(Brig (retd) GB Reddi)
Almost all the visual media channels have gone berserk on the Tweets made by so called international celebrities in their respective fields supporting the ongoing farmers protests in India.
By indulging in extensive and exhaustive coverage, media houses – mostly partisan – enjoying unabridged “Freedom of Press” facility and totally unaccountable to the adverse fallout on national security interests, have gone overboard in presenting the international celebrities with barely any insights into Indian complexities as if they are epitome of intellect particularly about India.
Had Indian media houses prefaced their debates covering in detail the background of international celebrity status, the viewers would have been provided the news to draw their conclusions.
Let me highlight the status of international celebrities like Rihanna and Mia Khalifa. None can deny that their international celebrity status is mostly due to pop music and baring their bodies.
For example, Rihana pictures telecast in visual media clearly shows her as a model more than a pop star. She too has gained international celebrity status due to her pop music and fashion modeling – baring her body.
Miyа̄ Ḵalīfah, a Lebanese-American media personality, webcam model, was a former pornographic actress. She began acting in pornography in October 2014, becoming the most viewed performer on Pornhub in two months. Her career choice was met with controversy in the Middle East, especially for a video in which she performed sexual acts while wearing a hijab.
Add to them, the fraud environmentalist – GRETA THUNBERG, barely 18-year old. Does she know that thousands suffer and quite a few due to climate havoc caused due to “Stubble Burning” by farmers. Why is silent on the above environmental issue?
Joining the three is also Meena Harris, the US vice president’s niece, who also shared a tweet expressing solidarity with farmers “”We ALL should be outraged by India’s internet shutdowns and paramilitary violence against farmer protesters”.
Not to be left out is Priyanka Chopra, Lilly Singh and others.
My rebuttal to all such international celebrities is simple. Why are they silent on issues like Uighur camp detainees alleging systematic rape by Chinese occupiers in Xinjiang? Where were they over celebrities over Hong Kong Protests that continues to go on since June 2019 – Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill Movement – that resulted in over 10,016 protestors arrested as of 08 Septmeber 2020 and quite few disappeared?
Furthermore, why they are sulking over the issue of arrest and sentencing of Alexei Navalny, Russian opposition leader, to two years and eight months in a prison colony in a landmark decision for Vladimir Putin’s crackdown on the country’s leading opposition figure and the arrest of more than 1,000 protesters?
Add to them, the latest military coup in Myanmar that charged elected civilian lead Aung San Suu Kyi!
In retrospect, there are many totalitarian nations in West Asia, Africa and Latin America besides Pakistan and Afghanistan in our neighborhood where human rights violations are a daily occurrence. Yet, none of the international celebrities voice their concern and anguish at the plight of the peoples suffering.
Viewed in the above context, not only Indian visual media houses cacophony but also the BBC, CNN and other Western media houses are blaring away exhaustive coverage of the so called international celebrities expressing solidarity to farmers protests.
If the MEA spokesperson stated international celebrities to refrain from making such ill-informed and irresponsible statements, he is absolutely correct.
That brings me to the key national security concern – “Visual Media – Most Heinous National Security Threat faced by India.”
Never too late for the Indian visual media houses to appreciate that any slant in the coverage of debates due to cacophony by spokespersons contributes to spreading disinformation amongst the audience thereby sow the seeds of social divide that is ultimately harmonious to unity of the nation. Stop adding fuel to fire of “Burning India”.