It quite beats me how the Pundits have divined the progress of the war in Ukraine when the sources of information are so brazenly one sided. To establish my case, I have pulled out pages from my war diaries to prove how the situation on the ground is often at a variance from what the Western media reports.
It is breathtaking media management. A besieged Volodymyr Zelensky in army casuals, exhorts his people every evening. Is he in a war zone or is he where President Biden met members of his cabinet – Warsaw? It would be a malicious rumour to float: that the war hero is in an American embassy which has been transformed into a TV studio.
In the West, the audacity of screen and stage is singularly missing in mainstream media. This is particularly so since post 9/11 wars for which the media, by and large, became the drum beaters, compromising its own credibility. The adage makes sense. “When wars break out, the first casualty is the truth.”
Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi burst upon the global news casts only after his murder in the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Turkey. Saeed Naqvi interviewed him in Jeddah in December 2001 in the aftermath of 9/11. Khashoggi was also a Washington Post Global Opinions contributing columnist and and former editor-in-chief of Al-Arab News Channel.
Two schools of journalism were suddenly in conflict. Should Nawaz Sharif’s alleged corruption be overlooked because protecting him against Imran Khan served some higher purpose? Publish and be damned is what I had been taught when confronted with such situations.
The televised coverage of western triumphalism divided the world into two hostile audiences – the victorious West and a humiliated Muslim world.
A hidden camera, when used for the purpose for exposing the machinery of corruption, is the only way a citizen can ring the alarm bells.
I want to cite in this column the number of stories or instances of how ethics is ceasing to be a factor in the functioning of India’s national media (TV, print and social). The media is getting increasingly partisan, its main focus shifting from pointing out facts to building perceptions.