Subcontinet/South Asia- Irresponsible Media

Pakistsan/India- Stunned by the Mumbai terror attacks and dismayed by the strain it has put on India-Pakistan ties, many Pakistanis are blaming the media of the two countries for vitiating ties through “irresponsible” reporting.

“I have been monitoring TV channels and newspapers of both countries and am shocked that they are insisting that their leaders issue harsh statements against each other,” said Ambreen Hussain, a political science student at Iqra University.

Most anchors of the Indian channels are busy blaming Pakistan for the attacks, while Pakistani anchors are busy refuting these charges and trying to prove that the attacks were done by terrorists groups within India.

Misbah Fasih, who works with an international NGO, said: “I believe the media in India and Pakistan are free but highly irresponsible… it seems that either they are not trained to cover events of such sensitive nature or they are trained to excel in accusing others.”

Indian authorities have blamed “elements in Pakistan” for the Mumbai terror strikes. However, Islamabad has denied playing any role in the tragedy and offered to help New Delhi probe the attack.

Some Pakistani media reports have suggested that the attacks were orchestrated by Indians for political gain.

Giving examples of the “dirty role” played by the Indian and Pakistani media in souring relations, Fasih said the anchor of a private Indian news channel repeatedly said that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was directly involved in the attacks.

Similarly, a Pakistani private television suggested that India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) had masterminded the attacks for the benefit of the ruling Congress party, which was losing popularity and is likely to lose the polls scheduled for early next year.

“I don’t know if this campaign is sponsored by the respective governments or the journalists themselves are trying to prove their loyalty to the country… this is no nationalism but unprofessionalism,” said Fasih.

Meanwhile, Pakistani politicians have agreed to come together to tackle the diplomatic crisis arising out of Mumbai terror attacks even tribal leaders in the restive North West Frontier Province (NWFP) urged the government to remove troops from their region and focus on securing the border with India.

All the parties, including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), Jama’at Islami (JI) and the coalition partners attended the National Security Conference.

President Asif Ali Zardari had also spoken to several world leaders, including Afghan President Hamid Karzai, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and discussed the situation.

One thought on “Subcontinet/South Asia- Irresponsible Media”

  1. The Mumbai terror attacks in November 2008 have again brought to the fore the tragedy that is Pakistan. Pakistan is a country that has been the incubation center for a host of dangerous terror groups including the Lashkar (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed and Taliban.

    The tragedy of Pakistan is that the elite will not do anything against these elements as their business interests could get harmed. The politicians will not act against these groups for fear of dismissals or assassinations. And the common folk are too distant to know the goings-on of the … That leaves the media.

    In the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks, the Pak media instead of using this opportunity to expose the Pak intelligence and army establishment has gone into a jingoistic and nationalistic direction. Thereby they have now complicated the situation completely and turned public opinion in Pak into a point of no return. Now no Pak politician can cooperate with India even if he wanted to. They should have perhaps used this opportunity to expose the perpetrators of heinous crimes and terror in Pakistan, their .. and ..’s complicity in shaping the terror landscape in the sub-continent. But they chose to play the opportunist ostriches…

    One can argue that the Indian media was also jingoistic and nationalistic post the terror attacks. But they spared no politician and put the blame for intelligence failures squarely on the leadership leading to a raft of resignations. Alas, not so in Pakistan. There the media has shielded the instigators, their guardians as well as the politicians who are guilty of inaction. Pakistan’s tragedy is that it is Pakistan. India’s tragedy is that its in the neighborhood.

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