Friday, November 28, 2008

Kashmir to Mumbai

The main difference between the hostage/gun battle situations (apart from the scale) between Kashmir & Mumbai terror operations has been the presence of the media. Apart from CNN-Iraq I don't think any counter terrorist operation has been covered in such minute detail on any media in any country.

So there have been pitched media battles between Arnab of Times Now, Rajeep of IBN and Sreenivasan/Barkha/Roy combo of NDTV. The hindi channels like India TV have carried quick comments, throwing caution to the winds and reporting anything that could be seen as san-sani-khez. The English media has been a wee bit more restrained, but since they have been the only source of information I guess people wont grudge them their extra bit of fame or TRPs.

Arnab I guess has won (you can see his enthusiasm in the attached video, yup its grotesque to call it enthusiasm but then its the media) gathering from everybody who has been watching. He is the top reality TV host among the mother of all reality shows. As seen from the phone call with the terrorist that was broadcast live (the police will need to check the veracity - and why was it telecast in the first place unless it was an express demand to keep hostages alive? ) this short war would have been very generous to the TV TRP s, but what about the sensibilities of the larger audience. They can choose to turn off you see.

What was not reported - whatever happened to the rest of the attacks on petrol pumps and taxis etc. While Nariman Point was burning, the trains the miraculous trains were back on schedule (salute to these heroes along with the fallen army/police heroes). People who were fortunate not to be caught in the violence, were surely traumatized at the choked airport (why did that happen?). The other issues were quite simply put, not chilling enough to be continuously telecast. The morality of the media has been widely debated, the debate has been closed with this round, they don't have any except to get to next "breaking news". Representative of the general society? Sure. Is it wrong? Hardly from the success of these shows (not having a choice is not a write metric, you can switch a TV off you know).

Poor army, along with the terrorists they have to deal with the barrage of the media. Brave media who will lay down their lives for our benefit. Such unbridled bravery.

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