A YOUNG GIRL WITH A STING V/S A COBRA
Cobrapost revelations: How Zee Punjabi made a deal to harm Akali Dal?
- kanwar manjit singh
Cobrapost revelations: How Zee Punjabi made a deal to harm Akali Dal?



Q: "THE WORD: MANIPULATION. DO YOU BELIEVE IN IT?"

Zee TV honcho and BJP's Rajya Sabha MP Subhash Chandra was on the stage, dishing out secrets to become a successful entrepreneur and a pure person dedicated to serving the motherland and becoming prosperous and successful when a young student fired the question he did not seem ready for.

As fellow students cheered, the young girl was back to elaborating upon her query: "Do you believe manipulating is honesty or dishonesty?"
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Young girl to Zee Network owner Subhash Chandra: "You say that you do not edit the news or do not change the concept of what you are showing... I believe that you do manipulate.
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Subhash Chandra could not duck any further, so he was bang on: "It is totally dishonest."

The problem with young people is that they just do not pull back. "You say that you do not edit the news or do not change the concept of what you are showing... I believe that you do manipulate.

Subhash Chandra was now on the defensive and asked if the girl student can quote an example of his company doing that, but the problem with new kids on the block is that they are also shrewd and diplomatic. She said she was generalising, and finally got Subhash Chandra to concede: "It is unfortunate that this is happening. I have to admit that."

As I said, young kids can really piss someone off. This one was not ready to let Chandra go off the hook: "So, what do you think we can do to stop manipulation?"

Finally, Subhash Chandra said just the right thing: "It is the public who still understands that this media, this particular media, this particular television channel, this (particular) newspaper is seemingly manipulating...I am glad...that is the reason you are asking this question...fir intention bhee yahan aa jaati hai."

He knew this was something that could be quoted back to him, considering the past record of his editor-in-chief and his news channels. So he proceeded to defend "some manipulation" as a very benign activity.

"Sometimes a father manipulates his child....father genuinely feels that this is not a right thing that my son wants to do...but he also knows that agar main seedha seedha is ko keh doonga to yeh naraaz hoga... so he starts manipulating...kehta hai beta maine apne dost se poocha tha, us ne kaha yeh theek nahi hai...woh bete ko samjha leta hai...agar aap us ka aakalan karen..us ka intent kya tha?" 

Subhash Chandra would certainly need some more polemic to justify rank manipulation of news content after what Cobrapost sting has exposed when it came to his channel's doings in Punjab.
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Zee Media's Chandigarh based executive officials have been caught bragging on hidden camera that the channel worked against Akalis during the last Assembly election. 
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Now, Zee Media's Chandigarh based executive officials have been caught bragging on hidden camera that the channel worked against Akalis during the last Assembly election. 

As Pushp Sharma – an undercover journalist posing as ‘Acharya Atal’, met one after the other senior people of Zee, dangling lucrative offers of an advertisement budget running into crores, the network employees were eager to play ball without raising any questions about his unethical demands.

Pushp Sharma met Zee Punjab-Haryana-Himachal senior sales manager in Chandigarh, Sagar Arora, and told him that "he wants stories against a particular party not to appear on the channel."

He also asked that the Zee Network resort to "diversion tactics” etc that will help him. As The Wire reported on Cobrapost sting, Sagar Arora "made a sensational disclosure" about the Zee Network's poor equation with the Akalis and explained how the channel played a role in damaging the electoral prospects of the Akali Dal. 

Arora explained to the undercover reporter that the father-son duo of Badals and Harsimrat Kaur Badal were "ruling this territory.” When the reporter sought advice on countering the Badals, Arora advises his party to bring up 4-5 big leaders of its own, and then explained:  "Hamare channel nay Akaliyon ki jo band bajayee hai, aap soch bhi nahin saktay” (You cannot even imagine the way our channel had taken the Akalis to task)."

