New Delhi: The chief of news channel TV9 has come under scrutiny after he was heard promising “badlav”, or change, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi pointed out that his employees were biased against him.
CEO Ravi Prakash’s comment caught in a video at the launch of the channel’s Hindi version Sunday, was seen as an instance of media capitulation to the executive, but TV9 insiders told ThePrint that he had been misinterpreted.
“Ravi is Telugu,” a senior employee in the new channel, TV9 Bharatvarsh, said. “He is not fluent in Hindi.
“Our slogan is ‘desh badlo‘. That is what he meant to imply, not that we’ll be changing our editorial staff,” the employee added.
TV9 Bharatvarsh is owned by the broadcasting company Associate Broadcasting Company Pvt Ltd (ABCPL).
The video and the ‘real badlav’
In the video, Modi tells Prakash that his channel is full of people “jinke blood mein mujhe gaali dena hai (who have it in their blood to abuse me)”, to which the latter replies “badlav la rahe hain (we are bringing change)”.
The conversation continues as Modi adds, “Aisa mat karo. Unko jeene do becharon ko, unki atma mar jayegi toh, mazza nahi aayega (Don’t do that. Let these poor souls live. If their spirits die, it will be no fun).”
Prakash’s comment has been interpreted by many as the CEO offering to change his editorial team in light of Modi’s comment.
The Congress lost no time in highlighting the video, saying it demonstrated Modi’s inimical approach towards a free media — a charge the party has repeatedly lobbed at the prime minister.
In a post on microblogging website Twitter, Congress’ communication in-charge Randeep Surjewala wrote, “When the prime minister gives open threats, then the media has to be a lap dog.”
AAP legislator from Delhi, Alka Lamba, also shared the video on the site, saying, “Their (the media’s) spirits haven’t died yet,” she wrote.
The TV9 insider, however, said it wasn’t so — that the “badlav” Prakash was talking about had nothing to do with an editorial reshuffle at all.
“The badlav Ravi is talking about is the change we want to bring in the way journalism is done today. That is all,” the senior said.
Officially, however, the editorial team at TV 9 has taken a decision to keep away from the controversy and not comment on it. They have even taken down the video, although it continues to be shared widely across social media.