Bollywood’s a Sellout! Did We Really Need Cobrapost to Tell Us That?

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Bollywood’s a Sellout! Did We Really Need Cobrapost to Tell Us That?

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

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ou’ve got to feel bad for the earnest, smart investigative reporters at Cobrapost. Last year, it published an exposé of national and regional media houses that only confirmed what all of us who have access to Republic TV already know. When offered the right sum of money, these “bastions of the Fourth Pillar of democracy”, from IndiaTV to DNA, agreed to spin pro-Hindutva sentiments in order to influence the 2019 election. In our post-Cambridge Analytica hellscape of fake news and info wars, the willingness of news organisations to place their diminishing bottom lines before their ethics has been well-documented.

And this week, Cobrapost dropped a “bombshell” once again by releasing videos of Operation Karaoke. The months-long sting saw Cobrapost set up a fake PR agency and contact Bollywood celebrities, asking them to endorse a political party on social media, in exchange for ₹two-to-50 lakh per post. The parties that Cobrapost claimed to represent varied between the BJP, Congress, and AAP.

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