NGO slams Pakistani, Indian electronic media for Mumbai reportage

December 31st, 2008 - 2:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Dec 31 (IANS) The manner in which the electronic media of both India and Pakistan reported on the Mumbai carnage went against the requirements of professional ethics and basic standards of journalism, says a South Asian NGO.”It appears as if the attacks provided an opportunity to the media to advance the extremists’ agenda and jeopardise the India-Pakistan peace process,” the South Asia Media Commission (SAMC) said in its annual report, South Asia Media Monitor 2008, released here Tuesday.

SAMC secretary general Najam Sethi released the report at a ceremony held at the South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA) secretariat.

“The report highlights the issues faced by working journalists in the South Asian region. It takes stock of difficulties faced by media personnel in all eight member countries,” Daily Times said Wednesday.

The report says that on the one hand 20 journalists lost their lives performing their duties while, on the other, the media, especially electronic, acted irresponsibly by fanning jingoist hysteria and advocating a violent clash between India and Pakistan. It says the media’s actions scuttled the ongoing efforts to open up the region and its potential for development and progress under peaceful conditions.

As for the Mumbai carnage, the report states: “It so appeared as if the tragedy had provided an opportunity to rip open raw feelings in the two countries to advance the extremists’ agenda and put the peace process in jeopardy.”

“Little care was taken to verify facts and maintain objectivity and there was a display of insensitivity towards the victims,” the report adds.

“Saner and sensible voices of restraint from the media community were dubbed apologists for the ‘enemy’ and drowned in the noise of India-Pakistan bashing by self-styled super patriots on either side of the divide.”

Speaking on the occasion, Sethi lamented that the notion of professional editors and journalists was fading away after the corporate sector stepped into the field of journalism.

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