Special Correspondent

They should rise above nationalistic and sectarian considerations, say editors

Meeting of the South Asian Free Media Association held

‘Issues of regional cooperation do not get adequate coverage in ’

HYDERABAD: Media in India and Pakistan must shed its tendency to become jingoistic during times of crisis like the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai and, though a tall order, try to rise above nationalistic and sectarian considerations, said newspaper editors at a meeting of the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) here on Wednesday.

Editor of Bangladesh’s ‘Daily Star’ Mahfuz Anam said it would be unrealistic to expect media in India and Pakistan to be fair and objective during crisis but they could definitely look at the role they could play during normal times. He said India had fallen into a trap laid by Pakistan’s military establishment to see it as a country determined to bleed India.

He said it was unfortunate that issues of regional cooperation did not get adequate coverage in the Indian media.

SAFMA vice-president Dilip Padgaonkar said there were shades of paranoia in India which was matched across the border.

Every terrorist attack in India was perceived as the handiwork of Pakistan and its design to make India bleed with a thousand cuts while in Pakistan, India was seen as a nation that had not reconciled to its existence. The media functioned behind a monumental wall of mistrust, he added.

General secretary of SAFMA Imtiaz Alam wanted the Indian media to be more self-critical and not seen to be reflecting the views of the South Block in New Delhi.

Mr. Vinod Sharma of ‘Hindustan Times’ observed it was unfortunate that most right wing groups in India and Pakistan got support from sections of the media. Mr. Mohammed Faheem (Afghanistan), Mr. Siddique Jabbar of Sri Lanka and other editors participated in the discussion.