Manufacturing news

Vishwa Deepak, the Zee News whistle-blower who quit in protest at how the channel had doctored videos to support its Umar Khalid/Kanhaiya Kumar narrative, has some insight into how “news” is made.

“On February 10, I was on the morning shift, which comprised a shift head, two second shift heads, three or four producers of which I was one, two or three package producers, and two or three video editors,” said Deepak.

“At the editorial meet that afternoon, a producer was given the video footage and told to work on it because it was a ‘big story’. The producer brought the video to me and I watched it and heard it. The video was grainy and there was a lot of sloganeering but most of which was not clearly audible. I heard ‘Bhartiya Court Zindabad’,” he said.

According to Deepak, the producer showed the video to other “responsible” colleagues but none were able to clearly make out the words being chanted.

“Then our editors came down to our section and told us it was a big story, it had to go on air and that ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ could be heard. So we all agreed because the editors and other colleagues felt it was ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ that was being chanted. We began to produce the show and because the audio was not clear, we added a bubble or blurb with ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ written in it to guide our viewers on what we felt was being chanted,” said Deepak.

And then, of course, Bhim Bhassi’s Delhi police went straight to Zee for “evidence” to support its FIR — despite having three of its own personnel on the premises at the event as official eyewitnesses.

But the police case or FIR, filed on February 11, two days after the JNU rally- bases the sedition charge -punishable by a maximum sentence of life imprisonment- on footage of the demonstration that was aired on Zee News. This provokes questions because the police had actually deputed three constables in civil clothes to attend the rally prompted by a message from JNU officials which said the event was designed to question the hanging of Afzal Guru three years ago for his role in the attack on Parliament in 2001.

The FIR states: “HC Rambir No. 2923/SD, CT Karmbir No. 1664/SD, CT Dharmbir No. 3846/SD were sent in civil dress to the Sabarmati Dhaba ( the location of the event) and were briefed accordingly.”

Though the policemen watched the event first-hand, the FIR makes no reference to any observations by them about Mr Kumar.