Last week, Thirumurugan Gandhi was unexpectedly toasted as a hero on social networking sites for shouting out Times Now editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami on a TV debate.
The Chennai-based activist, a panelist on Goswami's electronic prime time durbar, ended up screaming at his host during a discussion on the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
In all the sound and fury, the real issue of Tamils, Lankan Tamils and the question of why Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated and who benefitted from the dastardly act are being lost, says Thirumurugan.
The founder of the May 17 movement, Thirumurugan defends his screaming match with Arnab saying he was frustrated by the “north Indian” electronic media's bias towards the south.
He accuses both CNN IBN's Rajdeep Sardesai and Times Now's Arnab Goswami as being both 'uninformed' and 'rude'.
“Rajdeep tried to drive an ethnic wedge into the debate, while Arnab is like an 'item boy' of television news,” says Thirumurugan.
Excerpts from a freewheeling chat:
Why do you call Arnab an 'item boy of TV news'?
I have nothing against Arnab Goswami. He is doing his job in the media business, a big ticket event with huge stakes. Such a scenario demands horses that can win the race.
Sadly, in the process of running such a race the media fails to question the policy level decisions whereby it can correct the imbalances in the system.
People like Arnab and Rajdeep do not delve deep into the fundamentals of any issue they take up for debate.
Our democracy hinges upon courts and politicians depend upon people. The bridge between the two is the media, which is in a position to formulate public opinion and present it from an unbiased platform.
Our politicians cannot ignore public opinion, and when that comes into public debate due to a crisis - as it happened when the Supreme Court commuted the death penalty of three convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case - the media should show the wisdom to recognize the grassroots level struggle, instead of towing the establishment line.
There is a groundswell of opinion against the death penalty, and activists like me do not always get the platform in a debate.