6 April 2014

The Riff-raffs who own Media

     While traveling in Madhya Pradesh last week, I came across a Bansal TV through cable network, whose reporting integrity left much to be desired. I wondered who owned it, and did a little research. It is owned by a Bansal Group of Bhopal which runs Coaching Institutes and an MBA college, and which owns the Ayushman Hospital Group, and which also markets a certain Bansal Edible Oil.
     The research also revealed that the Bansal Group was raided a few years ago by the Income Tax department which recovered Rs 300 crores of undeclared money, much of it in cash!
     How come such a riff-raff is allowed to own a media company?

     Take another instance: the India News channel, which has seven regional news channels giving state news. Who owns it? Karthikeya Sharma, who is the son of Haryana Congress politician Venod Sharma. About 10 per cent of the channel is also owned by Haryana Chief Minister Hooda's family. No wonder their channels are so patently biased and keep attacking Haryana's leading crowd-puller Aam Aadmi Party.
     I have mentioned News 24 in an earlier post, which is owned by Congress politician Rajiv Shukla. In Tamil Nadu, the DMK party has its own Sun TV,. while AIADMK has its own Jaya TV. In Andhra Pradesh, Jaganmohan Reddy owns Sakshi TV, Indiavision in Kerala is owned by Muslim League Secretary M.K. Munee and in Karnataka, tourism minister Janardhana Reddy owns Janashri. In the eastern states, Odisha TV is owned by Baijayant Panda of the BJD, and in West Bengal, CPI(M) controls TV-24 Ghanta, while Trinamool Congress has Kolkata TV.
     What is happening in this nation, you may well ask. I repeat my earlier question: how come we have allowed such riff-raffs to own media corporations? Sadly for us, all political parties have colluded and allowed this to happen, and it is no surprise that not one of them has shown a willingness to address this issue.
     The Aam Aadmi Party however, in its manifesto, has made a meaningful beginning. I wish other parties would respond to this, if not in the heat of elections, than post polls, so that we can all work together for a completely independent media in the nation  - because it is indeed a fact that media moulds thinking and behaviour in society.