This week on NL Hafta, it’s an all-Newslaundry panel of Abhinandan Sekhri, Manisha Pande, Mehraj D Lone, Jayashree Arunachalam, and Raman Kirpal.
In context of the recent , the panel discusses an advertisement of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna. Manisha had spoken to the woman in it and found out that she wasn't given a house to live in under the scheme. A picture of her was taken while she was working as a labourer and that was used without her prior permission. “The story came to us after it went to media outfits in Bengal. No one wanted to carry the story that shows a woman in the prime minister’s ad,” shares Abhinandan, emphasising how important it is to keep news media free. Raman further shares that he did not see any print or TV media covering this story, except NDTV.
Abhinandan finds it fascinating that “everyone is okay with it”, commenting on how the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Amendment Bill, 2021, was passed in Rajya Sabha after a voice vote, without sending it to a standing parliamentary committee. Replying to a subscriber’s question about whether this bill can be reversed, Jayashree thinks that “the bill will be challenged” but the government will not reverse it. The “democratic process is a big irritant to the BJP,” she adds. Abhinandan goes on to say, “When one doesn't have faith in the institution, one starts working out of the institution.”
Manisha, who is currently in West Bengal, shares her experience covering the upcoming elections. Manisha talks about the silent voters. “They don’t even want to express whether they are angry with the current government and what they think of Modi vs Mamata,“ she says. She shares a story about the 2018 panchayat elections in one of the districts where the BJP workers weren’t even allowed to file nominations. “Leave winning, let us at least fight” was the reaction of those BJP workers. Manisha also shares how people in West Bengal are not so conscious about Covid anymore and are not taking precautions.
The panel also discuss ideologies in digital media, the Print in particular, the curious case of police in Maharashtra and implications of India abstaining from voting on a UNHRC resolution that flags concerns over human rights in Sri Lanka.
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