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Dear media: Gutkha has been banned in UP since 2013, how can Adityanath ban it again in 2017?

Yogi Adityanath. (Image: Hindustan Times)

The problem with a large section of the Indian media is that, besides being stenographers of the first order, they are also outright lazy. What else, can explain the recent report, which appeared almost verbatim in all major newspapers, claiming that Yogi Adityanath has banned chewing of “paan” (betel leaf) and “paan masala”, widely known as “gutkha”, in all government buildings?

Take a look at these headlines:

NDTV: Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath Bans Paan Masala, Gutka In UP Offices

DNA: CM Yogi Adityanath bans paan masala, gutkha in Uttar Pradesh offices

Times of India: Yogi spots stained walls, bans paan-gutka in govt offices

News18: Yogi Adityanath Bans Plastic, Pan Masala, Gutka in Govt Offices

Business Today: After slaughterhouses, UP CM Yogi Adityanath bans gutka and pan masala in govt offices

Going by these headlines, there is no doubt that the report is a press release handed down to them by the UP govt. But as news organisation, doesn’t it behooves them, to at least fact check, what’s been given out to them?

Gutkha has been banned in Uttar Pradesh since 2013, how can Yogi Adityanath ban it again in 2017? (Reference: Hindustan Times: ‘Gutkha ban fuels pan masala, tobacco sale!’ June 24, 2013). Not just this, gutkha and pan masala is also banned in Tamil Nadu, Punjab and a slew of other states.

If gutkha was already banned in Uttar Pradesh, isn’t it misleading to report that Adityanath has banned gutkha and pan masala in govt offices, without informing the readers, about the existing law?

Perhaps, Adityanath is only enforcing the law, that was not implemented before. But shouldn’t news organisations, point it out clearly that, he is only enforcing an already existing ban? Shouldn’t news organisations, also point out that gutkha and pan masala is banned in other states too?

Or is sycophancy driving Indian media, to copy + paste, anything and everything that is been told to them, without questioning it?

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Shaik Zakeer Hussain is the Founder and Editor of The Cognate.

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