JAMMU: Media, both print and electronic, must draw a line while reporting on sensitive issues concerning the public order and national security, especially in a sensitive State like Jammu and Kashmir. This has become imperative in the wake of UNHR report on Kashmir, which is not only biased but provocative as well, keeping in view the growing incidents of stone- throwing, thrashing and humiliating security forces in the Valley. Such reports are generally motivated by one-sided narrative created by different sections of media. Therefore, former minister and BJP lawmaker Ch Lal Singh was not altogether wrong in asking the media to draw a line. A part of the society, media cannot work in isolation or independently. It has to adhere to certain norms, in journalistic parlance called, social responsibility.
With media activism gaining momentum, India is disgustingly watching debates and discussions on important national issues. The television chat-rooms in particular have become breeding ground for hate mongers and anti-national elements. Such is the brazenness that some non-entities have become entities for their anti-national agenda. They don’t only get huge space but are permanent faces on almost every show and every channel. One wonders whether media houses tend to fall in the trap of anti-India elements inadvertently or is it a deliberate ploy to host notorious and chronic India bashers on various shows to make debates ferocious in a bid to increase TRP. Whatever the motivation, the television debates have set in a dangerous trend of airing anti-national views brazenly and shamelessly. Hitherto-fore, the anti-national elements used to think twice before giving vent to anti-India sentiments publicly but now they are emboldened to such an extent that they spit venom against the nation and the majority community without any inhibition, fear or remorse in highest of their pitch. They have tested waters. They know nobody will take note of their venom against the nation.
Isn’t it a sad part of Indian polity to have discussions on whether Tricolour should be hoisted or not and to whether people should stand during recitation of National Anthem? The scenario becomes totally different when it comes to debating terror related incidents in Kashmir.
If glorification of terrorism has been mainly due to a segment of Kashmir media, negligent indeed, their cause is being espoused by some mainstream leaders, separatists and the so-called independent analysts on television prime shows. Watch any debate on Kashmir, rabid communalists and anti-national elements can be seen indulging in worse type of diatribes against the nation. Spitting venom against India, Indian institutions and Indian security and armed forces remains core of their agenda. And, more they get drubbing from the anchors or co-panelists, more is their purpose served back in Kashmir.
Lately, some unknown faces from the Valley are getting larger than life size projection on various television channels over various contentious issues and handling of the terror situation by armed forces. The news-channels take solace in getting a view point from Kashmir and browbeating the participants, without realising how much disservice they are doing to the national interest. By roping in B-grade socio-political activists and so-called political analysts, the news channels are in fact making them heroes. A section of Indian media has become an engine for India bashing.
The question arises why should media houses stoop so low in highlighting the entities, who do not even enjoy the goodwill of those they claim to represent? What more can be expected from those who remain engaged in doing PR for Pakistan. These are the people, who unfortunately have got accreditation as top secessionist leaders from Kashmir despite being treated with contempt back home. Some of them carry the reputation of being blackmailers and petty criminals. Courtesy Indian media, they are now rubbing shoulders with dignitaries around the world. They are star attractions in events and conferences being organized to resolve Kashmir. They are being taken as face of Kashmir.
The Indian media should know that most of the problems in Kashmir owe their roots generally to media jingoism. Those keenly watching happenings across the Valley since 1989 know well how a section of media played-up the incidents beyond proportion in order to create scare and give respectability and credibility to a cult that was altogether alien to its ethos. It was the media that glorified criminals and violence as Mujahids and Jihad. And again, it was through a section of media that Kashmir society was fragmented into bits and pieces, the traces of which can be seen spread all over. There seems a strange nexus between anti-India elements and television channels as the latter play host to the former in debates on various contentious issues. Are they paid panelists-paid for spitting venom against the nation.
Lately, the national channels have started casting Pakistani panelists in their programmes notwithstanding the fact that most of the Indian electronic media is blocked in that country. So, how their participation is helping in getting an objective view point! Intriguingly there is a set of Pakistani panelists-some retired army officers and diplomats -who are using Indian channels to boost the sagging morale of those in Kashmir who subscribe to separatist and radical ideology. Selective media activism, more so under the pretense of ultra-nationalism, is hurting more than putting any healing balm on the bruised Indian psyche. There needs to be some regulation or as Ch Lal Singh has said the media should itself draw some line for its functioning.
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