On January 5, the Deputy Editor of CNN-IBN tweeted this:
Disappointed and shocked as I am by Akbaruddin’s comments, can’t imagine Asad ever speaking in same vein..
Given the frenzied speed at which our TV media reacts and reports to news, one would assume that Akbaruddin made some comments on January 3 or 4. We will come to Asaduddin (or Asad as he is referred to) later in this article.
But the Group Editor of NDTV, Barkha Dutt tweeted this on January 2:
Criminal case filed against owaisi for hate speech. Inflammatory language needs to be condemned & coerced out of the political lexicon
Let me make the same argument again — given the speed with which our TV media reacts and reports to news, one would assume that the hate speech in question was made a couple of days before January 2.
On January 1, Editor-in-Chief of CNN-IBN Rajdeep Sardesai tweeted this:
Have seen akbar owaisi speech video. It is shocking. Hearing in andhra court tomorrow. We will keep an eye on it.
And as promised, he kept on eye on it.
Case against Akbar Owaisi for hate speech finally admitted in Andhra court. Should have happened much earlier.
Now what caught my attention is the ‘much earlier’ part — what exactly did he mean by ‘much earlier’? Did he mean the case should have been admitted ‘much earlier’ than January 2? That was not possible, since the petitioner filed the case only on December 28 and the earliest date that the court could have posted was January 2. Or did he mean that police should have filed a case ‘much earlier’? If so, why was this not reported ‘much earlier’ so that there would have been pressure on the police to act?
We are being very abstract about ‘much earlier’. Let’s get down to some actual dates.
It’s been a season of hate speeches for Andhra Pradesh politician Akbaruddin Owaisi, who belongs to the MIM or Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen. And after months of appearing to get away with it, Mr Owaisi is finally being held accountable.
No, those are not my observations. This was picked up from this NDTV article. “After months of appearing to get away“. Months! “A season of hate speeches…” Season!
How many reports have you seen in the ‘national’ media about this “season of hate speeches”? Can you remotely recollect even a single report during the months that he “appeared to get away”?
The same NDTV article goes on to tell us that two provocative speeches were made — one on the December 8, and the other on the December 24. It was only after social media started posting the videos of his speeches, and bombarded the ‘national’ media with why this was not being covered, did these channels start taking note of it.
The Youtube videos were uploaded not by users, but by a channel called 4TV. One might argue that 4TV is a nondescript channel, so who cares? This Hindu report last Sunday tells us very clearly that the 4TV channel is a definite hit amongst the citizens of the old city of Hyderabad.
So here we have a ‘hit channel’ airing provocative, communal, anti-national speeches of the floor leader of the MIM party, Mr Akbaruddin Owaisi. Mr Akbaruddin Owaisi is not a mere foot soldier of the MIM — he is the floor leader of the party in the State Assembly. His elder brother, Asaduddin Owaisi (some call him Asad, some call him Owaisi saab) is the President of this party. And despite this happening for ‘months’, none of the ‘national’ channels thought it fit to air them.
And once NDTV decided to talk about the speech, this is how they described it — “alleged hate speech“. Alleged? The full version is still available on Youtube. For a full one hour, Mr Akbaruddin Owaisi spewed venom — sample this two minute bit where he challenges the Government to remove police for 15 minutes and then 25 crore Muslims will show 100 crore Hindus who is more courageous! He justifies earlier violent acts, derides Hindu Gods, threatens violence. For NDTV, all this is “alleged” hate speech! Even more disturbing is the applause he keeps getting from the large audience assembled there!
Akbaruddin Owaisi returned from London, and has filed a counter petition in the court saying that his speech was twisted, not aired in its entirety. Sagarika Ghose told us that she can never imagine “Asad talking in the same vein.” Asad gave a speech recently (full speech here) — he did NOT agree what his brother did was wrong. He called the whole police case a ‘conspiracy’ by the Congress Government and the BJP. He directly questioned whether the Congress would have done the same thing if MIM were still supporting it! So much for “never imagining Asad talking in the same vein”!
Not one MIM leader has come out and said that what Akbaruddin Owaisi said was wrong. Every single one of them is calling it a ‘conspiracy’ even when direct proof is available of the multiple communal, anti-national speeches!
Contrast this with the speedy response on anything related to, say, the RSS. Within hours, mere sound bytes are edited and doctored to suit an agenda that is imposed on the viewer non-stop. Mohan Bhawat made a statement on Friday morning and within the next couple of hours, a modified version of it was all over the news. Saturday morning he made another statement, within hours another doctored video was put out, lectures were reeled out and issues were diverted. This news laundry link summarises the whole issue succintly.
As someone tweeted, 8 tweets in 8 hours on RSS, 0 tweets in 8 days on Owaisi! And no tweet was in isolation – they all had to come with a rider. “Owaisi is wrong, so is Togadia“. “Owaisi is wrong, so are some people on twitter.” — it still beats us why such riders have to be given in the first place! If Togadia were to give a similar speech in some remote corner of the country with just one video recording, would these channels have taken so long to air them?
Headlines Today was the only news channel that immediately picked up this hate speech, once alerted. It was only Niti Central, that has consistently warned about the Owaisi clan’s hate speeches. A series of articles since August 2012 (1, 2, 3, 4) have brought to the fore their dangerous thoughts. The “series of speeches” (including those in Parliament) that NDTV has referred to can be found on NitiCentral here.
No comment on hate speech is complete without Barkha Dutt comparing it to “hate speech” on twitter.
“Hate speech is abhorrent; no Ifs or buts. Owaisi needs to come back & face the music. And some folk on Twitter need a mouth rinse as well”
PS: It has to be noted that the AP Police haven’t exactly done a good job either, that discussion is for another post. Also, even though the media is now actively following up the case, it is no justification for their ignoring this bile for past several months.