How BJP MP’s channel Asianet is injecting communal venom into Kerala’s political discourse

Photo Caption: Editor-in-Chief of Asianet News MG Radhakrishnan

Asianet News, the leading Malayalam channel, owned by Jupiter Capital headed by BJP MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar, has been the most virulent anti-Hindu, anti-Modi media outlet in the state. The Kairali TV, owned by the CPI(M), and Asianet have been aggressively promoting the CPI(M) to the extent that the people found no difference between the two channels, or for that matter other channels, except the Janam TV.

The whole credit for turning it into a CPI(M) propaganda machine goes to MG Radhakrishnan, a staunch Marxist and the Editor-in-Chief. He is the son of Communist ideologue late P Govinda Pillai. Some time back BJP leader K Surendran said the only qualification one needs to get into “Asianet is his/her’s CPI(M) background”. “The whole channel has become a Communist den. Most of them are former SFI activists,” said a journalist who does not want to be quoted.

Prithvipal, president of Sabarimala Achara Samrakshana Samiti, in a channel discussion, said how some mediapersons threw shoes at the police to provoke them to resort to lathicharge. “They wanted good visuals and to show that devotees were goons,” he added. Two of the Asianet reporters were taken to task by devotees during live TV reporting. “They were biased to the core and misreporting facts in front of us. They deliberately did not show police atrocities and were calling devotees goons. One fellow, a serial offender, was reporting that we manhandled the foreign journalist. What actually happened was that we prostrated before her and requested to return. She heeded our request. Tamil channels have shown the true story,” said Harish Kumar, a resident of Ranni.

But even more worrying is the way the spin-doctors in the editorial give communal twist to reports aimed at polarizing the society and showing the BJP in poor light. For instance, in a report on its website on a suspected rape and murder of a girl in Assam, the journalist who translated the report from English confused “Prima Facie” to be the name of a girl belonging to a minority community. The person then embellished the copy with own inputs making it read like ‘Hindu chauvinists committing rape-murder of minority girl in a BJP-ruled state’.

In another report on the website, which was perhaps translated from an English national daily report pertaining to the accidental death of an eight-year-old Muslim madrasa boy in Malviya Nagar in Delhi, as usual, the Asianet journalist turned it into a cold-blooded murder. The website uploaded the story on October 26. Actually it the result of a scuffle and the journalist had added a paragraph (which was not in the original report) which said last year “some locals had thrown beer bottles on the masjid”. “The heading and the inputs are all misleading and far removed from reality. This is height of irresponsible journalism. This happens only when the newsroom atmosphere is like that. Every news item is given a communal twist to polarize the society. They are working with a Communist agenda. The party thinks polarization will help it electorally,” said the journalist quoted above.

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