Tuesday February 20, 2018
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How media planted the “21 AAP MLAs chargesheet” story to shift focus from Modi Gate

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kejriwal

By Rukma Singh

“Whenever there’s a big story in the media, try to look for the story they’re trying to distract you from.”

With the mediascape flooded with reports of chargesheets being filed on criminal grounds against 21 AAP MLAs including Kejriwal, we at NewsGram set out to delve deeper into the layers of this news : its ‘sources’, origins, and above all, its credibility.

Nameless sources?
The story was circulated by several topnotch media houses, but not even one of them named the ‘sources’ that their story was taken from.

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http://www.ibnlive.com/news/india/more-trouble-for-aap-delhi-police-preparing-chargesheet-naming-arvind-kejriwal-20-other-party-mlas-sources-1007440.html
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http://khabar.ndtv.com/video/show/news/police-ready-to-chargesheet-21-mlas-of-aap-371636
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http://www.firstpost.com/politics/more-trouble-for-aap-delhi-police-filing-chargesheet-against-21-mlas-including-cm-kejriwal-2299394.html

The story was also put up on Times Of India, but was later found to be deleted. It can be seen here.

Police Commissioner BS Bassi’s denial of the report

Bassi said, "If any such cases are pending, our objective is to conclude investigations as soon as possible. I do not know from where you receive such information."

“If any such cases are pending, our objective is to conclude investigations as soon as possible. I do not know from where you receive such information. I do not keep track of the number,” said Bassi in a statement given to the Economic Times.

Delhi PRO’s response

NewsGram decided to conduct further investigation into the issue. In a conversation with the Public Relations Officer of the Delhi Police, the news was completely denied. The PRO said that no such chargesheet has been filed till now and all reports are baseless.

The strategical use of media

Amidst the Sushma Swaraj-Lalit Modi ties dominating the space, a sudden entry of such a story might actually be suggestive of a strategic use of the power of media to remove concentration from one sphere to another. This could also be an evidence of usage of authority to create pressure over the media, and inducing them to indulge in a sort of agenda-setting.

AAP Spokesperson, Ashutosh also tweeted about the issue.

 

At such a point of time, one is reminded of the huge Clinton-Lewinsky affair that was allegedly connected to the Kosovo war, as a supposed attempt to divert public attention. The only difference, however, is the fact that in the case of ‘MonicaGate’, one did not have sources to confirm the alleged ties. But in the case of chargesheets filed against AAP, the supreme source, i.e, the Delhi police have denied any such activity, thus weakening the aforementioned supposed ‘strategy’.

What remains to be seen now is just whether the misinformed media houses will come up and reveal their ‘sources’, or whether they’ll simply resort to the easier option: hitting the delete button.

 

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Copyright 2015 NewsGram

  • JalTarang

    Excellent report….we need to understand how the media works nowadays.

  • Dobhal Subhash

    Totally agree with you.

  • JalTarang

    Excellent report….we need to understand how the media works nowadays.

  • Dobhal Subhash

    Totally agree with you.

Next Story

AAP’S Media Spend Is Four Times That Of Previous Government: RTI Reply

A 2017 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report found that the Delhi government had spent 86 percent of the total budget for its media campaign celebrating the completion of AAP's one year in power in 2016

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Picture of Arvind Kejriwal addressing a rally. Wikimedia Commons
  • The average annual expenditure of the AAP government on advertisements from April 2015 to December 2017 was Rs 70.5 crore
  • The AAP government’s spending on advertisements increased by about 300 percent compared to the Congress government
  • A 2017 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report found that the Delhi government had spent 86 percent of the total budget for its media campaign celebrating the completion of AAP’s one year in power in 2016

The AAP government has spent an average of Rs 70.5 crore annually in the past three years on advertisements — four times more than the previous government’s expenditure on print, electronic and outdoor advertising, according to an RTI reply.

In the first year after assuming office in February 2015, the current government spent Rs 59.9 crore on advertisements, Rs 66.3 crore the next year and Rs 85.3 crore up to December 31, 2017, the Directorate of Information and Publicity (DIP) said in reply to an RTI application by IANS.

The average annual expenditure of the AAP government on advertisements from April 2015 to December 2017 was Rs 70.5 crore. The Congress’ average was Rs 17.4 crore in the last five years of its rule (2008-2013).

Also Read: AAP welcomes BJP’s stand on inter-faith marriages

According to the DIP, the expenditure includes, among others, advertisements with photos of the Chief Minister and other ministers in newspapers and hoardings, commercial spots on TV and radio, and tender notices published in newspapers.

For instance, when the AAP government completed its first and second anniversary in 2016 and 2017, leading newspapers in the capital carried full-page advertisements, highlighting the achievements of the government.

The Delhi government approached the High Court and the matter is currently pending there. Wikimedia Commons
The Delhi government approached the High Court and the matter is currently pending there. Wikimedia Commons

In the run-up to celebrating its three years in office, the government in the first two weeks of February carried advertisements flashing pictures of the Chief Minister or other ministers. The highlights included the inauguration of community toilets, excellence awards distribution for students, a government meeting on “smart gaon”, and invitation of applications for scholarship schemes.

The AAP government’s spending on advertisements increased by about 300 percent compared to the Congress government.

Also Read: Blow for Kejriwal: EC recommends disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs

But the average advertisement rate charged by a leading English newspaper, comparing the Congress government and AAP government periods, has increased by about 17 percent, according to DAVP.

For the same period, the average rate charged by another leading English newspaper has increased by about 35 percent.

A 2017 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report found that the Delhi government had spent 86 percent of the total budget for its media campaign celebrating the completion of AAP’s one year in power in 2016.

According to the DIP, the expenditure includes, among others, advertisements with photos of the Chief Minister and other ministers in newspapers and hoardings, commercial spots on TV and radio, and tender notices published in newspapers. Wikimedia Commons
According to the DIP, the expenditure includes, among others, advertisements with photos of the Chief Minister and other ministers in newspapers and hoardings, commercial spots on TV and radio, and tender notices published in newspapers. Wikimedia Commons

The auditor pulled up the government for using the name of the party in the advertisements.

Last year, the government came under an opposition attack after Lt. Governor Anil Baijal asked the AAP to cough up Rs 97 crore spent on advertisements, allegedly to promote the party instead of the government. The LG order was based on a report by the Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising (CCRGA).

Also Read: 5 Years of AAP: How Society Has Been Backstabbed by ChandaChor Kejriwal

The regulatory authority asked the Delhi government to assess the expenditure in issuing “those advertisements/advertorials in which the name of the Aam Aadmi Party is mentioned” and other factors.

The Delhi government approached the High Court and the matter is currently pending there.

Delhi government spokesperson Nagendar Sharma said he has “no comments” to offer on the increase in expenditure.

The auditor pulled up the government for using the name of the party in the advertisements. Wikimedia Commons
The auditor pulled up the government for using the name of the party in the advertisements. Wikimedia Commons

Delhi Congress President Ajay Maken said: “They (AAP) are using the power of advertisements to put pressure on TV (channels) and newspapers. They are doing it ruthlessly”.

BJP MLA and Delhi Assembly Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta termed the government’s spending on advertisements as “irrational”. “Misuse of public money in this way is completely unjustified and unethical,” Gupta told IANS. (IANS)