Thursday, September 30, 2010

'Nation Building’ or ' Nation Damaging' Media

I heard this comment 'Singapore media hardly reports any untoward mishap that happens in private condominiums but quick to report even frivolous incident that would occur in Govt housing HDB'. The logic behind this statement is ' Singapore Govt do not like to see private property market gets hit by bad publicity’. I am not sure about the validity of this argument but have had few instances of suicide and accidental deaths in our neighboring condominiums not being reported in the media compared to ones in HDB . Last week, I heard another comment from a person who is involved with Singapore Media 'we do not have any Govt censorship but as a “Nation Building" instrument, we practice a responsible behavior not to report anything adverse that would affect our nation'.

The above comments stood in stark contrast to Indian media bashing of Common Wealth Organization. Indian media vied with each other to paint horrible picture of Commonwealth games in New Delhi. Twenty eight years ago, when New Delhi hosted Asian Games, there was a national euphoria in every sphere and section of Indian society. Every detail of the event was glorified. This time, discord and opposition has given more bad publicity than amazing work done with metro and the new international airport. With just few days away from the opening of CWG, an Email forward is being circulated with stunning and exquisite photographs of stadia, facilities and infrastructure projects with a clear message ' Dear Friends, Successful completion of CWG is a must for INDIA ’s image….There has been so much negative publicity about it… Let us support the games now, and for sure it doesn’t mean that we support the corruption involved with it!!!! Let the heads roll later...we are doing more harm than good for our NATION by focusing on the negatives...let us do that after our guests have left... electronic media...ARE YOU LISTENING >>>>>PLEASE Discard Adverse Publicity. This does not seem to have been initiated by PR managers of CWG but by enthusiastic individuals who feel aggrieved by negative publicity by Indian media.

Today is the verdict on Ayodhya. The legal battle over 80x 40 feet has four legal suits, first one from 1885. The verdict today would be on the one filed in December 1950 by Mahant Ramchandra Das Paramhans who is now the chairman of the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas and another by the UP Sunni Central Boards of Waqfs in December 1961. All the four suits are now clubbed together and brought before the Allahabad High Court . I liked the phrase of supreme court "justice should not only be done, but also appear to be done" while replacing Muslim judge with Hindu one for hearing the argument on Ayodhya matter. Would Lucknow high court be categorical in their judgment ? What would the verdict be? Would the issue be decided on rational basis or faith? If one were to go by the land registry documents, chances are that land would go to UP Sunni Central Muslim waqf board. If one goes by the archaeological discovery mixed with faith of millions and the historical perspective, place would be declared as Ram Janmabhoomi represented by Nirmohi Akhada.

Blog of Zia Haq “ They call me Muslim “ has an article ' Five Tactics to handle Ayodhya'. This elicits very interesting responses from the viewers. Barring few, most net savvy young generation writers wants India to get out of religious symbolic chauvinism and get on with the economic progress. By evening, we would know the verdict of Lucknow. Press council of India has already imposed collective restrictions on reporting of ' Ayodhya HC verdict celebrations and protests' . I would be keen to see the if India Media adhere to Singapore code of ‘ Nation Building’ or CWG reporting manner of ‘ Nation Damaging '.

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Blogger Guni Palekar said...

I believe in total freedom of expression irrespective of how one/ Nation looks as long as it is factual, aims at common good or aims to expose potential threat to common good. Singapore kind of 'responsible' reporting is essentially dishonest and smacks of Orwellian Big Brother in milder form. Mature societies can take such freedom in their stride and more often than not, it helped improve lives of people in future. The highest act of humanity is ability to face and accept the truth however unpleasant it might be.

8:29 PM  

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