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NDTV Takeover Bid Grim for Independent Media, May Spur Firings, Forced Resignations: DUJ

The Delhi-based scribes' union accused the Central government of having a role in the takeover in a bid to further narrow mainstream opposition.

Image Courtesy: NDTV

New Delhi: Reports of a hostile takeover bid of New Delhi Television Limited (NDTV) by the Adani Group is not good news for independent and critical media in India, said the Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ).

In a statement issued on Wednesday, DUJ expressed "deep disappointment and disagreement" at the new developments in the media landscape of the country.

"The Delhi Union of Journalists is shocked at news reports that NDTV is being bought up by the Adani Group. It is evident that the two oligarchs of the Indian economy have decided to parcel out the entire media industry between them, leaving no room for independent players," the statement read.

While saluting the "brave staff and management of NDTV" who "stood up to multiple pressures and challenges in these past years to bring us both news and views from a professional perspective", the journalists’ organisation said it feared firings and forced resignations of journalists would follow in the organisation and expressed deep concern for their future.

The scribes' union, while commenting on the state of the Indian media today, said if feared the situation would further worsen after NDTV's takeover.

"So blatant is the bias that during every people's movement there is open rejection of certain TV channels and their anchors. Both during the CAA protests and the farmers' struggle, people loudly questioned the propaganda blitzkrieg by these channels," the statement read.

"As professional journalists we are deeply disappointed and discouraged by the hostile takeover of the last independent mainstream TV channel. NDTV will now be used to promote the Adani empire which spans multiple business enterprises within the country and abroad," the DUJ claimed in its statement, adding that "fair reportage of developments spanning multiple  sectors, ranging from mining to ports, airports, food grains, edible oils, cement and energy will become impossible."

In a stunning move on Tuesday, the  Adani Group launched a hostile takeover bid for NDTV, first with an indirect acquisition of a 29.18% stake in the broadcaster followed by an offer to buy out a further 26% controlling stake. The owners of NDTV, one of the nation's most popular news channels, said they were completely unaware of the takeover until Tuesday, and that it was done without their consent or any discussion.

The DUJ also accused the Central government of being “behind the takeover”. "The takeover of NDTV is doubtless at the behest of the government of the day which brooks no opposition, be it from media, civil society or political adversaries. The move will reinforce the narrow, unipolar worldview of the ruling party and impose it further on citizens. The illusion that India is still a democracy now lies shattered," it said,

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