This has happened once again in India. On Tuesday, as details began emerging--the death toll rising from 11 to 34, and later crossing 50, most of the TV channels avoided the story.
On certain English channels, it was visible in the scroll, but many 'national channels' had no time for it. For them, results of Jammu & Kashmir election, was the sole important story of the day.
Certain channels had changed their entire home page on the website for the day, and it had nothing except poll results. Such was the brutality that a kid was shot seven times. LINK
Of those dead, around 40 were women and children. Yet none of the major news groups termed it a 'terrorist attack' in plain words, despite the fact that NDFB(S) is also a banned outfit just like Naxals, SIMI or other such extremist outfits.
In fact, words used in morning newspapers on Wednesday, showed the attitude of Indian media towards such acts. Even word like militant, radical or extremist was avoided in the newspapers. For Hindi papers, they are 'Ugravadi' not 'Aatankvadi'. Strange.
Telegraph, which is published from Kolkata (West Bengal), a state neighbouring Assam, carried the news in brief on its front page. See news encircled in red on the left. That's how they treat such a massacre, despite the number of deaths!
The headlines were either 'Massacre in Assam' or 'Rebels kill 40', [not terrorists kill 40 or 70] forget bold headlines which are otherwise visible, along with photographs and adjoining stories of outrage. Why? Do you have any answer? Later, in follow-up stories, most papers termed it as 'Assam violence'.
Many papers didn't carry the news on front page. In fact, there have been incidents when one or two persons injured in a suspected extremist attack, has been enough to shake the nation, because of the hysteric round-the-clock coverage. So who is a terrorist and who is a militant or a rebel? Time for definition!
If gunshots don't make it a terror attack, then there is another example. Just three days ago, a blast in Manipur had killed three migrants. It wasn't a 'terrorist attack' either for TV channels and newspapers.
Clearly, if the perpetrator is a Maoist or a non-Muslim group, there there is no need for outrage. Numbers are just numbers. There is no outrage, nothing about modules, leaders of the outfit, its members, its aims, its past history and its 'threat to the nation'.
It is very clear that our media indulges has double standards in covering incidents, depending on ethnicity or religion of the perpetrators.
Why else, one of the biggest massacres on Indian soil, in recent years, was simply hushed up?
Once incident in which no one is killed may be termed a 'terrorist attack' and another in which dozens are killed, could be simply hushed up or ignored.
Whether knowingly or unknowingly, whether for TRP or because of biased mindsets, this is happening regularly.
It is poisoning the society. Certain incidents are blown up and panic is created by non-stop coverage while others are blacked out. Shouldn't journalists and media houses be objective and show the correct picture or at least adhere to a certain guideline and agree to using similar terms for similar acts of violence irrespective of perpetrating group and its ethnicity.
If one incident in which 70 persons are killed, is not termed terrorism and the story is not splashed on front page, and only particular incidents are treated as 'cases of terror', then, it is very dangerous game, as it is calculated game to condition minds, stuff biases in the minds of people and misinform the society. Isn't it?