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Media’s Role In Indo-Pak Relations: How The War Mongering Media Is Propagating Hatred Towards Pakistan

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.

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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.

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  1. Tripthi

    A well written and opinionated article but I have to disagree here.While war might definitely not be a solution, India has to act tough with Pakistan.I agree that peace is Important but why may I ask is the Pakistan government harboring Terrorists like Hafeez Saeed who openly leads anti India movements in Pakistan, the recent one being during Eid in a cricket stadium in Lahore.Just a quick visit to the twitter account of Mr.Hafeez saeed will make his Anti-India intentions clear.And not just him,many like him are protected by the Pak government under the blanket of Philanthropists,religious leaders etc.
    What also is a scenario is the out of control Pak army which thrives on Anti-India sentiments in Pak.If the cease fir violations were indeed carried out independently by the Pak army then it is a worrisome scenario for both India and Pak.

    If peace is what pakistan wants then they have to mean it and not just talk.

    1. Raj

      But the anti-India people in Pakistan and the anti-Pakistan people in India, neither of them want peace! If peace was achieved, they would no longer be relevant and they would lose their hold over their followers. Their whole campaign is based on anger and fear, both of which allow an individuals mind to be controlled. Without it, people would think rationally and would not be easily controlled.
      But despite everything, Indo-Pak relations are at its best. I believe free-trade will greatly help both countries. The amazing thing about free-market capitalism is that it greatly compels people who hate each other to come together and engage in mutually-beneficial productive activities.

  2. Baldeep Grewal

    There is a world of difference between the relations of the two nations as depicted by the media and the actual relations between the people; the latter being quite peaceful. That being said we need to understand that the only reason why someone would try to instigate aggressive sentiments would be because they benefit from it. Journalism is a SERVICE, not a business. The people are not bad, the commercialized system is. The news is presented in a way that creates hatred. For example: the issue of the beheading of two Indian soldiers was very roughly handed by the media. The presentation contained a larger element of the gory than the glory. The news could have been broken with the two soldiers as martyrs and the actual issue could have been resolved by confidential talks between the two countries. Instead very vivid details of the whole episode were given in order to arouse the sentiments of the people of India. Huge storming debates took place where politicians used very antagonistic vocabulary. The two soldiers’ sacrifice for their country was lost in a wave of anger, hatred and increased enmity – the very things that they had been fighting to control. Ironic, isn’t it?

  3. Aditi

    What perhaps has been conveniently forgotten, in the race to TRPs is the power and sway which something as far reaching as television or media in general has in forming or at least gently shaping of public opinion. Distorted or mishandled ‘opinions’ if pronounced and produced over and over again can indoctrinate, if I can use such a strong word, biases and strong repugnance for anything. That must never be forgotten for we are talking about how or what an entire body of people think, believe and act like.

  4. Ishaa Srivastava

    I do agree with the fact that it’s almost like media houses have this agenda of steering the audience’s views towards what they believe is right. However, believing that media houses implicitly have a message of waging a war against Pak is just jumping the gun. And a bit of this sentiment need to be generated. The deal is that one realizes the amount of times one is exposed to news of Pakistan supporting infiltration of militants and violating the cease fire arrangement and it is definitely infuriating. Esp the incident of the two soldiers who were decapitated the border. This anger may not rouse the same level of rage in every individual but the fact remains that soldiers are dying, their families are mourning and still they have the audacity of continuing these cease fire violations.

    If we had more assertive leaders and no tolerance standpoint, the scenario would not have been the same. We need assertive leaders and a promise that these lives which were lost are not futile and that some hardcore ‘talks’ will have to take place to stop this menace.

  5. Umar Munir

    Pakistan wants peace with India. We don't want anymore wars. Peace and dialogue is not a favor but a need of both countries. If Pakistan is exporting terrorism to India, that needs to stop. If India is exporting terrorism to Pakistan via Afghanistan, that needs to stop. We should stop fighting each other as it will not make us stronger or richer, it will only cause bloodshed. From this bloodshed and these wars, only USA and Russia are getting benefits whose weapons we are purchasing. Yes, we are two different nations, we are different from religion, but that doesn't mean we can't help each other. That doesn't mean we can't make trade relationships or infrastructure developments. We need peace, not war. We are spending all of our budget on armies and purchasing jets and weapons, we could save it and spend it on education and health. We can create more jobs.

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