With large sections of Indian mainstream media engaged in the patriotic duty of “manufacturing consent” for the Narendra Modi government’s undemocratic actions in Kashmir, the onus is increasingly on foreign media to provide the real picture, or the closest approximation to it.
BBC Radio, for long seen to be “reliable” news provider by previously colonised consumers, has stepped up to the plate by increasing its offering, with a teasing line (above) saying neither a power cut nor an internet shutdown could stop its waves!
An editorial in the British medical journal Lancet, which routinely comments on political matters despite its mandate, invoked a bizarre reaction from the so-called Indian Medical Association, which withdrew its “esteem” from the publication.
The Wire has put out a video report of a protest march in Kashmir dated August 16, with a voiceover of its editor Siddharth Varadarajan, a US citizen, which shows Kashmiris slamming mailand Indian media as “liars”, while extolling BBC and Al Jazeera for their coverage.
A fortnight after the communications balckout was introduced, the website The Quint has an excellent even if counter-intuitive video (above) by Shadab Moizee of the difficulties—physical, professional, psychological, financial—being faced by local journalists in covering the situation.
“I am uninspired by what Indian media is doing in the name of journalism. Only one narrative is being played up, that everything is fine, happy looking faces that nothing is happening,” says BBC Urdu’s Shafat Farooq on camera. “Whatever is being reported, the opposite is true.”
Mainland TV coverage continues to border on the incendiary, with the Mukesh Ambani-owned CNN News18 actually running an internet poll asking if Kashmiri student leader turned politician Shehla Rashid should be arrested for doing the job mainstream journalists haven’t been able to do: report from the ground, with their eyes open.
Meanwhile, an unseemly but not unsurprising row featuring news agency ANI editor Smita Prakash and Army officer turned defence analyst Ajai Shukla.
And, in the theatre of the absurd, Republic TV is conducting what it thinks is a “debate” on whether Twitter should be banned in India… on Twitter.