JNU – ‘Anti National Controvery’ – 3

Mr Chomsky is well respected for his fearless critique of the US Foreign Policy. His famous work ‘Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media’ written along with E.S Herman in the 80’s essentially talks about the propaganda model of communication. In the book they discuss how media outlets are essentially for profit entities where the financial interests of the shareholders are paramount. Advertisment revenue is the main source of revenue as a result advertisers hold sway on the content. The news sources are typically well entrenched sources from the incumbent political establishment or bureaucracy. These sources need to be kept “happy” else the media would be starved of news and lose readership / viewership. Adverse reaction to news items or flak can result in loss of revenue. More importantly the prospect of flak can lead to non reporting of certain events. He also refers to social control mechanisms, earlier anti – communism and later war on terror which can be editorial distortion filter. More info here .

Current situation in the Indian news media space can be defined as that of manufacturing dissent. Fanning this narrative of dissent everywhere, creating this image of men in kalashnikovs (or with swords in this case as it is how workers of the ruling party and its associates, referred to as the Sangh Parivar, are caricatured), minority victimisation etc. I mean common men (or mango men so very contemptuously mentioned by the scion of the Indian political monopolists) like me are left scratching their heads. Its almost like a sustained disinformation campaign.

The JNU controversy essentially starts with a bunch of students sloganeering objectionable things. No one would have bothered had the slogans been anti – government, anti – ‘A’ minister or ‘B’ minister or even the ‘Prime Minister’ for that matter. What incensed the people was the mention of ‘India’s destruction’ in those slogans. What followed was a logical sequence of events with the university authorities taking cognizance of the activities by these students. A police complaint filed by a Member of Parliament belonging to the BJP. The police took over and finally arrested the students.

Excellent piece by Mr Sankant Sanu. His analogy should be read first especially by people not currently residing in India.

Imagine a big public funded University, say UT Austin, of which I am an alum. They hold a public event to commemorate the martrydom of Osama bin Laden by security forces. Not only that, they proclaim his death would be avenged and they will not rest till the US is destroyed and broken up into pieces. This is what allegedly happened at JNU that got people incensed. (What actually happened may need us to wait for the court to sift through all the evidence).

Now you might argue, that all this is protected free speech, but you can imagine the outrage in the US. You’d also bet the FBI would be on it. And, of course, India is far stricter on free speech where a stray remark on the Prophet would get you in jail and where Satanic Verses was banned (by the Congress government).

Mr Chomsky incidentally is a signatory to an open letter to protest the high handedness of the authorities out here. Unfortunately, he seems to have got swayed by the systematic disinformation campaign which is purely political in nature. The opposition parties are desperate to fan this narrative before every state elections and climaxing in 2019.

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JNU – ‘Anti National Controversy’ – 2

The HRD minister received rave reviews for her performance in the Lok Sabha. No pun intended here. This blog genuinely believes she came out all guns blazing defending the government stand on a whole host of issues up for debate in the august house. The opposition was completely bamboozled by the blistering counter – attack launched by her.

The opposition has gone breathless offlate and are seriously hyper ventilating over the ‘JNU – ‘Anti National Controversy’ and the case of suicide of a PhD candidate in Hyd. University even as real issues like jobs, electricity, roads, water, education take a back seat.

I mean the question to ask is would the opposition parties have taken up the cause of others who had engaged in such awful sloganeering ?(mind you the police investigation is still on, who knows what else would come up). It is just because the JNU is involved and it is an absolute citadel of leftist lobby here in India is one witnessing such cries of victimisation. Even in the case of the unfortunate suicide of the PhD candidate student, it is just because he belonged to the leftist student union ( Poor chap seemed to be disillusioned with the activities of the very student union that he belonged too) is such a hue and cry being raised.

The clear objective is to fuel this narrative of minority victimisation, intolerance, muzzling of dissenting voices. Obviously, even if certain facts are distorted along the way to suit their interests. The people are watching. As they say one cannot fool all of the people all of the times. ..

Time to eat crow ..

Excellent piece in Swarajya by Mr Jagannathan. The ex – Home Secy has just fallen short of calling the Ishrat Jehan encounter as a genuine one. But after his revelation that crucial contents (the fact that the 4 persons gunned down, including Ishrat Jehan, in the police operation were indeed terrorists) of the affidavit were edited to suit the requirement of his political bosses, it becomes irrelevant whether the encounter is genuine or fake.

