Books

Communalism of Media

Original_mg351-buktitle-media-kee-sa

BooK: (Media kee sampardayikta (Communalism of Media - in Hindi)

Editor: Anil Chamdia

Publisher: Media Studies Group, A4/4, Sector-18, Rohini, Delhi

ISBN 978-81-9268527-4

 

Er. Saiful Islam

 

This is the era in which media dominates  the whole world. And no doubt it influences us in many ways. This book is an insider’s look into this effect.

The book is a compilation of studies which are condensed in book form. This effort shows the involvement of media before and after communal incidents.

Authors try to convey that dependence on media to decide our social issues must be controlled, otherwise it will pose a danger for our future.

Researches in the book tell us how should media’s role be in conveying news and  how media at present is discharging its duties.

For this, the authors have focused on some severe riots and have shown the media’s inclination in reporting them.

Authors do not show sympathy with any community and do not support any community. Their attempt is only to expose media’s role during these incidents.

We come across many astonishing facts while going through this book. Some of the cases focused are- Muzaffarnagar riots, Faizabad violence, Akot riots, Water movie controversy and media, and Ayodhya (Babri Masjid demolition).

The authors have chosen content-analysis method to study the role of media in Muzaffarnagar violence. The subject of the study is reports published in newspapers related to riots. Paper cuttings of Dainik Jagran, Amar Ujala, Hindustan, Awam-e-Hind and Dainik Prabhat were collected for this purpose. Dainik Jagran, Amar Ujala and Hindustan are most read Hindi newspapers.

These contents are analyzed for various facets of news published in newspapers.

The 2010 edition of the “Norms of Journalistic Conduct,” issued by the Press Council of India is considered the reference point of content analysis. These norms serve as the interpretation guidelines for reporting in the environment of community struggles.

This study can be called as the study of key characteristics of mainstream media during riots. Eye-opening facts are revealed in the study. Though the system provides guidelines for media but the study reveals how media ignores them and successfully achieves its communal goals. It comes out how smartly media controls people’s thoughts the way it wants. This action can be good but most of the time it proved harmful.

Discussing the role of media in Faizabad riots, the authors mention some incidents regarding media people as well as some famous words which are often used to give news a communal colour. In this case also, media hides truth and goes against guidelines creating a more tense environment and this  involves publication of false rumours also.

It clearly appears how sensational content is more important to media than real news. No truth is found in media’s published “news” after investigation. Published reports show that media blames administration and police without offering proof.

Study done on atrocities in Akot (Akola) reveals the involvement of media in fuelling tensions.

The study rationally explains media’s escalation on one side and that it follows its self-interest in framing news.  Contents of Hindi, English, Marathi and Urdu newspapers about Akot communal violence were studied and analyzed. The analysis offers straightforward conclusion that media speaks the language of a particular community instead of publishing real hard news and doing its job of providing what is really happening.

Potential of media can be experienced from the way it created a turbulent environment before the release of “Water” movie. Regardless of whatever media spread to create a sensation, it was a totally different experience for those who saw the incidents with their own eyes.

Media’s exaggeration of  issues can turn a molehill into a mountain and a mountain into a molehill. Statements given on “Water” movie by several persons were mentioned. Most of them used media their way to get prominence and come into limelight. Media is a major cause of blurring reality. Also businesses and journalists seek to benefit from the media in monetary terms.

Ayodhya incident has been rationally explained through Liberhan Commission of Inquiry showing how the coverage was totally controlled. Organisers of Ayodhya incidents identified media sections which would present the picture in a distorted manner. Moreover, media presented reports in a sensational manner with a view to gain monetary benefits by creating sensation and excitement among people. It is taken into consideration that many a time media goes out of control and attempts to control events and this also becomes its weakenes at times.

Other studies in the book are about media contents regarding Rama’s birthplace-Babri Masjid controversy. Accounts of media coverage of communal riots show its interest in preferring to publish certain news.

Main newspapers covered  are Indian Express, Jansatta, Navbharat Times, Veer Arjun (all Delhi editions).

Reporting in newspapers, titles of news reports and editorial contents are analysed separately. Authors’ approach is rational. They first offer a background of the controversy and effects of media during eighth decades, then they analyse newspapers’ contents which expose media’s ignorance in properly investigating critical issues. Anyone can conclude in the light of this analysis that media disregarded real history and preferred fables and imaginations for reporting. The study also proves that media keeps apart all basic principles and follows its self-set preferences in a dangerous way. This analysis reveals that media can cross any limits.

Considering the outrageous behaviour of media, a memorandum is submitted to the Press Council alongwith the reports of Times of India, Indian Express, Jansatta, Navbharat Times, Dainik Jagran, Aaj, Swatantra Bharat, UNI and PTI.

The book also includes a short study of pictures and  cartoons in newspapers pertaining to certain issues.

A comparison of different newspapers regarding certain issues is also attempted. It comes out that newspapers speak the language of some political party. Media interrupts propagation of thoughts and refrains its readers from their right to know basic and true information. Some mind-boggling facts are mentioned in this regard.

There are people who blindly accept every word uttered by the media. This book explains how harmful this approach is.

To know about discrimination and selfish approach of media with authentic proofs, this book is a must read for all. It is an eye-opening work which  exposes the true face of media.

We are required to keep our eyes and ears open regarding what media says. We should also make efforts to create a truly secular and democratic media.

Authors of the study are Avnish, member of Media Studies Group and Assistant editor of magazines Jan Media and Mass Media, Krishn Pratap Singh, senior journalist and writer, Anil Chamdia,  Chairman, Media Studies Group, Amir Ali Ajani, social worker and editor of Navnirmiti, Sharad Jaiswal, assistant professor in Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University, Ursla Rao, senior lecturer of sociology and anthropology in University of New South Wales, Mukul, associated with Amnesty Interantional, and  Charu,  associate professor of history, Delhi University.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 September 2014 on page no. 21

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