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Media Watch

Times of India refers to Aseemanand as ‘activist’, instead of ‘extremist’ or ‘terror accused’

Swami Aseemanand
Swami Aseemanand. Pic: Vivek Singh, The Caravan.

In its Friday, March 24, 2017 edition, under the article titled ‘Aseemanand to walk out of jail after 7 years’, The Times of India reporters have referred to Swami Aseemanand merely as a ‘right wing activist’, instead of using terms such as ‘extremist’ or ‘terror accused’, which it conveniently uses for other terror accused. For reasons known only to them, on its website, the article title is slightly changed to, ‘Samjhauta blast accused Swami Aseemanand to walk out of jail after 7 years’.

The report fails to mention the words, ‘Hindutva’ or ‘terrorism’, anywhere in the article, despite Aseemanand having confessed to his involvement in the Mecca masjid blast (which he later retracted.)

In contrast, The Indian Express and NDTV, both used terms such as ‘Hindutva terror’ and ‘right wing extremists’ to describe Aseemanand and his outfit, at least once in their articles, instead of resorting to neutral terms.

If when covering Hindutva terrorism, The Times of India can’t bring itself to do something as simple as calling a terror accused a terror accused, what does that refusal reveal about the paper’s mindset and agenda?

Quick Reference

News organisation: Times of India

Article link: Samjhauta blast accused Swami Aseemanand to walk out of jail after 7 years

Date: March 24, 2017

Reporters: Neeraj Chauhan & Bharti Jain

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

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