Indian Express in its second lead on front page on Thursday have twisted itself into a tangle. Its’ murder of logic is something which Agatha Christie or Sherlock Holmes (or our own Col. Vinod) would utterly fail to solve.
Its’ Ayodhya story has so many loose ends that its multiple writers (the creditline is: Express News Service) could win world championship in “Fake News” but to pass them off as journalists is only possible in most creepy and insane mental asylum. And to think somebody actually cleared the copy and decorated the Front Page with it is Ripley’s textbook material. Such scripts can present the whodunit movie makers a guaranteed blockbuster.
The 1000-word gorilla of a story essentially tries to prove that Kapil Sibal was representing an individual client and not UP Sunni Waqf Board and the guy (Haji Mehboob) who snubbed Sibal on his unprompted remark “postpone-Ayodhya-hearing-till-July 2019” was not a member of the board.
Readers can read the entire Express story in this link and then most possibly would join me in posing a set of questions to the newspaper:
(a) Even if Sibal is representing this individual client Iqbal Ansari (this guy must be rich to afford Sibal), his remarks have been disowned by Ansari himself. So whose case is Mr Sibal fighting? (our guess is Congress. Express could’ve asked even “piddi” to get this answer).
(b) Express quotes a lawyer of the UP Sunni Waqf Board for claiming Haji Mehboob is not its member. It then quotes Mehboob for having met Sibal in Delhi three days ago. In what capacity? (for as per Express Sibal-Waqf Board-Haji Mehboob are all unrelated).
(c) Express states that Mehboob replaced his father as a defendant in the Ayodhya case. Who’s the father? Express doesn’t make an effort to clarify.
(d) Express brings All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) to buttress its story with this quote in support of Sibal. “…it was not the right time to take up the matter for final hearing.” But who’s AIMPLB? Isn’t the body in question in UP Sunni Waqf Board? Why not speak to them and find out whether they had authorized Sibal’s views or not?
(e) For a moment, let’s admit AIMPLB is legitimate body to comment. Shouldn’t Express have asked them how they arrived at the conclusion that the “right time” has to be after July 2019?
(f) Could it be that Express wasn’t able to access Sunni Waqf Board? But then how was it able to lay hand on one of its Advocates-on-Record and quote him extensively without asking the primary question: What’s UP Sunni Waqf Board stance?
(g) What are readers supposed to make sense when it reads from other sources that UP Sunni Waqf Board chairman Zufar Ahmed Farooqi has said: “none of the members supported the view that the case be deferred.” (Express can claim it couldn’t get Farooqi on record. But would it carry Sunni Waqf Board’s views next day?)
Express then states that Modi has “picked up” the Sibal quote and goes on extensively to quote the latter, allowing him to offer his defence.
Sibal predictably lays into BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing them of having no principle in politics. He outlines the virtues of Congress and how it wants unity in the country. His grouse against employment, exports, GDP situation in the country is allowed full vent.
But Express fails to ask Sibal a basic question: Who do you think you were representing? Neither UP Sunni Waqf Board nor your independent client has supported your comment. If indeed you are present in the hearing as a lawyer and not as a politician, why colour the legal proceedings with apprehensions on political fallout in 2019 General Elections?
Express doesn’t ask some basic questions in this story. All it does is to sweat and put Sibal and Sunni Waqf Board in separate pigeon holes and labours to make them appear in better light.
The attempt is a massive flop. And even its diehard fans are asking: How come “journalism of courage” has turned into “gutter of journalism?”
(This is a reprint from NewsBred)
Bharatiya Janata Party Rajya Sabha MP, Ravindra Kishore Sinha, has sought Privileges Proceedings against top brass of Indian Express, namely, (a) Vivek Goenka, chairman; (b) Rajkamal Jha, chief editor; (c) Ritu Sarin and (d) Shyamlal Yadav on its “motivated attempt to tarnish his reputation” via expose on “Paradise Papers” on November 6, 2017.
In a letter written to Venkaiah Naidu, Chairman, Rajya Sabha, published as an advertisement in newspapers on Wednesday, Sinha has accused Indian Express of “unethical journalism…in the name of freedom of the press.”
