Jingoism in Journalism
Jingoism could often appear to be a straightforward concept but when it involves practice, is when the controversy peeps in. Most of the days, it is commonly spoken of as being a harmful point of view, but can now and then seem rational, it would be useful to explore other samples of jingoism from history.
India and Pakistan, the 2 nuclear-armed neighbours are perhaps the worst diplomatic bilateral stalemate since 1971. Adding the fuel are the ultra-nationalistic media houses with their bombastic reporting that's further shrinking the public appetite for any scope of normalization between the two nations.
A few of the perpetually angry anchors coupled with a few retired generals and so-called military experts seem to be making the war strategies on entering another nation right inside the news studio. From jumping into direct conclusions regarding the various attacks without knowing the complete facts and vowing to avenge while sounding the drums of war looks like anything but sensible journalism.
A primetime news debate is often an Indian family’s favourite pastime. Apart from providing some valued insights by experts from various fields also is a great source of entertainment. However, off-late, all that’s left of that are massively increased decibel levels and carefully chosen words by the ever-enthusiastic anchors to increase the TRP.
“We want revenge, not condemnation.… It is time for blood, the enemy’s blood,” thundered a famously aggressive news anchor, the day after the Pulwama attack. Mita Santra, wife of one of the slain soldiers, when she questioned the failure to prevent the attack and advocated peaceful dialogue with Pakistan was attacked online. Some suggested she didn’t love her husband while the others called her a coward.
It is due to this indirect provocation by the jingoistic cheerleaders that temperate voices are often being termed as ‘Anti National.’ Someone’s patriotism or allegiance is often questioned in the country by using that term especially targeting the leftists. Often people questioning the Indian government’s moves are termed as ‘traitors.’
It is absolutely understandable and justified to have high emotions and anger after a terrorist attack especially on social media. Pakistan has been infamous for providing shelter to seasoned terrorists and its continuous ceasefire violations from across the border have led to many army jawans sacrificing their lives in the line of control. But unrestrained rhetoric can have dangerous consequences leading to an increase in communalism within the country.
Widespread attacks against Kashmiris across the country with students being denied residence and attacked/lynched by mobs are facts towards which the media doesn’t care to bat an eyelid.
Now, the point being, isn’t the journalists or news channels allowed to be nationalistic? Well, they are but not at the cost of their profession. Not at the cost of an intensified provocation and by compromising the level of journalism in the nation. Being an Indian and a proud one, all of us would like the government to take stern action against the perpetrators of the attacks but the exaggerated demonstrations by the media houses are what makes it hard to watch.
The media is meant to ask questions to those in power. Questions about intelligence lapses. Questions about the security at military installations being beefed up. Shouldn’t someone take the responsibility for the loopholes? And yet, it's unfortunately astonishing to see none of these questions being raised. Independent media houses have a lot of power. The power to make or break an establishment. Yet what remains are dramatic representations and war trumpets being blown at fancy newsrooms. As a wise man once said “Those who ask for war have never been in one and the ones who’ve been in it, would never ask for it”
By- Debasmith Chakravorty.