"They (Zee Punjabi) did not spare the Akalis at all. In 5-6 days of their programming, everything changed and some vote also got converted,” Zee's Chandigarh Sales Head told the undercover reporter.

As everyone in Punjab, and anyone interested in Punjab politics knows, the two leading television channels airing news content in Punjabi are currently on opposite sides of the boycott by political parties.

While the Shiromani Akali Dal has publicly boycotted Zee Punjab-Haryana-Himachal, known in popular parlance by its erstwhile nomenclature of Zee Punjabi, the PTC News channel is anathema to Punjab Congress leadership.

Punjab Congress' reasons for being miffed with PTC News are understandable: PTC News seemed highly tilted towards projecting the Akali Dal viewpoint on any story and beams much propaganda projecting Harsimrat Kaur Badal and her pet project Nanhi Chhanv. The Congress felt that it was not getting fair treatment on the channel. As a consequence, one often sees minor minions representing the party who are invariably not authorised to speak on behalf of the Congress.

But many in Punjab wondered why were Akalis boycotting a channel owned by someone with clear affiliations to the BJP. In fact, Subhash Chandra is a BJP MP now, having earlier been snubbed for an Assembly ticket from a Haryana seat after he had made tall claims about getting the ticket and even held an open session there to canvass support.
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While the Shiromani Akali Dal has publicly boycotted Zee Punjab-Haryana-Himachal, known in popular parlance by its erstwhile nomenclature of Zee Punjabi, the PTC News channel is anathema to Punjab Congress leadership. 
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While the PTC group came in for much criticism in the hyper-charged election campaign in which Aam Aadmi Party made it its favourite punching bag, it was utter hypocrisy on the part of the AAP and Congress to start lauding Zee Punjabi as an epitome of truthful and virtuous journalism.

Spokesman after spokesman of Congress and AAP would appear on Zee Punjab and make snide remarks against PTC. This at a time when Zee Media was facing one of the most serious charges ever laid at the door of a media house: its editor-in-chief, Sudhir Chaudhary, and an executive, Sameer Ahluwalia, were caught on camera, trying to extort Rs 100 crore from the Jindal group. Both were arrested by the Delhi Police in 2012.

Neither the Congress nor the AAP leaders in Punjab even as much as squeaked when Narendra Modi, ever so choosy in who he grants an interview to, decided to have a sit down with this disgraced Sudhir Chaudhary. It was in this infamous interview that Modi gave the example of pakoda-seller as a sufficiently employed person. "Aap ke Zee TV ke bahar jo pakoda bechta hai...". Sudhir Chaudhary, a trained journalist and editor-in-chief of a national channel, did not ask a counter question that occurred to anyone listening to Modi's description of gainful employment.

The Wire, reporting in the Cobrapost sting on Zee Media, which came as part of its exposé codenamed ‘Operation 136,’ has explained how Subhash Chandra's network has been violating almost every norm of ethical journalism.
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While the PTC group came in for much criticism in the hyper-charged election campaign, it was utter hypocrisy on the part of the AAP and Congress to start lauding Zee Punjabi as an epitome of truthful and virtuous journalism. 
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The Zee Network top management people were "prepared to bend over backwards to accommodate the demand of any party, even if it seeks to promote communalism or "attack” opponents, provided the money is good," The Wire wrote.

For a detailed coverage by The Wire of the Cobrapost Sting, please click here

If you want to listen to the sound of a party losing its sting, listen to the deafening silence of the Aam Aadmi Party on the Cobrapost revelations about Zee Punjabi. 

The sting that the young girl had was much more deadlier than a Cobrapost. If viewers in Punjab could learn from her, neither the PTC would dare to turn its platform into a Congress bashing machine, nor the Zee outlet would think it can get away with having an editor-in-chief who makes Rs 100 crore extortion bid and claims it was a sting.
 
To listen to the young girl asking Subhash Chandra, "The word: Manipulation. Do you believe in it?," please watch video:
 

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