Monday, February 18, 2013
Role of media in Afzal Guru's case: Creating hysteria, refusal to air views of those who opposed his hanging & reporting biases
If you search internet, it's tough to find this photo. Rather, the picture with the bearded man, wearing topi and Arabic kerchief (that stereotypes a fundamentalist) would be visible everywhere.
That 'single' picture which creates a demon out of a normal looking man with an MBBS degree, is used on all forums. No attempt was every made to show a second photograph.
Now it is immaterial to discuss how much he was involved in the attack. After the death penalty was ratified by Supreme Court, it is clear that he had to go to the gallows.
While convicts who got death penalty long before him are yet to be executed, Afzal was hanged promptly. The reason are well-known. But the role of Indian media, mostly TV channels, and affecting public opinion, must be discussed.
Afzal Guru's trial in court took place long after his media trial, which had already given its judgment. It became a Congress-BJP fight to score brownie points over who is more nationalistic in the run-up to the next general elections.
After the highest court's go-ahead and the rejection of mercy petition, there was no question of stopping his hanging. But the TV channels made a grave mistake, and in process harmed the basics of journalism as well as national integrity.
What were the grounds, people were opposing death penalty to him? This was never properly shown on TV channels who had taken the BJP's line 'Hang Afzal' as the mantra to prove patriotism. In competitive nationalistic fervour, they bayed for his blood.
Worst, even when he was executed, the protests were not reported honestly. People who opposed the execution were not given opportunity by English-Hindi channels to speak and let the ordinary people know that why people were asking for clemency.
Just one side of the picture was presented. The job of media is objective reporting and presenting facts. But here it failed miserably. In fact, it worked with a clear agenda. The versions of police and prosecution were aired. How the man was tortured, made to 'confess' and then the recorded video was used to prove his complicity, was ignored.
This is a sad chapter in Indian democracy. The fourth pillar--Press--has succumbed to jingoism. It buys hardline versions, listens to those who shout, who are bloodthirsty. It has no time for sane voices. It listens to those who turn it into Us Vs Them.
It doesn't allow anyone to speak against it or even question it. Afzal is gone. Perhaps to satisfy our 'collective conscience' (ours?) but it's a moment of collective shame for Indian media, because right-wing journalists have hijacked journalism.
Read these links:
1. Nandita Haksar on why people think he didn't get a fair trial. Article in English
2. Apoorvanand on 'Was justice done with Afzal Guru?': Article in Hindi.
3. Kamini Jaiswal, the lawyer of Afzal Guru on the execution. See the video
Business Standard terms Ashok Singhal a 'Hindu warrior', Indian Express too writes eulogy: Hate-speeches, communal agenda ignoredBusiness Standard has published an obituary of VHP's former president Ashok Singhal who died on Tuesday. This obituary is a clas...
TV channel IBN 7 has claimed that thousands of 'couples are swapping wives' and indulging in sexual orgies at farm houses, homes ...
The second media revolution has arrived in India. News websites have emerged as flag-bearers of independent journalism. This was needed...
If Mukesh Ambani's RIL has majority stake in 27 TV channels in India, does that worry you about the state of electronic media in t...
Amul macho advertisement tests Indian TV viewers' sensibilities: Is it obscene or creating advertising?Is Amul macho advertisement vulgar ? Click for a Video of Ad on You Tube. Here There are no direct answers to it. Vulgarity and obscenity a...
Arnab Goswami has also been bitten by the preaching bug. Talking to the lawyer of Abu Salem, Goswami suddenly turned into a preacher. ...
Journalism has been in crisis and the credibility of journalists is increasingly under scanner because of the bad apples. The question...
Do you know who is the editor of Times of India, the largest circulated English daily in the country (or world)? Chances are that you wo...
Can you imagine a journalist working with India's largest selling Hindi newspaper, seeking blessings of the chief of Rashtriya Swayams...
Ads are catching imagination but can they raise circulation! For years The Hindu remained a respectable newspaper in North with a limited...
Media (14) Journalism (11) Biased journalism (9) Irresponsible Media (8) Arnab Goswami (7) Biased Media (7) Dainik Bhaskar (6) Indian Express (6) Indian Media (6) Media Hysteria (6) Unethical journalism (5) Aaj Tak (4) Hindustan Times (4) Journalists (4) Magazines (4) TV Channels (4) BJP (3) English newspapers (3) False reporting (3) Hindi Media (3) Hindi TV channels (3) India Today (3) Sting Operation (3) Superstitious Media (3) Terrorism (3) Times Now (3) Zee TV (3) Biased journalists (2) Dainik Jagran (2) Deepak Chaurasia (2) HT (2) HT Vs TOI (2) Indian journalism (2) Media Blunders (2) Media watchdog (2) Media's Failures (2) Sudhir Chaudhary (2) Tehelka (2) Times of India (2) Zee News (2) ABP News (1) Abhisar Sharma (1) Amir Khan (1) Ashok Singhal (1) Barkha Dutt (1) Bhadas4Media (1) Bizarre journalism (1) Bloggers (1) Bollywood (1) Business Standard (1) Cameramen (1) Casteism (1) Chaitanya Kalbag (1) Chanda Kochhar (1) Communal riot (1) Controversies (1) DB Grouup (1) DNA (1) Deepak Sharma (1) Editor (1) Electronic Media (1) Encounter (1) Extra-judicial killings (1) Extremism (1) Fake encounters (1) HR policies (1) Hindi Journalism (1) Hindi TV Channel (1) Hindi newspaper (1) Hindu Terrorism (1) Hindustan (1) IBN 7 (1) India TV (1) Indian Express Idea Exchange (1) Journalism Hall of Shame (1) Journalistic ethics (1) MJ Akbar (1) Majithia wage board (1) Managers-editors nexus (1) Media Obsessions (1) Media and Terrrorism (1) Muslim Terrorism (1) Nai Duniya (1) Nandan Nilekani (1) Naxalites (1) News channels (1) News channels. (1) Newspaper War (1) Newspapers (1) Obituary (1) Obscene advertisement (1) Obscenity (1) Operation Lajja (1) Pakistan election 2013 (1) Photographers (1) Praveen Swami (1) Print media (1) Punya Prasun Vajpayee (1) Qamar Waheed Naqvi (1) Questionable journalism (1) Right-wing media (1) Right-wing websites (1) Saffron Terrorism (1) Sex Scandal (1) Sexual harassment in media (1) Sexuality (1) Socialites (1) Subhash Chanda (1) Suhel Seth (1) Sunday Newspapers (1) Swarajya Magazine (1) TV channel (1) The Hindu (1) The Week (1) Uday Shankar (1) Unethical reporting (1)