Humans exhibit a powerful desire to share and learn the news. With such a pivotal role in our lives, and an advent of communication we believe trusted and established sources, such as age-old print media and televisions. But what do we do if we’re being fed news instead receiving it as seen? What do we do if our news is curated, catered to uplift a certain ideology that could cause discord through a one-sided narrative? Well, it is actually happening. The recent Operation 136, a sting operation by Cobrapost to target the big media houses for the scams Times Internet sting operation by Cobrapost is enough to expose the media houses which are actually causing the political havoc in the nation.
The sting operation by Cobrapost has brought some big names, agreeing to profess Hindutva agenda, swaying electoral results. All for a large amount of black money.
The information in this article was first published in The Wire, but we have tried explaining the complete details about the sting operation in the most concise way possible.
So let’s start by watching this video by The Wire about what the sting operation was all about.
Cobrapost is a non-profit organization that conducts investigative journalism. In a recent sting operation, ‘Operation 136’ targeting big house media like The Times Group, India Group, Hindustan Times and 25 other media houses Cobrapost uncovered shocking news. They covertly videoed all their interactions with the members of media.
Cobrapost took a formulaic approach. A reporter, Pushp Sharma posed as “Acharya Atal”, a man from was a representative of a “Sangathan” and implied that he was a member of, or close to the RSS. He pitched a similar media campaign to the personnel or management: to run a media campaign on his behalf promoting Hindutva, offering them revenue through ads from a few crores to 500 crores for the Times group. This bait allowed Mr. Sharma to climb higher and higher in the corporate chain to gain an emotional connection and security for the ‘sangathan’.
Operation 136 of Cobrapost revealed a highly speculated fact that media houses were owned or patronized by politicians or patronized by politicians. They echo the voices of their masters through their broadcast.
Cobrapost Sting on The Times Group
The sting also proposed that target opposition leaders, namely, Rahul Gandhi, Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav, caricaturing them using less than a dignified language like Pappu, Bua, and Babua, respectively, for them, in order to show them in poor light before the electorate.
This causes polarization of voters and leads to spirited arguing, especially in the run to the 2019 elections. These newspapers have enough sway to influence constituencies in the elections. An Andhra daily, Andhra Jyothy explicitly stated that they could sway the Karnataka elections with their influence in the Andhra-Karnataka region.
Cobrapost Sting on Hindustan Times
Now here comes another big chief media house of the nation. The Cobrapost representative masquerading as ‘Acharya Atal’ met Shailja (one of the managers at HT Media) and Avneesh Bansal (associate vice president, HT Media) to expose the unethical activities of HT Media.
Deals in the black
500 Crores, 275 crores, “some crores” all paid in cash. But with demonetization, how is such cash freely flowing? Black money of course. Times Group’s Vineet Jain shed some knowledge on “businessmen” and corporate houses that have the ability to convert black money to ‘clean’ money for transactions.
Many media companies replied to the allegations calling them doctored and manipulated. They added that Cobrapost’s ‘sting’ was malicious. The Times Group said they were conducting their own reverse sting to draw them out, toppling their backers and conducting their expose.
With such allegations and over 25 media houses in the operation, a reasonable doubt does exist. How are we certain that