Indian Express had alleged that Sinha was “illegally associated with (a) an offshore company, viz SIS Asia Pacific Holding Limited (SAPHL), incorporated in Malta; (b) that his nomination papers of Rajya Sabha election in 2014 didn’t declare his interest in offshore entities.
In his detailed letter/advertisement, Sinha has pointed out
- Malta has an approved jurisdiction of full Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with India and doesn’t amount to “tax evasion, money laundering or any malafide intent”;
- His holding company recently underwent “in-depth scrutiny by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)…covering all regulations, including the Companies Act, Income Tax Act, SCRA, Stamp Act, FIPB, FEMA etc…no deficiency was found in terms of compliance.”
- Rajya Sabha nomination form requires only “provisions of details of Assets and Liabilities of which I am the owner or direct beneficiary” which is not true in Sinha’s case (see the full advertisement in pic).
Sinha’s anguish stems from a clearly “vested interest” of Indian Express in publishing the report—and a sneering a mocking version of it online—which he termed as “misleading and devoid of facts,” despite Sinha having shared the details with Indian Express !
Over to Sinha:
“These facts were transparently shared with the Indian Express team prior to publication of the news report. Despite that, they have carried the misleading report devoid of facts and indulged in reputation assassination for vested interests.”
“If the Indian Express claims to be the beacon of independent journalism, why are they not targeting other reputed public figures such as Sachin Pilot, P. Chidambaram, Pinarayi Vijayan etc who have all been named in the ICU Paradise Papers?”
“The Indian Express report is unethical journalism in the name of freedom of the press/freedom of speech and is motivated attempt to tarnish my reputation built over decades. It is extremely sad to see the high standards of neutral and independent journalism set by Ramnath Goenka being destroyed under the current editorial leadership.”
In one word: Damning!!!
One doesn’t know if Sinha tried to put this advertisement in Indian Express for it’s not in its today’s edition. Or, if he did and failed in his attempt. Still, the matter is now in public domain and Express would’ve to come up with an explanation.
At least the Privilege Proceedings against Indian Express is being sought for. Whether Editors’ Guild of India reacts to it is a guess as good as yours as mine. Press Council of India, a Central Statutory Authority, under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting—Mrs Smriti Irani being at the helm—surely should step in as Fake News in Mainstream Media—Lutyens’ Media—is more rampant than ever.
Not a day passes when Indian Express doesn’t peddle in Fake News. The latest to catch my attention was on Sunday, the slug of which read: “Accused working with NTPC as contract employee.” (see pic). This is with reference to a juvenile accused in the murder of Mohammad Akhlaq in a Dadri village two years ago.
Now who is the accused juvenile? Express doesn’t name him. Now how do they know it? There is another accused juvenile who said so to the newspaper. And what’s the name of this source-accused-juvenile? Express doesn’t name him either.
Maybe the newspaper is following the decent practice of not naming a juvenile till the charges against him is proved. (Never mind though the newspaper went to town in naming five “suspects”—or Sanatan Sanstha–for killing Gauri Lankesh which even the Special Investigating Team (SIT) know nothing about!).
NTPC promptly came up with an official rejoinder within a few hours of the Indian Express story. Pankaj Saxena, spokesperson for NTPC, Dadri, said as for juvenile accused being offered job “…none of them have been employed.”
This Express “rocket” had been launched on a carefully prepared communal ground. Express links the story to the BJP MLA of the constituency, Tejpal Nagar, for recommending a job. Recommending the job to the accused? No, but to the ‘bhabhi” of the accused! And is the “bhabhi” employed by the NTPC? No. Then who the hell is this accused juvenile who is working with the NTPC as contract employee about whom the newspaper has gone to the town? And about whom the BJP MLA is somehow projected as favouring in the background?
After naming BJP MLA Tejpal Nagar as favouring the family of this ghost-of-a-juvenile-accused, the Indian Express states that the NTPC hires locals “through a contractor, in this case an MLA.” A non-suspecting, gullible reader would immediately presume that Tejpal Nagar and this MLA are the same person. But “an MLA” is not “the MLA” and thus the Indian Express cleverly has covered its tracks, without dousing the insinuation.
