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Opinion

Dear Karan Thapar, Don’t be a Cry Baby!

Everyone reading this piece knows Karan Thapar, he is one of the well-known pro-Congress journalists.

He is known for his shows like-In Focus (Home TV), Miscellany (CNBC and CNN-IBN), To-The-Point (India Today-IT), Nothing-But-The-Truth (IT), Devil’s advocate (CNN-IBN), Face-to-Face (BBC India), Hard Talk India (BBC India), and India Today, India Tomorrow (IT). Thapar’s column-Sunday Sentiments-is published in Hindustan Times Sunday edition.  Unfortunately, barring few, most of the shows are used to spread pro-Congress messages.

It seems like Karan Thapar is begging for interaction with BJP ministers

PM Modi’s interview with Arnab Goswami brought leftist journalists out of their hideouts. They cried foul and claimed the Prime Minister does not dare to give interview to anyone else. But, Modi’s recent interaction with Network 18’s group editor Rahul Joshi has almost made pro-Congress journalists cry loudly because Network 18’s approach is often pro-Congress.

Surprisingly, Karan Thapar used his Sunday Sentiments column-“Narendra Modi has spoken, and he has stood up for media criticism”- to send his sentiments across to the BJP.

His column begins with a disclosure that he does not agree with Prime Minister’s thoughts. He claimed he agrees with PM Modi’s idea about the role of media criticism in democracy. After praising the Prime Minister, Thapar moved on the actual point that he wished to make in his column. “Modi government’s ministers have stopped appearing on my programs.” Thapar also claimed in the concerned column that BJP has asked ministers to not be a part of his shows because the party does not appreciate his questions and attitude.

He cried and said BJP ministers fixed interview, postponed them and never rescheduled.  Thapar further claimed that government does not welcome criticism and encourage questioning. According to him, ministers run for cover when journalists approach them and discuss unwelcoming facts and ask other awkward questions. (This is definitely wrong because ministers do appear on other shows).

“Countless of my letters written to ministers remain unanswered. I am confident that I will one day get yes for an interview,”-said Thapar, showing how desperate he is, perhaps, because his shows are not getting good ratings.

The senior journalist shared his pain, but even he himself won’t be able to deny that most of his columns are written from a Congress worker’s point of view. Even his own followers criticize him with harsh words.  Thapar did not write a column when Kapil Sibal used government mechanism to block Twitter handles of several Indian journalists. He remained silent when Congress asked its spokespersons to not to attend debates organized by rival channel. Shwetank Bhushan Singh’s column can help you understand why he is pro-Congress.

During his shows, he asks rude questions and interrupts non-Congress leaders. As senior journalist Madhu Trehan pointed out during her interaction with Thapar, he lets Congress leaders get away with everything and does not really play devil’s advocate with them like he does with others. In fact, Thapar helps Congress leaders to justify on several issues.

Not just Trehan, but several prominent journalists have questioned Karan Thapar for allowing senior Congress leaders to watch the interview first and then decided if it should be telecast or not.  For example, after filming Chidambaram’s interview (Devil”™s Advocate), it was first shown to Chidambaram’s advisor Shubhashis Gangopadhyay to make sure that it has nothing that can harm the former union minister’s image.

The only time when he really acted like a journalist was during his interaction with Salman Khurshid for his show-To-The-Point. He was praised by everyone for this interview, including his harsh critic, Subramanian Swamy.

Media is one of the four pillars of democracy. It helps in creating well-informed and responsible citizens. However, it’s often used by wealthy opponents to target political rivals. Journalists have their own hidden political agendas. Debates are often “˜fixed’ as per requirements of PR agencies working for politicians and people like Prashant Kishore. This is the reason; some journalists find it relevant to organize debates for Rohith Vemula, Mohammad Akhlaq Saifi, Mohsin Shaikh, but no debates for Sawan Rathore, Constable Vilas Shinde, or for Shiv Sena leader, Ramesh Jadhav who was murdered by a mob of Muslims.

Anyway, getting back to the topic, Karan Thapar is a senior and one of India’s most experienced journalists. He is definitely not as crooked as Business standard’s columnist Mitali Saran; she is not just leftist but uses the most venomous words possible to target the Prime Minister.

Thapar should look at some of his shows, stop acting like a Congress worker, and show some true journalism. If he does that, not just BJP ministers, but everyone would start showing respect to him. People would definitely love to be a part of his shows if he acts like a true journalist.


Nitten Gokhaley

The author is a consultant journalist. You can follow him on Twitter- @nitten4u

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