Exclusive Swaraj Express News Channel: The editorial are mentally and ideologically supportive of Hindutva

Swaraj Express News Channel: The editorial are mentally and ideologically supportive of Hindutva

Agrees to portray starving farmers as Maoists for money


cobrapost - May 25, 2018


Rajan Sharma, GM (Marketing) Swaraj Express News Channel, Madhya Pradesh  

Claiming to have the largest viewership in Madhya pradesh and Chhattisgarh, hardly pegged at 1.4 percent across 24´7 news channels, not much information about Swaraj Express news channel is available in public domain except another claim on its web portal that its web site is most viewed among the lot. Whatever scant information to make do with, the channel also claims to be always on the side of Truth and Time; however, barely few seconds into his interview with Sharma, General Manager Rajan Sharma made it amply clear that the channel had hardly anything to do with Truth. Interestingly, while Rajan claimed where his loyalties lay, that is, Hindutva, he not only agreed to run the stated agenda but also agreed to run a malicious campaign against news portals, an outrageous proposition, such as, the Scroll, The Wire and Cobrapost, particularly hit at Aniruddh Bahal.

The bonhomie between the journalist and the general manager sets in at the outset. So, when the journalist seeks editorial support for his agenda, Rajan assures their client in these words: “Baaki ke jo editorial kee baat hai wo jaisa kyonki hum log ek toh aarthik roop se jude hain arthik zyada hota hai ki manasik aur vaicharik roop se zyada jude … toh usase zyada toh usmein toh aapko kisi bhi tareh kee koi chinta ya kisi tareh ka sandeh ya kisi bhi tareh kee koi zaroorat hee nahi hai aapko sirf ek ishara karna hai poori tareh bolni bhi nahi hai baat hum samajh jayenge wo chalega poora (Now, as far as editorial [support] is concerned, since we are associated [with your agenda] mentally and ideologically more than financially, so you need not to worry or have any doubts [about our commitment]. You have to simply suggest us, there is no need for you tell us in detail, and we would understand [what you want] and run the same fully).”

That assured, the journalist now asks Rajan to note down, not in a notepad, but on his mobile all what he is going to demand. Telling him that the party has not yet overcome from its defeat in Uttar Pradesh in recently held parliamentary by-election, the journalist says that Maneka Gandhi has chief ministerial ambition for her son Varun Gandhi. It was high time both mother and son were fixed. While the channel should run stories against Maneka, he demands, they should telecast the sex CD of her son Varun, whenever there is a command from Nagpur to do so. Agreeing promptly, Rajan says: “Haan haan bilkul … haan haan wo toh khabar hoti hai khabar toh kabhi bhi chalayi jaa sakti hai (Yes, yes. Sure … yes yes. That is news and news can be run anytime any day).” The only thing required is you must have the “material” ready with you. Portray the farmers’ movement, the journalist demands next, as something connected to the Maoists. You see farmers of this country are very innocent and ignorant. They don’t know anything about the government policies. So, how they were able to organize such a big movement if they are not being helped by the Maoists? Congress too may have a hand in instigating them against the government.

Agreeing to what is being proposed, Rajan says: “Haan sahi baat jaise abhi wo march hua tha toh usmein jo poora calculation hai ki aarthik roop se itni funding hui kahan se kaise pahunchate hain jo bechare aarthik roop se itne safal nahi hain unke paas itna aarthik … (Yes, you are right. For instance, there was this march [to Mumbai]. There is a complete calculation about from where did it receive so much funding … [yes] how they reached Mumbai when they are economically not so successful …).”

See if the Congress party has a hand in it, you should highlight that and if they have a Maoist connection bring it to light, he is told.

While replying with a “Hoon” on Congress support, he surmises that it is not possible to organize such a huge movement without Maoists help. Listen to what he says: “Nahi uske bina toh Acharyaji sambhav nahi hai itna bada … itna bada sangathit roop se itna bada koi bhi andolan karna … sambhav nahi hai (No it is not possible without their [Maoists support] Acharyaji … it is not possible to organize such a huge movement).”

When we have channels like Swaraj Express, no wonder if the agitating poor farmers were branded as Maoists by some sections of national media!

Now, there is a bizarre twist in the tail. The journalist now says that there are certain web news portals which run stories which are not to the liking of the present dispensation. Naming the Scroll, the Wire and Cobrapost, their client the journalist asks him to damage all these muckrakers. Rajan is happy to undertake this outrageous assignment on behalf of his client, saying: “Iska hum plan bana ke dete hain (I will submit you a plan for this).” See if you can buy all three portals, suggests the journalist, we will fund the buyout. By taking them over we can destroy them. Our friend is ready to do that as well: “Uska main aapko ek plan banakar ke main aapko deta hoon next meeting mein jab baithenge … toh us pe fir jaisa aapka aadesh hoga uske baad ke plan banata hoon unke liye … haan haan samajh gaya main poora samajh gaya (Let me make a plan for this and submit it to you and when we sit in the next meeting … whatever you will ask us to do. So let me make a plan for them … yes, yes, I got it. I got it).”