In a rush to pull the wool over its’ readers eyes, Express doesn’t follow some basic journalistic principles. It makes no effort to explain what is an NTPC in this four-column story. NTPC is an acronym of National Thermal Power Corporation.
Predictably, Indian Express doesn’t carry the official rejoinder of NTPC in its today’s edition. May be it would in days to come or spin a new fantasy. The Fake Train of Indian Express keeps hurtling down its rubbery track at a breakneck speed every day without a care in the world for journalistic ethics or its paying readers or worrying about the censure from the Press Council of India. It remains un-derailed for the laws of this land have its hands full with the stains of a firecracker. Who has the time to be a vigilante on Holy Cows of Lutyens’ Media?
(Facebook has set out 10 tools to check Fake News. A few give-aways are headlines, source, evidence and photos. Indian Express on Thursday’s edition has been found out in peddling a Fake News).
If you believe that under the preceding UPA government:
(Facebook has set out 10 tools to check Fake News. A few give-aways are headlines, source, evidence and photos. Times of India in today’s edition has been found out in peddling a Fake News).
Times of India today published a Front Page anchor: “Controversy erupts over absence of Taj Mahal from UP tourism booklet.”
The news report, which stretched from Front Page to inside pages and had a few other screaming headlines in between the sheets, is so bogus that I wouldn’t have bothered to pick it up but for the propagandists running away with the Fake News and Social Media full of “communal” Yogi Adityanath and his nefarious designs to push the Hindutva agenda.
I won’t bore you much but here are the facts:
(a) UP government has published a tourism booklet, “Uttar Pradesh Paryatan Apar Sambhavnayen (Uttar Pradesh Tourism: It’s High Potential)” which has mentioned ongoing projects and Taj Mahal doesn’t find a mention in it.
(b) The booklet has mentioned ongoing toruism projects such as ones in Varanasi, Mathura, Ayodhya, Gorakhpur, Devipatan, Naimisharanya, Allahabad, Chitrakoot, Kushinagar, Bundelkhand, Mirzapur and Sonbhadra.
(c) The UP government has also added that indeed a World Bank-assisted Rs. 156-crore development project on Taj Mahal is due and would begin as soon as the Centre’s clearance is secured.
But the Fake News perpetrators and propagandists would have none of it. The fact that Taj Mahal doesn’t find a mention since the booklet is strictly about ongoing projects hasn’t cut any ice with them.
There is no gainsaying by Times of India that it has presented viewpoints of both sides. This story in itself is a non-starter. Tending a sick child in the family isn’t a neglect of the other child. If at all, the UP government deserves praise for maximizing the potential of tourism in the state. And reserving Rs 156 crores for Taj Mahal is better than all those secularist frauds could ever manage.
Thus you have all the jokers lining up and doing their acts. There is Brinda Karat, Raj Babbar, Abhishek Sanghvi and Rajeev Shukla, among others, who are horrified at this “communal” designs on Taj Mahal and how Hindutva is tearing the secular fabric of this country apart.
Times of India, for good measure, remembered Yogi Adityanath having said a few months ago that “foreign dignitaries visiting the country used to be gifted replicas of Taj Mahal, which did not reflect Indian culture.”
And frankly, why there shouldn’t be a word about Taj Mahal? A mausoleum created by an emperor who married his departed queen’s sister as soon as she was dead? I agree this is unrelated as is the fact that thousands of workers were dismembered once the mausoleum was done. There is little doubt that Taj Mahal is beautiful to behold at. But should it stop us from praising our magnificent temples? Does promoting our stunning heritage is a sign of communalism?
The propagandists don’t realize that running down India’s magnificent heritage isn’t palatable to majority in this country. Time is not far when this majority would come out and say; “To hell, with your secularism.”
Hindus have suffered for over a thousand years now. In the past they were ravaged by Muslim invaders and British imperialists. In independent India, it was the turn of modern rulers. Now Hindus are coming out of their slumber. All those who only wish ill of them would be chased down to the end of this world.