Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Fwd: Reporting News or Playing Politics?

Reporting News or Playing Politics?

Author: David Frawley
Publication: Organiser
Date: January 26, 2003
Introduction: During the recent Gujarat elections, the media went so
far as to print the type of election results it wanted to see as the
likely outcome, though voters proved it to be totally wrong.

Reading the English language press of India, particularly the
editorial pages, it appears that the media considers itself to be the
supreme authority in the land. The English press of India goes far
beyond what its counterparts do in America, UK or other Western
countries in trying to influence its readers or shape government

The English media dictates against the government as if it should be
the real political decision-making body in the country. It deems
itself capable of taking the place of legal institutions as well,
printing its allegations as truth even if these have never been
entered into much less proved in any court of law. It has vested
itself with an almost religious authority to determine what is right
and wrong, good and evil, and who in the country should be honored or
punished. Like an almost theocratic institution, it does not tolerate
dissent or allow its dogmas to be questioned. In the name of editorial
policy, it pontificates, promoting slogans, denigrations and articles
of faith in the guise of critical policy review.

The media doesn't aim at reporting the news; it tries to create the
news, imposing its view of the news upon everyone as the final truth.
The media doesn't objectively cover elections, it tries to influence
voters to vote in a specific manner, demonizing those it disagrees
with and excusing those it supports, however bad or incompetent their
behavior. We saw this particularly during the recent Gujarat elections
in which the media went so far as to print the type of election
results it wanted to see as the likely outcome, though voters proved
it to be totally wrong.

Where is the Media's Mandate?

The question therefore arises as to what affords the media such a
sweeping authority that can override legitimately elected and
appointed bodies? What sort of mandate has the media been given to
justify its actions? Clearly the media has never been elected to any
political post and does not undergo any scrutiny like that of
candidates in an election. It does not represent any appointed post in
the government. It has no accountability to any outside agency. The
media's authority is largely self-appointed and, not surprisingly,

The sources behind the media's operation and where they get their
money is also not revealed. We are not informed as to how prominent
reporters and editorial writers derive their income, including how
much may come from outside sources. But clearly they are getting a lot
of money from somewhere that they are not in any hurry to disclose.
Though the media likes to expose the improprieties, financial, sexual
and otherwise, of those its dislikes, which it often exaggerates, if
not invents, if you examine how the media people live, you certainly
wouldn't want them as., role models for your children!

Nor are we certain who the media really represents. Certain groups,
not only inside but also outside India, are using this English media
as a vested interest to promote their own agenda, which is generally
anti-Hindu and often appears to be anti-India as well.

The Media Propaganda Machine

A section o the Indian media often appears more as a propaganda
machine than an objective news agency. In this regard the large
section of English media of India is much like the old state
propaganda machines of communist countries. This is an important clue
for understanding its operation. The English media of India largely
represents a holdover from the Congress era in which it was a state
run propaganda center for the Congress government that was far left in
its orientation. We can perhaps at understand its actions today as a
state run propaganda machine that has continued in power after the
decline of the party that created it. Its prime motive has now become
to reestablish that old state and former ruling party.

The media remains largely a Congress run propaganda machine. As the
Congress has not been able to win elections, it has emphasised its
media wing even more strongly to try to compensate for its failures in
the electoral arena. Yet as the Congress Party itself has often
failed, the media has taken to supporting other leftist groups inside
and outside the country in hope of gaining power. That is why they try
to, make heroes of figures like Laloo Prasad Yadav or Jyoti Basu as
another vehicle for their Marxist views.

Most of the main writers in the media are of the far left and many
remain card-carrying communists, a strange anachronism after communism
has been rejected worldwide, particularly for those claiming to be
progressive! Their leftist and communist sympathies go back decades to
the periods of Nehru and Indira Gandhi who favored them. They are a
Westernised elite but of the old left persuasion that finds their
heroes in Yasser Arafat and Fidel Castro, and still emulate even
Stalin and Mao. As the media is the last citadel of power for far left
groups in India, it is not one that they will give up easily.

The Danger of Hindu Fascism

Similarly, the claims of the English media that Hindu groups and
parties like BJP, RSS and VHP are fascists are the claims of a leftist
and communist propaganda machine going back over fifty years. The
English language media of India has long projected the great and
imminent danger to the country posed by Hindu fascism. If one believes
what the media says India resembles Germany in the 1930's with Hindu
Storm Troopers active everywhere and on the verge of seizing power and
conducting a campaign of genocide, particularly of Muslims.

One would expect, therefore, that the media itself is under siege in
India. On the contrary, there is no instance of a single journalist
killed by Hindu militants, of a single newspaper office burned down by
them, and of only a few scattered protests to the numerous anti-Hindu
stories over the years. Not even a single major newspaper has been
forced out of business by such supposedly 'vicious' and 'intolerant'
Hindu forces. For all their worries of Hindu fascism, the Indian media
seems quite comfortable with its way of life and its freedom not only
to criticise but also to malign the groups it disagrees with in the
most vehement manner!

What newspapers have actually been attacked in India have been the
target of Islamic groups, not Hindus at all, for which the media is
quick to render its apologies to Islamic sympathies. In spite of this,
the media not only exaggerates the danger of Hindu militance, it
downplays the danger of any Islamic militance, even after 9/11. While
it attacks even the mention of a Hindu Rashtra as dangerous, it
encourages tolerance and respect for theocratic Islamic states, which
follow an oppressive Sharia or religious law. The reason is clear, the
Muslims actually attack them, while the so-called militant Hindu
fascists, who are really largely pacifists, do not. Such writers
reveal their double standards and their cowardice by such actions.

The Gujarat Elections: A Mandate Against Media

The recent Gujarat elections appear to be the first major revolt
against the media, which occurred at a grassroots level. The media
badly lost an election that it had made every effort, invoking the
most shrill hysteria, bringing in NGOs to work for them, demonising
not only the BJP but even casting aspersions on the very culture of
Gujarat, to influence the voters. The voters, it appears,
intentionally voted against the media, recognising its obvious
prejudices and deceptions.

Yet even after this defeat the media has not toned down its rhetoric
and continues to proclaim that doom is approaching, much like the
fundamentalist preachers of the West, hoping to scare people into
supporting it. More such Gujarat election results are necessary to
change this tide of biased reporting going back over the decades.

India does need a responsible English language media that can
articulate the genuine concerns of the country to the rest of the
world. The absence of such a responsible media has caused great
problems for the people of the country on all levels because the
Western English language media, which has a poor record of making any
real efforts to understand other cultures and languages, still
uncritically relies upon such hostile media views. India's
independence will not be real until this group loses its hold on the
media and their place is taken by those who really appreciate the
great traditions of this great civilization.

While many people who are working in the media field are genuinely
concerned about their country, even these remain unfortunately bound
to the editorial policy of a hostile elite that continues to run the
show. It is time for such more nationalistic writers to express
themselves as well. They represent the real future of the country and
its news organisations.

Posted by Anonymous to The Chindu at April 11, 2007 8:57 AM

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