Sathya Sai Baba Deceptions Exposed

Exposing major deceits by guru Sathya Sai Baba in India, incl. murders cover-up & widely alleged sexual abuse

Freedom vs. corporate control of the Indian press

Posted by robertpriddy on April 17, 2014

Press-freedom vs. controlThe Indian press, with a very few notable exceptions, was increasingly censorious about any of the negative facts about Sathya Sai Baba, especially from the 1980s onwards. Documented facts and critical testimonies and opinions were repeatedly ignored when sent by critics of Sai Baba to the editors of The Times of India, The Hindu and other major newspapers. It later emerged that Sai Baba interests had financial and editorial investments in some of these newspapers. Much of the press is owned or affiliated to political parties, and these have also supported – and still endorse – the mythology about Sai Baba – the self-declared creator of the universe etc. As the following indicates, the press in India is largely a product of political lobbying of political and corporate owners’ propaganda.

In his recent article in Caravan magazine, Parthasarathy explored the political ownership of media during the past few years. “Owning a news entity has become a practical necessity for political parties in India,” Parthasarathy told the Committee to Protect Journalists. “Compared to many Asian countries, there is a great deal of freedom to report in India,” writer and lawyer Suhrith Parthasarathy told CPJ. “But there is the issue of political control of the Indian media which begs the question of how truly free are journalists.”

“Freedom of the press,” the acerbic journalist AJ Liebling once wrote, “is limited to those who own one.” Today, this freedom increasingly resides with regional parties across India, which—taking a cue from the DMK—now treat television news media as vital political instruments. Even the largely toothless Telecom Regulatory Authority of India says there is an “increasing trend of influence of political parties/politicians in the media sector.”  Opponents of regulating ownership believe such policies are a form of indirect censorship. “Freedom of speech is not restricted to individuals: the Constitution offers the same freedom to corporate houses.” 

The Caravan also notes:- “Like Sun and Kalaignar, all of these channels have a tendency to serve not as sources of reliable information, but as unabashed propagandists. Where the party that controls the channels are in power, they operate more as a fourth branch of government than a fourth estate. Unfortunately, our constitution has been interpreted—wrongly—in a manner that supports this state of affairs.   “According to Business Standard, nearly 60 percent of cable distribution systems are owned or otherwise controlled by politicians, who frequently curtail the broadcasting of rival stations. Political control of television news is part of a broader discussion on press ownership. As the media critic Sevanti Ninan pointed out in a recent article in Mint, a majority of media companies in India are unlisted, and often owned by surrogates. Most politicians control their stakes through front companies. “

Writing in The Huffington Post, Sumit Galhotra concluded: “Although India is heralded as the promised land of journalism, with more than 80,000 print publications and close to 400 news channels–at a time when the media industry elsewhere faces shrinkage and uncertainty–recent events underscore that the huge number of outlets do not guarantee widespread independent coverage in the world’s largest democracy.”

Comment received:-

chrisdokter
chrisdokter.wordpress.comx


Being a democracy, having a multitude of media outlets, all of it does not guarantee real freedom of the press, as can be seen by the steep decline of the US (dropped from 32 to 46) and, to a lesser degree, the UK (dropped from 29 to 33).

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2 Responses to “Freedom vs. corporate control of the Indian press”

  1. Right you are, Robert. India, regarded as a regional model for democracy and freedom, again failed to show any improvement whatsoever on this year’s Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index, which was published on February 12 2014. It held on to its unenviable 140th position. No improvement was seen, chiefly because ‘India experienced an unprecedented wave of violence against journalists, with eight killed in 2013. They are targeted by both state and non-state actors. Almost no region is spared but Kashmir and Chhattisgarh continue to be the only two where violence and censorship are endemic. Those responsible for threats and physical violence against journalists, who are often abandoned by the judicial system and forced to censor themselves, include police and security forces as well as criminal groups, demonstrators and political party supporters.’
    Being a democracy, having a multitude of media outlets, all of it does not guarantee real freedom of the press, as can be seen by the steep decline of the US (dropped from 32 to 46) and, to a lesser degree, the UK (dropped from 29 to 33).

  2. eileenweed said

    Excellent research and points made – the graph is also excellent! As usual, the widespread media does NOT express the views of the population at large. Most of the population scoff at sai baba but looking at the politicians, one would think the entire nation and in fact, much of the world, are devotees!

    As for the media blackout, here in America we (the general population) are well aware of how the ‘Big Brother’ cronies running the nation are becoming more and more like a dictatorship. the media is closely monitored and controlled and fear spread to increase anger, hatred, and willingness to be bullies to other countries. Ironic that we are becoming more & more like the enemies we preach about hating.

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