Godi media

Term for pro-government media in India

Godi media (Hindi pronunciation: [ɡoːdiː]; lit.'media sitting on lap'; idiomatic equivalent: 'lapdog media';)[1][2][3][4] is a pejorative term coined and popularised by veteran journalist Ravish Kumar for the sensationalist and biased Indian print and TV news media, which supports the ruling NDA government (since 2014).[5][6][7] The term is a pun on the name of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and has become a common way to refer to television and other media that are perceived as mouthpieces of the leading party of the NDA, the Bharatiya Janata Party.[6][8]


As per an opinion piece by Debasish Roy Chowdhury for Time magazine, Modi's ascension to national power in 2014 led to the taming of India's media. His rise coincided with a reorganization of the editorial authority of some of India's most important news institutions, particularly national television networks. The previous generation of senior editors, who were viewed as more devoted to India's liberal outlook than the BJP's Hindu nationalist ideology, were moved out, and new channels and news leaders with devotion to the BJP and Modi were developed. Because of their large state and party advertising budgets, India's state and central governments hold considerable control over media companies.[9] In the 2019-20 fiscal year, the central government alone spent roughly 1.95 crore (equivalent to 2.3 crore or US$290,000 in 2023) on advertisements per day.[10] Access to power and business favours are additional incentives for the media to continue with the pro-BJP messages. This ensures that bad news never affects the government or goes public. With a few exceptions, the government has made sure that the media outlets seek government approval for their reporting.[9]


The term was coined and popularized by veteran journalist Ravish Kumar, about the sensationalist and biased Indian print and TV news media supporting the NDA government. The term translates to "media sitting on the lap".[6][11] In one of his shows, Kumar used silent actors to mime "godi media". This was accompanied by miming what the currently ruling party leaders wanted to listen to, using the Hindi film song "Bagon Mein Bahar Hai".[12]

Usage and popularity

In 2018, on World Press Freedom Day, many journalists and social activists held a demonstration which protested, among other things, against the "godi media".[13] The term was also widely used at the time of the Citizenship Amendment Act protests, and the 2020–2021 Indian farmers' protest, with the claim that the protest and the farmers were not being represented fairly.[14][15][16][17]

Detractors of Godi media allege that instead of practising honest journalism, such media publishes fake news and inflammatory stories, which are often untrue, working in the interest of BJP government, corporate and elite sources for their benefit.[5][18] Media houses and news entities alleged as Godi media include Zee News, Times Now, Republic Bharat, Republic TV, Aaj Tak, ABP News, Sudarshan News, CNN-News18, India TV, OpIndia, the TV Today Network, and others.[19][7][20][21]

Rajdeep Sardesai, an Indian news anchor and author, said that "a large section of the Indian media… has become a lap dog, not a watchdog".[18]

The News Broadcasting & Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA) called for several television news programmes to be taken down and fine paid, for their role in spreading Islamophobia and communal disharmony.[22][23]

