gaurav sawant

Why the media launched a concerted attempt to gag Gaurav Sawant

That the media dons that control the strings of news broadcasting have double standards while covering certain news is a well-known secret now. That they can be brazen about their acts of omissions and commissions even to the extent of threatening a fellow junior journalist because he stated the obvious, has been brought to light by the recent turn of events. Deservedly, the episode has spread on the social media like wildfire.

Gaurav Sawant, a young journalist who works at Headlines Today, recently tweeted his disenchantment over the lopsided manner in which news is broadcast.

Screenshot of Gaurav Sawant's tweets

 

Wondering why the actual updates haven’t been embedded and instead, a screenshot is being used? It is because the actual updates were deleted. Why? It could be anybody’s guess.

According to unconfirmed details that have been revealed on social media, Gaurav was forced to remove his updates by the likes of Shekhar Gupta who is the vice chairman of the India Today Group. Gaurav would be sacked, it is being said, if he didn’t remove his tweets.

Now, I’m not sure whether this is true or not—whether Shekhar Gupta personally threatened Gaurav Sawant with job loss or not, is not very clear, and it is only appearing as grapevine on Twitter and elsewhere. But the bigger truth is, whatever Gaurav has articulated is accurate. Isn’t it true that the media shows only one side of the story while conveniently pushing under the carpet or sidestepping, or even giving a different spin to the revelations that go contrary to whatever “guidelines” they abide by?

Take for instance the recent Saharanpur riots between Sikhs and Muslims. Whereas some print publications revealed the names of the people whose shops and houses were looted and gutted (and hence, their religions also came to be revealed automatically) most of the TV news channels made it a point to show what loss the Muslim residents of the area have incurred. Muslim women were shown crying and bemoaning the loss. They were shown being evacuated by the police personnel to “safer” areas.

The Sikhs, despite paying a heavy price for doing something the court has allowed them to do, were shown giving angry statements and complaining about how they were being attacked and how they were being ignored by the administration, and how they were planning to protect themselves. Ultimately, according to the overall coverage, it was Muslims who were bearing the brunt of the entire turmoil and they were the ones who were losing life and property.

I’m not saying news of the destruction of Muslims’ houses and properties shouldn’t be covered. But why cover only their losses? Why not also cover the losses of the other community? Haven’t the Sikhs lost their businesses and the savings of their lifetimes? Has any news channel ever shown such footage?

sahriots

Weren’t their loved ones murdered or maimed for life? Why isn’t there even a single debate on the overwhelming hypocrisy of the whole thing? Why aren’t Muslim representatives called and questioned about why they cannot abide by the ruling of the court? It appears as if this community cannot be ever questioned.

In another incident a few months ago, a young Muslim IT professional was killed for allegedly posting inflammatory material on Facebook. For the news media, it was not a youth that was killed, it was a Muslim youth killed by “Hindu extremist elements”. There is nothing wrong in saying this, if the religious identity matters so much in the country—a secular country of course. But reverse the tragedy and the religious identity attribution suddenly vanishes. Recently in Bangalore a six-year-old girl was raped by her teacher. Did you ever come across the headline screaming “Muslim teacher rapes six-year-old Hindu child”?

I’m using this example because the teacher was in fact a Muslim. But do you come across such headlines? No. But this is exactly what happens when it is to be shown that it is a Muslim who is at the receiving end and it is a Hindu who is the perpetrator, but when a Hindu (or anyone else in conflict with Muslims at that particular time) is at the receiving end and a Muslim is the perpetrator, it is either to be ignored, or to be made religion-neutral. Then it becomes an “act carried out by a person of a certain community”.

This was what Guarav was trying to say. In another tweet, which fortunately, hasn’t been deleted yet, he rightly says

GSTweets1
What happens when you keep on covering the sins of a particular community deliberately, conspiratorially?

One obvious outcome is that it breeds a victimhood mentality because at all times, it is being depicted as the aggrieved party. Second, because no one confronts them, because no one questions their conduct and their extreme, even violent actions, because no one tells them that what they are doing is wrong and they are causing harm to other communities, they also develop a deep sense of brazenness regarding how they interact with other communities.

And what happens to the other community, let’s say, Hindus? A sense of betrayal, well-placed victimhood and rage begins to manifest. And why not? If you’re constantly being accused of being the aggressor, if you’re constantly being portrayed as a bully despite being one of the most accommodating and peaceful communities in the world, don’t you gradually begin to show the very same traits you are accused of having, while the reality is the exact opposite?

This creates a very deep divide and this is why Gaurav said “Secular silence is as dangerous as communal violence”, because by constantly whitewashing the sins of one community you’re sowing seeds of hatred all the time. By constantly portraying one community as a victim and the other community as the aggressor, you are perpetuating a divide that should have been, ideally, vanished by now.

This is precisely the reason that incidents like Gaurav Sawant being forced to take down his tweets must be highlighted, must be talked about, must be debated openly, and above all, must be criticised for the dangerous hypocrisy they represent. If Shekhar Gupta actually threatened to sack Gaurav for these tweets, it’s not only his freedom of expression that is being threatened by the very people who are supposed to be the pall bearers of freedom of expression, it is also a manifestation of a very dangerous communal game being played in the guise of secular news reporting. Whether they are doing it purposely or they are just being useful idiots, is an entirely different question. What matters now is the importance of acknowledging the destruction such media activities have wrought in the country.

Amrit Hallan is a professional content writer who generally minds his own business, but when he strongly feels about particular issues, he likes to take on the mantle of a journalist and a commentator.
  • Mathur Gaurav

    Totally agreed. Both side of story should fairly be published. Gaurav we are with u

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  • Shubhangi Raykar

    Gaurav, I feel proud of you because you have put your finger on the point whereit hurts most. This will lead in furher consolidation of Hindus. The dire need is to voice this kind of discrimination.

