If you follow the Western media, an incorrect opinion about India and its democracy is being perpetuated relentlessly and being accelerated due to India’s neutrality in the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war. Now I have spoken about India’s neutrality in the war in one of my earlier articles show below. This article is not about the war or India’s decision to not join the Western bandwagon. This is about the media – free and fair media – but in India’s case, there are darker forces at play here emanating from India’s recent rise in economic and geo-political clout and the innate racism and superiority complex of older European and American media houses unable to swallow a changing world dynamic.
In this article, I am going to focus on 3 powerful media houses, which produce content consumed by the Western audiences and which have contributed to an increase in flawed views about India, its democracy and its democratically elected leader Narendra Modi – The Guardian, the BBC and Al-Jazeera. All of these media giants are extremely anti-India in their narrative and there are claims and reports, that many of them are secretly funded by donations from opposition political parties in India, to spew false facts and one-sided narratives against Narendra Modi and the BJP government. A common feature has been to label a Government elected by a majority of Indians as a Hindu Nationalist Government (interestingly not saying a word against the large number of openly Islamic republics where minorities are persecuted on a daily basis or the US politicians who believe in “America First” or that the USA is a “Christian” country) and which made the one mistake the European political elite cannot swallow, that is to be assertive and not kowtow to Western demands.
The Guardian is a British daily newspaper founded in 1821 as The Manchester Guardian, and changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers The Observer and The Guardian Weekly, The Guardian is part of the Guardian Media Group, owned by the Scott Trust. The Guardian is an openly centre-left paper and pushes the “liberal agenda” as defined by European and American definitions, extremely hard. The newspaper has an online website, where articles against Narendra Modi and India are extremely common. Hannah Ellis-Petersen, the South Asia correspondent is quite active at using her articles to spread an Anti-Hindu and Anti-Modi narrative. Interestingly for a “liberal” newspaper, their articles against Modi, usually have the comments from reader section usually locked or with any pro-Modi or comment against their one-sided takes, quickly moderated in the name of “no hate speech” although they allow any comments from readers falsely labelling Indian democracy as broken, flawed or Islamophobic regardless of the vitriol.
The Guardian collaborates with many Indians in the ancient British custom of “divide and rule“, to make it seem as if many Indians are oppressed by Modi but cannot speak up. The reality is that Modi is more popular than ever in India and keeps increasing his votes in every election. In their view, India’s democracy is only strong when Hinduphobia is widely accepted, Western NGOs are secretly funded to report falsely on so-called Indian “atrocities” in Kashmir and when candidates who are subservient to Europe, like past Indian National Congress leaders, win elections. Let us understand the true nature of such articles, the inability of Europeans to accept that Western ‘values’ are not the only values worth following and they are not “universal” – they may be universal in Europe and North America but they don’t apply to Asia, Africa and South America, continents with countries and civilizations far older than European states.
The Guardian’s only pro-India articles come through either while reporting certain Muslim activities in India or if the political parties of India, supporting foreign news agencies, score a win. The bias ingrained in their articles is open for all to see. Sadly, European and American masses, are unable to accept one universal truth – everyone has an agenda. The simple question they need to ask, before they accept the version of The Guardian against India or Modi is that, why are more and more Indians including Muslims and Sikhs voting for Modi? If they believe all the Indians who voted for Modi, are Hindus, uneducated and easily fooled then there is no point having a logical discussion with any of them. To understand the falsehoods, I would ask my Western friends to check historical articles from Hannah Ellis-Petersen and The Guardian and see how the tone shifts when it speaks of India under Modi and India under the Congress or articles against Modi and those against the Congress party scion Rahul Gandhi. Also note the negative tone in almost all of these articles and then compare it with other countries and you will notice a trend and understand that what you are being told is not the whole truth. However, The Guardian, aside from Hannah Ellis-Petersen’s openly Indo-phobic and anti-Hindu narratives, falls short when it is compared to the grand old master of the divide and rule – the BBC.
BRITISH BROADCASTING CORPORATION (BBC)
The British Broadcasting Corporation or BBC is the national broadcaster of the United Kingdom, based at Broadcasting House in London, England. It is the world’s oldest national broadcaster and has had a controversial history, with strong colonial vibes in its broadcasts and a “holier than thou” attitude when speaking about former colonies of the no longer “Great” Britain. Jimmy McGovern, in a 2007 interview, called the BBC “one of the most racist institutions in England“. In the 2008 edition of the peer-reviewed Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Alasdair Pinkerton analyzed the coverage of India by the BBC from India’s 1947 independence from British rule to 2008. Pinkerton observed a tumultuous history involving allegations of anti-India bias in the BBC’s reportage, particularly during the Cold War, and concluded that the BBC’s coverage of South Asian geopolitics and economics showed a pervasive and hostile anti-India bias because of the BBC’s alleged imperialist and neocolonialist stance.
