In a bold move aimed at addressing what they perceive as biased media coverage, the recently formed Opposition bloc I.N.D.I.A has declared a boycott of 14 prominent news anchors across nine Indian television news channels. The decision to boycott was reached during the alliance’s first coordination committee meeting on September 13, attended by representatives from 12 political parties.
The anchors facing the boycott are Aman Chopra, Amish Devgan, and Anand Narasimhan of News18, Aditi Tyagi of Bharat Express, Ashok Shrivastav of DD News, Sudhir Chaudhary and Chitra Tripathi of Aaj Tak, Rubika Liyaquat of Bharat24, Gaurav Sawant and Shiv Aroor of India Today, Prachi Parashar of India TV, Navika Kumar and Sushant Sinha of Times Now Navbharat, and Arnab Goswami of Republic Bharat.
The I.N.D.I.A alliance justified their decision by citing concerns over what they termed “communal debates” and the anchors’ alleged detachment from issues of public interest. A member of the alliance’s media committee confirmed that this action was taken as part of their efforts to counter the perceived influence of these media houses and to reclaim public opinion. Opposition parties have increasingly relied on social media and independent journalists to amplify their messages, alleging that certain news anchors have favored the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Pawan Khera, a member of the media sub-committee, stated, “We believe that these news anchors have contributed to a divisive narrative spewed by these anchors.”
The announcement of the boycott was met with swift criticism from the BJP, with party national president J.P. Nadda accusing the alliance of having ulterior motives. Nadda claimed that the opposition’s agenda amounted to “bashing Sanatana Sanskriti” (referring to traditional Indian culture) and “bullying the media.” He also likened the alliance’s actions to a “Nazi style” approach and criticized what he called their “Emergency-era mindset.”
The I.N.D.I.A alliance’s move to boycott these anchors highlights the ongoing debate about media impartiality and the role of media in shaping public opinion in India’s dynamic political landscape.