For the past few days, the media was full of what would happen when /if the Ayodhya verdict is announced. TV channels flashing news, breaking news, newspapers carrying banner headlines – both indulging in speculation of a future that might never happen – rather that would not happen if the media did not provoke, subtly coerce and tease the aggrieved (allegedly aggrieved) parties into violence.
The media is behaving with absolutely no responsibility. The build up for Ayodhya began a month back. What is it trying to do? Reminding the warring sects to get their weapons honed for the unleashing of violence? Is this the media’s way of ensuring them that it has whipped up feelings and has created expectations and the ideal climate for bloodshed, and so it now the turn of the two communities to meet the expectation built up by it?
In 2006 January when Arjun Singh tried to raise the reservation quota in the IITs and other premier educational institutions, the coverage of the issue by Rajdeep Sardesai and his channel was dangerous and objectionable. The visual of the burning Goswami (the self immolation in protest against Mandal) was played over and over again as though to invite some misguided youth to take cue from him. Sardesai was literally jumping around with excitement – like a predator which had a taste of blood and was waiting with excitement for some prey to take the bait.
Looking back, i feel that if the media was totally banned from the precincts of Taj –nay, if there was a total ban on reporting the updates on the terror attacks in Mumbai, the NSG would have done a much more efficient job without the media taking away the surprise element from the rescue operation. Remember, Arnab Goswami got vicious and nasty at the government’s move to block the media from reporting? and te government buckled in to the ire of Times Now!!
The Indian media needs to be reined in. it should not, as it does now, put business above the country. Responsible journalism is what India needs at this juncture. The country is going through difficult times. Media should not make it worse by giving Kashmiri separatists, terrorists groups and Maoists the free publicity they seek. Cutting off publicity for these terror groups is akin to choking off their life breath. Sensationalising their terror activities is just what they want.
I believe in the freedom of speech but if this freedom is used to help seditious groups and terror elements hell bent of breaking up India, it is time something was done about it.
Incidentally, after that entire hullabaloo created up by the media, i get a pleasant feeling that the commonwealth games are going to take place without any serious hiccups.
Related blog: Kerala – a Media Constructed Image?