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IM ( NOT ) behind every blast

Suman Chatterjee

Have you ever wondered about the speed at which Indian media delivers its side of investigation report by terming every bomb blasts an act of IM?? I am confessing that until some days back I even did not used to think about this latest trend in media. The almost regular occurrence of blasts made precarious effects on me; I stopped thinking about these blasts and the subsequent investigation, conviction and so on.

The Boston bomb blast has been an eye-opener for me. I was amazed by the way the American media reported the incident and also the statement of Obama that followed the blast. I started taking interest in the bomb blast news reported by the Indian media. The stark difference left me somewhat between puzzled and mournful.

In the Boston blast case there was no attribution to either organization or to any particular community by media or the authority. The media even did not rule out the option of the involvement of some jerks from their own country of being responsible for the blasts. They restrained themselves by saying that till the investigation is over there are multiple options wide open and urged the nation not to jump on to conclusion.

Another side of the reporting was the restrain shown by media personnel when reporting live from the blast site. They did not pound upon each other to take picture neither created any obstacles in the rescue operation. And one thing that worth mentioning especially in the Indian context is the positive covering of the event.

All the pictures that I went through in NYT, Washington Post, not a single picture was of blast victim with broken limbs or heavily bleeding. Ironically I got to see such pictures in Indian newspapers. Those papers carried picture of the rescue operations that were going on seamlessly without any intervention by any political bigwigs, to ostensibly show off their sympathy to the families of the blast victims for electoral gains.

This is again in sharp contrary to Indian context where the papers and news channels race with each other to carry the grimmest picture of the blast. The picture that sends the most chilling effects down the spine of the audience.

Coming back to the flashing of news with instantaneous investigation report by media houses, I completely agree with Justice Katju. This kind of coverage targets a particular community and breeds the chances of communal tension soaring.

They don’t even attribute any source of their information, stops just little over saying “highly placed source”. Maintaining the anonymity of sources is the golden rule of journalism. You can’t compromise your source for the news. But the authentication of news is also rudimentary condition of journalism.

The maxim of journalism always underscores to verify the information before putting it up in the public domain. Unfortunately these fundamental guidelines are not being followed by today’s journalists. The consequence that follows bears cascading effects. How?

Our security agencies are of no good. That we can infer from the series of blasts that are taking place and their perpetual failure to foil these bids. The investigations that are done after every blast does not bear much fruit as well. Every time they come up with the same old statement that indicates the involvement of IM.

They are already averse to do field work and nab the actual culprit or ascertain the chain of events that occurred before blast. They simply frame (wrongly) people from a particular community and produce them before court as conspirators.

This is very evident from the latest unfolding of drama that is taking place in the 7/11 Mumbai blast case where the call records of the accused show that they were not present during the blast at the blast site. There are other numerous incidents where police primarily claimed the hand of LET, HUJI behind the explosion only to be found later that it was done Hindu extremists (Malegaon blast, Samjhuta Express blast).

Now when media becomes a party with such ne’er-do-well security establishments then it imperils a particular community which is already in the eye of suspicion. Because of the credibility that media enjoys in public domain, gives credence to such malevolent claims of police establishment when it appears as a news item in newspaper or news channels.  Role of media is of adverse anti establishment watchdog. Its purpose is to serve the public. But when it colludes with it then the trouble begins.

(The writer is young journalist)



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