New Delhi, April 20 (IANS) After 10 months the Congress has officially ended the boycott of debates on TV channels and has started sending panelists to TV debates, however boycott of two English and Hindi channels continues.
Pranav Jha, Secretary AICC , Incharge of communication department, said, “Yes we have started sending out panelists to news channels for debates.”
The party said, before the 2019 elections, TV debates had mostly become polarising and one sided, more often than not taking up non issues. After the Lok Sabha elections, we realized that such debates started becoming extremely one-sided and agenda driven. Spokespersons from opposition parties were not given equal amount of time. Gradually all major opposition parties distanced themselves from the TV debates.
Pranav Jha said, “It brought some good changes in the Indian news world. Television stopped holding unnecessary debate shows in absence of credible participants. Many anchors dropped programs and moved on to doing more news analysis based shows. Many anchors realised the need to come out of the studio and go out in the field. Overall the number of debates reduced to a minimum. Internally we felt that the change that we were hoping for in TV debates has come around and that may be it was time to rejoin the TV shows once again to see if the Opposition gets chance to have its say; whether the level playing field has been restored again or not.”
“In the Carona crisis, when everyone is finding it difficult to access news both from the opposition and the government in equal measures, we decided that our spokespersons would go on to TV, participate in the debate, be the opposition’s voice and play that important role in the fight against Corona. Now we are going to almost all the channels except those who have a set agenda to act as the mouthpiece of the government and not as the fourth pillar envisaged in Indian democracy,” added Jha.
The system which has been put in place is the same old one where the News Channels puts in request to the AICC which deputes the spokesperson as per the need of the channels. It started at the beginning of the month when party thought to put their viewpoint forward on Covid-19 and allowed the panelist to go ahead.
A source said that first it was one or two and it has scaled up to 10 debates a day. While on Sunday it’s less, but said that the Congress is still avoiding to participate in debates which has communal overtones.
Rajiv Tyagi, spokesperson of the party who has started going to debates and is known for speaking straight, said, “In a democracy you have to give response to all questions and not run away from it. It’s impending upon us to confront the section of the media which is out to dismantle the democracy, and put forward the Congress viewpoint on various issues but Godi Media is still out for supari debates.”
The party after losing te 2019 General Elections decided in June last year to boycott TV debates as it is a futile exercise as Media organisations started Congress bashing and debating on communal angle, said an insider.
Congress may decide to go full fledge on TV debates as in the party there are different views as some still think not to go to TV debates as it only harms the party.