Ever since the media reporting came into being, it has always been the second reality of occurrences. In India, from the print media incepting in the late eighteenth century to covering first television war of India, The Kargil war, 1999 to witnessing numerous media versions in 2020, media has become a substantial part in the nation’s growth. The media mustn’t only be used for rallying information, but at wars, it must take the concluding stance.
One such strategic and diplomatic use of media could be seen when a few news channels in the Indian press during the Kargil war, 1999(3rd May-26th July) positioned itself as a force multiplier and a driving force for the citizens to support its forces.
Let us understand the Kargil Diplomacy
India experienced the first television war fought on its ground: The Kargil war, 1999. The brilliance of Operation Vijay; Valour and efficacy of the Indian soldiers on their land was beyond any description despite being devoid of the most strategic regions on the battlefield. Still, the then Govt. along with a few news channels too proved to be somewhere on par with the forces as a diplomatic counterpart. It filled in the news bulletins with continuous front-line reporting and images which instigated solidarity amongst citizens and boosted the morale of our soldiers. But, Media reportings had to be curbed to the nation’s advantage.
The daily reporting from the front, analysis programmes, and continuous reporting about India being on defence position while Pakistan being the agitator cornered the other powerful nations towards India. The consolidated press briefings of The Indian Army, The Indian airforce and Ministry of external affairs on an ad hoc basis built an International pressure on Pakistan for being on the wrong foot. The Kargil war was a perfect blend of military power and government diplomacies which declared the apparent victory.
Judicious use of media in The Kargil patted internationally. Still, the downfall of the press was envisioned by a few, right from when a journalist leaked the positions of the army causing an etching number of casualties at the Indian side revealing an irresponsible, insensitive and bloody side of the media. Hence, information control was a necessary action for other diplomatic moves by the Govt. then.
Henceforth, we all have watched the television media inviting the so-called “intellectuals” from the adjacent countries to debate and insult our great institution, post border skirmishes or even worse: when they have got nothing else to report.
Recent Media reports
India has been defending its borders since its independence. But, after the 1962 Sino-Indian war, China became the major aggressor in June 2020 for the Galwan Valley face-off leading the Indians to protest against Chinese products on a large scale. This happened due to uninterrupted reporting of the media about the stand-off, which swirled the emotions in us against China.
While a large no. of reporters were busy reporting about the border and the protests, there was another group who tried gaining a maximum advantage of the incident. Indian armed forces have always been a paradigm of neutrality towards the media. However, during the recent stand-off with PLA(People’s Liberation Army, China), it rebuked the media for sensationalising a viral video claimed as one of the stand-off footages which was later rubbished by the Indian army. It was not the only incident where the Indian media was seen sensationalising a severe issue but, a plethora of events has occurred unveiling the blood-sucking side of the press for TRP.
But the question arises, why do the news channels have to invite these “intellectuals” to insult our country, specifically our forces on the national television? Why do they have to sensationalise the issues for TRP?
The answer is: “us” as we watch them and let them make money out of anything which mustn’t be shown; which degrades the morale and dignity of our soldiers who are guarding a sensitive nation like India.
A lot to change in the reporting approach
There’s no diffidence to that India is still in the state of war. Even if it wasn’t, the media must not use sensational facts in the name of approaching a broader audience. Any factor, be it from an Indian itself or be it from an outsider, provoking against the forces; staking the respect and fervour of our troops shouldn’t be covered. Any news channel which doesn’t follow these basic etiquettes must condemned nationwide. The media needs to be more factual, patriotic and analytical in its approach rather than just sensational. Analytical: as in the case of boycott China movement, Unfortunately, the protest died early as a large number of citizens couldn’t analyse, the impact of these boycotts on the Chinese economy or what were the possible alternatives of those products. The press must take the onus of conveying the effects of the actions sighted.
When we talk about India, we are never short of Bravehearts the country had fostered, ever since wars exploded. The press must convey every realm of their stories of valour and sacrifices to the citizens, not just to act as an informer but to unfurl the feeling of solidarity and pride nationwide, in turn, acting as a force multiplier.
To my accord, media undoubtedly carries the potential to influence the nation’s mood imperatively. But, it is upon us to be wiser before we choose to read or watch the reports. The content of their reporting still lies in the leap of the citizenry. So, be a thoughtful and an informed citizen as only a well-informed citizenry shall make the most significant contributions to its nation so, be one.
Content Credits: Diksha Sinha