By Simran Jagdev:
The election of Nawaz Sharif as the Prime Minister of Pakistan in the elections held in the country in May 2013 came as a ray of hope for the much-troubled relations between India and Pakistan. Hopes of reviving peace talks among the two nations from where they were left-off in 1999 were at an all-time high. But the incidents of violations across the LOC in the past two months have led to a looming cloud of uncertainty over the hopes of normalcy of relations between the two countries. The beheading of two Indian soldiers followed by the killing of five BSF soldiers has created an atmosphere of distrust towards the Sharif government. The continuing violations of the ceasefire are just worsening the situation.
The reporting of these events by the Indian media has been in a most irresponsible manner. What the media has tried to do is conduct trials, of the Indian government and their supposed failure in dealing with the situation, and also of the Pakistani government and its claims of sharing the Indian sentiment of wanting peace. What it forgot in the process is that it is shirking off its duty of responsible journalism, which is expected from the fourth pillar of democracy, as it is often called. In a bid to garner the highest TRPs, reporting objectively has taken a back seat and what is steering the media is an effort to project the Indian government as ineffective and soft, unable to take appropriate action and depicting it’s Pakistani counterpart as the anti-hero. Various news channels have on-going debates and panel discussions but the conclusion of these often comes across as pre-determined by the media organisations. Although never explicitly stated, each discussion leads towards the idea that dismissing talks and threatening to go to war with Pakistan is the only solution that India has in its armour. The news anchors often present their own views instead of news and try to sound the most nationalistic. What they don’t realise is that their nationalism often borders onto jingoism, which is the last thing that the people of the two nations need.
The only way to come to an understanding with Pakistan is through uninterrupted talks. We have to present our grievances and work towards a solution instead of behaving as if we are granting them a favour by agreeing to talk to them. And what the Indian media needs to realise is that it plays a highly significant role in shaping the views and sentiments among the common people. The war-mongering behaviour needs to stop, along with a realisation of the fact that they very much form a part of the society that they are reporting to and are not leading an isolated existence. They not only report the news but are also an important part of the ideology-making machinery of this country and therefore their jingoistic behavior will have huge ramifications for the shape that the relations between the two nations take.