Wednesday, January 13, 2021

How media hides names of criminals belonging to one religion but splashes when suspects belong to another faith


Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

It's sad that I have to write but we need to talk about it. 

It is a dark chapter in the annals of Indian journalism. 

This brutal gang rape took place in MP, iron rod was inserted. It's not that the names of the accused are not known. 

Most papers didn't publish them. English papers also didn't carry. Neither did portals, agencies.

If not first day, in follow-up you can write. But if a system has been internally devised when to publish names & photos in a big way, and when 'not'. One NBT report mentions a bit. Read carefully and you'll find, one of the accused's profession and you may realise. 

The second report below, just in one paper, had two names in the last line. Otherwise English papers and portals too ranging from Times Of India to India Today, Hindi newspapers, all concealed the names. 

Earlier papers had 'style sheets', that had to be adhered in reporting & writing. Not now but an unwritten code. Of the 10 cases, find the one that 'suits' agenda and then go all guns blazing. Not just accused, target everything, get houses razed. Else, keep mum.

Such level of deep shit that you can't even discuss. There are people who straight come from wings of the organisation that wants to propagate falsehoods, create a narrative that 'criminals' are only of one kind & 'we' can't be bad. They are in newsrooms, affect others' thinking.

Each day, they have worked like maniacs on the ground, whichever newsroom they entered, they ensured that even after they leave, it will continue. Such smart ways that even those who have balanced views, change, after interaction.

People take lightly or don't realise, but within states it has huge impact. It has power to change your mind, your opinion, you begin to view things differently when the medium that makes you watch, is totally compromised. Being done for long, has changed perceptions.

Doesn't take much effort, a person who is ideologically compromised, can do this, easily. The least needed is to carry or not carry names of accused in first, second paragraphs or carry even in intro, sub-headline, box or just take in the end, 'continuation' depending on 'names'.

This so cheap and 'ghatiya' that one doesn't even want to rake it up. Ironically, if you say it, you are seen as someone who has a 'different eye' and unnecessarily getting into. 

But this needs to be mentioned, anyway. #RadioRwanda was not just one day exercise.

Some persons who were really balanced, sane. I saw them change because of those around them. 

Certain benefits, things you get from the regime, it also makes you so comfortable that they too don't realise how they slide, get swayed and finally, are 'compromised'. 

Otherwise, names are published in the first paragraph itself, repeated, sometimes in sub-headlines or headlines and boxes. Photographs are published in big way, which causes anger. Then certain wings demand action, demolition of house of suspects. 

But when you don't even publish names, do it so selectively, you want to create a perception that just persons from one community are involved in crimes and this is extreme hatred, creating divide in society and paving way for fascism. Enough for now.

LINK to NBT report: Gang rape in Sindhi, accused arrested