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Would India's 'toxic' TV channels start the hashtag #JusticeForRajivTyagi?

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*

The filth and garbage that is being produced in a section of TV newsrooms these days is worrying. There is nothing to suggest that this will go unchecked at least in the foreseeable future. What is happening is ironical, indeed: Those who should have been chastised and castigated by the highest courts are being defended in the name of freedom of expression. But those who are truly dedicated to freedom are being sent to jails under stringent anti-terror laws.
This is a highly disturbing phenomenon, indeed. Those shouting out on TV screens, violating all norms of decency and civilised debates, are also the ones who are getting protected and encouraged from the powers that be.
The death of Congress spokesperson Rajiv Tyagi immediately after a TV debate needs to be seen in this context. Time has come to protect democratic environment in the country. A toxic atmosphere on some of the TV channels, apparently on instructions from the saffron IT cells, is sought to be created against the opponents, who are sought to be intimidated.
Even goons wouldn’t speak the type of language that is being used on these TV channels. I heard the Republic TV anchor saying, “Udhav Thakarey mujhe jawab chahiye, tumko jawab denaa hee hogaa, tum chup nahee baith sakate.” How can any debate take place when anchors speak such a language? One wonders if time has come to boycott anchors of the TV channels which use such language.
In South India, of course, things are different. Most of the regional leaders have flourished because of the huge TV network of their respective political parties. Both DMK and AIDMK have their own channels which offer not just news but also entertainment. In North India, however, political parties need to send their representatives to TV channels to express their views. 
TV debates show how some anchors try to fill in the gaps and encourage the hateful atmosphere when the ruling party spokesperson speaks
TV debates show how some anchors try to fill in the gaps and encourage the hateful atmosphere when the ruling party spokesperson speaks. But the same anchors instigate and look at those who disagree with ruling politicians scornfully. Hatred and division are sought to be promoted. Those defending Harsh Mandar, Apoorvanand, Anand Teltumbde and Varavara Rao are sought be cowed down. What all one hears about them is, they had 'conspired' against India!
I never thought that Bihar police was so efficient, as being projected today by these TV channels, while pursuing the Sushant Singh Rajput case. Any untimely death is painful. And if there is a doubt about the death then there should be investigation. But the way the entire episode has been converted into a 'national' issue by some TV channels is just thuggish, to say the least.
One wonders, why the same channels never speak up about the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula, Dr Payal Tadvi and many other SC-ST-OBC students who have felt alienated in the face Brahmanical arrogance? Those following media trends know how pretty well how these TV channels are trying to vitiate political environment this way.
Rajiv Tyagi is no more. But will these TV channels start the hashtag #JusticeForRajivTyagi? One only needs to see the last debate in which he participated, and how he was hounded out by BJP’s Sambit Patra, who enjoyed complete 'freedom of expression', yet remained unaccountable for all that he said.
The death of Rajiv Tyagi is indeed a wakeup call for concerned activists and politicians, well also those who want to protect media freedom, to come with ways to rectify the situation.
---
*Human rights defender

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