Monday, October 5, 2015

Indian Media's Unprofessionalism Has Reached New Heights

Isn't it surprising that we have people shouting themselves hoarse on absolute non-issues in India just to ensure a slant in the coverage of India? Well it should not surprise anyone. However the examples are just so many that one can lose track of the shoddiness (perhaps deliberate) in presenting half-researched stories as an 'alarming Hindutva fringe attack on India'. Sample these:

1. A girl in Mumbai who works in a media house shouted herself hoarse claiming she was denied a house because she is Muslim. The media went overboard and pointed how intolerance is rising within India? We had editorials and discussions by the hallowed likes of Barkha Dutt and Rajdeep Sardesai extolling secular values. However, research done by Mid-Day, a Mumbai based paper showed that the real matter was something else. Apparently, the girl had already lived in the same apartment for over two years and was having problems with the broker of the apartment. In fact, there were Muslim families comfortably living in the building complex, thus throwing cold water on preposterous claims. However, no follow up or apology given to the people for misrepresenting facts.

2. The media lost their mental stability last year over purported vandalism and attack on churches in the capital city of Delhi. News channels such as the shrill Times Now and groups like the Times of India did not even bother to look at statistics when they screamed that Christians are under attack in Modi's India. Protests were also carried out due to the constant screeching that all news channels indulged in, making people wonder what is going on. Particular person of interest in this case was a certain Sreenivasan Jain, who has been known for selective statistical games, which either betrays his poor understanding of mathematics and statistics or shows some vested interest in generating falsehoods. Contrary to the fiction generated however, the cases were just random incidents of robbery or accidental fire. In fact, far more temples and gurudwaras in Delhi have been subject to robbery and vandalism as they cannot afford CCTV cameras unlike the plush churches. Again, we have had not one retraction, apology or even correction on the reports.

3. The whole beef eating controversy raging right now in Dadri is another prime example of really irresponsible, shoddy and vindictive journalism vulgarly displaying itself. Just looking at the khap panchayat of the 'morally conscientious'  Barkha Dutt has once again relied on not even a ground report from a place barely seventy kilometers away. Of course, there is just no chance to believe that the FIR which has no mention of beef eating as a cause for the skirmish, has no validity in Modi's India, even if the police is under the jurisdiction of the 'secular' Samajwadi Party ruled Uttar Pradesh. Of course, there is no need to research - let us just write obituaries to the dead  tolerance of this country, as beautifully worded by Sandiy Roy. Of course, personal vendetta cannot be a cause, since only liberal journalists are allowed to have it, that too against Narendra Modi. The media also does not, in its usual shabby style, tell us that in many states the ban is High Court enforced, and has nothing to do with the government that is now in power either at the Center or in the State. Previous government orders did not even catch the eye of jounalists who are always thinking of 'fine lines and rising intolerance at this point in time', as evidenced in this tight slap that Devendra Fadnavis delivered, if there ever was a literal version of it on the whole Paryushan restriction in one ward of Mumbai for respecting Jains, a miniscule minority with significant population in Mumbai. Neither is there ever any coverage of how mid-day meals were stopped in Malabar region in Kerala during Ramzan.

These are just three cases that I think are essential to highlight just how irresponsible the Indian media has been. The only plausible explanation to it is that some 'eminent journalists' are just blind with rage on not having access to corridors of power anymore. Frustration can lead to lack of attention at work, which is evident in the absolutely facile journalism on display. However, creating an atmosphere of intimidation and spewing venom incessantly based on sheer rumor and misinformation is not only irresponsible but also liable to criminal action, which seriously needs to be examined. It seems like an attempt to create a polarized environment where there is none, and concoct a divide that is artificial just to influence certain events. However, behaving like cretin, the English language media and its eminent personalities are being nothing else but irresponsible. This is not the first time; however it has reached new heights and needs self-censorship. These incidents are just a sample to demonstrate precisely why media's credibility has reached a new abyss of which they are clearly not coming out any time soon.

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