He is so confident about accomplishing this task so as to say: “Cobrapost manage ho jayega Wire ke saath thodi diqqat ki funding bhi ab dheere dheere doosri jagah se aa rahi hai ab … Cobra kee nahi hai Cobra manageable hai wo ek plan banate hain dheere dheere jaise aage barhenge jaise fir aapka nirdesh hoga nirdesh ke anusaar usko aage barhayenge (Cobrapost will be managed. But the Wire may be problematic as they have started getting funding [for their operations] … Cobra does not get funding, so Cobra is manageable. Let us make a plan for that. We will take it forward gradually according to your instructions).”

Have you ever thought why Jaitley’s daughter has been appointed by Indian Hockey Association? Why Lalit Modi was allowed to leave the country?

Toh inmein toh hum Acharyaji dushmano ka istemaal kar lete hain aap document humein provide kara dena Wire Cobra inko pehle chalwate hain fir uske baad (So, Acharyaji let us take on the enemies. Provide us documents on the Wire and Cobra, we will run the stories and then …),” Rajan tries to duck the issue. However, the journalist turns his attention to Jaitley again. You see Sangathan can issue commands to run stories against anybody even if it is Jaitley and you will have to do that. Rajan is quick to come around as he says: “Acharyaji humara uddeshya hai ji humara mukhya udeshya uss uddeshya tak pahunchna hai jaise aapne bataya (Acharyaji, as you said, our main objective is to accomplish that objective [Hindutva]).” Apart from Jaitley and Maneka Gandhi and her son Varun, you have to take on Manoj Sinha who is nurturing ambitions of becoming UP CM. We hear Rajan say: “Hoon, hoon, hoon.” Rajan is alive to the political developments in Uttar Pradesh where Kairana by-election for a parliament seat is due, after BJP Hukum Singh died last year, as he says: “Hukum Singh wali seat wahan pe bhi poora ek golbandi kee … zabardast zaroorat hai (In that [parliamentary] seat of Hukum Singh, there is a strong need we need of mobilizing).” Yes you are right, the journalist tells him. You need to polarize the electorate around Hindutva. “Haan Pashchimi Uttar Pradesh ka maamla hai otherwise … (Yes, this pertains to Western Uttar Pradesh. Otherwise …).”

Although the Aadhar scheme has become too much invasive and troublesome for the common man, where even a dead person is being asked to furnish his or her Aadhar card to get cremation rights by government agencies concerned, the journalist tells him, you should run stories favouring the scheme. Defending the scheme as being in the interest of the country, Rajan agrees: “Theek hai (It is fine).”

Turning to his old wish list again, the journalist asks Rajan to run those audio tapes where Maneka Gandhi has been caught using foul language. Rajan is prompt to agree: “Wo humein provide karaiye material aur baaki toh khabarein chalai jaa sakti hain material aake toh khabarein kabhi bhi chal sakti hain … usmein koi diqqat nahi hai (Provide us such material. When we have the material, we can certainly run the stories any time… there is no problem in it).”

After reassuring us on almost on every count, Rajan explains where his ideological commitment lies and why should the client not worry even a bit with regard to his agenda. Listen to what Rajan says: “Toh Acharyaji aap humari taraf se bilkul bhi halka saa bhi ye channel aapka hai … vaicharik roop se toh hum aapke hain hee hain (So, Acharyaji you need [not worry] from our side even a bit. This channel belongs to you … ideologically we are yours).” His colleague also assures their client the journalist in these words: “Sir seedhi see baat hai channel apne ghar ka hai channel humara hai khatm kahani (Sir, it is as simple as that the channel belongs to you. Channel belongs to all of us. That is all).” I am sure you will then run our agenda with full gusto, the journalist asks them again. “Haan haan bilkul ekdum bindaas bol ke (Yes, yes. Sure it will be done openly),” assures Rajan’s colleague, again, who now asks: “Toh ismein abhi kaise rahega cash bhi rahega (So how it [payment] would be like. Would there be cash component)?” Yes, Rs. 80 lakh would be paid by cheque. The deal has been settled for Rs. 1.80 crore, actually.

This is how the Truth of the Swaraj Express news channel revealed itself on us in all its gray shades.

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Tags : Swaraj Express Operation 136 IICobrapost expose exclusive exclusive coverage Investigative journalism journalist paid news cash for news fourth pillar of democracy reporters Pushp Sharma Media on Sale


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