How social media dominated the discussions in newsrooms
Social media has become a very resourceful place for news channels to pick news. Twitter trends have dominated the inside discussions in newsrooms. While some hashtags trended before the news programs, some were promoted in the program itself. Throughout the year, we saw top Twitter trends being discussed on the shows. As we have come close to the end of an eventful year, which saw almost half of the population being locked inside their home, let’s look at some hashtags which became the prime time debates in 2020.
After the death of Sushant Singh Rajput, people blamed it on nepotism, favouritism, and cronyism. People like Karan Johar, Salman Khan, Mahesh Bhatt, Aditya Chopra were targeted by the fans of Sushant on social media. Kangana Ranaut jumped in and said that the death of Sushant Singh was a murder. Later, many people got influenced and asked Justice for Late actor Sushant Singh Rajput. The hashtag “JusticeForSushant” kept dominating the Twitter trends. After several days of online protests, few news channels picked the hashtag and debated around it. Later, almost every news channel dived-in and made it the biggest issue of the country for more than 2 months.
When the Citizenship Amendment Act was enacted on 12 December 2020, many people across the country protested against the law saying it was discriminatory to Muslims and was against the secular values of the country. Students of almost 40 universities joined the anti-CAA protest and asked the government to take back the law. However, the government was adamant and kept saying that no Indian will lose its citizenship under this law.
Shaheen Bagh became a topic of debate after hundreds of Muslim women sat on the road at Shaheen Bagh, Delhi asking for the removal of CAA law. While some news channels targeted the protest of Shaheen Bagh saying that it was sponsored by anti-social elements, others showed the bravery of women who were up against a strong government and didn’t lose their ground despite accusations of POK sponsored protest, Biryani, Rs 500, and other things.
It was 5th December when more than 50 masked men entered the JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) campus and attacked students and teachers. Many students were severely injured, professors who tried to intervene were also beaten. The mob escaped after beating the residents of the JNU campus within 3 hours. Student Union President Aishe Ghosh alleged that ABVP (Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad) was responsible for the attack. When the hashtag started trending on Twitter, various news channels covered the news from different perspectives as per their ideological and political inclination. While some blamed the Leftist students, some blamed the ABVP for the violence.
Although it can’t be said the hashtag “#DelhiRiot” was the reason why it was covered in news, we can surely say that videos and images from social media contributed a lot to media channels in the coverage of Delhi Riot. While the north-eastern part of Delhi was burning, Donald Trump was meeting with Narendra Modi in Central Delhi. The hashtags contributed a big part in setting the narrative of the Delhi riots coverage.
Hathras case didn’t become a big issue until it started to trend on Twitter as the incident of gang-rape happened in a rural part of Uttar Pradesh. Prime Time anchors debated the issue of rape, murder, and suppression of Dalits after outrage on social media. It was alleged that a Dalit woman was gang-raped by four upper-caste people in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh.
In the early stage of coronavirus, when the number of cases was in the hundreds, attendees of Tablighi Jamaat at the Markaz in Nizamuddin, Delhi were blamed for being the super-spreader of the virus. It is said that around 5,000 attendees of Tablighi Jamaat, who went to different parts of the country were found Coronavirus positive. Islamophobic hashtags like #CoronaJihad #TalighiJamaatVirus #IslamicCoronavirusJihad trended on Twitter and gave an opportunity for news channels to bash the attendees of Tablighi Jamaat.
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