The BBC in its long history has been accused by several national governments and individuals of left-wing and liberal bias. The never-ending saga of oozing elitism, racism, and the mental superiority of colonial mindsets—vividly captured in the ideology dubbed “White Man’s Burden”—is glaringly visible in the reporting done by the BBC. The BBC as the British did during their rule of India and Pakistan, continues the divide and rule policy of their ancestors by pro-Muslim coverage and Hindu and Sikh leaders in the United Kingdom have long accused the BBC of pandering to Britain’s Muslim community by making a disproportionate number of programmes on Islam at the expense of covering other Asian religions, such as Sikhism and Hinduism. BBC just like the British Colonial rulers continue to wage war against perceived “Islamophobia” while like Al Jazeera and The Guardian, ignoring minority persecution in Islamic countries.
Its bias against India, has existed since the sun set on the British Empire and its former colony started making its own decisions. In 2008, in the wake of one of the most horrendous terrorist attacks, sponsored by Pakistan, to hit India, the Mumbai terror attacks, it was heavily criticized for calling “terrorists” as “gunmen” as if it were some lowly gangland gunfights. In its latest attack on India and its democratically elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it decided to broadcast a one-dimensional take on the 2002 Gujarat Riots called “India: The Modi Question” – a question no Indian ever asked but the BBC felt necessary to protect India from Indians. As per the India: The Modi Question series’ official description, “it looks at the tensions between Indian PM Narendra Modi and India’s Muslim minority, investigating claims about his role in the 2002 riots that left over a thousand dead.” Interestingly no such documentary was made about the genocide of Kashmiri Hindus by Muslims sponsored by the Pakistani state. The BBC also is adamant about continuing its negative narrative on Modi’s policies, issues, and schemes after his re-election in 2019. As per their description, these include a series of controversial policies like Article 370, the CAA for allegedly treating Muslims unfairly (although CAA has nothing against Muslims but only tries to save persecuted Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists in Muslim majority states – a simple logic is that in a Muslim majority state, it isn’t as if the Muslims are in need of assistance), and reports of violent attacks on Muslims by Hindus.
Now, it seems that after proving his innocence in the court of the general public and the court of law, PM Narendra Modi will line up and face the investigation by the learned echo-chamber of the BBC, a news channel of a foreign nation. Basically India is still incapable of a functioning judiciary, free and fair democratic elections and people who know what is good for them. In its first hour-long video, the BBC raked over all those issues that have been thoroughly looked after by the Indian judiciary, including the apex court, the Supreme Court and did not find Modi guilty.
From the shoulders of vested interest groups in the horrific 2002 Godhra riot case, BBC dragged the same old rhetorical charge against PM Narendra Modi. For this, it included the notorious faces those who desperately wanted to implicate the then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi like Akar Patel, former head of Amnesty International, and Arundhati Roy, a Hindu-phobic Indian who is willing to sell out her own country and people in the name of her “intellectual superiority“. First of all, the BBC’s claim of investigating the unfortunate Godhra case reeks of their colonial superiority complex, and they have “no locus standi” in this case as it is India’s internal affair and has been properly handled by our independent judiciary. It desperately ran away from the fact that it was an unfortunate case of communal rioting and not a Muslim pogrom. In their eagerness to further their political motives, they virtually ignored the initiation incident involving Hindu pilgrims burned alive in train coaches. Bringing peace, law, and order into such an atmosphere of communal frenzy in a large area is easier said than done. Using that argument to pin blame on a criminal conspiracy for scripting the Muslim pogrom speaks volumes about the journalistic and unbiased credentials of the BBC and the groups involved that keep rubbing salt in the wounds of both communities.
AL – JAZEERA
Ah Al Jazeera, an international 24-hour English-language news channel owned by the Al Jazeera Media Network, which is owned by the monarchy government of Qatar. Al Jazeera was founded as part of Qatari efforts to turn economic power into political influence in the Arab world and beyond, and continues to receive political and financial backing from the government of Qatar. As a result, Al Jazeera has been criticized for being Qatari state media frequently and thus, should not be taken seriously but sadly Western rainbow flag bearers conveniently forget that about Qatar and consume vast quantities of Islamist propaganda against Israel and India, in particular, through side networks like AJ+ and the main network Al Jazeera. In 2010, U.S. State Department internal communications released by WikiLeaks as part of the 2010 diplomatic cables leak said that the Qatari government manipulates Al Jazeera coverage to suit the country’s political interests.
