‘More like police briefings than news reports’

Mukul Kesavan in The Telegraph, Calcutta:

“English language newspapers and news channels in India have much to be proud of: their determination to tell the truth and to document atrocity during the pogrom in Gujarat in 2002 was an outstanding example of how a free press can bear witness when the State fails its citizens. The awfulness of Nandigram would never have come to light in a country with a more pliant press.

“But on some issues the press and the news networks seem to suffer a collective breakdown: the scepticism about narratives sponsored by the state that marks out good journalism is replaced by a willing suspension of disbelief.

“Since 9/11, stories that can be classified as instances of Islamic or Muslim terrorism read more like police briefings than news reports. The press coverage of S.A.R. Geelani’s arrest in connection with the attack on Parliament seven years ago was one example of the near-hysterical collusion between the news media and government agencies. Geelani’s subsequent acquittal made several newspapers and television news channels look both craven and credulous.

“The reporting on the Student’s Islamic Movement of India, banned since 2001, is shaping up to be another such story.”

Read the full article: Presuming innocence

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