Mumbai, 4 April-2004, Anand Patwardhan: This morning the shocking Cobrapost story broke that in 1990 when the Babri Mosque was first attacked, top Sangh parivar leaders had deliberately planned to get some Hindu karsevaks killed in order to enrage and mobilize Hindus. The sting on major players from the BJP, VHP, Shiv Sena and other affiliated groups also revealed that the demolition of the Babri Mosque in 1992 was pre-planned and top leaders in the BJP and Sangh Parivar knew about the event in advance.
Yet another encounter with corporate media censorship
Image credit: Facebook official page
This afternoon ZTV (Hindi) invited me to be on a live panel debate at 10 pm. Their car duly picked me up and took me to their Mumbai studio and I waited till 10 pm for the live telecast to begin. Just before 10, a junior Z employee told me that the programme had been cancelled by the head office in Delhi due to a semi final cricket match featuring India! When I protested a senior Z official confirmed that the decision to do a cricket story instead of Cobrapost came from Delhi. I could not believe what I heard and asked for an apology in writing. I refused to leave till the head office in Delhi sent me an email apology to be followed by a hard copy. After half an hour the apology finally came. In the apology letter the cricket match explanation was replaced by a “technical snag” even as cricket replaced the Cobrapost story on prime time ZTV (Hindi).
Points to note:
By 10 pm the live cricket match was already over. There was no technical snag in the feed. The cricket story ran with people reporting from long distances.
Surely the deliberate putting into harm’s way of Hindu karsevaks by their own leaders was pre-meditated murder and should have been of far greater prime time importance than cricket.
Here for what it is worth is the ZTV apology. Of course I do not personally blame any ZTV employee for this fracas. Clearly the order to kill the Cobrapost story came from high above. Take a look at what Arnab Goswami and other corporate channels did with the story, spinning it as mere anti BJP propaganda, and you will see what is in store for us all.
From: Santosh Nair [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: 04 April 2014 22:39
Subject: Message from Zee News
First of all let me thank you for obliging us with your esteemed presence in a short notice for our special show on “Sting Operation on Ayodhya” tonight at 10 pm. We appreciate your cooperation with us and cherish your long association of yours with our channel.
I would like to personally apologies for not taking the planned program as per schedule today. It was bad on our part, very bad, it could have been avoided but let me assure you it was purely un-intentional as in 24X7 news channel environment, sometimes its difficult to predict the happening as happened today due to technical snag (connectivity issue from Mumbai). I am very well aware that a person of your stature will find the situation ridiculous and that also when people are queuing up to have you as an expert guest and you had been kind enough to oblige us with your esteemed presence for our programs.
I am too small in age and experience, my sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused and assure you that it shall not be repeated in future. This letter is prompted solely by a desire to have your expertise in future too.
Associate Editor & Group Editorial Coordinator
Zee News Limited