In Conversation with Samarthya Singh
Hello Readers! As you know, this edition marks the 10th issue of The 8:10. On this wonderful occasion, I had the pleasure of interviewing Samarthya Singh, who’s a columnist at The Tatva India. Mr. Samarthya also founded DailyDemoCrazy, a page that is one of the most robust fact-checking news channel. The young reporter and journalist delves into the state of media in India, why he felt the need to set up a platform, and the importance of unbiased journalism in today’s time and age.
- What got you started with this career? Any specific personalities who inspired you to start on this journey? What were the struggles you faced initially?
Ans. This journey began last to last year, in 2019, precisely during the CAA-NRC protests. I still remember those days, when the whole country, from students to working-class, everyone was discussing the same thing – CAA. There were just too many voices around this topic, some were against and some were in support, depending on everyone’s understanding. I had an opinion, as well. In fact, I was so intrigued by this topic that I spent hours and days studying it. I studied everything surrounding the topic, right from India’s partition to the struggle of common citizens in India majorly some states like West Bengal, Assam etc. It was during this time when I noticed some of my school friends posting against the amendments, even while having next to zero knowledge about the topic. This is when I decided that I need a platform to educate everyone, at least my friends, and that platform became my personal Instagram Account in the initial days. The struggles I faced initially when I started putting out content with references and proofs, were that of taunts and feelings of surprise from my friends. Some of my friends had in fact abused and later unfollowed me for voicing my opinions.
- Journalists like Gauri Shankar and Danish Siddiqui were murdered for carrying out their job. How do you convince yourself to continue what you’re doing without having a sense of fear and knowing that as a political journalist, you are responsible for every word that you say?
Ans. If continuing to put out factual information in front of an audience ends me up in the state of Gauri Shankar, I will have no regrets. You see, people are most often hurt by the truth, so when people start getting hurt, know that you’re on the right path. While I know that I am responsible for every word I say, I know no fear because my research is fact-based, always referenced and cross-checked multiple times before putting it out in public. However, there are times for journalists and writers where they unknowingly go wrong. In these cases, mistakes must be acknowledged and should be later avoided to the best of their ability.
- How do you deal with situations where people are not ready to accept your news even after thorough analysis and fact-checking? Do you feel frustrated with the audience at such times?
Ans. I do feel frustrated when people just reject one’s research just for the sake of rejecting it. In India, party worshipping has gained a lot of momentum, these include people from all spectrums, so it is clear that for one news, there will be multiple opinions, both good and bad. As soon as a person realizes this, they became comfortable handling rejections from people who have no knowledge about the issue and criticized the news just for the sake of doing it.
- What’s your opinion about the current state of media in India?
Ans. It’s divided. As a reader one should know that the same news can be reported in multiple ways, each to give you a different interpretation of the same news. These news reports are twisted to suit your opinions and are in a way specially designed for you so that you find comfort while reading them. The other day I was researching to write an article about the new anti-conversion laws being introduced in the country, and I saw two headlines from two media firms. One media reported “Gujarat assembly passes bill to penalize forced religious conversions,” while the other reported “Gujarat proposes ‘Love Jihad’ law, may be introduced in upcoming assembly session,” so you see how the same news can be presented to you in the way you will like it to be.
- As readers, how can we protect ourselves from misinformation, propaganda and information overload?
Ans. The best way is to read news from all news portals of all political spectrums, because the details and insights which your loveable news portal would not have covered, will definitely be covered in news portals of the opposite political spectrum.
- Fake news spread faster than the truth. Several posts made by you, bust these fake news. How difficult is it to make sure that you have served your purpose to tell everyone what is correct?
Ans. Oh well, one of the main purposes I came into this field was to put out factual information and it boiled my blood to hell when I saw fake news being shared to millions of people, but the fact check of it reaching to hardly thousands. I have in fact reached a stage now that I have realised that this is bound to happen, the human mind is so made that it is attracted to fake news because these contain negativity, gossip, masala etc, so I feel that it is a journalist’s job to put out the truth without thinking much on the outcome.
- How do you handle the hate that comes with defending or rather presenting the truth of a particular political party?
Ans. I count hate as my positives. The more the people hate your news, the more truth you’ve reported, because people reading your news are mostly people that agree with your views, so if they don’t you can judge that you’ve reported the absolute truth.
- Journalism apart, like every well-aware citizen would have a political opinion, preference or support. How do you ensure that individual opinion doesn’t seep into your reporting?
Ans. Facts don’t have an opinion. Report factual information and let people attach tags to you.
- How would you summarize your journey so far into the field? Tell us some milestones that you are proud of
Ans. I’ve had some pretty amazing milestones in my personal journey, keeping The Tatva India aside. My posts have been shared by several Bollywood celebs like Yami Gautam, Sanya Malhotra, Sara Ali Khan, Instagram influencers like Yuvraj Dua, Niharika, Dolly Singh, Komal Pandey, Salony, Radhika Seth, and also You-tubers like Bhuvan Bam, Harsh Beniwal. In fact, I was even followed by Yami Gautam, but as you know that big celebs don’t follow pages such as mine, so she unfollowed after two weeks or so.
- Lastly, please give a word of advice or encouragement to our readers who are aspiring to become successful journalists or are eyeing this profession.
Ans. Keep working hard and stay consistent, there is a lot of space and scope in this field that is yet to be discovered, so it won’t be much of a difficult task to find yourself one. 😉
–B Aishwarya Lalitha
SY B.S Economics)
The views and opinions of the interviewee and interviewer are theirs alone. The 8:10 and the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics do not endorse their views.