Probably, for the first time in Indian television industry’s history, viewers have launched a campaign against TV 9 for what they call “scandalous coverage” of news and events. According to a message making rounds on WhatsApp, a campaign has been launched to boycott TV 9 for its ‘scurrilous reporting and dividing people on the basis of religion and caste and creating an unhealthy atmosphere among the people through its various programmes.’
Sent in Telugu, the long message has listed a number of instances and cases in which people who got influenced by what they had seen on TV 9 entered into heated arguments and broke their relationship. And, in some cases, they came to blows; in families, some TV 9 programmes had led to feuds, the message has alleged.
Further, it said dozens of cases have been filed against the channel for defaming people, insulting organisations, telecasting canards about venerable and respected personalities and blackmail. “It’s not journalism; fake and false news peddled as true stories,” the message said. It wanted the recipients to join the mail chain to reach out to millions of Telugu’s in campaign against TV 9.
For many TV 9 fans, it is the only Telugu channel that exposes the ‘truth’ and calls a spade a spade, though not all will agree with that view. Sensationalism and hype are considered to be the channel’s forte. TV 9 uses both to maximum advantage to increase its TRP ratings, say many viewers. In the same breath, they stress that if some don’t want to watch the channel, let them switch over to other channels. Why a campaign when every TV channel in the country has a licence to operate and beam whatever it wants within the boundaries of law?