People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 42

October 21, 2012





Media Manoeuvrings for Manufacturing Consent -- II


K K Ragesh


THE long pages of history are replete with the instances of how the ruling classes have been misusing the media in their class interest, believing in the
Goebbelsian formula of telling a lie again and again in the hope that it would be sooner or later accepted as a truth. In Kerala, the agenda of the UDF-rightwing media nexus has been acting of precisely the same line. However, its gameplan has not been confined to the Ariyil incident alone.



Let us take the Fazal case about which the nexus of the ruling UDF and the media has adopted the same propaganda technique. Fazal was an activist of the National Democratic Front (NDF), later rechristened as the Popular Front which is an extremist organisation, was murdered on October 22, 2006. Immediately after the incident the NDF accused the RSS for the murder. It also boycotted the peace conference organised by the RDO of Thalasserry in order to register its protest to the invitation sent to the RSS for the peace conference. But the same NDF later made an astounding U-turn and pointed its accusing finger at the CPI(M). This was clearly a part of the NDF game of political vendetta following the stringent action taken by the then LDF government against the NDF’s terror links. If the NDF had earlier pressurised the investigating team to arrest some RSS activists in connection with Fazal’s murder, it later began accusing the CPI(M) and the then home minister, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan. It was widely propagated that the CPI(M) and Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had tried to project the RSS as responsible to the murder. The Mathrubhumi daily, even though it corrected its report later, repeatedly and extensively resorted to this propaganda with numerous news items and reports. Amid such campaigns on the NDF plan, an appeal was filed before the court asking it to issue the directive for a CBI investigation. The same was granted.


After the investigation was thus handed over to the CBI, the encoded screenplay of the UDF and media become. Muhammed Fazal was killed in strange circumstances. The reference in the post mortem report --- that undigested food was found in his stomach --- adds to the mystery as he was killed in the early morning. As the NDF had propagated that the RSS had masterminded the killing, the investigation naturally proceeded along this line and did not pay heed to the mysterious circumstances. The state police and the Crime Branch investigated the case for three years but did not get any substantial evidence to prove the murder. The Crime Branch, after three years of investigation, closed the file after making some locals as accused in the case --- so as to save its face.




The CBI, under the pretext of investigation, also cooked up a story so as to suite the tales propagated by the NDF and the right wing media. It appeared it had no other task but to charge the CPI(M) at any cost, on the basis of a stage-managed scheme. The central investigating agency showed no hesitation in repeating the ridiculous rubbish of the NDF about the CPI(M)’s hostility to Fazal. In its chargesheet, the CBI argued that the CPI(M) had had deep extreme enmity for Fazal who had deserted the DYFI several years ago and was associated with the NDF newspaper Thejas. It was also said that its circulation increased after he associated with this paper and that this affected the circulation of Deshabhimani daily. But the fact is that the circulation of Deshabhimani daily has never went down in this area. The leading newspapers and channels including the Malayala Manorama lapped up this ‘great finding’ of the CBI that the increasing circulation of a newspaper --- and that too of one that was hardly heard of --- had become the reason for enmity and murder!


The CBI further argued that after the murder, the CPI(M) deliberately tried to set the NDF and the RSS against each other by blaming the RSS for the murder, and that it had put the blood-stained clothes after the murder at an RSS office in order to create communal tension. Any sensible person can only laugh on the contention that a party that has been known and appreciated for its role in combating communalism and had made innumerable sacrifices to ensure communal harmony, would try to engineer a communal.


Moreover, the fact remains that the ‘Moscow Nagar’ where the blood-stained clothes were has no RSS office at all.


It is obvious that the CBI has been dancing to the tunes of the ruling UDF and the Congress party, and that it has been providing all sorts of cock and bull stories to the rightwing media in order to malign the CPI(M). on their part, instead of questioning the follies and fabrications in the political proclamation prepared in the name of a chargesheet, the so called independent news channels and print media have been excitedly vying with one another to disseminate the great revelations (!) of the CBI.


