India Voice: We will polarize, provide full support, they promise

India Voice: We will polarize, provide full support, they promise

cobrapost |
May 25, 2018

Take this channel as your own and give it a right place, says CEO

Aniruddh Singh, CEO-cum-Editor-in-Chief, India Voice, Lucknow

Started in 2015, India Voice is a regional news channel with focus mainly on Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The holding company of the channel is Bhagya Broadcast Pvt. Ltd. CEO and Editor-in-Chief Aniruddh Singh, who is one of the three promoters of the company, is an old media hand. He has worked with Sahara News, India News, Amar Ujala and Dainik Jagaran. While meeting the journalist at his Lucknow office, Sharma briefs him about his agenda point by point. Taking the client as someone with deep pockets, Aniruddh seeks patronage saying: “Aapko jo ye aapka apna channel hai isko iss tareh se samajh karke isko sthan dena hai aapko (Take this channel as your own and give it a right place [in your scheme of things]).” In the same breath, Aniruddh confesses that he too belongs to the same ideology as the client is working for. Hope there would not be any outside interference with our agenda on your channel, the Sharma tells him. Assures Aniruddh: “Kisi bhi tareeke ka nahi … waise doosare log aapke agende ko kum follow kar paa rahe hain, humara hum zyada follow kar rahe hain (There will be no interference of any kind … by the way other channels follow less and less your agenda, whereas our [channel], we follow it more).”

Seeking such support as the client the journalist has put on his table in the form of his malicious media campaign, Aniruddh assures that he will begin to work on the proposed agenda soon: “Aur aap logon ka sahyog mil jayega ashirvaad mil jayega toh zaldi isko kar lenge (And if we get your support and blessings, we will undertake it soon).” Assuring him full support and cooperation, the journalist asks him if it was fine with him what he was doing, that is, promotion of Hindutva. Talking like a Hindu fundamentalist, journalist Aniruddh declares: “Sir main iss vichardhara ka bahut strong supporter hoon, matlab main un sab logon mein se hoon main yahin aapke saamne baitha hoon main sarvajanik roop se keh sakta hoon ki Hindustan mein Bhagwan Ram ka mandir bananaa chahiye, isliye bananaa chahiye kyonki yahan agar nahi banega toh kahaan banega (Sir, I am a very strong supporter of this ideology. I mean I am one of those who can publicly, like I am sitting right in front of you, say that a temple of Lord Ram should be built. Why so? If it cannot be built in Hindustan, then where it will be)?”

After making his allegiance to Hindutva clear, Aniruddh asks his client the journalist: “Aap jo bhi aur cheejein clear karna chahte hain mujhe bata deejiye koi issue nahi hai (Whatever you want to make clear, you may tell me. There is no issue at all).” Finding him keen on his communal agenda, the client the journalist now begins to tell him all about his agenda. You see, there are three main points of his agenda, the journalist tells him. The first and foremost is Hindutva, which we will never compromise. To create a congenial atmosphere, Hindutva has to be promoted using the teachings of the Bhagwad Gita and projecting the Shrimad Bhagwad Gita Prachar Samiti as its sponsor. As the elections will approach, you see all political parties will play this minority card. We will be able to counter them with our Hindutva media campaign and if need be we will also polarize the electorate on communal lines.

Aniruddh, who has been responding with a “Theek hai (All right)” here and a “Ji, ji (Yes, yes)” there, jumps to second his client the journalist on this issue: “Polarize kar denge ([Yes] We will polarize).” Continuing in the same vein, the journalist says that if our rivals play it straightforward, we would do the same. If they play dirty, we would do likewise. “Samajh gaya (I got it),” says Aniruddh, fully understanding the overtly communal nature of the agenda. However, the journalist to make it sure his point is driven home well tells him that the proposed media campaign should take its course accordingly. We hear Aniruddh make a clear commitment: “Theek hai, poora support milega (All right, you will get full support [from our channel]).” Next, coming to the agenda of thrashing political rivals such as Pappu, Bua and Babua, respectively, referring to Rahul Gandhi, Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav, he tells Aniruddh there has to be a sustained campaign aimed at the character assassination of these leaders. If he has some sympathy with Babua, he can certainly keep him out. While agreeing to run this agenda, Aniruddh snaps: “Humari jo hai na Pappu se sympathy hai, na jo hai Bua se sympathy hai aur na humari Babua se sympathy hai (We don’t have any sympathy with Pappu, Bua or Babua).”

That is fine, the journalist tells him. Our jingles attack Pappu only, as ultimately the fight would be between the Congress and the BJP, he further explains him. We have invested a lot of sweat equity in branding the leader as Pappu. Therefore, his character assassination has to be done on a regular basis, so that people don’t take him seriously. While the journalist explains the whole gamut of this political aspect of his campaign, we hear Aniruddh utter a crisp “Yes”, to finally say in approval: “Theek hai (All right).” Hope you have no problem while attacking the Congress, the BSP and the SP and their leaders, the journalist again tells him. Says Aniruddh: “Nahi, humein koi diqqat nahi hai (No, we have no problem).” Quoting a budget of Rs. 1.5 crore for the first two phases of his campaign, the journalist tells him that he will increase the budget manifold after six months if his channel delivers what he is looking for. But, you see, there should not be any complaint from my higher ups with regard to this deal. Brushing such concerns, Aniruddh reassures his client: “Aap uss cheej ke liye nishchint rahiye baaki logon se acchi delivery na mile toh aap mujhse kahiyega (You should not worry about that. Tell me only when we are not able to make a better delivery than others).”

Before the interview draws to a close, the journalist comes back to all main points of his agenda so that it is driven home firmly. You see, we have to build a congenial atmosphere by promoting Hindutva, the journalist tells his prospective client, and then there has to be continuous bashing of marked political rivals. Replies Aniruddh, with a crisp “Theek hai (All right).” Hope you have understood both issues well. “Main samajh gaya (I got it),” says Aniruddh. What is the first point, asks the journalist again. Aniruddh like an obedient student reiterates every point of the agenda, one by one: “Hindutva … aur doosra jo hai sarkar kee chhavi ko … ji Pappu, Bua aur un par attack ([The first is] Hindutva … and the second is we have to [build good] image of the [BJP] government … yes, attack on Pappu, Bua and him [Babua]).” Yes, this is exactly what we want, the journalist tells him. You have to focus on their character assassination, so that nobody takes them seriously. Replies Aniruddh in agreement: “Ji (Yes).”

Finally, the journalist asks him if he wants to discuss anything else with regard to the agenda. “Bas mera toh main clear hoon aur main bahut excited hoon (I am quite clear and I am very much excited [about it]).”

India Voice responce

We have not yet received any response from the Group to the detailed questionnaire we have sent them regarding the investigation, till 4 pm, 25th May, 2018. In case they do send in their reply, we shall update it in the next few days or weeks.

If you like the story and if you wish more such stories, support our effort Make a donation.


If you believe investigative journalism is essential to making democracy functional and accountable support us. »