Narendra Modi, Mukesh Ambani & Network 18

In the latest issue of Open magazine, former NDTV and Headlines Today journalist-turned-academic Sandeep Bhushan, throws light on how the television media is covering the BJP’s “prime ministerial candidate” Narendra Modi:

“Several past and serving employees of the media behemoth Network 18 have told me that a heavy-duty ‘go-soft-on-Modi’ campaign is underway within the group.

“The editorial line is allegedly emanating from the ‘top’.

“A former anchor with IBN7 traces the changes in the network’s ‘line’ to a specific event. They came about only after Mukesh Ambani picked up a stake in the media group. “Arvind Kejriwal was virtually blacked out after he hurled charges at Mukesh. On the news floor, in both CNN-IBN and IBN7, every journalist knows that there are orders to rein in anti-Modi stories,” he adds.

“There are standing instructions to cut live to any Modi rally or speech”, says another journalist.

“However, Rajdeep Sardesai, editor-in-chief of CNN-IBN, trashes all this. “This is all cock and bull,” he says, “There has been no change in line at any time. Both Rahul [Gandhi] and Modi are top contenders for the PM’s post. We neither deify nor demonise either of them, but analyse their pluses and minuses in great detail.”

“But if Sardesai is right, then how does one explain the cloyingly pro-Modi chant on the group’s news portal, Here is a gem masquerading as reportage: ‘Delhi on Sunday witnessed a public the likes of which it had not seen in decades’, thanks to Modi’s ‘rock-star’ image that created a ‘maddening frenzy’.

“Another story headline screams; ‘JD(U) MP makes Nitish [Kumar] squirm: Are you jealous of Modi?’ This article, on Shivanand Tewari’s recent speech in Rajgir praising Modi’s ascent, has little explanation of the ‘jealously’ angle. Yet another so-called report on the website gushes. ‘Patna blasts showed Modi’s leadership, Nitish’s ineptness.’

R. Jagannathan, editor-in-chief of First Post, defends the group website by saying. “We are essentially an opinion portal. We also carry news. We have different editors who are free to air their own views. As the editor-in-chief, I don’t interfere.” On the Ambani factor, Jagannathan says, “I report to Raghav Bahl and there are no specific editorial instructions from him.”

The Open article also punches holes in the coverage of Narendra Modi by Times Now.

Photograph: courtesy Reuters via First Post

Also read: ‘Media’s Modi-fixation needs medical attention’

How Narendra Modi buys media through PR

Modi‘s backers and media owners have converged’

‘Network18′s multimedia Modi feast, a promo’

For cash-struck TV, Modi is effective TRP

Not just a newspaper, a no-paid-news newspaper!

Has a ‘desperate party’ bought TV channels?


  1. Dasu Krishnamoorty

    Dear Churumuri

    Kindly shed your adolescence. Is there any epithet, metaphor or expletive from the dictionary of Indian media cliches (DIMC) that has not been used to define Modi? From maut ka saudagar (equivalent to Bharat Ratna) to pogrom, holocaust and genocide every modifier has been used. The trick, which people in journalism like me can easily see through, is for some one to use it first and others to blindly repeat it till it becomes deja vu (DIMC). What is wrong in media prostitution when it brings in extra cash to send children abroad to elite schools or holiday abroad with wifey or girl friend? Churumuri, your naivete gets on my nerves. In the name of secularism every crime is exonerated — from the killing of 3,000 Sikhs in Delhi streets in three days to encounter deaths which are so valueless that they need not be counted numerically unless right-wing forces, you know who they are, have a hand in it. One Ishrat Jahan for thousands killed in Chattisgarh and Telangana! Such media narcissism is hard to believe.



  2. Soundar Rajan

    Churumuri doesnt practice what it preaches!

  3. jithin

    did sachin tendulkar bought any channel?

  4. DIbyendu Dey

    We know you people taking black money from Congress.
    These Sandeep, Teesta, Kejriwal all will vanish after election.
    These earnings will be handy then.

  5. jayant

    firstpost also carries some very anti-modi pieces and articles by staffers downplaying his importance or mocking him

  6. Krishna Kumar

    What does Churumuri has got to do with the report?

  7. Deepak

    This article is rubbish. CNN-IBN is hopelessly;y biased against Modi and BJP. U just have to see Sagarika Ghose’s tweets to understand their editorial policy. All this business of ‘more coverage of Modi because of Ambani’ is bull.

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