Sunday, May 27, 2007

Media fault lines

To bilingual readers, the fault lines are clearly drawn. The Mecca Masjid bomb blast brings into focus the gulf (in perception and therefore, in coverage) between the news channels, the English and Telugu print media, on the one hand, and the Urdu Press on the other. The Urdu newspapers seemed more skeptical of the police version of the suspects behind the blasts, also suggested the involvement of Hindu right-wing organizations and were clearly more critical of the police action or reaction. This polarization of perceptions, if you will, is not only an an unhealthy sign of slants and proclivities finding media expression, but is also symptomatic of a certain amount of indolence on the part of the media, in general. As a result, one finds excessive armchair analysis, substituting investigation in most newspapers, and to a considerable extent, in the electronic media, as well. At the same time, the authorities should have held--it isn't too late in the day, actually--regular press briefings to avoid and to prevent needless speculation.

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