I mean does it matter whether a batsman hits a six of the front foot or back? In the record books a six would be registered against his run tally in the game.

The disturbing aspect is the party in power used even national security issues to  settle political scores even if it meant compromising national security.

As expected, this issue in not on the front pages of Indian newspapers as it would mean the media is going to have to eat crow.

Egg on the face, again

India’s Congress party is in for a major major embarassment (along with some news channels) as the most authentic source yet, no less than the ex – Home Secy Mr. Pillai, has confirmed that Ishrat Jehan was a terrorist operative, a fact which the Congress Party and most media channels had tried so hard to conceal.

He has thus, confirmed one aspect of the case but falls short of providing any light on whether or not the encounter was a fake or not.

He says that the decision was taken at the political level and suitable changes were made to the affidavit filed in the courts to prevent any reference of Ishrat Jehan as a terrorist.

This will bite the Congress as the general public’s already negative image of the party would take a further beating. It, as alleged by the ex Home Secy, going against its very own investigating agencies to play politics with a national security issue wont be taken kindly by the junta here.

Another big time loser in this would be the Indian media which, like the congress, played the tune of ‘Ishrat Jehan being innocent’ and a narrative of minority victimisation led by the current PM was being built.  This went on for years.  battling a crises of credibility.

JNU – ‘Anti National Controversy’

The national political news space is filled with news regarding the controversy surrounding the “prestigious JNU” (prestigious on account of the highest NAAC grade it received). Apparently, a bunch of “students” were shouting anti national slogans on the campus of the university. This piece of news can be found here  The occasion for the slogan shouting was the death anniversary of a terrorist named Afzal Guru who was convicted of attacking India’s Parliament in 2001.

At the same time, an Indian Army jawan was struggling for his life after falling into a cliff at the icy heights of the Siachen glacier. Earlier 10 army jawans lost their lives. This made the earlier news all the more sick. Spare a thought for the family of the slain soldier. Their son, father, husband, friend lays down his life for the above mentioned students? What a cruel joke for them ..

Swarajya has this on this issue.

I think the worst part of all this is that these guys are repeat offenders During national tragedies, these guys were out there celebrating when the nation was grieving.

Free speech is a right enshrined in our glorious constitution. But every right comes with certain obligations. No right is absolute. One certainly has to pay when one crosses the line and these bunch of “students” certainly have.

Malda Riots – News blackout – Media double speak exposed

The virtual blackout of the recent riots in the Malda district of West Bengal by the Indian mainstream media raises serious concerns about the media’s objectivity in reporting news. It further corrodes its already wafer thin credibility.

The job of the media is to report. Put out facts on the table. It should be left to the consumers to interpret. Unbiased, objective, direct and uncompromised reportage are the hallmarks of good journalistic ethos. More and more instances offlate are pointing that the opposite seems to be true when it comes to the Indian mainstream media.

One struggles if one is seeking news about this particular incident. Here is one isolated news report about the violence in Malda district. Another report is here. It seems that this bit of news has been virtually blacked out by the media for reasons now known to everyone.  What emerges are the following;

— Mob of 25000 – 250000 vandalises and burns 24 police vehicles, 1 state transport bus, 1 police station, several shops.

Apparently, the rioters were gathered to protest against an alleged derogatory remark by a random individual who himself seemed to have responded to the remarks of Azam Khan of the Samajwadi Party.

The same Indian media which had breathlessly reported an isolated incident of crime in India’s Dadri district and gone on a rampage blowing it up and drumming up the ridiculously abstract “debate” about “intolerance” in India have now suffered short term memory loss it seems as Malda was ravaged by riots.

If intolerance is what the media cares so much about then isnt this is an intolerant enough reaction by the rioters who happen to be members of the Muslim community who have violently responded to a mere alleged derogatory remarks by a person.

Another version of the story is that a bunch of opium planters had incited violence against the police in response against the police crackdown on opium planting.

Any which ways the story should have been widely reported to put pressure on the government to act against the rioters, criminals and arsonists.

How ironic it is when the person making the derogratory comments is presently lodged in jail whereas the person in who’s response the comments were made is sitting pretty and smiling like a cheshire cat. Fair?