News Media for Hire: How Media Loyalty is Bought and Sold in Open Market

“Presstitution” is far more prevalent than we realize

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Presstitution is a colorful term used to describe a news outlet that jettisons its journalistic ethics for cash and other “material considerations”. The phenomenon is far more prevalent than we imagine as shown by the cash awards accepted by certain perennial Hinduphobic news outlets from an Islamic lobby group with alleged terrorist links.

Freedom of the press, or more broadly, the news media, is a cherished principle in a civilized society. The United Nations in the 1848 “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” declared: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference, and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers.”

What happens to the presumed social compact of “without interference” when the loyalty of the news media becomes a commodity to be bought and sold in the open market? Does the for-hire media deserve the degree of respect and latitude implied by the UN declaration?

There is a colorful term some use for this brand of journalism: Presstitute! Frankly, the term seems a bit demeaning for the hard-working sex workers to be compared with sold-out media, but that’s a topic for another day.

Unfortunately, media loyalty-for-hire is not an uncommon phenomenon. However, few influence-buying transactions are as brazen as the Indian American Muslim Council awarding cash prizes to a certain cabal of Hinduphobic narrative purveyors – Wire, Newslaundry, Scroll Caravan, and others of that ilk.

To quote from a recent article [1] in Opindia: “In its annual Human Rights and Religious Freedom Journalism (HRRF) Awards, the IAMC, which claims to be the “largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the US” and often advocates for Sharia courts and peddles misinformation against India has declared prize money worth lakhs (Ed: One lakh is 100,000 in the Indian system of counting) for some of its favorite ‘journalists’.”

A couple of excerpts from the same article shed light on the sponsoring organizations for the said prizes:

“The IAMC is a Jamat-e-Islami-backed lobbyist organisation claiming to be a rights advocacy group.”i

“IAMC founder Shaik Ubaid and member Abdul Malik Mujahid have headed the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), the US front for Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan. According to DisInfo Lab, ICNA has established links with Pakistan-based terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba.”

  1. Opindia, “Jamat-e-Islami linked Indian American Muslim Council gives cash prizes to ‘journalists’ from Wire, Newslaundry, Scroll Caravan etc for peddling its narrative,” June 23, 2022; available online at