There would be some conspicuous reason behind the statement of Ramon Magsaysay (Asian version of Nobel Prize) award winner Ravish Kumar (NDTV’s senior executive editor), wherein he has advised people to stop watching Indian news channels. His assertion is based on the subjective approach of the Indian media in setting an agenda, creating biased narratives, and spreading false and fake propaganda, which has also affected the reputation of Indian media in the recent years. The rating of the Indian media has dropped considerably and the faith of the audience also appears to be plummeting, which is dangerous for the democratic system of India. Media is actively involved in spreading disinformation and biased narratives. Many readers and viewers have started believing whatever is reported by the media. Though biased reporting has been a feature of the media, in India it has touched new pinnacles, especially after the general elections of 2019, which was swept away by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Since then, it has been seen that the pressure on the media to toe the Hindu nationalist government’s line has increased. A new swarm of right-wing troll have become too active and never miss a chance to threaten the reporter and use offensive language and sometimes obscene explicit. Even women journalists are hardly spared. The eminent women journalists have been abused many times. The situation has reached to such an extent that a majority of people in several countries doubt the Indian media and its authenticity. Maybe to some extent they are also justified in doing so. Since Indian media is ‘biased’ on multiple counts, not just in political leaning, but going so far as to partial reporting or misreport big and small events and even spreading false or fake news. Therefore, as a result, false and concocted narratives are published and consumed by millions. In such a scenario democracy is being seriously threatened. Trust factor has suffered a decline. Due to the prevailing situation, Indian media’s rating has dipped worldwide. In 2020 World Press Freedom (WPF) ranked India at 142th position out of 180 countries (WPF) Index. Norway is at (1), Germany (11) Australia (26), France (34), UK (35), Pakistan (145), North Korea (180). Though, Indians have been blaming Pakistan media for its low level of reporting but in fact Indian media is close to Pakistan’s status/level in WPF index. As is said that lies spread faster than truth, and the role of social media has become a major source of recycling unauthenticated items released from these mainstream media. In this totalitarian coordination, social media has become instrumental in spreading lies. This social-cheating from these sold-out media along with social media as a major source of hatred and propaganda has reduced people’s ability to oppose unpopular ideas without any official ban. The decline in standards in television has been widespread. Even when the TV is caught in a wrong situation, it does not feel it necessary to correct itself by accepting the error. Earlier this month the Alt News, a fact-checking organisation, pointed out how two Indian TV channels – the India Today Group and one channel of The Times Group-transmitted some old images of a Chinese military cemetery as freshly built graves of Chinese soldiers killed in Galwan valley face-off in which 20 Indian soldiers had their lost life. In view of the Alt News report about Chinese cemetery, it can be presumed that the reportage in these channels was not an inadvertent-error, but purposeful spread of disinformation. The channels also speculated the death toll of PLA troops by presenting them anywhere between 45 to 100 soldiers. However, the factual position is that none of them is sure of Chinese casualties in the June face-off between India and China in the Galwan Valley. But Aaj Tak, a Hindi news channel jumped too far and claimed on its 31st August, 2020, news bulletins that it was airing “exclusive” images to prove that “40 PLA soldiers” were killed in the cross-border clashes in Eastern Ladakh or Galwan Valley. The Aaj Tak TV report mentioned: “We are showing you pictures of the freshly built graves of Chinese soldiers. Several people in the country wanted proof of the Chinese soldiers who were killed in Galwan clashes. The proof is on your television screens…more than 40 Chinese soldiers died in clashes with Indian forces and you can watch how Chinese soldiers paid respect to their tombs.” India Today’s TV channel also broadcast similar visuals. It showed satellite imagery of the same set of graves with two red arrows pointing at a specific area claiming that those were “new graves”. I am not trying to prove that no PLA troops were killed in the clashes. Whenever there is a clash between the enemies’ forces, troops are killed on both sides, since Chinese have not announced the figures of their dead, the Indian TV channels went out of the way to prove the killings of the Chinese troops in Galwan Valley standoff. And the Times Now claimed a different figures/ numbers of PLA deaths than the former two TV channels and reported: “Photos of 106 PLA tombstones reveal [the] extent of Chinese casualties in the 15th June, 2020 Galwan clash.” To the embarrassment of all these Indian channels, the Alt News found that the images aired by India Today dated back to 2011. All these channels shamelessly maintained silence over their incorrect reporting. Such incidents of purposefully wrong reporting blacken the face of Indian media in the world. Ever since the overwhelming victory second time by Modi, there have been pressures on the media to follow the dictates of the far-right Hindu nationalist government and its ministers and activists. Those who espouse Hindutva ideology that gave rise to a new definition of the Hindu nationalism, are trying to purge all manifestations of “anti-national” thoughts from the national debate. Despite this, the mainstream media continues to shamelessly insult dissenting opinion, and also to produce cooked-up and concocted news items to raise their profits. They work with motivation to improve their TRPs ratings and raise more hits, likes and shares. They hardly feel shy in placing sensational headlines, demeaning, and insulting national leaders for no objective reason, without any reason or rhyme, resort to outright lying to make a more dramatic story and hardly feel any dishonour in publishing a biased, partially and/or misreported narrative. In the prime-time debates, the establishment’s lapdog-journalists (participants) shout at the panel members without making any meaningful discussion. Biased, superfluous, and one-side discussions reach no conclusion, what so ever it is. That is why Ravish Kumar advises people to avoid viewing news channels. The Reporters Without Frointers (RSF), an organisation of international stature, has condemned a mob attack on three journalists in northeast Delhi on 11th August, 2020 – one of them a woman journalist who was sexually assaulted – and the lack of any police response. The authorities must do everything possible to bring those responsible to justice, RSF has demanded. The eminent freelance reporter Prabhjit Singh who is famous for his investigative journalism and have already done scores of such stories in Punjab, informed me on telephone from Delhi that he along with two others, including assistant photo editor Shahid Tantray, and a woman reporter who is not being identified for her protection work for the Caravan news website, were subjected to over one hour of harassment, during which they were insulted, trapped, threatened and beaten by a group of 40-50 people. They had gone to cover a mosque in North-eastern Delhi, which was damaged in February last during an attack on Muslims, who had also displayed a saffron flag on its roof top. Even after the three of them had disclosed their identity, they were assaulted. The Police refused to register FIR, and the police officer even deleted the video recording from their cameras and mobiles. Daniel Bastard, the head of the Reporters Without Frontiers (RSF’s) Asia-Pacific desk, New Delhi, said “The indifference of the police to these acts of violence against journalists trying to do their job is unacceptable and clearly constitutes complicity,”. After the nullifying of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) on 5th March 2019, during the curfew period, the journalists were harassed and called to police stations to disclose their source etc. Two of them are still in jail after more than a year passed without any explanation. Within the mainstream, there are a few honourable exceptions such as New Delhi Television (NDTV) or The Hindu, a daily English national newspaper, that still soldier on despite the pressures. Even some news portals have started reporting factual and objective news without surrendering or submitting to the authorities. There has also been the emergence of several small, but fiercely independent, online portals, fact-checking websites, and investigative outlets in the country: The Wire, Scroll, BOOM Live, The NewsMinute, and Alt News to name a few. With all such happening to journalists and media institutions, it is difficult to say how long these new independent news portals and news-stream sites would continue to survive? The writer is a senior journalist and Indo-Pak peace activist.