Last week I had written “Media needs Monitoring”. I had given some examples for the same. I didn’t need to repeat my view, but a story in Times of India forced me to write on media again.
Times of India (TOI), Mumbai on 2 September 2014 published the findings of an exclusive poll done for TOI in 8 cities viz. Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune and Ahmedabad.
In a report titled ‘Narendra Modi gets a ‘like’ in 8-city poll’ as part of the findings TOI reported the following: “Given the BJP's repeated assertions that the UPA had dealt with Indo-Pak relations very badly, how the current government is rated on this score? Not very well, it turns out. About half the respondents said its handling of the issue was average, poor or very poor, 38 per cent said it was good and only 13 per cent said it was excellent.”
Did you get the message?
Read it again
If you have still not got the message than let me explain. The point to which I want to draw your attention is, simple mathematics, 38+13=51.
The paper doesn’t tell its readers that more than half the respondents were happy with the Narendra Modi Government’s handling of Pakistan. But it informs that “About half the respondents said its handling of the issue was average, poor or very poor.” This information is based on the mathematics that 49 > 51.
It is not that TOI doesn’t know simple mathematics. In the report titled “Cities cheer Modi’s first 100, say he can be match-winner”. On the same day, the paper reports the following: “Overall, 16 per cent of respondents rated the performance of the government as 'excellent' and another 42 per cent rated it as 'good', which means a good majority approve the Modi government.”
In that case so was not reporting the fact that the majority of Indians favoured Modi government’s handling of Pakistan average an exaggeration
Moreover, TOI reported as per their survey that “the Modi government is communal and puppet of RSS” for portraying the picture that “Modi Government’s Pakistan policy doesn’t have support of majority of Indians”. The following news has not been reported in box “The proportion of people (45 per cent) who feel that the RSS influences the Modi government's decisions was higher than those who said no (38 per cent).”
This reporting can be classified as a case of “Factually Wrong Reporting” or “Bias in News Reporting, and looks like a case of “Acting as Mercenary”. Let me share some of the facts related to TOI, which are as follows:
— A part of the funds that US-based Kashmiri separatist Ghulam Nabi Fai, who was arrested by the FBI for illegally lobbying for Pakistan and the ISI, received from his backers went into organising “international conferences” on Kashmir. Prominent among those who have attended his conferences was Dileep Padgaonkar, who as one of the three interlocutors for J&K appointed by the UPA. He still writes occasionally for TOI and is the ex-editor of TOI.
— TOI continue with Aman Ki Asha for promoting Pakistani artists even when the Indian soldiers were beheaded.
Twist in reporting
— On September 3, Economic Times, a sister publication of Times of India reported “MEA overrules MHA on Pak” the news says that “The Narcotics Control Bureau that was scheduled to send a team to Pakistan for routine talks was asked to stay saying that the relations were passing through a “bad phase”. NCB is under the jurisdiction of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), but apparently the advice to postpone talks came from MEA”. In reality this is a case of excellent coordination. It should have been reported as an example of “Excellent Coordination among Government Departments” but it was reported to create a rift.
Surprisingly the same newspaper was advising coordination through its “Editorial” dated 25 August 2014. It carried the editorial “It is time for finance minister Arun Jaitley to have a heart-to-heart chat with defence minister Arun Jaitley”.
The above reportage doesn’t give a comfortable picture of Times of India. I know, I will be wrong, if I today conclude that, Times of India is acting as mercenary.
But it is also a fact that for better part of its existence, i.e. since 1838 when it was known as “The Bombay Times and Journal of Commerce”; TOI has been pro-British newspaper. If its reporting and reporters continue to report like this, than if not all then some Indians will definitely question in times to come: “On whose side is Times of India actually?”
-Sandeep Singh (The writer writes a weekly column on “Narendra Modi & CXO Leadership” in www.swastik.net.in)