Nupur Sharma row: ET, TOI editorials offer opposite takes, but unite in avoiding mention of Times Now

TOI called out the government for its 'lack of intervention', while ET praised it as 'swift and effective'.

WrittenBy:NL Team
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The media has been scrambling to cover the diplomatic row erupting over a BJP spokesperson's comments on Prophet Mohammed. While the government blamed it on "fringe elements", newspapers lined up to offer editorials and reports on how it played out.

Economic Times and Times of India joined the list of newspapers that published editorials on the row. What they skipped, to no one's surprise, was mentioning that national spokesperson Nupur Sharma's comments had been made during a debate on their sister concern, Times Now.

For some background: The comments were made by Sharma on Times Now on May 26 and echoed by Naveen Jindal, the party’s media head in Delhi, on Twitter on June 1. Indian Muslims outraged by the remarks demanded action against them, to no avail. Once foreign governments took note, the BJP suspended Sharma and expelled Jindal.

TOI's editorial this morning said Sharma's "appalling" comments were made during a "fervid news TV debate". It also despondently noted that institutional responses – to issues like "bulldozing houses" and "creating controversies out of halal meat and namaz venues" – have been "encouraging signs for TV and Twitter right-wing loudmouths".

Of course, a chunk of these "loudmouths" are platformed by Times Now, but we digress.

TOI's editorial focused on how the BJP responded only after the diplomatic row broke out, and that its description of Sharma as a "fringe element" had added "an element of farce". It also said the "lack of intervention has been the oxygen for right-wing rhetorical fire, as well as an implicit greenlight for various official agencies to lose even the pretence of neutrality".

Economic Times, which belongs to the same happy Times Group family, struck a completely different note.

It had an editorial too, headlined "Won't allow fringe to derail India story", that praised the Indian government for its "swift, effective and welcome" response, applauding the fact that it made no attempts to "defend the rabble-rousing". This has, ET said, "underlined that India practises the religious tolerance it preaches".

"Elements out of sync – indeed, in contravention – with GoI's developmental and wealth-creating mission for India must be weeded out," the editorial said. "This the BJP has attested on Sunday effectively."

Not that it needs to be said but no, ET also carefully did not mention that the debate took place on Times Now.

Also see
article image‘Intellectual debate’: How papers and TV covered diplomatic fallout of BJP leaders’ Prophet remarks


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