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An Anatomy of Media Covering of Terrorism

Posted by Waquar Hasan
November 29, 2017

NOTE: This post has been self-published by the author. Anyone can write on Youth Ki Awaaz.

After every terror attack, mainstream media triggers a kind of shallow and furious debate on terrorism that spins a yarn about the tragic incident in a partial and superficial manner. And it does not show any intention and inclination to rake up a sober and in-depth discussion covering the multifaceted angle of the issue.

Disdaining the journalistic ethics and objectivity of the reporting, it hypes and sensationalizes minor things related to terrorism. On the other hand, it shuns to focus on the pivotal factors that play instrumental role in producing terrorism. As a result of which, these media coverings of the terrorism increasingly confound the laymen and create a panic and mess in the hearts and minds of people . It highlights terrorism in such a furious and fierce manner that it leaves no space for the common people to go into the depth of the issue. Then, they start blaming Islam and the entire Muslim community for any terror activity. These media reports mesmerize people so profoundly that they are not ready to think even once that how can the entire community be blamed for a mishap carried out by a group which have no precedent of working in the community and never represented any section anywhere.

Let’s be specific in the anatomy of the media covering of terror activities. In general, it does not at all verify and question the facts given by the police to them. Relaying blindly on those facts, they publish or broadcast the entire version of the police even if there are serious contradictions and cock and bull stories.

Previously, media used to completely black out the other side of stories coming from the accused, his family and eyewitnesses. Nowadays, very few print and broadcast media started to give space to other versions but still they don’t check the facts and shun to question the police version. Larger sections of the media completely disdains journalistic ethics in this case. They don’t ask any tough question to the authority even when the police frames innocent and lets off real perpetrators.

In many cases, the courts found no credible evidence and acquitted the accused. No one asked the police as to why have they arrested and put them behind bar over decades although, they had not credible evidence against them. Forget about the framed people, media did not even ask the police as to who are the real perpetrators in those cases in which the court acquitted the accused and Why did they not go after the real perpetrators? The sheer duplicity is that when anyone especially Muslims is arrested in the cases of terrorism, media sensationalizes it too much and gives it a larger coverage. But, when anyone is acquitted in those cases, it keeps skeleton in the cupboard.

Second, media does not bring to light those government failures and security lapses that lead to bloody terror attack nor does it point out at those rooms that help the terrorist to infiltrate. Again, it does not question the authority for being failure in providing  security to the people and curbing terrorism. It does not raise the pertinent question as to how can the governments and security agencies be unaware of the terrorists who with heavy arms and ammunition plan the attack and succeed in that under their nose. It is granted that terrorists will always attempt to carry out strikes so we will have to be adamant to thwart their ploy. That is why we have mysterious and sophisticated structures, apparatus and machinery for the security and protection of the people and the country.

Some incidents of terror activities can be an excuse for failures and lapses but when the terrorists are consistently succeeding in their mischievous plans and targets then the issue is beyond the failures and lapses. Then, the question lingers over the intention and orientation of the governments and security agencies. Media never have raised question on continuous and constant happening of terror attacks.

Third, all the terror outfits whether it is IS (Islamic State) or Al-Qaeda need huge funds and heavy arms and ammunition in order to run their multi-pronged activities. The way these outfits steadily battle against the superpowers – US, UK and Russia- reflects that they have hefty source of finance and weapons and ammunition. Detached from the activities of normal life and living in bunker and trenches, how did these guerrilla outfits, who are internationally banned, procure such hefty weapons and ammunition and huge funds? Why does the mainstream media shun to induce debate and discussion in this regard?

Once Russian President Vlamir Putin had said that there are forty countries including G20 who bankrolls ferocious terror outfit Islamic State.At that time too, the mainstream media was indifference towards raising the issue of funding to global terror outfits. Recently, a BBC investigation revealed that US and UK-led forces are protecting IS combatants from Russia airstrikes and helped them to escape when their headquarters were bombarded out.

“The US refused to bomb a military convoy retreating from Abu Kamal (in Raqqa). The coalition’s aircraft also attempted to prevent Russian Aerospace Forces from carrying out air strikes against militants.” There is considerable evidence of “direct cooperation and support for ISIS terrorists by the US-led International Coalition”, the BBC report quoted Russian Defence Ministry.

Yet, this bare expose could not trigger any sober debate on terror supporting and funding. Is the mainstream media trying to cover up the suppliers of terrorism? In respect to the sensitivity and gravity of the issue, such deceitful behavior of the media towards terrorism renders the covering highly suspicious and deplorable.The constant evasion of the media to bring to light the sources of terror funding makes it complicit in mushrooming terror outfits across the world by the day.

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