The face of Times Now tv channel, Navika Kumar, has made her mark across both print and broadcast journalism. Renowned for her extensive knowledge of the Indian political spectrum and business, she is credited with breaking some of the most high-profile stories in the country like - the Office for Profit story that led to Sonia Gandhi’s resignation in 2006, the CWG scam of 2010-11, the Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006, and more.
A post-graduate in Economics, Navika Kumar has been in the field for almost three decades now. She started with print media and moved on to broadcast journalism. She has completed 15 years at Times Now and take on the additional responsibility of Group Editor – Politics at the news channel. She is now in charge of political reporting strategy for the Network’s brands - Mirror Now, ET Now, and Timesnownews.com as well.
Her primetime show ‘The Newshour’ on Times Now has a huge fan following but she has also been in the news recently for her controversial views on various issues. Here are a few of them.
When Hasan Minhaj called her India’s Nancy Grace
Indian-American comedian Hasan Minhaj sparked a controversy when he did an episode on the Indian elections for his Netflix show - Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj - in 2019. He took a potshot at Times Now’s debate special and mocked Kumar by calling her “India’s Nancy Grace.”
(Nancy Grace is an American journalist and legal commentator who has been controversial for her remarks against anyone who disagrees with her.) This had online trolls rolling out relentless memes while #BoycottNetflix trended on Twitter for the comedian’s remarks on both the Modi government and Navika. Times Now then invited him for a debate with Navika, an offer that he refused. “That show is way too intense. I would get destroyed like King’s Landing,” he said. But the channel went ahead and invited him to their ‘Frankly Speaking’ segment, which he rejected again.
When Navika agreed that she’s a vulture
After actor Rhea Chakravorty was arrested for buying drugs for boyfriend, late actor Sushant Singh Rajput, Rhea was mobbed by journalists on her way into the Narcotics Control Bureau office a few weeks ago. This led to social media being abuzz with posts comparing media personnel to vultures. Kumar, who had devoted a lot of time and attention to the case, said that she is a vulture and has been vindicated according to Hinduism.
— Aditya Kalra (@adityakalra) September 8, 2020
When she put out private WhatsApp chats as proof of drug dealing
Late last month, Navika Kumar broadcasted alleged WhatsApp chats of Bollywood A-listers right to people’s living rooms. This was released in relation to reports emanating from the investigation into the demise of actor Sushant Singh Rajput. She claimed these private chats were proof of narcotics usage by celebrities and the involvement of Bollywood’s ‘drug mafia’. It left people horrified about the invasion of privacy.
Naavika Kumar exposes Family WhatsApp Group Chats pic.twitter.com/gGys1ujdyH
— Saloni Gaur (@salonayyy) September 23, 2020
- When she smiled at Kangana Ranaut’s jibe against Urmila Mandotkar
After Urmila Mandotkar chided Kangana Ranaut for using derogatory language against Jaya Bachan, Kangana spoke to Navika and said that Mandotakar is a ‘soft porn star’. “She is not known for her acting for sure,” she continued. At this point, Kumar smiled at Ranaut’s jibe and was condemned and trolled for it incessantly. It did not go down well with people, who questioned her journalism ethics for doing the same.
And look at Navika, she is laughing when Kangana calls Urmila soft porn actress.
Stop calling yourself Journalist @navikakumar
— Nirmala Tai (@CrypticMiind) September 16, 2020
When film producers moved court against her for derogatory remarks
Top Bollywood producers, actors, and filmmakers including Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, and Aamir Khan, filed a lawsuit at the Delhi High Court for making ‘irresponsible and defamatory remarks’ against the industry. The suit included Kumar and Rahul Shivshankar from Times Now along with Arnab Goswami and Pradeep Bhandari from Republic TV. “The privacy of the members of Bollywood is being invaded, and their reputations are being irreparably damaged by painting the entire Bollywood as criminals, seeped in drug culture, and making being part of Bollywood as synonymous with criminal acts in the public imagination,” the producers said in a statement to the media.
(Edited by Athira Nair)