Disproportionate coverage in Times of India
This post had apparently been published on an Aam Aadmi Party page and subsequently taken down to avoid accusing media of bias without clear evidence that the advertisement brough up in the post actually influenced coverage.
A wise move, that reflects the ethics of role holders in making accusations, even if supporters get carried away.
I also think it is a wise move after the recent thinly veiled threat regarding Kejriwal’s comments on jailing paid media “if AAP did not exercise caution, the NBA would be forced to reconsider the coverage of the AAP”. Considering that the AAP were pretty much calling for a need to reconsider coverage and control bias at that point, it can only mean that the NBA was threatening a blackout on AAP. Blackmailing may be wrong, but all battles cannot be fought at once. [Note: This is my opinion, I have no idea how AAP received what I consider to be a veiled threat.]
NBA’s blatant indication of controlling news content to “punish” went down without any objection from any authority, media personality or channel stakeholder. Infer from that what you will.
However, the deleted post, in my view does point out to quite visible discrimination in reporting, even if it does not establish the advertisement as its cause. And the advertisement did happen and the bias did happen. The only thing unproved is the cause and effect factor.
This is the original post.
Recently Aam Aadmi Party has come under a lot of fire over Arvind’s criticism of certain Media houses. Today we would like to highlight a case that will shed some light as to why we criticise some media houses. Today, March 19, 2014 Mumbai edition of Times of India newspaper carried a full front page advertisement of Mr. Narendra Modi. On checking the website of Times of India we found that a full front page advertisement in Mumbai edition costs ₹ 7,464,600. Yes 74 lakhs. This figure can be verified from TOI website here.http://timesofindia.releasemyad.com/display-ad/times-of-india With such a huge amount of money coming from political parties can we expect media to report with integrity? A case study we can mention here is the recent reports by TOI on problems during Arvind’s visit to Mumbai and Problems during Arun Jaitley’s rally in Amritsar. Problems with our rally were described as ‘Chaos’ and with BJP rally as ‘Minor mishap’. We condemn this biased reporting by Times of India group and believe that we all need to work towards bringing more transparency to the funding and revenue sources of Media Houses so that the rot in fourth pillar of democracy can be cleaned. Jai hind.
I think this observation holds merit. Metal detectors toppled by the crowd that were restored without damage or complaint by railways getting labeled as deliberate “rampage” and “chaos” by Aam Aadmi Party, while crackers igniting hydrogen balloons and sparks falling on leaders getting called a minor mishap certainly indicates a scale of calamity that is disproportionate. But more than that, it is also the attribution of intent. One story is reported attributing intent to act in a manner that cannot be accepted regardless of whether the action was deliberate or accidental as well as whether the people toppling the metal detector were AAP supporters or the general crowd, while the other separates political party from the mishap and actually makes it sound like a victim of random change – as though sparks around hydrogen being a bad idea is an unknown concept and the crackers and balloons just acted out of character.
It could also be a matter of diversity of style between reporters, though it is hardly the first such “coincidence”.
It could be related with advertising revenue, a private treaty or something else altogether. The cause is unclear, but the inequality of “neutrality” is evident.
Whatever it is, the observation is valid, and I leave it on record here for you to find whatever meaning you wish out of it.