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Indian Media navel gazing over Paris Attacks

Author: S Sudhir Kumar
Publication: Niticentral.com
Date: January 12, 2015
URL: http://www.niticentral.com/2015/01/09/indian-media-navel-gazing-paris-attacks-295753.html

On the night of the dastardly terror attack in Paris, I (and many others) wondered instinctively: How long before prominent Indian Journalists will make a link between “intolerance” on twitter and intolerance” of the Paris terrorists?

There is a reason for this instinctive reaction for in the past  we have seen on several ocassions actual physical violence being equated to “lynch mobs” etc on twitter!
 However, many of us were not ready for the shocking brazenness exhibited by sections of the Indian media .

It first began with this hypothetical question on twitter and this reply !

@sagarikaghose we might want to remember the protest outside the Indian Express office yesterday

— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) January 7, 2015


The protest outside Indian Express office being referred into this exchange was a protest against the illogical twisting of facts by Praveen Swami in that newspaper. This was just a protest – no vandalism happened, leave only causing bodily harm to anyone.

Our media, which thrives on criticising all and sundry,  abhors criticism of their ilk; criticism is seen as a way of curbing freedom of speech; criticism is seen as a lynch mob mentality and worse now, criticism is being equated to acts of terrorism ?

In fact, just today, one of the Divas from the above twitter exchanged plugged a blog on Economic Times. The author makes a point that one can totally dislike the cartoons Charlie Hebdo publishes; that one is fully entitled to still criticise those cartoons and not be frowned upon for stealing someone’s freedom of speech.

But this media diva who merrily plugged the above blog is well known for dislike of any criticism of say, a boring movie like PK!  double standards anyone ?

The Hindu wrote an editorial today and true to the expectation, have equated this act of “terrorism” to the “the fracas caused by Hindutva groups against the film PK”. What is the “fracas” – people who were hurt by certain scenes in the movie either demanded a ban or held protests outside theaters. Not one person was even hurt by this “fracas” – in fact the “fracas” ensured PK went on to gross a lot of money!

Now, who in their right analytical mind would want to equate non-violent protests with murder? Gruesome murder. Remember, the terrorists walked into the office of Charlie Hebdo and shot down 10 people who work there – merely because they felt offended by the cartoons these people drew and published.

But the most dangerous of all comments, in my view is in this tweet

Mihir Sharma

Hindutvavadi nutters overjoyed they can once again point out they have not killed as many people as Islamists. Yet.

6:29 PM - 7 Jan 2015

The “yet” in the above tweet reveals the sick mindset of these people, hoping and pining for violence that fits their narrative. It’s like they are waiting for something like this to happen. It’s as if the ilk is yearning for communal tensions to pick up in the country, so that they can target Prime Minister Narendra Modi all over again. Right from the day PM Modi took over the reins of the country, these people have thrived on creating a false sense of insecurity in the country. Random, small events, in some remote parts of the country were over-blown repeatedly and this is not a one off phenomenon.

Sample this title of a recent television show anchored on the night of December 31 by one of the above mentioned media divas.

“Tonite 8.30pm @ETNOWlive: 2015: bold reforms or social disharmony?”

There is zilch evidence of social disharmony increasing in the country because PM Modi came to power – but this lot seems desperate to ensure that actually happens. Their sick mindset notwithstanding, these folks lose no time in taking the moral high ground and lecturing us on all topics under the sun based on random events across the globe.

While on this topic, it is also very important that we take note of the behaviour of some of these Media Celebrities recently when the Indian Coast Guard stopped the “Terror Boat” from Pakistan on the high seas of the Arabian. Even before all the facts of the sequence of events were fully established by the Government this gang got into action second guessing the whole Operation and going to the extent of labelling it as “fishy”. When the Indian Express reporting by Praveen Swami was challenged in detail, not only did he shy away from explaining his conjectures but he went on a Twitter blocking spree sparing none from fellow Journalists to random Trolls. From Karan Thapar to NDTV and that former Editor of The Hindu were all at it on “questions over the incident”.

Finally, their “questions” boiled down to two points  – NTRO did not follow procedure; and why didn’t the people in the boat come nearer to the Coast Guard boat and blow them up!

Which responsible media person speculates in this manner?

Which responsible media house second guesses in this manner without all the facts ?

Which responsible media pushes so badly for a “social disharmony” when little exists?

It looks like the Indian media elite was on a brief hiatus for about 6 months since the May 16th verdict. They are now back to their anti-Modi default programming, trying to create a negative impression about the Modi Government.

And yet, they continue to navel gaze with questions like – “Does Press have freedom in India?” and “Is dissent being muzzled?”
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