Monday, August 8, 2022

New Breed of Punjab Media on Path of Godi Media

CHANDIGARH, Punjab: The new breed of regional media in Punjab, which was once hailed worldwide for its fair and pro people reporting during farmers’ agitation, seems now boarding the path of Godi Media. The reality of these regional channels started coming to fore a few days back when Congress legislator from Bholath Sukhpal Singh Khaira held a press conference to expose the reality of AAP government’s drive to free government land under illegal possession.  

It was quite shocking when some of these channels decided not to attend the press meet while others who attended didn’t broadcast his press briefing on their channels after being directed (informally) by the AAP led Punjab government’s media handlers. The AAP government and these so called pro people regional media channels not only violated Khaira’s constitutional right to express his views and opinions freely but also breached trust of people.

AAP’s tool for creating unnecessary media hype

In the last week of May, AAP withdrew security of 429 people including religious preachers, politicians, celebrities and other public figures and also published the list through these regional media channels. These media channels flashed long dramatic stories on withdrawing of security by AAP government, under the heading “AAP’s big action on VIP culture”. They also flashed news of renowned Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala’s security withdrawal again and again. This publicity stunt of AAP government and regional media channels ultimately led to the murder of Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu aka “Sidhu Moosewala” on May 29.

It is pertinent to mention that Sidhu Moosewala was already under threat from the last one year and a few months before this tragic incident, the Delhi police had shared information with Punjab police about the possibility of attack Sidhu Moosewala. Despite Delhi police’s information sharing, the AAP government and regional media channels created suitable environment for target killing of Sidhu Moosewala.

As the news flashed over social media that “Sidhu Moosewala is shot dead in village Jawaharke”, these web media channels rushed towards the place where this tragic incident took place. Several fake news were played on web media channels regarding this mysterious murder until two Facebook accounts on the name of Lawrance Bishnoi and Goldy Brar confirmed that they murdered Sidhu Moosewala. It was shocking and moreover depressing when media covered the funeral like a dramatic TV serial to earn more likes and views.

Breaching privacy of Sidhu Moosewala’s personal life

Sidhu was engaged and his marriage was fixed in the month of June. However, Sidhu never revealed anything regarding his marriage or engagement when he was alive because he didn’t want to publicize his personal life, but unfortunately irresponsible media channels not only revealed the identity of Sidhu’s in law family but also visited their house and asked the family to share their views regarding this tragic incident.

Unconfirmed Reporting based on mere hearsays

In another story, some media channels shared the photo of a man named Goldy Brar from Fazilka with CM of Punjab Bhagwant Mann saying that he was the same Goldy Brar who took responsibility of Sidhu’s murder on social media and he is a known of CM Mann. Later, Goldy Brar from Fazilka came live on his Facebook account and made it clear that he was not the one who took responsibility of Sidhu’s murder.

After Sidhu’s funeral, many regional media channels flashed news that Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt is visiting Sidhu Moosewala’s house and he has just landed at Chandigarh airport. Some also flashed that Sanjay Dutt had arrived at Sidhu’s house and he was seen very emotional while sitting with Sidhu Moosewala’s father. But all these news were proved fake in the evening.

The Defense Wall of AAP

We all know this was a tragic and sad incident for whole Punjab, but for Sidhu’s parents this pain was unbearable. Opposition parties raised questions on AAP government’s decision of security withdrawal and publicizing the list of people whose security was withdrawn. But regional media channels tried to defend AAP government and they joined this incident as an act of gang war and linked Sidhu with Bambiha gang.

They also blamed Sidhu Moosewala for promoting gun culture in his songs. The sudden loss of Sidhu Moosewala ruined life of his parents and their joyful life turned into dark gloomy world.

Sidhu Moosewala remained a victim of fake news and unfair media trials not only during whole of his life but also after his death. Several fake stories flashed by media channels not only hurt Sidhu’s parents but also manifold their pain.

Request by an ill-fated father

Addressing web media channels and social media on Antim Ardas of Sidhu Moosewala, his father requested to stop flashing fake controversial stories about his son and linking this incident with gang war.

“I have lost my young son in a tragic incident but when I see fake media stories on web media channels focused on earning likes and views, it increases my pain. My son had nothing to do with gang culture and it is not an act of gang war,” he said.

Not all media channels but most of them are just focused on earning likes and views, and for that they don’t even refrain from playing with anyone’s sentiments. These channels are not only violating the moral ethics of journalism but also losing the trust of people.

The day is not far when people will start treating these regional media channels like they treated the Godi Media during farmers’ agitation, if these channels don’t stop airing fake stories and covering tragic incidents in a dramatic manner.

A sincere section of regional media needs to come forward for controlling this emerging culture of violating moral ethics of journalism just for the sake of likes and views through fact less and dramatic media stories.

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