(M S Shanker)
Yet again, the role of Indian media has come to the fore. The general perception of people who follow – visual, print and social networks – is that it is fueling fire contra national security interests? If that is so, shouldn’t they be considered as enemies or traitors from within?
Who is responsible for the ongoing spread of “gloom and doom” over the happenings on the streets of Kashmir and also in the so called “wise councils” elsewhere?
Today, we are in the information age. Enemies – both internal and external – will use the ‘information war-offensive’ by all media means without exception.
What is happening in Kashmir valley is a new form of warfare – the 4th generation war. It is also known as ‘hybrid -warfare” of information age.
The new form of warfare is imaginatively planned and executed having been unsuccessful in the past wars.
Media houses must realize that ‘hybrid-warfare’ synergizes four threats: (1) traditional; (2) irregular; (3) catastrophic terrorism; and (4) disruptive, which exploit technology to gain/counteract military superiority. It also focuses activity on three decisive battlegrounds: (1) within the conflict zone population; (2) home front population; and (3) international community. Hostile forces would use “Hybrid” warriors hidden in civilian populations.
Enemies – both internal and external – use the full spectrum of media to conduct the hybrid- warfare.
Ironic but true, visual media in particular has become a prey to the enemy’s ploys. By sensationalizing the street battles and portraying the stone hurling militants and separatists chasing the police personnel on the streets and supporting the other side as innocent civilians and denigrating the security forces for using excessive force, media is squarely responsible for abetting war against India.
Instead of dousing the flames of hatred and distrust, the journalists covering the events on the ground reinforced by anchors, editors, spokespersons and so called intellectual panelists are only adding fuel to the fire and inflaming the situation.
Media is further consolidating the social divide and alienation by utterly irresponsible commentaries instead of restoring the confidence and trust of the Kashmiri valley population.
Media editors are aware that the ‘Idea” or ‘sense” of India – secularism – is at stake in Kashmir valley.
If the battle in Kashmir valley is lost, it will be the “apocalypse” of ‘modern India’ political thought.
More importantly, the ongoing fight on the streets in the Kashmir valley may be viewed as the ‘Armageddon’ – last between good and evil depending on which side one is.
If so, the media by oft reiteration of their weird ideas of “sensationalizing coverage” vilifying the police and security forces” is playing the most vicious supporting role by default on the side of separatists.
Of course, none can help the social media networks blaring away and spewing venom against India over the issue of human rights violations and internationalizing the issue. After all, that is the end objective of the other side, that is, the enemies.
So, it is time for at least Indian visual and print media to change its coverage pattern. They must first differentiate divisive news from news promoting unity; change the methods.
Time is already late; but never too late to change. So, media houses must act to restore probity and propriety in performing their role of “responsible journalism’ safeguarding the national security interests.
Media houses must act tough now; fast and smart to change their course. If they fail to change, they would be doing great disservice to their country’s security concerns.
Media must stop making “Hero’s out of Zero’s”, and counter the information war campaign launched against modern India from both within and external.
Those who fail to do so least concerned about the danger that is confronting modern India surely be drubbed as ‘traitors” or ‘enemies”.