In a recent article, Top 7 Newspapers Known to Favor Specific Political Parties in India, I talked about how most of the popular newspapers favor specific political parties. When it comes to television, the confederacy between politicians and media goes to a whole new level. Instead of paying for advertisement in the form of news, politicians have decided that it is much more economical to just own television channels. The list of channels owned directly or indirectly by politicians is a very long one. Almost all news channels are owned either directly or indirectly by politicians. The situation in the south is far worse with every party in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala, owning at least one channel. Since the number of channels owned by politicians is so huge I can’t write about all of them but here are 7 of the more famous channels who have a definite conflict of interest in delivering political news because their owners are all politicians themselves.
Before we get into the top 7 news channels, here are some regional and lesser known channels just for your information:
- Congress health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s wife Riniki Bhuyan is the chairperson of News Live and Rang.
- In Karnataka, tourism minister Janardhana Reddy and health minister Sriramulu Reddy own Janashri along with a couple of newspapers.
- Kasturi TV is owned by former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy.
- Suvarna TV of the Asianet group is owned by Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrashekhar.
- Sakshi TV is owned by Jagan Mohan Reddy along with NTV and TV5 in Andhra Pradesh.
- Studio N is owned by Narne Srinivasa Rao, a businessman related to N. Chandrababu Naidu.
- Odisha TV is owned by Baijayant Panda of the BJD. Other channels in Orissa are also politician owned.
- Indiavision in Kerala is owned by Muslim League Secretary M.K. Muneer.
- In West Bengal, CPI(M) controls TV-24 Ghanta. Trinamool Congress has Kolkata TV.
- Sukhbir Singh Badal owns PTC and PTC News in Punjab along with PTC Punjabi and PTC Chak De.
And now let’s come to the crème de la crème of politically owned news channels in India.
7. Jaya TV
Named after its owner, Jaya TV is owned by Jayalalithaa, the AIADMK chief. She also owns Jaya Max, Jaya Plus and J Movie. She owns all this through the holding company Mavis Satcom Ltd. But she is not alone in Tamil Nadu to own television channels. Congress owns Mega TV and Vasanth TV while Vijayakanth of DMDK owns Captain Tv.
6. Sun TV
Even with all this political control of television in Tamil Nadu, the top honors go to DMK chief Karunanidhi’s nephew Kalanithi Maran. He controls Sun TV, Sun News, KTV, Sun Music, Chutti TV, Sumangali Cable, Adithya TV, Chintu TV, Kiran TV, Khushi TV, Udaya Comedy, Udaya Music, Gemini TV, Gemini Comedy and Gemini Movies. Karunanidhi himself owns Kalaignar TV and a close associate M. Raajhendran owns Raj TV and Raj Digital Plus.
Rajendra Dadra, the Minister of School Education of Maharashtra and his brother Vijay Dadra, a Rajya Sabha member, both of Congress, control Lokmat which is the largest selling Marathi newspaper in Maharashtra. The group also owns IBNLokmat in association with the TV18 group.
4. India News
India News is owned by Karthikeya Sharma, brother of Manu Sharma who was sentenced to life imprisonment in the Jessica Lal murder case. Karthikeya Sharma owns the ITV Media group that operates many news channels including News X. Karthikeya and Manu are sons of Congress leader Venod Sharma.
3. News 24
Rajeev Shukla, among other things is the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Planning and the secretary of the All India Congress Committee. He controls News 24 with his wife Anuradha Prasad. They also own Aapno 24 and E24. Interestingly Anuradha Prasad is the sister of BJP leader, Ravi Shankar Prasad.
NDTV is owned by Prannoy Roy. The NDTV group owns NDTV India, NDTV Good Times, NDTV 24×7 and NDTV Profit and other channels. NDTV is known to be sympathetic to communists. The Bengali Roy is married to Radhika Roy whose sister is Brinda Karat a Rajya Sabha member of CPI(M). Brinda Karat is married to Prakash Karat who is the General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
1. Times Now
Times Now is part of the Times group which is a very big media house which operates Times of India, Mid-Day, Nav-Bharath Times, Stardust, Femina, Vijay Times, Vijaya Karnataka and Times Now. Times Group is owned by Bennet & Coleman. The Italian Robertio Mindo who has a share in the group is a close relative of Sonia Gandhi.
If any channels were left from this list, then it can be either because the politicians have done a good job in hiding any direct links or because I got bored of researching all of them.
Besides politicians businessmen also like to have some control over media and they either have a share in media companies or they give their shares to media companies in exchange of favorable news. All business channels giving stock market advice are so notorious for advertising that the Govt. of India has warned stock investors to heed to the advice given by the media on their own risk.
The truth is that all mass media in India has become corrupt and the only source of trustworthy news that is left is the internet through blogs and small news sites or through social networking sites such as Twitter where news comes direct from the source to the public. If there’s someone making money while delivering the news from the source to the public, you can rest assured that it won’t be a 100% true.
Aditya Thakur is an ex marine engineer who quit his sailing career to pursue his dreams of being a writer. Now he freelances, blogs and writes short stories all day long.