BLUNT BUTCHER / ANCHOR
Time has come when credentials of the so-called conscience keepers of this nation are verified to see who stands where. In the name of democracy, we have made mockery of the system and the institutions. Similarly, in the name of freedom of expression, we are watching contempt among all those who sit on the other side of debates on national television channels. They are Indians but to be relevant to their sides of debates most of them tend to be anti-national. We have gone far ahead where we have lost the sense of proportion and discretion to differentiate between good and not-so-good. In this process or the competitive adventurism, some of us have, of course, gained but the nation has suffered hugely. The loss is irreparable and almost irreversible. Can we make it? The answer will haunt us for long.
We have been watching with disgust television anchors taking huge strides in pursuit of discussing current affairs, especially related to various contentious issues, by having ‘the other view point’. Generally these discussions end up with one of the sides speaking all the rot against the national sentiment. And, end of the each show, these television channels gloat about their Target Rating Points (TRPs) by making comparisons with other channels.
It’s time for national news channels to revisit anchoring debates especially on Kashmir with panelists from the Valley or Pakistan, if objectivity remains any benchmark. Taking Pakistani panelists on the programme is like giving oxygen to India bashers, who not only bruise Indian psyche but also boost the morale of radical and anti-national elements in the Valley. Same is true about bringing some non-entities from the Valley to discuss various issues. In order to have ‘other view point’, the channels rope in chronic India bashers, who get a forum to establish their credentials to be ‘pro-Azadi’ in the Valley by spitting venom against India and Indian forces.
If opinions from the other-side are on expected lines then why to provide forum to chronic enemies of the nation, unless intentions are dubious? Apart from colossal damage to the national interest, some of the panelists indulge in promoting terrorism by glamourising Jihad and inciting people against Indian nation. It is irony that some of the national channels are promoting terror abettors larger than their sizes for the sake of TRP.
Kashmir panelists, irrespective of their party affiliations, generally take the opposite side of the debate. If the topic revolves around Indian Army and Pak sponsored separatists, they will dig out loop-holes in the armed forces; if it involves human rights violations, the narrative will be to project terrorists as victims; if the central point of discussion is accession of Jammu and Kashmir with Indian domain, they will prove it to be conditional and temporary; so on and so forth. It is not that all of them, whether belonging to Congress, National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party, are anti-national but they have compulsion to be on the other side of fence because of threats from elements inimical to India. Of course, many of the panelists speak out of sympathy with the cause espoused by terrorists and separatists but generally they jump the red-line out of fear.
Rewind back the debates of premier national television channels, nowhere a Kashmiri panelist will be seen defending forces or speaking good about India. Recently, a few of the panelists, who have held important positions in the Union Government, too kept exploiting loopholes to belittle the security forces, notwithstanding the fact that contingents from these forces keep guarding them day in and day out.
Because of the platform provided by the national television channels, some of the discarded and discredited entities from the Valley came to spotlight by abusing New Delhi and Indian symbols. The television channels are well aware about the credentials of those they invite but to have their debates rocking, they willingly become parties to host anti-India elements. When panelists from the Valley speak separatists’ language and cry hoarse human rights violations, the image of the security forces becomes causality. Before winding up their debates, the motivated panelists from Kashmir get away with demonizing India. This is something the television channels better watch out.
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