THE Delhi Union of Journalists, in a statement issued on May 29, has congratulated the Cobra Post and its intrepid journalists, particularly Pushp Sharma and Anirudh Behl, for their daring sting operation on some of the biggest media houses in the country. They have exposed on camera the enormous greed of the media barons, who are ready to promote the Hindutva agenda of the BJP in the run up to the 2019 elections, at a fat price. The Cobra Post investigated both newspaper owners and TV honchos, including owners of regional language media, in this explosive series of stings and found them open to such ‘bribery’.
The DUJ expresses its extreme concern at the media barons’ abject willingness to sell news space and influence election outcomes. This is a dangerous trend that destroys the credibility of the media and undermines the very foundations of democracy. The phrase ‘bikau media’ has gained currency because crony capitalists allied with certain political parties have, through market manipulations, bought up many television channels and other media. Media monopolies open the doorway to political oligarchies.
The Delhi Union of Journalists has long warned of the dangers of unbridled cross-media holdings and demands that the recommendations of the TRAI report on this issue be implemented to curb the power and outreach of corporate media houses.
It is a matter of record, the union points out, that some of the newspapers mentioned have sacked or laid out the maximum number of journalists in the past few years and committed manifold anti-labour practices, plus non implementation of wage board for journalists and press workers.
DUJ also points out that the same media that is compromising the credibility of its journalists by pushing them to conform to a certain agenda, also refuses to defend them when they are attacked on social media or in real life. No media owners’ association has come to the defence of the numerous journalists who have been trolled, doxed, given threats of rape and murder on social media. They have never used their considerable clout to demand that Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Whatsapp, Instagram and other social media regulate and act severely to stop such abuse of their platforms.
DUJ applauds the courage of outspoken journalists like Ravish Kumar, Rana Ayyub and others who have filed complaints against their abusers. It demands that the police immediately investigate their complaints and find and prosecute the potential rapists and murderers. It apprehends serious danger to these journalists’ lives unless firm and immediate action is taken by the authorities. It urged the judiciary to take suo moto action and rise to the defence of these journalists.