The CBI also argued that the CPI(M)’s vote share in the Thalassery assembly constituency had gone down, mainly because the Muslims had been going away from the party, and that therefore, in order to overcome this situation, the CPI(M) had killed an NDF worker and tried to put the blame on the RSS in its effort to ignite a Hindu-Muslim clash, which it could take advantage of. However, this contention is proved bogus by the fact that the CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan got elected from the same Thalasserry constituency by a huge margin which was more than double the margin in preceding assembly elections in 2001.


Amid the calculated and targeted news reports showing some party leaders as accused, Karayi Rajan (member of the CPI(M)’s Kannur district secretariat) and Karayi Chandrasekharan (its Thiruvangad local committee secretary) moved the High Court  for anticipatory bail. During the hearing on the bail petition, however, the CBI’s advocate told the court on April 12 that the CBI had not made Karayi Rajan and Karayi Chandrasekharan as accused in the case and that it could be decided only after interrogation. But the same CBI used the media after the murder of T P Chandrasekharan and made some CPI(M) leaders accused in the case without any interrogation.




After the initial investigation and after some arrests were made in the T P Chandrasekharan case, the DGP had convened a meeting of the investigating team. Then the DGP, after the meeting, said that the killing was for private gain and could not be considered to be a political murder. But did the media show any respect to the statement of the state police chief? Instead, it showed utmost intolerance, fervently attacked the DGP and created a controversy on the statement. Immediately after this heinous murder, the UDF and the media began to obsessively blame the CPI(M) for it.


As for the CPI(M), it strongly condemned the murder and expressed its deep protest by stating that it was “despicable, mean and pathetic.” The party demanded a thorough enquiry to trace the culprits. It made it clear beyond any doubt that it had nothing to do with the murder as was being propagated. It is not the policy of the CPI(M) to annihilate dissenting voices and political opponents; instead, it seeks to fight them politically. But the euphoric media showed an extreme wrath because of its anti-Marxist epilepsy. The media were also enthusiastic to justify the state home minister’s political intervention when he came out to ‘correct’ the DGP. The KPCC president’s presence in the meeting of the special investigating team (SIT) and the differences in the SIT about whether to target the CPI(M) leaders without any evidence, did not become ‘breaking news’ for the media.


After the chief minister’s and the home minister’s response to the DGP’s statement, on the basis of a predetermined plot, leaders and cadres of the CPI(M) at various levels were implicated in the case. Their aim as to create an impression among the general public that the killing was pre-planned and executed by the CPI(M) and that its cadres at various levels were involved in it.


Was the excitement shown by the media intended to unearth the facts of a heinous crime? Was it in any way an innocuous protest against the murder that the media continued to telecast thousands of ‘news’ items and television discussions for more than six months? In contrast, the news broadcasts about the disgusting twin murder of Kuniyil at Areekkode, after the open call given by P K Basheer, an IUML MLA, was limited for merely two days. Why? When DYFI activist Philip John was killed by the drug mafia in Oommen Chandy’s own constituency Puthuppally, why the same media remained passive? The same attitude continued when Vineesh at Palakkad, Sreekrishnapuram and M Aneesh at Kottayam, and Chingavanam were brutally murdered in the same period? When the Congress goons killed the SFI’s Idukki district vice president Aneesh Rajan and the government extended protection to the criminals, the same media observed a wilful silence. These killings of CPI(M) activists did not become ‘breaking news’ and topics of discussion in channel rooms. Why?


A shocking confession was once made by Prasanth Babu, a mentor of the Congress Lok Sabha member K Sudhakaran, that Sudhakaran had given direction to kill K Nanu and Nalpadi Vasu, and that the same Sudhakaran was behind five murder attempts, including those against CPI(M) Central Committee member E P Jayarajan. But the confession did not find any place in the broadcasts for more than a day. Moreover, it was the same media that tried to portray the brutal killing of DYFI unit secretary Manoj at Kasaragod as death due to collapse! Would it be too much to urge that let the rightwing media do whatever they like, they must desist from wearing the mask of ‘independent’ journalism?