Wednesday, March 17, 2010

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Mahtab Alam 
Date: Wed, Mar 17, 2010 at 11:35 AM
Subject: Analysis: ‘Mainstream’ Media, They did it once again

‘Mainstream’ Media, They did it once again

Submitted by admin3 on 16 March 2010 - 9:56pm.

By Mahtab Alam,,

New Delhi: On 7 March 2007, when more than 5000 activists of Tamilnadu Muslim Munnetra Kazagham (TMMK) marched to Parliament from various parts of the state to demand reservation for Muslims in government services and educational institutions, they could not make news for mainstream media at all as the march was completely blacked out. Three years down the line situation seems not to have changed. Yesterday, there were several rallies on Muslim issues here but ‘mainstream’ newspapers have just buried the news.

Jantar Mantar of Delhi, considered to be the barometer of Indian Democracy and the only authorized space in the national capital to put forward people’s demand on various issues, witnessed a historic scene yesterday. Thousands of people and dozens of organization, coming from different parts of the country rallied for reservation for Muslims and implementation of recommendations of both Sachar Committee and Ranganath Mishra Commission. But for mainstream media it was not the ‘news’ hence you will either find complete blackout or marginal reporting with misleading touch in today’s papers.

The Times of India in its 36-page issue could not spare even a single column to cover any of rallies, dharna and protests organized to demand Muslim reservation. While counterpart Hindustan Times, in its 38-page edition could only make it on page 16 with heading “Post-women’s bill: Huge Muslim rally for quota”. However, it writes in a confusing way: “Backed by prominent MPs opposed to women reservation bill, hundreds of backward Muslims and Christians on Tuesday demanded quota in jobs and education”.

Joining Times of India, both The Pioneer and The Asian Age spread over 16 and 36 pages respectively could not spare even a tiny space to inform their readers about demands of Muslims. The Statesman in 20-page edition only bothered to publish a small picture of protest demanding Minority Character of Jamia Millia Islamia. The Indian Express did the same, and that too on its page number 23 of 26-page newspaper.

Among the lesser read, both The Hindu and tabloid Mail Today comparatively gave more space. But The Hindu covered only Dharna for Minority Character of Jamia Millia Islamia and Mail Today felt happy covering only Popular Front of India’s march to Parliament.

Hindi newspapers, not lagging behind their English counterparts reported the events with same ‘zeal’. In fact, Hindi papers took lead in not covering. Dainik Jagaran and Amar Ujala, most read papers of Hindi did not cover the events. Like Times of India, the same group’s paper Nav Bharat Times blacked out the news. Dainik Hindustan, following the pattern of group’s English paper Hidustan Times gave a marginal coverage. While Jansatta, one of the progressive but less read Hindi daily covered the events comparatively better, Hindi daily Nai Duniya only worried to publish small news demanding minority character of Jamia. However, Rashrtriya Sahara Hindi daily did it well.

What is most startling, even Urdu dailies did not cover the events prominently. Rashtriya Sahara, largest selling Urdu daily did not mind it publishing on front pages. The events could only find space on page number 8 and 9. Lesser known and read Sahafat and Hamara Samaj Daily made it on front pages. However, on the whole even in Urdu dailies the events got lesser attention, of course not up to their importance.

Interestingly, in almost every daily petty incident of clash in Jamia Nagar between Asif Mohd Khan, local MLA and Parwez Hashsmi, former MLA and Rajya Sabha MP has been over reported. In fact, some of the newspapers blew it out of proportion. Times of India reported curfew like situation giving heading – Jamia Nagar tense after MP, MLA groups clash and Dainik Jagaran reported, Clash between MP and MLA in Jamia Nagar, disturbances at Police Station. Urdu dallies also followed the line. What is more interesting, the people of Jamia Nagar heard about the ‘rioting and tension’ through the newspapers only. Even this writer, who lives not more than 500 hundred meters from MP’s residence and crosses both his residence and Police station at least twice in a day is ‘informed’ by newspapers only!

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