Al Jazeera is very well-known for its Islamist and antisemitic and Hindu-phobic rhetoric. The Kashmir insurgency is labelled as a “rebellion” incorrectly and terrorist suicide attackers are called “rebels” in a mouthpiece of the Islamist Qatari State which does not even pretend like The Guardian or BBC to promote fair and free narratives. Al Jazeera is also openly anti-Israel and spews nasty vitriol against Israel and its people at every given opportunity while ignoring the suffering of minorities in countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh where Hindus and Sikh temples are destroyed and Hindu women are abducted and forcibly married to Muslims and where minorities live in a state of constant fear. These stories are conveniently lost when told by Al Jazeera whose goal is to spread pro-Islamist propaganda across the world. Al Jazeera during the Second Intifada, used to label Palestinians killed by Israelis as “martyrs” while not calling Israelis killed by Palestinians the same way. Ask yourself – is that “fair and unbiased” reporting?
When it comes to India, Al Jazeera goes even further, spreading disinformation and lies in the form of altered political maps of India, thus showing Indian sovereign territory in the hands of Pakistan or China. It also went further by omitting the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as part of the sovereign territory of India. Now as a European or American ask yourself, would you trust a news agency which showed Florida or Alaska as independent nations or omitted it from the map of the USA? Or if Ukraine or Poland or the Baltic States were shown to be a part of Russia? But you’re allowing the hypocrisy to show by calling this same media agency unbiased and consuming its articles when it is portraying India in a poor light time and again. Truth requires accepting both sides of a narrative – not just the side which panders to your beliefs.
All these media houses, are openly backed by rich financiers and sometimes even states like in the case of Al-Jazeera. No one denies that there are good journalists working at these news agencies but the narrative and agendas are set from the top and it is up to Europeans and Americans to question narratives. If you are asking Indians and other Asians, Africans and South Americans to not believe that racism is rampant in Europe and North America and to not have such anti-European/anti-American views and for your values to penetrate, you also need to give in and accept that perhaps you are also receiving a false narrative from your media and they are forcing the opinions of the rich like George Soros, a man who is in all definitions an economic terrorist, infamously “breaking the Bank of England” and then using his money to buy influence and disperse views and narratives suited to his old, archaic opinions.
As the Indian foreign minister, S Jaishankar puts it Westerners are accepting the views of an “Old, rich, opinionated and dangerous” man who has the power to cause lasting damage to relations between the West and the Global South, if Westerners continue to consume his narratives. Europeans and Americans need to wake up and accept that the days of colonialism and Western dominance in all aspects is over. Narratives from olden days do not hold true and continue to accept all that your media tells you without questioning motives and agendas will continue to increase the gap between the West and the Rest of the World.
First, the stated reason given by these three media “giants” is that they want to establish that India is marching towards becoming a Hindu rashtra (nation). Evidently, the first video of the biased BBC Documentary opens with the disparaging remarks of fringe elements echoing the demand for making India a Hindu Rashtra. It needs BBC-level insanity and “confirmation bias” to link these random remarks of fringe elements to the psyche of Indian citizens and the Indian government. There is a continuous and fake narrative that Muslims are being oppressed under the Modi government and that laws are being implemented to achieve these objectives without understanding any of these laws – they even use politically inept individuals like Rihanna and Greta Thunberg who basically blabber whatever notes they are given by their string pullers. Through these well-crafted narratives of Muslim pogrom in India, they want to hamper India’s growing economic, diplomatic, and soft-power in the world. Through these falsehoods, foreign players like BBC, Al Jazeera, The Guardian and George Soros want to influence English-speaking elites urban class voters in India and set a global agenda of India-led by PM Modi becoming an anti-Muslim nation.
Outside India, the Western Media want to set a global agenda that under PM Modi India is becoming an Islamophobia nation. With acts like these, the BBC and its ilk want to act as the main opposition to PM Modi and dislodge him to halt the ongoing progress of the nation in every sphere. Further, through such degrading propaganda, several vested interest groups want to hurt the strategic ties between the two democratic nations, India and the UK. They want to jeopardize the UK’s economic revival by creating hurdles in a possible free trade agreement between the two nations.
It is high time that India gives a strong message to all these foreign players trying to pass on judgements on Indian issues. For political gains, the leftist lobby, in cahoots with the anti-India brigade keeps opening the wounds which take a lot of time to heal. That’s why it is eminently necessary to hold these conspirators accountable for their statements, claims and acts.