The Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) announced on Thursday that it will boycott 14 journalists and news anchors across nine channels over allegations of bias against the Opposition in their coverage, sparking sharp reactions from BJP president JP Nadda and news broadcasters association.
The decision – taken by the 28-party bloc’s media sub-group – effectively means that INDIA will neither send representatives to these shows nor invite them to any political events of the coalition.
“We have issued this list with a very heavy heart… We hope in the coming days, the situation will get better and the anchors will understand this when one day the young generation will question them. What will they answer then?” Congress’s chief spokesperson Pawan Khera said.
The list of journalists include Arnab Goswami of Republic TV, Navika Kumar and Sushant Sinha of Times Now and Times Now Navbharat, Sudhir Chaudhary and Chitra Tripathi of Aaj Tak, Aman Chopra, Amish Devgan and Anand Narasimhan of News18, Rubika Liyaquat of Bharat24, Gaurav Sawant and Shiv Aroor of India Today, Prachi Parashar of India TV, Aditi Tyagi of Bharat Express, and Ashok Shrivastav of DD News. This came a day after the coordination committee of the India bloc authorised the media sub-group to boycott some TV journalists and anchors.
The BJP strongly criticised the decision. Nadda termed the list “nazi style” and drew a parallel between INDIA’s decision and the Emergency. “These days, INDIA is ONLY doing 2 things: BASHING SANATANA SANSKRITI – each party is competing to outdo the other in hurling the choicest abuses towards Sanatana Sanskriti. BULLYING THE MEDIA- filing FIRs, threatening individual journalists, making “lists” in true Nazi style of who to target. The Emergency era Mindset is alive among these parties,” he said.
The News Broadcasters & Digital Association said the move “imperils press freedom”. Khera defended the decision and said the journalists named spread fake news. “We are ready to bear that but if they spread this hate… it further takes a violent turn,” he said. The Congress clarified that it was not boycotting any news channels.