Friday September 21, 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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  • JalTarang

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

  • Dobhal Subhash

    Totally agree with you.

Next Story

What Would Be The Outcome Of The Judgement On Homosexuality With BJP At The Centre?

If parties like the BJP and "cultural" organisations like the RSS realise the value and motivation of such mindsets, they will desist from their present attempts to impose a straitjacket of their pseudo-religious identity on the nation.

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Flag Of BJP, homosexuality
Ruling on gays: Is the BJP out of sync with modern realities? Flickr

More than the social impact of the Supreme Court’s judgment on homosexuality, what will be of concern to the ruling party at the Centre is its political fallout. Hence, the eloquent silence of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the subject.

For the BJP and its ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), any expansion of the concept of civil liberties is fraught with danger to their restrictive worldviews since a widening of human rights carries the prospect of greater individualism.

If the rights of the homosexuals to live without legal constraints are conceded, it can only encourage the people to free themselves of other restrictions as well such as on choosing live-in partners (of whatever sex) and eating, dressing and speaking as they please.

Homosexuality, India
SC decriminalises homosexuality, victory for gay rights. Pixabay

It is noteworthy that the verdict on gays has come close on the heels of the judgment which described the right to dissent as a “safety valve” which the government can only shut off at its peril lest there is an explosion.

Moreover, the court had also upheld not long ago the right to privacy which the government described as an “elitist” concept.

For the Hindu Right, as also for other religious fundamentalists, this dalliance with civil rights — the freedom to criticise the government, the exaltation of privacy and now the decriminalisation of homosexuality — entails a push towards liberalism and modernism which are anathema to any group which wants the society to be bound by shackles of orthodoxy and obscurantism.

It is ironic that although the Hindutva brotherhood speaks of decolonising the Indian mind, the two colonial laws which have long been its favourites are the section on homosexuality in the Indian Penal Code and on sedition.

Now that one of them is gone, there is little doubt that these closet followers of Britain’s 19th century politician Lord Macaulay — even as they decry the secular groups as “Macaulay’s children” — will hold on resolutely to the law on sedition as their only safeguard against the “anti-nationals” who, they believe, stalk the land.

Homosexuality
It is ironic that although the Hindutva brotherhood speaks of decolonising the Indian mind, the two colonial laws which have long been its favourites are the section on homosexuality in the Indian Penal Code and on sedition.
Wikimedia Commons

It is also possible that the saffronites will keep a hawk’s eye on any social problems that may arise because of the assertion of gay rights. As the BJP MP Subramanian Swamy has said, with eager anticipation, if a five-judge bench can overturn an earlier judgment in favour of criminalising homosexuality, a larger bench can undo the present verdict if gay bars begin to flourish and there is a rise in the cases of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infections.

Interestingly, what these judgments underline is how the judiciary is more attuned to the changing world than the elected representatives of the hoi polloi who often argue in favour of giving greater primacy to the legislature than the judiciary since they claim to represent the people while the judges are unelected denizens of an ivory tower.

However, one possible reason why MPs and MLAs, especially of the BJP, seem to be out of sync with the present-day world is the presence in their midst of a large number of criminal elements who can hardly be regarded as the most progressive sections of society.

For instance, of the 543 elected members of the Lok Sabha, of whom 186 have a criminal record, 63 belong to the BJP, followed by eight of the Shiv Sena, four of the Trinamool Congress and three each of the Congress and the AIADMK.

Homosexuality
Gay Pride Procession. Pixabay

What the Supreme Court judgment appears to have done is to persuade parties like the Congress, which usually hedges its bets lest it should fall on the wrong side of public opinion, to come out in the verdict’s favour, presumably because it senses that this judgment, more than any other, has become a touchstone in the matter of breaking out from the stranglehold of the past.

To distance a party from it, as the BJP is doing, will amount to virtually alienating the entire youth community. Even if a majority among them do not have homosexual instincts — according to official figures, there are 2.5 million gay people in India, but this may be an underestimate since, till now, it was unsafe for them to reveal their sexual orientation — the youths nevertheless see the ruling as an assertion of living life on one’s own terms and not be held hostage by the dictates of a society steeped in conservatism and of political parties which believe that their agenda can only advanced if the country is made forcibly to conform to khap panchayat-style social and cultural norms.

Also Read: Why JDU & BJP Coalition Will Remain Instant

To these youths, being or not being aware of homosexuality is of little consequence. What matters to them is to be able to make up their own minds and not be told by elders to abide by certain rules which are regarded as outdated by the younger generation.

If parties like the BJP and “cultural” organisations like the RSS realise the value and motivation of such mindsets, they will desist from their present attempts to impose a straitjacket of their pseudo-religious identity on the nation. (IANS)