A New YouTube Channel That Promises to Counter ‘Lies’ and ‘Fakes’ of Mainstream Media

Muhammad Adeeb, a former member of the Rajya Sabha.

Muhammad Adeeb begins ground work for a YouTube channel to be launched ‘soon’

Shaheen Nazar | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – A new media outlet with a promise to counter the “lies” and “fakes” of the corporate-backed mainstream media will be launched “very soon”.

Its promoter, Muhammad Adeeb, a former member of the Rajya Sabha, announced this through a video on August 15, a significant date when the nation celebrated its 74th Independence Day. It was his second video in about six months.

His first video had generated considerable excitement in Muslim circles not only in India but the world over. His video clip calling for an independent media was widely shared on social media groups with opinion leaders writing articles in Urdu and English, stressing the need for a media that would present news in the ‘right perspective’ and expose the ‘bias’ of Muslim-bashing television anchors.

Aptly named ‘Freedom Express’, the outlet will be in a digital format. A YouTube channel initially, and, later, a news website are planned. Adeeb has no more information to share except that a trust has been formed, an office accommodation somewhere in Delhi rented and a senior broadcast journalist Prashant Tandon given the responsibility to make this venture a reality.

Tandon had started his career with TVI of Business India Group, which was India’s first round-the-clock news channel. He has held senior positions in channels like IBN 7 (now News 18 India), Star News (now ABP News) and India TV. Besides, he is a known figure in Delhi’s activist circles and invited in events organised by organisations such as Jamaat-e-Islami Hind.

Currently, Adeeb is more focussed on raising funds for his venture. In a telephonic conversation, he said he had wealthy people to support him but he was not taking their help at the moment. He wants public participation. “If 10,000 people contribute Rs 100 a month, we can generate Rs 10 lakhs which would be sufficient to run our media,” he said.

While it is debatable how workable a plan like this is, one thing is for sure: Money is not going to be an issue. The Muslim community is so sentimental about a media of its own that it can spend any amount of money to make this happen. The way Indian media, especially television channels, have been inciting hatred against them has shaken the entire community. The Tablighi episode is the latest setback caused by media criminalising the entire community.

There are a number of outlets already doing the job of an alternative media–The Wire, The Print, Scroll.in, to name a few. They are covering issues which the mainstream media is simply ignoring for obvious reasons. It’s no secret that Mukesh Ambani is controlling more than half the media outlets ranging from newspapers to TV channels to FM radios to online portals.

And again his closeness to the ruling dispensation is no secret. Besides, the influence of RSS on the media is well known. News anchors like Sudhir Chaudhary, Arnab Goswami, Deepak Chaurasia, Amish Devgan, Anjana Om Kashyap, Rohit Sardana, etc. are the products of the media planning that RSS has been making for a very long time. After Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister in 2014, they are emboldened and feel obliged to demonise Muslims day in and day out.

It’s not that Muslims are not doing anything to counter the disturbing trend and present their own point of view. Today, there are a number of online news portals like TwoCircles.net, MuslimMirror.com, BeyondHeadlines.in, Ummid.com, ClarionIndia.net, IndiaTomorrow.net and Maeeshat.in who are doing a commendable job.

Addition of a new media outlet is always welcome, especially when its expressed purpose is to offer a counter-narrative to the parroting of government propaganda and hate-mongering. But the question is: how effective is it going to be? The success of the venture lies in the content it presents and we know the promoter has good intentions.

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