By Syed Ali Mujtaba
India’s Hindi daily Dainik Jagran, once the world’s largest read daily, with close links to the right wing Hindu outfits called “Sangh Parivar” is hate Muslim media factory. The vernacular newspaper with wide circulation in the communal tinderbox, Uttar Pradesh indulged in creating Islamophobia and communal polarization of the society when Covid- 19 pandemic‘s curve is steeply rising in the country.
Dainik Jagran the popular broadsheet newspaper in north India ran an incredible 171 stories and pieces on Muslim religious congregation held at Tabligi Jamat Centre in New Delhi, where a cluster of Covid 19 cases were found due to the participation of foreign national suspected of novel virus carrier.
A well regard journalist Shoaib Daniyal did an analysis of this newspaper’s reportage on Covid – 19 and has graphically exposed this newspaper’s anti-Muslim bias.
A purely quantitative analysis of the headlines of the 171 stories and pieces in the Delhi edition of the newspaper from March 28 to April 11, shows FIVE key words appearing and re-appearing with remarkable regularity: i) “Tabhlighi Jamaat’, ii) ‘Jamaat’,iii) ‘Jamaati’, iv)‘Markaz’, v) ‘Nizamuddin.’ These FIVE words appeared in the headline over a 15-day period on average of more than 10 reminders a day.
The breakup of the 171 stories and pieces are as follows:
- 49 single-column items
- 51 double-column stories
- 19 three-column stories
- 16 four-column stories
- 8 five-column stories
- 8 six-column stories
- 5 seven-column stories
Editorial and Cartoons
The ‘Dainik Jagran,’ in the same 15-day period, ran EIGHT editorials on the Tabhlighi Jamaat topic, FIVE editorial cartoons, and TWO opinion pieces. On one day, a whole page was devoted to the issue with the headline ‘Virus ki jamaat’.
The snide, insinuatory tone of some of the Jagran headlines does not leave much for the imagination. They are plain dog-whistling.
- Women who attended the meeting can spread the pandemic
- SIM cards purchased by Jamaat attendees in the name of Hindus
- Call for Jamaat patients to be housed in jails
- Jamaatis distributed sweets on bus
- Jamaatis demand medicines, biryani, and fruits
- Tabhligi Jamaat had made Varanasi its “base camp
- Nine foreigners hiding with 11 Jamaatis in mosques
- R&AW to help in tracing Tabhligis who went to Gujarat
- Pakistan too troubled by Tabhligi Jamaatis
- Support for Tabhligi Jamaat in JNU poster
The headlines for the Jagran editorials range from Badi laparvahi (big negligence), to Gambhir laparvahi (serious negligence), to Deshghaati laparvahi (anti-national negligence).
The Jagran editorial cartoons appearing on the editorial unabashedly overlook the requirements of legitimate journalism and indulge in ideological propaganda.
The newspaper gives prominent display to the ‘Sangh Parivar’s’ relief efforts and there are two stories about this on one page on a single day.
Among other sangh-friendly headlines is of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad demanding restrictions on Jamaat; another is of RSS leader Manmohan Vaidya warning of a high death toll and contamination by Tabhligi Jamaat attendees.
In the welter of words about the Tablighi Jamaat incident, there is nearly no effort made by Dainik Jagran that even remotely suggests that the newspaper knows anything called the other side of the story.
Even if none of Dainik Jagran‘s 171 stories and pieces fail to explain its motivation, just one cartoon published on the paper’s edit page should convey whose cause the newspaper was espousing in l’affaire Tabhlighi.
Trivia- Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief guest of this influential newspaper on its 75th anniversary. The Modi government is alleged to have nominated its current editor and managing director Sanjay Gupta as director of Indian Institute of Management, Amritsar. Its former editor Narendra Mohan Gupta was a BJP MP?
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at email@example.com