today, also, has no words to offer for the fact that Akshat Awasthi, the central figure in the ‘sting’, admitted to lying and boasting about his associations with the ABVP. Under such circumstances, the fact that India Today still chooses to stand by its reporter only further exposes their utter lack of credibility.

Even after India Today’s statement on the matter, three fundamental questions remain unanswered. Firstly, why doesn’t the India Today journalist ask a single tough question to the JNUSU VP? Secondly, what was the need to have such a hush-hush conversation with the JNUSU VP under circumstances that are still very murky? Thirdly, was India Today’s shoddy reportage on the violence in JNU a consequence of their collusion with Leftist student organizations? it appears these questions will remain unanswered.

Read: Old images of Awasthi do not discredit the January 2020 visuals where he can be seen siding with Leftists

India Today’s statement on the matter raises a further slew of questions about their conduct and the channel cannot brush it aside by patting themselves on the back and calling their propaganda as ‘path-breaking journalism’.

Here are some questions they must answer”

  1. Was any internal investigation conducted to assess whether any journalistic malpractice was involved?
  2. Why was the journalist ‘exchanging updates’ with an individual who belongs to an organisation that has been named in an on-going investigation? Even if we assume that there is nothing wrong with exchanging updates with an invidual who belongs to an accused organisation, why did these updates have to be ‘whispered’ in each others’ ears?
  3. What was the journalist showing to the JNUSU VP on her mobile?
  4. If the journalist is not colluding with the Left, why did she regurgitate the same lies as the JNUSU VP on mail servers?
  5. If this journalist in question is not colluding with the Left, why was she heckling Republic journalists along with JNUSU President Aishe Ghosh.
  6. Has this journalist in question had similar hush-hush conversations with ABVP individuals?

Off-the-record conversations between journalists and interviewees do happen, however, they don’t happen in this manner with journalists whispering things in someone’s ears like thieves. Neither do journalists whisper publicly in the ears of the representative of the organisation that should be one of the central organisation during their investigation into the JNU violence. Not to forget, JNUSU started the violence and that has been established.

One has to remember that Radia tapes were essentially off-the-record conversations between politicians, industrialists and journalists. However, it is the context and the manner in which these conversations are conducted that matter.

These are, again, extremely important questions but when confronted by genuine scrutiny, India Today has clearly demonstrated that their mood is to malign others instead of reflecting upon the conduct of their own reporters.

This post was last modified on January 13, 2020 7:47 pm

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