It is touted as the biggest reality show on Indian television this year. With the five-phased Lok Sabha elections round the corner, news channels in the country are busy creating special properties around the event. The channels are focussing on varied topics, including the uncertain alliances, involvement of the youth and the personalities in politics.
In one such attempt, IBN7, the Hindi news channel by Network18, and Hindustan, the Hindi newspaper by HT Media, have launched a campaign to draw the viewers' attention to politicians with criminal records. The show will profile and highlight the candidates with criminal records ahead of each polling phase, with the aim of creating awareness amongst voters about the credentials of political candidates.
Talking about the initiative, Ashutosh, managing editor, IBN7, says, "Through this campaign, we want to bring forth the criminal records of some of the candidates contesting the elections. Without being judgemental, we want to instigate people to think whether they want to vote for such people. It is an effort towards criminal-free politics."
Ashutosh adds, "The show aims to explain to people that all political parties, in the name of winning the elections, are adding politicians with criminal backgrounds in their rosters. In recent times, there has been a sudden increase in the number of criminals in politics. We are trying to inform people that if they want clean politics, and if they want politicians to represent them, then they should think before voting. There can be no better way to do so than television."
Dilip Venkatraman, chief marketing officer, IBN Network says, "It is a journalistically driven campaign, with an unbiased approach. Targeted at the average voter, this campaign aims to reach aam junta. Hindustan and IBN7 have come together for a positive initiative."
A similar campaign has been launched by bleedindia.com, which aims to focus public scrutiny on politicians with criminal records, in a fun and interactive manner.
Mrinal Pande, editor, Hindustan, says, "Hindustan, in collaboration with IBN7, aims to create awareness with this campaign, so that clean politics stand a fair chance in this election. Hopefully, the momentum will continue, even after the elections are over and the new government is formed."
The campaign will be supported through an online initiative, where political journalists from both media houses will post their blogs on the topic. Viewers will also be able to interact and post their opinions on the website.