‘Gross over reporting of terror-related incidents giving them undue attention’
Nalsar University Vice-Chancellor Faizan Mustafa expressed concern over “gross over reporting” of terrorist-related incidents in the media, giving those perpetrating terror “life blood and oxygen” they sought.
Reporting of terror incidents in India was no different from the Western media, of course with exceptions like The Hindu, as the media was highly sensitive about its TRP rating and circulation. It was equally insensitive to the plight of the victims whose unimaginable suffering was being exploited. “Terrorists do achieve their goal of securing massive coverage and attention,” Prof. Mustafa said. He was speaking at a symposium “Reporting terror: how sensitive is the media” organised by The Hindu here on Sunday. The videos of the symposium are being uploaded on our website www.thehindu.com (for a video of the symposium, go to thne.ws/reporting terror).
Prof. Mustafa lamented that Muslims were unnecessarily being dragged whenever any incident took place accusing them of being terrorists. “The perverse result of current terror reporting was that we may become the terrorists’ silent allies”.
Terrorism, he said, was not just about death and destruction, but was about creating fear, sowing suspicion and undermining confidence in public leadership. It was provoking people and governments into doing things that they would not otherwise do. “It is an assault as much on our psychology as on our bodies,” he said.
Explaining the theme of the symposium, The Hindu Editor Siddharth Varadarajan said the media role in reporting terror had come under sharp focus amidst allegations that the coverage lacked sense of proportion and sometimes being biased, often not helping in creating a conducive atmosphere for investigation and rehabilitation of victims.
It raised searching, difficult questions about the kind of responsibility that journalists/editors had at the time when such incidents occurred.
“The management of incident is a key challenge,” he said. There was relentless pressure with the government and media wanting to know who was responsible for the incident. People would like to know which individual or the organisation was behind the attack and in that quest to know who was responsible, “journalists tend to jump the gun”.
Help Hyderabad representative Maj. S.G.M. Quadri proposed vote of thanks.