  • Harry Singh

    Gaurav Sawant we are proud of you because you have the guts to speak the truth when most of the media barons behave like cowards

  • Dr M

    Case for correction: “What happens when you keep on covering the sins of a particular community deliberately, conspiratorially?”
    yes, you meant ‘covering up’ rather than just ‘covering’ here….

    More importantly – kindly dont stop mildly saying “…. it’s not only his freedom of expression that is being threatened by the
    very people who are supposed to be the pall bearers of freedom of
    expression, it is also a manifestation of a very dangerous communal game
    being played in the guise of secular news reporting. Whether they are
    doing it purposely or they are just being useful idiots, is an entirely
    different question. What matters now is the importance of acknowledging
    the destruction such media activities have wrought in the country.”

    Suggesting you need to be more aggressive – perhaps like “.. if the sickular brigade in the MSM that parades itself as a God-appointed self-styled pall bearers of freedom of expression, then this is a patently dangerous communal game being played in the insidious guise of secular news reporting – irresponsibly encouraging certain sections of the Indian society to be more crooked and violent even as they parade innocent victimhood even as the truly aggrieved suffer because they happen to be more tolerant and quieter!”

    Expose these media crooks like no other!!!

  • Vivek Bhat

    Sad. But isn’t it a wonderful thing that how all big and succeful media houses in India and journalists associated with them are are prospering, even after making majority guilty of even their existence. Why are not they choking at their throats. Where are they getting the money to survive on.

    Shouldn’t we take a part of blame for this! After all even after getting set top boxes and a legal choice of only paying for channels we want to watch, we still keep paying for likes of NDTV, AAJ Tak, Times Now and Headlines Today. People not only hate, but abhor NDTV, but they still watch it. How much do we cringe about Arnab yelling at how can we sleep when a “Muslim” is killed in Pune, or how come Sangeet Som is still out of Jail, but we still pay for his channel.

    If you see comments on TOI and Firstpost, you will gauge the hatred people have for “sicularism” of these news sources, but still if you have a English newspaper subscription, it will be most probably TOI. Or if you want to read news, where will people go! TOI and Firstpost.

    Every one of these news traders should be choked for money. They need a massive onslaught from Hindu right wing in India.

  • Radha Rajan

    Also read http://www.theunrealtimes.com/2014/07/28/secular-journalism-101-how-to-cover-communal-riots-in-india/ which gives aspiring young journaists a flow chart about how to cover communal riots in India. It may look really funny (not funny haha) , but that is how funny our media is.

  • Ch_La

    An excellent summation! Needs to expanded further to expose Sardesai’s mealy-mouthed passive-aggressive role behind the scenes (such a toxic presence even after being unceremoniously sacked along with his equally poisonous but vapid spouse), and name/shame all of the hypocrites who attacked Sawant for his relatively innocuous tweets. Shekhar Gupta cannot be allowed to get away with this. Sawant should have defied Gupta’s threat; it would have been a defining moment in tearing down the paid secular media wall!

  • N.Paramasivam

    If Shekar Gupta threatened Gaurav, it is unfortunate. But Gupta is capable of this. Gupta lost his name, of late. Shame on you, Shekar Gupta!

    • Shubhangi Raykar

      The saddest part is that the Guptas, the Sardesais and the Goswamis are doing this. All the outcome of Western gaze and the eagerness to be detached from the roots. The other orientedness in short.

  • Radha Rajan

    http://www.mediacrooks.com/2014/07/arnabs-fatwa-no-hindus-in-muslim-areas.html#.U9i7OfldVp3
    This article on Media Crooks uses Arnab Goswami for a punching bag. And Aditya Raj Kaul of Times Now raises similar indignant questions like Gaurav Sawant of Headlines Today.

  • Srinivas Udumudi

    You completely ignore the role Rajdeep Sardesai played in this whole drama. Why?

  • dinakaran

    It has to be understood that till such time the minorities have the fear from the majority community The people of the society and its leaders have failed to instill confidence and peace in the society. The people have to be blamed for electing such leaders who do’nt have the knowledge of how to bring about peace in the society and the country to which they belong.

    • asdasdsad

      minority community is a majority community in many districts of UP.

      • dinakaran

        whether minority or majority its people have to elect honest and good leaders.If that is not done we will be hearing what you have mentioned. that is minority status and majority status.

    • guest

      Is the “fear” rational? Is it logical? Or is it being drummed up through religious radicalism? Is it motivated out of radical religious beliefs? In the case of the Saharanpur violence, it was the refusal of the Muslim hardliners to accept a court decision that was the problem.

      • dinakaran

        I only mentioned that the people have failed to elect good leaders. Rationality,radical,drummed up all follow the leader.who is elected.

        • guest

          Sorry for the late response. I could not disagree more. Religious radicalism is largely due to religious sub-cultures and not politics. Politics may at best add fuel to the fire, but they didn’t create the fire.
          1300 years ago, was when this fire was created. Lets be honest.

          • dinakaran

            200 years on the Americans are able to wipe out radicalism of colour.Indian leaders and its people are not able to wipe out thae fire of radicalism in 1300 years.There must be something wrong with our learning which only luminaries like you can explain and bring about peace in the society.
            Subject: Re: New comment posted on Why the media launched a concerted attempt to gag Gaurav Sawant

  • Kaushal S. Inamdar

    Hahaha in the last screenshot of Gaurav Sawant’s tweet, look at the number of favourites! I think Allah ratifies Gaurav!

    • sai kiran sharma

      hahahaha yes 786