Bajaj was commenting on the recent fake TRP scandal that has rocked the media industry, and the rising media toxicity.
“To me it is a wise decision because my child, my brother’s children can’t inherit an India and a society where such hate festers. It was a simple choice and I made it,” Bajaj said in an interview with Gulf News.
When asked what prompted this move, Bajaj said, “I have a friend, who told me when I was upset about Dhoni’s daughter and the way Amitabh Bachchan was wished death on social media when he was suffering from COVID-19 that you can do something about this. Stop funding this hate.”
The Bajaj Auto Managing director said that his brand will not associate itself with any media outlet that is a ‘source of toxicity in the society’, and would withdraw advertising from three “news channels” which indulge in “toxic hate mongering”, becoming the first industrialist to do so.
In an interview with CNBC, Bajaj said, “a strong brand is a foundation on which you build a strong business. At the end of the day the purpose of a strong business is to also contribute to the society. Our brand has never been associated with anything we feel is a source of toxicity in the society.”
“Out teams can spot channels and newspapers that are toxic and hate mongering in the society and we can’t find it in ourselves to continue to be supportive of such a medium no matter what repercussions it may have on the business,” he said.
Bajaj and Parle are among the few industrial houses that have blacklisted toxic channels. A Mint report quoted Parle’s senior category head Krishnarao Buddha saying that the company will also explore options to bring other advertisers together and create a restraint that would prompt channels to improve content.
The move comes after the Mumbai Police, last week, said its probe into a complaint by TV viewership measurement agency Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) had unearthed a racket of TRP-fixing by some channels, including news channel Republic TV.
Unlike most of his counterparts, Bajaj has never shied away from being candid.
Back in June, Bajaj raised doubts about the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, saying India has looked into the wrong crystal ball. In an interview to ET Now, the outspoken MD of Bajaj Auto pilloried the Centre for going ahead with what he saw as a Western model of virus containment instead of taking cues from Asian nations like Japan or South Korea that had not imposed harsh curbs and kept their economies running.
The lockdown was aimed at flattening the Covid curve, but it ended up flattening a very different curve — the growth (GDP) curve, Bajaj told Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in an earlier interview.
Bajaj was also among the very few industrialists to slam the Modi government’s 2016 demonetisation move, which rendered 85% of India’s currency useless overnight.