How India’s Modi has extended Hindu nationalist sway over the country’s media

by | Jun 7, 2023 | Religion

NEW DELHI (RNS) — The format of a segment that aired last month on India’s Republic News Service, commenting on a recent documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s alleged role in a massacre of Muslims two decades ago, would have been familiar to American cable news viewers: The talking heads in Zoomlike boxes were arrayed around the show’s host, Arnab Goswami, dapper in a suit and fashionable glasses, as he excoriated Modi’s critics for “attempting to spread misinformation by willfully spreading falsehoods.”The segment, spurred by a local nongovernmental organization’s lawsuit against the BBC, the documentary’s producer, was titled, “BBC Gets Notice over PM Modi Documentary: A Lesson For Western Media?”
Under Modi, however, India’s TV news channels have readily followed the lead of their American counterparts, devoting hours of prime-time coverage to politicized coverage. Republic is not alone in adopting a Hindu nationalist line, in accord with Modi’s policies. Minorities are depicted as causing problems for the broader population and facts are twisted to fit the narrative.
Hate speech is so pervasive on TV news that India’s Supreme Court said in September 2022 that it was poisoning the fabric of the country and needed to be regulated.

The Modi government, on the other hand, is rarely criticized, and anchors, like Goswami, go out of their way to condemn anyone who does so.
Seema Chisti, editor of one of India’s most prominent independent news websites, The Wire, t …

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