Real Insights on how Indian Media manipulated coverage to attack Paramahamsa Nithyananda

1) Interesting to note how Times of India tone completely changed after Dhyanapeetam gave them an exclusive interview.

2) The names of persons and corresponding pictures were found faulty on several occasions in Tamil Media. However English media refrained from this.

3) Severe mis-presentation of Swamiji’s quotes where some channels used his words and twisted them to make juicy headlines.

Times Now got an exclusive interview and misquoted Swamiji as saying:

- “ Yes, its me in the video”
- “ I was in a trance”

This ran whole day on channels and website on 14th March.
However, Swamiji did not say these anywhere in his interview.

4) IBN –CNN and several other channels used his interview with Rajiv Malhotra and grossly violated all ethics by severe mis-representation of his statements.

IBN-CNN ran the headline on March 15th – “I was experimenting in Bed – tainted Swami’s Excuse.”

5) On the night of 14th when several media channels entered into Swamiji’s hotel and tried to get a statement out of him.

Aaj Tak and NDTV channels reported several erroneous facts without checking with anyone. They reported that:
“Swamiji was staying in room 104 checked in as S K Tiwari and has been using a fake name and ID”.
They did not check that one Dhyanapeetam’s senior swami who was accompanying Swamiji had booked the room in his name.

From the night of March 2nd, 2010 we have witnessed how a well entrenched media group can misguide the people, inflame the passions of ordinary people and completely tarnish the image of a Spiritual Leader who's works have inspired millions around the world. Paramahamsa Nithyananda, over the last 5 years, was probably single handedly responsible for reviving spiritual interest amongst all age groups across the world, through his tireless work and inspiring talk. He even has around 700 free discourses on YouTube elaborating on almost every aspect of spirituality with such authenticity and has around 200 books published.

The TV channel that broadcast the videos have clearly violated all aspects of public decency just by showing such a video and yet no action has been initiated against them by any one. The whole episode was planned and timed to perfection. On 1st March 2010, Paramahamsa Nithyananda left for the Kumbha Mela. This was a schedule fixed months earlier. The perpetrators of this incident were well aware of this and showed the video on 2nd March 2010 at night, thus ensuring that Paramahamsa Nithyananda will not even be available for any comment.

The news videos were repeated continuously non-stop as though there was a national emergency. The intention of the video was purely to defame Paramahamsa Nithyananda and to orchestrate a public campaign against him. Within one hour of the video being shown, his ashrams in few places were simultaneously attacked. The news cast was repeated with the same intensity, now with the news mentioning, as though to justify, the public anger. The videos actually showed not more than 10 people in about 5 places, indulging in anti-social behavior by damaging the legitimate property of the ashrams. Yet the news conveyed the impression that the whole of Tamilnadu was actively agitating against Paramahamsa Nithyananda.

The following day the same news item was circulated with the same intensity, again as though a national emergency or calamity had occurred. Through out this episode, not even a single news of the other side was shown. No person from the ashram was even asked for an opinion. However, a single goonda like person was shown manhandling an ashramite from the Tiruvanamalai ashram repeatedly. The newsmen who captured this item were not even bothered to record a single word from this ashramite but even took statements from this goonda and others like him.

It was clear that they were trying hard to CREATE public anger.

The usual anti-social elements were being let loose to have a free run at any visible sign of Paramahamsa Nithyananda's ashram related activity areas. After having achieved the first objective of discrediting Paramahamsa Nithyananda's public persona, it was now time to start the 2nd phase of the malicious campaign.

Totally unsubstantiated new allegations of land grabbing, rape, sandalwood hoarding, unlawful confinement of ashramites were now being shown continuously. They had a free run in inciting and whipping up further public emotions. Now, other TV channels were keen on getting a slice of this pie.

An event was successfully created out of nothing significant and now there was also scope for good revenue to be made from it.

On 4th, the ashram put out a video on youtube and a message on their website stating "At this moment, we feel that a mix of conspiracy, graphics and rumor are at play in these recent events that have unfolded. We are working on a legal course of action and will come up with updates in due course.". None of these TV channels bothered with this.

It was more sensational to hurl accusations, create confusion and spread more rumors. News was literally being made. Maximum mileage and revenue was being made sensationalizing every bit of unsubstantiated, unverified news item.

On 6th March, Paramahamsa Nithyananda had to make a videophone recording explaining that nothing illegal was done either by him or his organization. Sun TV which found it appropriate to air a 8+ minutes of sleaze footage for 2 days could not find time to broadcast the 2:30mins of Swamiji's statement even once. Repeated videos put out by the ashram, even of a 45mins press conference were conveniently ignored or merited only casual passing coverage.

The created news had to die its natural death by people getting tired (and disgusted) of it but not before inflicting maximum damage as intended by its perpetrators.

A regular massage video was manipulated to misrepresent a spiritual leader and completely malign his name and shamelessly shown on a public news channel with the sole intention of 'character assassination' and maximum revenue was also generated in all forms of media owned by this group. An assortment of charges were made, hurled and circulated, public chaos was created, and in the end nothing was substantiated. It was left to (like Swamiji said) the victim to remain guilty until proven innocent.

Even interviews with Swamiji that have been recorded and put on YouTube (thankfully) have been miscast and mis-captioned.

This is unfortunately the media that we watch daily and actually pay for watching. This can be carried out, at will, against any Hindu spiritual leader or organization but will never be attempted against any other religion or religious organization in India.