Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Delhi High Court blast: Why I disagree with the Media's Blame Game

At 10.15 am today, Delhi High Court blast took place. This morning, I had dropped my wife at her office, reached Chamber 148, Delhi High Court at about 9.30 am and had settled in to work when I heard a deafening sound. It seemed like the High Court building was shaking for just that second. It was several minutes later, we understood it was a high intensive bomb that had killed 12 people and badly injured over 62 others.

Being there right then gives me a different perspective as compared to the media reports of the same. There seemed to be a kind of feeling generated by all media reports that I want to approach differently. So, here are the main points on which I disagree with the media reports on the Delhi blast.

Security Lapse sensationalized
I am not rationalizing the obvious security lapses but I don't believe the media is showing a balanced approach in their coverage. They are not informing, they are sensationalizing. The blast happened at the gate, not inside the High Court. There's a huge difference between the two. Is any media or expert taking the trouble to explain what the difference in terms of impact is?

Stop blaming the Delhi Police for everything that goes wrong
Today, within ten minutes of the blast, the Delhi Police were fully in charge and in control of the situation at the Delhi High Court in the context of crisis management and relief efforts. In the capital city, let's not forget that the responsibility of the Delhi Police extends not just to strategic places but to a greater acreage spanning roads, metros, bus stops, railway stations, so much more etc. Even when VVIPs turn up at these places, these are the real heroes who have to face public fury, handle security of the VVIPs, the safety of the people and even those who are in the process of seeking relief from some form of injury.

From what I saw today, I'd say "Hats off to Delhi Police. They did their best and moved very quickly, not losing time. I'd say they were nimble and responsible. They were working relentlessly to save lives and clean up the terrible, shocking incident that took lives and injured many. They didn't buckle under pressure nor did they lose precious time."

Igniting Public Anger
The saddest thing about the way Indian media is reporting events today is that everything is totally blown out of proportion. As a result, public anger is fuelled at sensitive events like this. Showing clippings that are provacative again and again - what purpose does it serve?

Igniting the anger of the people and pitching them against the govt in power is not a responsible methodology for any form of reporting. This is exactly what the terrorists want to see, it is a trap to avoid.

Even two hours after the incident, there were constant reports in visual media that no one has been found responsible and no progress has been made. How fair is that? The media wants a culprit in two hours after the incident?

Yes, it is a democracy but in a national crisis, all need to be aware that those who are the perpertrators are watching everything via the media. When you have headlines like 'terror wins,' it is a win for the perpetrators. They are getting the results they want when public anger is ignited and chaos is shown.

A more meaningful role can be played by the media in crises like this.

Delhi High Court Functioned From Afternoon
I didn't see much visual or media coverage for one important update following the Delhi blast today: there was no mention of the fact that lawyers and judges resumed work and continued as they normally do after afternoon. The reason to do so is to show that nothing can break the spirit of the judiciary and that the process of law will continue to be delivered and administered without fail. That in itself is a proud, nationalist move - a real answer to those who perpetrated this heinous attack of terrorism.

We the People must stand united
Instead of comparing with UK's security or US security procedures on a day when people of the country are shocked and in anger about what happened, the media could have highlighted positive initiatives such as efforts that were taken proactively by SC and HC lawyers to rush the injured, the extra hours and committment of the medical staff and doctors who were working tirelessly....why isn't the media interested in that? Because it doesn't incite anger. Anger raises TRPs. 

There are many days and hours after this when public temper will cool and a more objective debate can be taken up. But at least for the sake of national propriety, the media should exercise some judicious restraint and not provoke the people during a national crisis or emergency.

Last but not the least, my heartfelt thanks to all my relatives, friends, colleagues and clients who were so shaken and worried about my safety today. For the first time, I experienced considerable warmth from Twitter too where I am not very active but still I received many tweets even from people I didn't know, asking me if I am fine.

That tells me one thing - if we stand together and for each other, we can always beat the nation's enemies.


NRIGirl said...

I am so glad to hear you are okay S.Anand! I am with you on that media shouldn't over play any situation, but seems like that's the trend these days.

Very nice to see you here after so long. What keeps you away?

Rajesh said...

Wonderful insight.

Felicity Grace Terry said...

Not an event that has been reported here in England but then again the media seems to be full of the anniversary of 9/11.

The police were also widely blamed for the recent riots in London - they cannot win as in the past they have been blamed for handling situations with too much force and yet this time people are saying they have not used enough force.

R. Ramesh said...

boss good u r

Sanand said...

@NRI Girl - Thanks for your comments. Work and travel makes it difficult for me to get into the mood for blogging. Its pretty hectic and by end of day, all I want to do is crash!

@Rajesh - good to know you found it useful.

@Petty - true.....cops are the easiest people to blame in situations like these but no one takes into account they arent trained, they are underpaid and worst of all, they don't have a clue anymore than we do as to who's behind all this.

@Ramesh - I sure am glad to be here blogging:)

Mridula said...

I agree about you media analysis. Are you on Twitter too? Stay safe.

Anonymous said...

Glad to know that you are okay. I agree completely with you regarding media.

Sometimes any amount of precaution cannot stop unfortunate events especially in busy cities like Delhi and Bombay

R. Ramesh said...

hi boss how r u? long time no wishes