Noted media personalities pick holes in Indian media coverage
Pathribal-like incidents weaken India, noted Indian journalist, Siddharth Varadarajan said here Sunday while referring to the fake encounter which was established by CBI after Army’s reluctance to hold trial for many years.
Varadarajan, who among others journalists highlighted DNA tampering in the high profile case, also referred to the controversial report of a Press Council of India team led by veteran journalist B G Verghese regarding Kunan-poshpora mass rape incident in 1991.
“There was also a bad job by PCI when B G Verghese misreported about Kunan-poshpora case,” Varadarajan said while speaking on the second day of the Srinagar Media Summit.
Varadarajan lashed out at Hindutva nationalism. “Indian nationalism lost direction way back in 1947. Delhi is magnifying Hindutva nationalism. Such is the condition of Indian nationalism that if a poor speaks against land acquisition, Section 144 is imposed as we saw in Chhattisgarh and other states. Look at the thinking when people speak against nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu and sedition charges are slapped against them,” he said.
“Real and strong nationalism is when you take all people onboard,” he added.
Referring to the Indian media’s coverage leading to the government’s decision to call off Foreign Secretary level talks between India and Pakistan last year, Varadarajan said: “(Narendra) Modi with such a majority should have been confident when he decides to hold Foreign Secretary level talks. Obviously he must have known invitation of separatists there and that time didn’t cancel talks but only after national media raised hue and cry and the so-called bold prime minister surrendered.”
“And it shows that media sometimes goes two steps ahead of the government.”
Talking about editorializing of news, he said: “I am shocked when an anchor calls guests or even a section of society as ‘desh drohi’, not only for Kashmiris but even Greenpeace activists. Kashmir media should not act like Indian media and must give objective coverage.”
Eminent journalist and political commentator, Saeed Naqvi talked about independence of media. “I was once about to leave for China for coverage when my editor called Foreign Secretary to ask his permission whether I should be allowed or not and I was at that time in Foreign Secretary’s office.”
Sharing his experience with a local Kashmiri child, Naqvi said: “I was once talking playfully with one kid here, he was a cricket fan and then I asked him that your favorite cricketer must be Imran Khan but he left silently. Then his mother told me that when Army would come here they would cut his scrapbook containing photos of Pakistani players so she asked him never to reveal his cricket sentiments again.”
He said there was no big difference between BJP and Congress “and only when there is a shift of power that atrocities of Kashmiris will be highlighted like Bosnia and Serbia”.
Senior journalist Saba Naqvi cautioned Kashmiris against mistaking a section of media as whole of Indian media. “TV is an unintelligent medium. In India, news channels are archaic, it works on simple sentiments. But you shouldn’t mistake Arnab Goswami as whole of India. And you shouldn’t mistake media as representing Indian state here.”
Award-winning investigative journalist, Rana Ayyub criticized certain media channels for indulging in sensationalism for the sake of TRPs. “Times Now doesn’t decide mandate of India alone but there are other channels also. Such has been the problem in electronic media that NewsX decides now who is patriotic and who is not.”
“I don’t think IS flag coverage by media is true, showing radicalization is totally wrong news. I think there was no TRP for national media that is why they didn’t highlight Shopian rape case and other issues,” she said, adding, though few things have gone right like showing disappeared Kashmiris in Bollywood movie ‘Haider’.
Director of Kashmir University’s Institute of Kashmir Studies, Prof Gul Wani said there was a problem in whole of South Asia where majority has threatened minority like in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar.
Senior Editor, Doordarshan, K G Suresh, said: “I think Indian media has even talked against Hindu extremists like Praveen Togadia. I come from Kerala; we also have signed instrument of accession, we also have complaints but we can’t think to raise issues through different ways.”
Jayanta Ghosal, editor of ABP group said: “National media focuses only on sexy stories of three C’s…Crime, Cricket and Celebrity.”
Noted author Humra Qureshi talked about problems faced by Kashmiris outside the valley. “Kashmiris shouldn’t be humiliated in other parts of India like Delhi and Mumbai where they are not even given rooms on rent.”
Noted columnist, Z G Muhammad said: “One thing is important to recognize…the basic fact about Kashmir that it is disputed territory. Whenever there have been efforts to resolve any issue, Indian press played dirty game.”
Writer-activist Madhu Kishwar said only Indian media allows separatists to abuse India in its prime time.
“People here abuse Indian army day and night. One Separatist once told me ‘India gives us money and gets abuses in return.”
Senior journalist, Gowhar Geelani said: “In a conflict situation, neutral reporting is simply an injustice. Media asks Shikara walas that do they want tourists to come here and then represent that as normalcy on their channels.”
Rajni Shaleen of NGO ‘Lehar’, which organized the media summit, referred to news report about RSS camps being organized in Jammu University, adding, “Hindu consolidation is making vital presence in media”.