What do you do when you see a misleading news or complete falsehood or something grossly wrong on mainstream media (MSM)? Either you ignore it, or you tweet about it, create some outrage and forget about it. We at OpIndia.com tried to hold media accountable for their lies by documenting and exposing media’s half-truths and whole lies. But one social media user took it one step further, and it paid off.
Chaitanya Joshi is an average social media user. He has all of 220 odd followers, so by no means is he influential online to create enough outrage and evoke some action or reaction. In June of 2016, as Chaitanya was watching a program on NDTV, the “Rise and Fall of Nations” featuring Ruchir Sharma and Dr.Prannoy Roy on NDTV, he noticed something very odd. “I generally avoid watching political programs on NDTV because I feel they are biased against India, even on their economic programs they predict only gloom and doom situations, still with Dr.Roy I thought this program would be very interesting on a global perspective by Ruchir Sharma” said Chaitanya.
Chaitanya recalls his reaction: “I was paying full attention to the screen, and lo and behold! I see the map of India, shown on the screen with Aksai Chin shown as a part of China and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir as part of Pakistan!! I couldn’t believe my eyes, this was late in the night and this wasn’t BBC or CNN but an Indian Channel disrespecting India!!! and an experienced journalist like Dr.Roy would or should have noticed the wrong map of India, right away but visual after visual the same distorted map was shown. I took out my camera phone, and began to take pictures.”
Chaitanya then proceeded to tweeting this issue to NDTV, Prannoy Roy and others, but to no avail:
Later he even tagged I & B minister Venkaiah Naidu
Congratulations to Shri @ianuragthakur for joining #TerritorialArmy https://twitter.com/ianuragthakur/status/758993042346913792 …
But he didn’t stop there. When he didn’t receive a reply, he filed a complaint on the Centralized Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) and sent photographic evidence on the portal about the wrong portrayal of the Indian map by NDTV. He even followed it up with a police complaint.
“I spoke about this to as many people I could, did whatever I could do, I had lost hope as I really did not know what else I can do?” said Chaitanya. But there light at the end of the tunnel.
Last week Chaitanya received a letter from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting along with a letter from the News Broadcasting Standards Authority, asking NDTV to express regret for their mistake, by airing a text on the 5th of November 2016 before the 9 PM news along with a voice over, stating that they made a mistake:
This is something unprecedented. An ordinary person used the grievance portal provided by the Government and now a popular mainstream media channel has been forced to tender an apology at prime time! Of course the proof of the pudding is in the eating and one can only claim victory when NDTV airs the above apology, but this entire episode gives the common man a real hope that mountains can be moved.
Chaitanya says, “We can take on large media groups like NDTV and make them apologize to the nation and when I say ‘we” I mean each of us can do their bit, I cant take up a gun and defend my borders, but I certainly wont watch a movie starring a Pakistani or buy Chinese goods and most certainly I won’t tolerate any to insult the Flag of India or the map of India. Please let us all come together and do what we can for our nation as John F Kennedy said “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”. I do hope my simple story inspires common people to say, all is not lost yet maybe we could come together and do something about this! However small our contribution is.”
Years back a social media user named Chaitanya Kunte exposed and NDTV and Barkha Dutt. Now, we have another Chaitanya who has struck the first blow. Will he herald a new era in accountability of India media?