Make investigation process transparent: Jamia professor

October 4th, 2008 - 8:00 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 4 (IANS) A fortnight after two suspected terrorists were killed in a shootout here, a former BBC broadcaster who now teaches at the Jamia Millia Islamia, said transparency in the investigation process was required to win back the trust of Muslims, as, according to him, a sense of unease has engulfed the community.”I have never before seen such unease among the Muslim community like in the past few weeks. They feel wrongly projected by the media and feel they are on the radar of suspicion of the investigating agencies. This is true even among educated Muslims, which is alarming,” M. Obaid Siddiqui said at a meeting called by the Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ).

The meet was specifically meant to analyse the role of the media in reporting serious issues like the Jamia Nagar shootout Sep 19 in which the suspected terrorists and a Delhi Police inspector were killed.

Siddiqui, a professor of mass communication and who has been a broadcaster with All India Radio and BBC, said the language used by the media in reporting the incident was “uncalled for”.

“In the hurry to report fast and break news, there is a tendency to hype the news. Some of the media didn’t use prefixes like ‘alleged’ in front of names of those arrested and killed. Why? The same press, which refused to buy the Aarushi murder theory of the investigating agencies and raised questions, seemed to be believing whatever was being told to them in these cases,” he said.

Supporting this view, DUJ president S.K.Pande, who released an interim report after scanning the reportage by various media - both print and electronic - and visits to the Jamia Nagar area, said verification of facts is quite often overlooked by reporters these days.

“Because of this, the media is fast losing its credibility,” Pande said.

Siddiqui, while stressing that such a trend, which fringes on stereotyping the community as terrorists, said this ran the danger of alienating the Muslim youth who are educated and are a part of the mainstream society.

“Organisations like the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and the Jamat-e-Islami find very scarce following among the Muslim population, especially the youth. Same is the case with self declared leaders,” he said.

“The only way to regain the faith of the community now is to make the investigation process transparent,” Siddiqui added.

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