February 23rd, 2016
Image Source: Vishwa Deepak
Vishwa Deepak was a producer in Zee News. He has quit in protest against the completely biased nature of reporting which Zee News had allegedly covered the whole JNU issue. He has conveyed his anger at his former employer for having abandoned every ethic a good journalist could and should pursue, Zee News had intentionally conveyed through their reportage that the protesters had chanted “Pakistan zindabad”, something which was squarely false based on the un-doctored video of the protest. According to Mr. Vishwa Deepak, the coverage not only misleads the people but also endangered people’s lives. Vishwa Deepak just symbolizes what many have conveyed over a period of time regarding the factual inaccuracies of the mainstream media besides donning the role of judge and jury.
“The way JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar was framed in the name of “nationalism” and was proved “anti-national” through media trials is a dangerous tendency. We, as journalists, have a responsibility to ask questions to those in authority… In the history of journalism, whatever positive has been achieved is a result of such questions.”
“know my efforts are like crossing the sea with the help of a boat but I am keen to make the effort. On this thought, on the issue of blind nationalism over JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar, I resign from my post.”- Vishwa Deepak
Vishwa Deepak represents the sane voices, the voices which sought unbiased information, meaningful debates and neutral opinions all went incommunicado over the recent trend of passion over reason and narrowing the definition of nationalism and patriotism. In a country with many cultures, we already are moving towards a situation where trust among the citizens have taken a beating. To add to the growing mis-trust based on religion, caste and class, new fissures are widening on the question of understanding and interpreting nationalism.
“People are threatening Umar Khalid’s sister. People are calling her a traitor’s sister.”
“Isn’t this our responsibility? Kanyaiya not once but repeatedly said that he doesn’t promote anti-nationalist slogans, but nobody heard him, because we were toing the line of the NDA government.” – – Vishwa Deepak
Informed Opinion : Building an informed opinion by showcasing facts and reporting news the way it happened is a corner stone of the media. Informed opinion is a pre-erquisite of a meaningful debate. Media plays a pivotal role in building an informed opinion for its citizens, the opinions which will eventually shape destiny of the individual and of the nation. There has no evidence of Media directly inspiring violent behavior, however, citizens are to be encourageed for meaningful debate by media and not despite the media.
“I can’t sleep well these days. I am anxious. Perhaps this is the result of a feeling of guilt. The biggest blot that an individual can have on him is that he is anti-national. However, the question is as journalists, do we have the right to distribute the degree of anti-national? Isn’t it the job of the court?” – Vishwa Deepak
Media as a platform – Media despite its vast resources, intellectuals at is disposal has offlate not been able put their resources together to create a platform that could encourage people to discuss and debate on solutions to problems. The eroding credibility of the media is a concern for many of the fantastic journalists with wide range of knowledge and in-depth thoughts and opinions on issues, these journalists are struck in between a corruption ridden and remote controlled media on one end and their own careers and survival at the other end. Vishwa could well might be perhaps the first of many to take this bold step or this bold step could inspire an introspection among the media houses to get back to old ways of critical and cutting edge journalism where they could question authority, ciriticize policies and push the limits.
“In the end, it is a matter of sense of responsibility and patriotism too. With regret, I say that on these three parameters, by being associated with you, as an organization, in the last year, I have failed many times.” – Vishwa Deepak
People become journalists for a reason, there are many who want to be journalists but could not be one. Whoever it may be, journalists, established ones, aspiring ones and failed ones all pursue journalism because of the fact that they were open to issues the country faces, because they wanted to highlight the ills of the society and nation so that awareness could be built and problems are fixed. One can safely conclude journalists are by nature patriotic and that is why they could be pardoned from proving their patriotism and nationalism to the people. They are already doing noble service by informing people. It would be a dis-service if only the people are mi-informed or mis-lead which seems to be the case here.
“Why is it that all news is written by adding a ‘Modi angle’? Stories are written keeping in mind how it will benefit the agenda of the Modi government. We have seriously started doubting that we are journalists. It feels like we are the spokespersons of the government, or that we are supari killers. Modi is the PM of our country, and is my PM too. ” – Vishwa Deepak
The Prime Minister had a inspirational victory in 2014, there was an aura, hope and people dared to dream something new. The prime Minister could have unleashed a wave a progressive values and best practices including free press and freedom of speech that could have catapulted his standing among the masses and in the world. Sadly, there has not been any stress on independent media nor has there been any mention or reference to freedom of speech and his resolve to defend it. It would still not be too late, if there is any one person who could single handedly turn things around it is the Prime Minister himself. It is just a matter of willingness now.
“I have started hating my existence, my journalism and my helplessness. Did I leave other jobs and decide to be a journalist for all this? I doubt it.” – Vishwa Deepak.
Breaking their silence on an ex-employee’s allegations that the JNU sedition row was covered with ‘pre-conceived’ notions, Zee Media has issued a statement strongly refuting the claims made by journalist Vishwa Deepak. They have denied allegations of broadcasting the ‘doctored’ JNU video showing ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ slogans. Zee Media has called Vishwa Deepak’s allegations ‘mischievous and incorrect.’ Here’s the full statement by Zee Media sent to jantakareporter.com.
The Logical Indian salutes the courage exhibited by Mr Vishwa. We request the journalists, whom the whole country depend on for information and opinions to re-calibrate their priorities and not let their fellow country men and women down due to compulsion or intimidation. We have full faith in the journalists, their capabilities and we certainly believe they are some of the worlds best. However whether we could say the same about our media is a matter of doubt. We hope things gets better sooner than later and we wish that the Indian media becomes a beacon of hope and a model which the whole world could replicate.