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Holding up a mirror: Jyoti Punwani, “Where’s your free media?”

December 15, 2013

Jyoti Punwani writes for ‘The Hoot’ about how Pakistani mediapersons view their Indian counterparts.

“Breaking News in your TV channels is almost always anti-Pakistan news,” said a group of activists in Lahore that included trade unionists, lawyers, artists and media professionals. Even the Governor of Sindh recalled having heard a threat to eliminate Pakistan during an Indian channel discussion. Arnab Goswami was of course mentioned by many. Observed one journalist: “As media persons, why should we become defensive or over-react when the establishment makes accusations against our (the Pakistani) government?  We should not become a party to these games, calculated at keeping the tension high. The large majority of our people want peace.” 

There’s little one can say in defence. Forget TV coverage in India which is always over the top. Even in the press, the image of Pakistan remains what it always has: that of an enemy. While LOC violations by the Pakistani army legitimately make front page news, there’s little reported about similar violations from our side. In the hysterical reportage about the decapitation of our soldier last year, only The Hindu quoted “sources” saying the Indian army had done the same. Stories about the shared history, culture and even religion between our countries rarely make it to Page one, though they shatter stereotypes and make for “news” in every sense of the term.

Read the article in its entirety for the questions it raises about the role of journalists and their relationship to security establishments.

Jyoti Punwani, “Where’s your free media?” The Hoot, December 14, 2013.

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