Is NDTV free, fair and objective?
It is a sad commentary on our media that it claims to be free, fair, fearless, impartial, objective and what not, but with just a very few exceptions it is only otherwise. A similar claim is made by NDTV and its CEO Prannoy Roy. But the facts repudiate its boast. Here are two instances.
In 2005-06 NDTV launched a relentless tirade against Baba Ramdev. It gave widespread coverage to Mrs. Brinda Karat's campaign against the Baba alleging that the medicines produced in his pharmacy contained human and animal bones. The NDTV organized many panel discussions to negate Baba's claim that certain chronic diseases could be treated with the pranayam-yoga promoted by him. Incidentally, Mrs. Karat is Mr. Prannoy Roy's sister-in-law.
On the basis of these allegations and samples produced by her, the then Congress government of Uttarakhand got the medicines tested through some trusted laboratories. The then Health Minister held a press conference in March 2006 and declared that government had got the medicines tested and "the samples of the Divya Yog Pharmacy (of Swami Ramdev) had been found free of human body parts or skull". But, surprisingly, the NDTV which had organized a campaign against Patanjali Yog medicines deliberately blacked out this news, thus denying this important information from its readers who had all along been fed with wrong information and allegations about medicines manufactured in Baba's pharmacy.
Immediately, this writer protested to Mr. Roy through e-mail and a letter by post regretting this withholding this vital information from NDTV viewers which amounted to a grave journalistic misconduct. He did have the courtesy neither to acknowledge the letter nor to correct the mistake NDTV had done. This act of NDTV was against the canons of media ethics which NDTV otherwise boasted to hold close to its chest.
Ultimately, this writer wrote to INDIA TODAY narrating the facts and NDTV conduct. INDIA TODAY was kind enough to publish this as the first letter in its valuable columns. NDTV or Mr. Prannoy Roy did not respond even to the letter published in the Weekly.
The NDTV indulged in another similar outrage against its viewers on June 20. Before going for the last break during PRIME TIME panel discussion, the anchor Mr. Ravish Kumar declared that since many questions had been raised about 1984 anti-Sikh riots, he will put this matter for discussion after the break. But to the surprise of the viewers, no such discussion was taken up and the programme ended. This clearly amounts to cheating the viewers and is against media morals and ethics. This writer wrote to Mr. Roy protesting against this conduct. The NDTV has as yet to acknowledge the letter and regret this mistake during the programe. Obviously, the discussion was not taken up because of certain extraneous considerations during the break.
What else could one say about the boast of NDTV to be free, fair, fearless, objective and impartial?
PS: If NDTV has to say anything, it could send its comments which will be carried word by word.