We live in an age of digital technology where T.V channels, social media, websites and newspapers flash information at a click. News travels from Morroco to Montreal in just a matter of seconds and billions of people get to know what is going on in the world.
However, the foremost question that comes to mind is how responsible and credible is the world of electronic and media. This is a very debatable point as many people are of the opinion that T.V channels are more interested in boosting their T. V. rating points (TRPs) than passing out credible information.
In times of crisis such as calamities, war or impending war, the role of the media is very important in disseminating information to the public but precise, accurate and confirmed information, not information based on hearsay or speculation.
In the united States the U.S elections are taking place and the entire media of the U.S especially the big guns C.N.N, ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS are only make a through analytical view of the polls and reporting accurately and credibly as they are well aware that the people rely on them and will form and base their decision on what the media narrates. So responsible journalism is absolutely necessary for any given situation.
In the subcontinent these days there is fear of war clouds gathering over the horizons of Pakistan following a daring attack at an Indian Army base in Uri in which 17 Indians soldiers have killed and 4 or 5 militants also.
The Indian media, as well as the Pakistan media for lack of a better world, went berserk and there has been more warming between the two country’s media than actually on the ground.
As is the norm in their overblown and excessive zest to hype up the matter both conduct talk shows with hardliners, military analysts, politicians to air their views which at times give way to jingoism and not based on ground realities.
The Indians on their part have really let unleashed vitriol, hatred, and malice towards Pakistan urging the government to take direct military action against Pakistan and their proxies. Similarly, Pakistan media has also not let up at all bringing in its own experts, politicians who have played to the gallery.
In other words, War has been declared between the media of the two countries and salvo of the verbal missile are flying spewing poison and hate between the two countries.
This does note bode well as far as reality is concerned and as a result of the media hype, war hysteria escalates in the country so much so that even if a domestic altercation between a Hindu and a Muslim in a domestic dispute is taken in a greater context of the impending war conflict.
The media has a great responsibility but as mentioned unfortunately the channels are more concerned about their ratings and the greater the hype the better the TRPS.
Kashmir has always been a bone of contention between the two countries and while Kashmiris are themselves divided whether they want to become a part of Pakistan or be completely independent. India and Pakistan seem to have their own views on the matter and consider the troubled region their own.
India has over the years used brute force to suppress the Kashmir movement and thousands of people have died over the years, the latest being Burhanuddin Wani, a young freedom fighter, who was killed by Indian defense forces.
In the aftermath of Wani’s death, Occupied Kashmiris erupted into bloody violence with Young Kashmiri activist protesting over his death. Mayhem and carnage ensued with non-stop curfew and brutal repression. All this was happening when the Uri attack took place.
The Indian media did not spare a moment casting blame on Pakistani militants aided and abetted by Pakistani agencies.
The media did not hesitate to furnish proof or ask their government for facts and figures but instead immediately started Pakistan bashing, a favorite pastime of theirs. Hardliners and Indians politicians lashed out with bellicosity and belligerent war rhetoric.
Not to be outdone Pakistan media lashed back with their own rhetoric. What is the most surprising aspect of this entire charade is media on both sides of the divide does not bother to inform its people of the disastrous consequences in the event of war between the two nuclear-armed countries which is highly irresponsible and negative role of the media.
Economists, Doctors, Social Scientists and above all environmentalists should all be called in and apprise the nation about the resultant dangers of war.
In general, both India and Pakistan are playing a very negative role and are basically warmongering for their respective governments,” says Garga Chatterjee, a Kolkata-based commentator on South Asian politics.
This is a clear case of blaming and denying from both sides. Another factor affecting the media is while India has a lot of correspondents on the ground Pakistan relies on news media reports and immediately when reports come in that trouble has broken out in Indian Kashmir, Pakistan media has a field day outline human rights violations.
The media should view things from a real balanced perspective and not create hype as is their won’t.
Kashmir has remained a major area of conflict right from a partition in 1947 and the two countries have gone to war twice over the disputed land.
It is said that both the Indian and Pakistan media are an extension of the Public Relations Department of the two governments.
India does not what to show the world what is happening at different places in Kashmir. However, the Kashmiri media is doing an excellent job and in the age where social media is active word travels fast.
‘India virtually sealed all communication from Kashmir the two months the trouble has ensued, News media channels, print media, Internet, social media were all virtually shut down during this period but the word does get out.
A senior Indian journalist recently resigned from his post as his reports were fabricated and the truth distorted.
The media should be like a temperance society calming the people and not adding fuel to the fire. They should advocate peace and harmony but sadly that is not the case.
However, not everyone is part of the warmongering or war hysteria, there are many saner heads that prevail. Liberals, authors, editors, educationists think tanks all speak and wish to promote peace.
India’s famous author Arundhati Roy advocates peace with Pakistan as do many Indian authors, writers, intellectuals and forward looking people.
Pakistan’s former Ambassador to the US, Sherry Rahman in a tweet has said that there should not be a military answer to the Uri attack as war does not solve anything.
The sad fact of the matter is the media on both sides are only interested in boosting their TRPs and pleasing their media barons.
Journalism was once a profession which was treated with respect, for journalists had unquestionable integrity, principles, and character. Sadly all this has changed now. There is no integrity at all.
The question then arises that if the media can not play a role in bringing who else can. Media analysts see a lack of fact-checking on the part of Indian and Pakistani newspapers when it comes to the Kashmir issue. They call on mainstream media outlets in both nations to play an active role in minimizing the ongoing unrest.
Omar Abdullah, former Chief Minister of Kashmir believes that much of the 17 deaths occurred when soldiers were in their tents believes the death toll could have been much lower if the army had been provided with flame retardant tents.
Some diplomats are tweeting on the issue as well with a bid to calm the unrest between the neighbors. Sherry Rehman, a former Pakistani ambassador to the US, tweeted against any possible military answer to the Uri attack. She stressed that war wouldn’t solve anything.
With position comes great responsibility but it seems that in this part of the world only money and TRPs matter as the media wars are such that now channels flash some news and literally declare that they are the first to bring this news a practice unheard and unseen in the world.
The B.B.C, CNN, and other major television channels never indulge in such irresponsible behavior. The U. S channels are covering the U.S election in an unbiased, objective and with integrity and do not speculate but rather sift the facts and report accordingly.
The Pakistan and India media have to grow and many say they are at a nascent stage and will take a lot of time to get there. There are no training institutes where news anchors can learn and groom themselves. There is a lot of hype to generate TRPs.
Some major newspapers have attempted their hand in establishing English news channels but unfortunately, they failed. All one can say in the end that both mature for surely if the countries do not go to war, the media has left no stone unturned to hype up war hysteria.