Mumbai blasts and Indian media
No gory pictures and rhetoric please
IMPRESSIONS BY BINOO JOSHI
The ghastly nature of the Mumbai blasts last Wednesday evening or for that matter any terrorist strike, are visible to everyone. But the worst part was the way the Indian media displays the gory pictures of the tragedy.
This is savage. Reflecting the enormity of the tragedy of terror strikes by the severed heads, burnt bodies and unbearable sight of the injured in pain has become an obsession with the Indian media, be they the TV channels or the print media. How does it help victims or their families, viewers or readers, one is unable to make a sense out of it.
To put it bluntly, the media having a passion for bodies, is also a perpetuator of the crime. They are helping terrorists whose objective is to inject fear into the mind of the people. Terrorists inject fear at the local level; the places where they strike. Media spreads it across.
It is not to suggest that media should not cover the terrorist acts, or expose their designs. But, why multiply the tragedy of the victims and their families and also to play into the hands of terrorists. It has not happened for the first time. All the time, the media in India has done it, be it Kashmir or Mumbai. This simply shows that the media, who consider themselves above all, accountable to none, run fiction as fact and at times deliberately distort the stories just to be able to seen on the TV as someone who has done a wonderful job or to get a byline, are essentially hollow people. It may not be true of all, but there are many who fit in this category.
What happened during 26/11 when the so called top reporters, always seen as shouting into the TV cameras, devoid of facts, believers of rhetoric and boastful about their contacts, passed on the strategic information about the operation against the terrorists to terrorists on their TV channels. Their argument is that this is news. If that is the news, then they should be held guilty of aiding and abetting terror as the terrorists are.
And, in this case, no less guilty are the officials and officers along with the politicians who, without having any clue about the incident, the men behind it or the nature of the attacks, they are more than willing to give sound bytes and claim to be fighting against terrorism.
The men who should have been looking for the terrorists or strategising as to how to curb this menace are seen more on TV cameras rather than in the strategy sessions.
Politicians are the worst. They tend to capture a constituency through TV cameras, as if this is the last time for them to say something. On such occasions, politicians should stay back home and let the investigating agencies do their job. But that’s exactly what doesn’t happen.
Another tendency that is often found in the media is that they seem to be knowing everything, from where the explosives came, who exploded them and what devices were used. Not only that they also know that who did it, when under the sun only people knowing it are the perpetrators themselves or their handlers.
Who is a terrorist in India? No particular profile fits this definition. Instances and investigations have shown that there are terrorists of all hues. So, unless the investigators reach some conclusion, that too, with clinching evidence, there should be no word on it. That would help investigations and investigators.
If the media wants to stay ahead of the investigators, it must, I stress it must conduct investigations and come out with substantive evidence to raise its TRP. Simple interviews of Chief Minister, who is not the Home Minister, and who sounded as clueless about the things, as any one else, are not the exclusives. This is routine or a very poor way of showing that one can reach ahead of the government in the hour of crisis, not for public good but to flaunt their contacts.
When 9/11 happened or for that matter when 7/7 happened, there were no gory pictures. There was only action. The removal of the debris, and whenever the bodies were recovered, the cameras were not panning on them, and even if they were, those were not being shown the screens of Fox News,. CNN or BBC. It is not suggest that the Indian media should be copying Western Media. But what’s good in them, we must learn. One is yet to come across any reporter or reporters donning the role of shouting brigade on the TV screens. The reporters must have commitment to the facts and bring out the truth. Theatrics may invite attention for some time, but at some point those are derided, because when reporter tends to become an actor, he or she is simply hollow. These reporters tend to compensate their hollowness with theatrics.
Terror attacks will take place, so say the senior leaders of our nation, some say we are better than Pakistan, and accidents will also continue to take place, but please don’t show the gory pictures, a mangled rail bogey or the smoke coming out of the terror strike site or the wail of ambulances will convey the tragedy. You just speak but don’t add to our horrors because you love horrors to substantiate your credentials as a reporter.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 18 Jul 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 18 Jul 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 19 Jul 2011 00:00:00 IST
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