Media is considered to be one of the important pillars of democracy and rightly so. A free, fearless, independent and upright media is the guarantee of the preservation of the rights of common people in a democracy. With the changing times, one of the most respected professions has been reduced to just being a means of carrying out exploitation, extortion, political & personal vendetta.
The boom of Media industry in India instead of making it better has harmed it. The cut throat competition among media houses has resulted in deterioration of journalism. Journalists who are supposed to be neutral while reporting news now a days do not even pretend to be impartial but what is more appalling is their complete disregard for ethics.
When it comes to reporting about Kashmir it seems that altogether a different yard stick is used not only by the Indian Media but sadly even by the Kashmiris working or reporting for them. Even one of the most respected newspapers of India, The Hindu, doesn’t fare well. The opinion section (not read by every person) from time to time does give space to anti-establishment view point but while reporting day to day news (read by most people) narrative is in accordance with so called ‘national interest’ .
All the Kashmir based journalists who work or have worked for The Hindu have strictly maintained the narrative accepted (enforced) by the Indian government. At times it seems that the reporters just copy paste PTI reports and at times the press briefs handed out by government officials!
Couple of days back The Hindu hit a new low in journalism, Ahmed Ali Fayyaz while reporting about the sexual harassment of a lady doctor by the Health Minister Shabir Ah Khan not only named the lady doctor but even named her husband too, in addition to that gave her designation with the place of posting, thus making her identity known to every person. Later the news report was edited removing the name of the lady doctor and her husband.
The news paper report even now reads “… Wife of a separatist leader…” and her designation with place of posting is still there , which by themselves are enough to identify the victim! ( http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/government-doctor-complains-of-sexual-assault-by-kashmir-minister/article5661628.ece?ref=relatedNews ).
This can’t be termed mere as an oversight on behalf of the reporter and the editorial staff, the fact that the identity of even the husband was made public makes it very obvious that it was done deliberately!
It is nothing but an attempt to discredit the lady doctor in the eyes of the readers and to make her life difficult. Without writing the actual words what the newspaper wants the readers to understand from this report is that the separatist leader in order to malign the image of the minister used his wife! It is tantamount to saying that if a Dalit woman alleges a person from higher cast of molesting her she should not be believed! Imagine the outcry in the second scenario and now do you hear the deafening silence about the way The Hindu reported the news, even the Kashmiri journalists have maintained an erie silence about it!
No doubt Ahmed Ali Fayyaz is no stranger to controversy but here the greater responsibility lies with The Hindu and we need to question it so as to seek answers, we need to seek answers so as to ensure that the institution that we love and respect is well enough to safe guard our rights and the democracy.
P.S: The world’s largest democracy blocked internet in Kashmir valley on the death anniversary of Mohd Afzal Guru and Sopore town with other parts of valley were placed under undeclared curfew and hardly any of the Media reported it!