Mainstream Tamil Media On Back Foot After YouTubers Accuse Channels Of Partisanship

by M R Subramani - Jul 23, 2020 03:05 PM +05:30 IST
Mainstream Tamil Media On Back Foot After YouTubers Accuse Channels Of PartisanshipThe mainstream media in Tamil Nadu and Maridhas.
  • Tamil MSM is clearly clueless on its strategy to get more eyeballs, particularly after its biased coverage of various developments has come under scrutiny.

    Nevertheless, it is on the back foot on how to counter charges of biased coverage.

A little over two weeks after popular Tamil video blogger (vlogger) Maridhas questioned the biased coverage of news events in Tamil mainstream media (MSM), some changes have begun to appear.

The changes are clear indications that Tamil MSMs are on the back foot.

Maridhas, in his video, said some of the mainstream media television channels such as News18, owned by Mukesh Ambani’s Network 18, were operating as ones supporting ideas and thoughts of Dravidar Kazhagam and communists.

Not just Maridhas. There are other YouTubers such as Madan Ravichandran, who has exposed how Tamil MSM functions explaining their bitter experience with various channels.

Madan has come out with a video on YouTube explaining how a conspiracy is being hatched to mislead people, while his other videos have exposed the hypocrisy of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).

Some of the staff of these channels are said to have links with Dravidar Kazhagam, while others have links with Centre for Media Persons for Change (CMPC). The media organisation has promoted anti-national campaigns such as protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019.

So, what are the indications that the Tamil MSM is on the back foot? Nothing can be more revealing than a webinar being conducted on “Attacks on Tamil Media” tomorrow (24 July).

The webinar will be addressed, among others, by N Ram, former chairman of Kasturi and Sons which publishes The Hindu, and Aasif Mohammed, who is the brain behind CMPC.

The timing of the webinar is curious. There doesn’t seem to be any pressure on the media nor has Tamil Nadu police filed any complaint against any media person.

If at all there is any pressure on Tamil MSM, it is a call for unbiased coverage of all events. These MSMs panel discussions are amusing as they are filled with those who are opposed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Even the so-called experts tend to be supporters of parties opposed to the BJP or have an axe to grind with DMK, communists or the Congress.

If this webinar is in connection with the Tamil Nadu Police action against those belonging to Karuppar Kootam (black crowd/mob) for ridiculing Kanda Shasti Kavacham, a hymn seeking Lord Skanda’s total protection, through a video then it is a misdirected attempt.

The video has hurt the religious sentiments of Tamil Hindus in particular as they consider Lord Skanda as a Tamil god and recite the Skanda Shasti Kavacham on a daily basis.

Any allegation or charge, therefore, on Tamil media is baseless. If at all Tamil MSM has now come under scrutiny, it is by people who tune into their channels.

Tamil MSM is now being asked why its coverage of important political development smacks of bias.

If a webinar is being conducted on the grounds that the media is under attack, then surely these forces, who lose no opportunity to attack anything done in national interest like abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir or CAA 2019, have become nervous.

“In order to promote Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) president M K Stalin’s bid for chief ministership in the state assembly elections due next year, Tamil MSM are spreading hatred against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They are promoting anti-national campaigns,” says Maridhas who has, along with Madan, rattled these media men by questioning their coverage of events.

There are other signs, too, of Tamil MSM being put on the back foot.

One, News18 following Maridhas’ exposure on the way the channel is being run has clipped the wings of its senior editor M Gunasekharan, who is the son-in-law of D K leader Kali Poongundran.

Gunasekharan is also not be seen during prime time debates on the channel.

Besides, Aasif Mohammed, who was a correspondent with News18, has been asked to quit. One of the charges against Aasif is that he has been using CMPC to influence the recruitment of journalists by Tamil MSMs.

A rattled DMK and DK sympathisers launched a #standwithJournalistHaseef trend on Twitter following his ouster from News18.

These sympathisers along with Congress have begun criticising News18 for acting against its staff accused of bias. A few of these elements have called for the boycott of the channel.

But many others have said that the moment those belonging to DK and DMK cry foul it means something good has happened in Tamil media.

A Tamil Nadu BJP source who takes part in various discussions on Tamil television channels says any change that could have taken place in the last few days is subtle.

Maridhas told Swarajya that it would not be wise to expect immediate results, though the impact could be seen.

A few who watch panel discussions say that some channels like News7 are still a “viral load” and their aggression is rising every passing day.

While News18 has seen some perceptible change, News7 is seen to be clueless about how to attract better viewership. Polimer News, which enjoys the top position, does not have any panel discussion and only telecasts news.

Puthiya Thalaimurai, which was the numero uno among Tamil news channels a few years ago, is seeing some changes in its coverage, though a political analyst said it seems to be searching for a direction.

The other major channel Daily Thanthi has its own way of functioning that is decided by its management.

For now, Tamil MSM is clearly clueless on its strategy to get more eyeballs, particularly after its biased coverage of various developments has come under scrutiny. Nevertheless, it is on the back foot on how to counter charges of biased coverage.

M.R. Subramani is Executive Editor, Swarajya. He tweets @mrsubramani

Get Swarajya in your inbox everyday. Subscribe here.

An Appeal...

Dear Reader,

As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.

Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.

We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.

Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.

Become A Patron
Become A Subscriber
Comments ↓
Get Swarajya in your inbox everyday. Subscribe here.

Latest Articles

    Artboard 4Created with Sketch.