Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Media, War, and Secularism

Media is meant to be unbiased and neutral, if not indifferent which at times BBC seems to do. In the past few years, ever since the Indian Television is flooded with so many news channels, all of them had started facing the challenge of being different. It is out of this burden that almost all of them have chosen a different style of presenting news, which in turn have lead them to create news, other then modifying news according to their personal goals(economical or ideological).

Creation of news is done according to the convenience of their ideology and saleability of the news. In the last general elections, almost all of them divided in two groups. Either they supported Modi, or they were against him. And they showed no sign of hesitation in getting tagged for the same. Some hindi news channels apparently come out with C grade sensational news, which they feel of no harm, unless it is reaping them the high TRP ratings. On the other side, few channels, who present themselves as sophisticated elite media have been caught in the trap of Pseudo-secularism. Out of the yearning for sanctimoniousness, they end up in taking secularism classes for viewers.

Now, the recent case is of an elite channel who is self appointed flag bearer of secularism. This news channel has send its reporter to the battlefield of Gaza. It vociferously showed the so called atrocities of Israel army over the helpless, innocent people of Gaza. The anchor emphasised that the innocent people also include many women and children. And the rockets were being dropped on residential areas from which Israel has no threat. That secular anchor of India's biggest pseudo-secular channel also highlighted the fact that only 64 Israelis were killed against 1900 people of Gaza. While doing so, she could not hide her eagerness for balancing the figures! After all, this is what secularism is! Equality! Justice for Minority!

I wonder why this channel had not send its team to war-torn country of Iraq, where more than a lakh Iraqis have died since 2011. In recent insurgency operation by ISIL(or ISIS), more than a 1000 people have died in just two days, many of them were school kids and women. More than a million people are forced to live in refugee camps. But this is not a news. Because, this is not sensational. This is Muslim killing Muslim. There is no masala in this news. Media's secularism is restricted to Muslims killed by Hindu, or Jews, or Christians etc. Because only then these channels can encash the sentiments of a community.

In many public protest, done by various groups of muslim community across the nation, people have demolished public property in the name of people dying in Gaza. If they are so concerned about human life, then there should be more fierce protest against Iraq war, given the fatality & scale of war in Iraq. But no, they can protest against Iraq war only when US is involved in that. This is hardcore hypocrisy.

But such behaviour is not expected from National Media. Instead of revealing the true facts of war, media every time seems to get carried away with the feelings of minorities. Why is secularism confined to the interest of minorities only, or why media is taking care of anybody's interest, for that matter. It should present facts without getting affected by the compulsion of being politically correct. Unless that happens, Indian Media, especially electronic media can not claim itself as true voice of Indian public.