This week on NL Hafta, it's an all-Newslaundry panel of Abhinandan Sekhri, Manisha Pande, Mehraj D Lone, Raman Kirpal, and our reporter Nidhi Suresh, who has been covering the farmer protests at Delhi’s borders.
The conversation starts with how the TV news media covered the protests, and the pushback against “Godi media” by protesters. Describing the nature of the coverage, Manisha says: “It’s the same thing that they’ve been doing for a while now, and we’ve seen this from the CAA protests onwards. Essentially, what these channels do is: they go to these protest sites, they’ll find one or two controversial bites or speak to people who are probably not aware of the bill or would, in their excitement, say something. Then they’ll just play that on loop to tar the entire protest.”
Mehraj agrees. “This is from the textbook of propaganda,” he says. “This is exactly what they did during the CAA protests also...If there are lakhs of people on the street, just like in society, you will find people who have different ideas. Some of them will be extremists, some of them will also be unsavoury characters. But you will pick up this one person and then the whole argument will become about that person.”
Appreciating the regional media’s coverage of the protests, Abhinandan says, “I have consumed a lot of Punjabi media in the last two or three weeks and I must say there is some very good and informed reportage happening. And I am surprised that the English and the Hindi media is so clueless about stuff.”
Drawing from her experience on the ground, Nidhi says, “One thing they [the farmers] are very, very angry about is the framing of the narrative by the Centre, the media, and the politicians around the necessity for these laws. The Centre has constantly been saying that this is a pro-farmer bill.” She adds that the farmers on the ground say they never asked for these laws.
On Twitter flagging BJP’s Amit Malviya’s tweet as “manipulated media”, Raman says Twitter reacted “too late”. “We have been seeing fake news being spread by these politicians so often and by so many of them,” he says. “I don’t know why they have reacted now.”
The panel also discusses fake news and misinformation on social media, the UN chief’s recent address on climate change, and much more.
04:35 - Headlines
09:15 - Farmer protests
13:01 - Media coverage of farmer protests
1:04:03 - Rajinikanth to launch political party in January
1:05:43 - UN secretary general Antonio Gutteres’ speech on the environment
1:09:26 - Amit Malviya's tweet flagged on Twitter
1:22:20 - Subscriber mails
1:43:13 - Recommendations
Produced and recorded by Aditya Varier and Lipi Vats, edited by Satish Kumar and Harshula Kumar.
Transcription by Diksha Munjal.