See also


  1. ^ Mukhopadhyay, Nilanjan (26 February 2021). "Muzzling the media: How the Modi regime continues to undermine the news landscape". Frontline. Archived from the original on 9 February 2021.
  2. ^ Rana Ayyub (21 February 2020). "Journalism is under attack in India. So is the truth". The Washington Post.
  3. ^ Franklin, Bob; Hamer, Martin; Hanna, Mark; Kinsey, Marie; Richardson, John (2005). "Lapdog Theory of Journalism". Key Concepts in Journalism Studies. SAGE. pp. 97, 130–131. doi:10.4135/9781446215821.n109. ISBN 9780761944829.
  4. ^ Mukhia, Harbans (14 January 2020). "Is a new India rising?". The Hindu. Retrieved 22 June 2021.
  5. ^ a b Philipose, Pamela (5 December 2020). "Backstory: Farmers' Protest and Callousness – as the Media Sows, So Will They Reap". The Wire. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  6. ^ a b c Ara, Ismat (9 December 2020). "At Farmers' Protest, Field Reporters of 'Godi Media' Channels Face the Heat". The Wire. Retrieved 27 December 2020.
  7. ^ a b Singh Bal, Hartosh (30 November 2020). "How the Media Becomes an Arm of the Government". The Caravan.
  8. ^ Zargar, Haris (10 February 2021). "New hit on Indian independent media and free press". New Frame. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  9. ^ a b Roy Chowdhury, Debasish (3 May 2021). "India's Media Is Partly to Blame for Its COVID Tragedy". Time. Retrieved 21 June 2021.
  10. ^ Bose, Mrityunjay (31 October 2020). "Modi govt spent over Rs 700 crore on advertisements in 2019-20, reveals RTI reply". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 21 June 2021.
  11. ^ theclarionindia (24 April 2020). "Why India's 'Godi Media' Spreads Hatred and Fake News". Clarion India. Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  12. ^ Chaturvedi, Swati (4 August 2019). "Magsaysay award winner Ravish Kumar's journalism is fearless, doesn't monetize hate by peddling a communal agenda". Gulf News. Archived from the original on 17 June 2023. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  13. ^ "World Press Freedom Day: 'Remove Godi media, save democracy,' say journalists at a demonstration in Delhi", National Herald
  14. ^ Nidhi Suresh (1 December 2020). "'Media has lost our trust': Why protesting farmers are angry with 'Godi media'". Newslaundry.
  15. ^ Farmers versus 'Godi Media' (TV Newsance Episode 112) (video) (in English and Hindi). Newslaundry. 4 December 2020. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
  16. ^ Priyadarshini, Anna (2 December 2020). "Farmers Are Angry with 'Godi Media' for Demonising Them. TV Channels Double Down". Newslaundry.
  17. ^ Zainab Sikander (21 December 2020). "BJP, media, MHA — slander on Muslims and Sikhs have a lot in common. Outcome will be too". The Print.
  18. ^ a b Goel, Vindu; Gettleman, Jeffrey (2 April 2020). "Under Modi, India's Press Is Not So Free Anymore". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  19. ^ Sahaf, Muskaan Fayaz (17 May 2023). "What is Godi Media and top Godi Media anchors?". Ground Report.
  20. ^ Multiple Witness Account Exposes Republic TV Lies On TRP Scam (YouTube). India Today. 9 October 2020. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  21. ^ Husain, S. K. (24 April 2020). "Why India's 'Godi Media' Spreads Hatred and Fake News". Clarion India. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  22. ^ "News Broadcasting and Digital Authority Orders Times Now Navbharat, News18 India, Aaj Tak to Take Down 3 TV Shows". The Wire. Retrieved 2 March 2024.
  23. ^ Bureau, The Hindu (1 March 2024). "The NBDSA takes action against three TV news channels for violating guidelines on communal issues". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2 March 2024.

Further reading

  • Gagan Deep Chauhan. Godi Media: गोदी मीडिया. सृजन Digital Collections. GGKEY:YCCSCZPHTHD.
  • Ravish Kumar (10 August 2019). The Free Voice: On Democracy, Culture and the Nation (Revised and Updated ed.). Speaking Tiger Books. ISBN 978-93-89231-41-0.
  • Pande, Manisha (26 January 2020). "Shaheen Bagh and the spiralling hostility against 'Godi Media'". Newslaundry.
  • Rohit, Gautam (19 July 2023). "News bias of all Indian news channels - Live analysis". Foggymedia.
  • Roy Chowdhury, Debasish (3 May 2021). "India's Media Is Partly to Blame for Its COVID Tragedy". Time.
  • Posetti, Julie; Matthews, Alice. "A short guide to the history of 'fake news' and disinformation" (PDF). International Center for Journalists.
  • Chaturvedi, Anumeha (20 December 2019). "2019 - The year of fake news". The Economic Times.
  • Malik, Shahnawaz Ahmed, Fake News: Legal Analysis of False and Misleading News and Cyber Propaganda (5 February 2019). Ad Valorem, Journal of Law: Volume 6: Issue II: Part-III: April–June 2019: ISSN 2348-5485.
  • Arun, Chinmayi, On WhatsApp, Rumours, Lynchings, and the Indian Government (3 January 2019). Economic and Political Weekly. no. 6.
  • Nagar, Itisha and Gill, Simran, Head is Where the Herd is: Fake News and Effect of Online Social Conformity on Islamophobia in Indians. SSHO-D-20-00611, Available at SSRN: or Head is Where the Herd is: Fake News and Effect of Online Social Conformity on Islamophobia in Indians

External links

Wikiquote has quotations related to Godi media.
  • Ravish Kumar (9 October 2020). 'Yeh godi media ka kaal hai': Ravish Kumar at The Media Rumble (YouTube). Newslaundry. Retrieved 22 June 2021.
  • The LampPost (21 September 2022) सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने लगाई फ़टकार, क्या अब सुधरेंगे दलाल पत्रकार?':The LampPost website
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