Posts Tagged ‘Kafila’

Is news TV becoming a ‘national security hazard’?

15 January 2013

Editorial in Business Standard:

“It should go without saying that the media has a role in informing and educating a citizenry about the issues of the day, providing background, context and holding the powerful to account. A case study in how not to go about this is currently being provided by the electronic media in its coverage of recent raids and counter-raids on the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, in which two Indian soldiers have been killed, and one allegedly subjected to post-mortem mutilation.

“Instead of questioning the narrative, news television and some print outlets have instead blatantly beaten the drums of confrontation, hyping even relatively calm statements by the army chief into belligerent displays of national machismo. Coming at a time when the government is attempting to move forward on dialogue with Pakistan that is very much in the national interest, the question should be asked: are some of India’s news channels, and their pursuit of eyeballs, turning into a national security hazard?

“If the electronic media dragoons a weak Indian government into raising the ante with its Pakistani counterpart at a time when it needs instead to be an ally against the powerful Pakistan military’s ability to hijack the security agenda, then the national interest will suffer a serious blow. More, it will count as a signal ethical failure on the part of whichever media outlet is sacrificing context to sensationalism.

“A handful of bellicose television supremos cannot be allowed to dictate a foreign policy that hurts the interest of India’s citizens.”

***

Mani Shankar Aiyar in The Indian Express:

My friend, the cine artiste and poet, Farooque Sheikh, has summed it up better than I ever could. He describes the TRP war being whipped up by our hysterical TV anchors as “dangerously boring and boringly dangerous”.

It is precisely because one had anticipated outrages of the kind that occurred on Sunday, January 6 (and have a much longer ancestry than TV anchors and their guest cohorts are willing to acknowledge—such, for example, as revealed by Praveen Swami in The Hindu, that I have for so long been advocating “uninterrupted and uninterruptible dialogue” as the only way for India and Pakistan to resolve their issues and normalise their relations.

***

Editorial in The Hindu:

“Few spectacles have been as unedifying as the contemptible baying of warmongers these past days—most of it, it bears mention, emanating from TV studios located at a safe distance from the nearest bullet.”

Read the full BS editorial: Crossing a red line

Read the Express column: The hostility industry

Read the full Hindu editorial: Stop baying for blood

External reading: Was an Indian soldier decapitated?

Does DNA terror column amount to ‘incitement’?

19 July 2011

Janata Party maverick Dr Subramaniam Swamy‘s DNA article on “How to wipe out Islamic terror” after the 13 July Bombay blasts has stirred up the T-cup.

Twitter has been abuzz, and the paper’s readers have reacted in droves calling the article “irresponsible and Islamophobic”.

On the other hand, Swamy—whose Twitter profile reads “I give as good as I get”—has thanked readers for the “tsunami of support” to his “reasoned article” while discounting the “stupid, moronic abuse hurled by those who stand to lose“.

Shivam Vij of the website Kafila has exhorted readers to send a note of protest to the editor of the paper, Aditya Sinha, for publishing such “bigoted views“. Now, Hindustan Times cheerfully reports that efforts are on to bring DNA to book, in much the same manner as the Shiv Sena daily Saamna was after the 1993 bomb blasts.

‘Editors and senior journos must declare assets’

27 August 2009

Indian Express editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta attacked environmentalists in a recent column.

“Drive out… don’t fly,” he wrote, and you will find bounteous fields in Punjab and Haryana, and not the caked, cracked and dried mud-flats with withered saplings that characterise drought that afflicts half the districts in India today.

Reason: the foresight of regional leaders and some central governments, which invested heavily in irrigation in the 1950s and ’60s. This, said Gupta, had happened because:

“…most of this was done in decades when the most retrograde and jholawala movements in the history of mankind had not yet arrived on the scene.”

The labelling and stereotyping has provoked a ferocious reply from the political scientist, Aditya Nigam, a fellow at the Centre for Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), on the website Kafila, whose tagline screams “Run from Big Media”.

Nigam writes:

“…It is equally common knowledge that increasingly opinion makers in the media—editors and senior journalists in particular—are known to be making huge amounts of extra income (and other forms of assets like free shares, houses and so on) from sources other than those provided by their employment.

“This self important and self-righteous tribe of people in contemporary India who think they are above every body else and cannot open their mouths without a claiming a moral high ground, also needs to be made accountable.

“We are not suggesting that any particular person is in the pay of anybody else—even though the grapevine has innumerable stories to that effect—of the ultimate moral corruption of most mediapersons. But surely when opinions are expressed as ‘disinterested’ and ‘objective’, the public must have the right to know whether these opinions are actually disinterested. And what better way can there be when politicians have to disclose their incomes, and we are calling upon judges as well to follow suit, that we also demand the same of editors and mediapersons.”

Candidates in elections have to declare their assets and liabilities before the elections. Bureaucrats do too. And now judges have joined the ranks.

Should journalists follow suit?

Read the full article: ‘Editors and journalists must declare their assets’

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