Wednesday, August 4, 2021
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Polarised Media coverage

This refers to the complaint filed by a media professional Misbah Quadri that a flat was being denied to her as she belonged to Muslim community. She added that there is discrimination when it comes to renting out a house to people belonging to her religion.

I wish not to be a part of “discriminatory politics” and that I would not like to trigger polarization along religious lines. And I am not talking exclusively for or against any particular or any other religion or community. All I would like to ask is why the media and the TV channels always blare and come out with “exclusive Xclusives”, debates with a big panel of people and celebrities, to protect such victims and hound the other communities /religions?  Where was the need for  “the Most popular” channel  to have an “Exclusive Debate”  on the case of  the lady in question who was struggling to find a flat in the city? Is it because she was a media professional? Why should television channels remain so obsessed with such cases – especially when it comes to “exclusive minorities” and offer special coverage as if to trigger hatred, polarization and a “divide between the communities”?  Do these channels always go after such petty issues and cases to fill in their “newshour” and convert them into news of national importance?

Every time any member from the minority community complains about “treatment meted out to him or her “, the media takes notes of the same promptly and hypes the whole issue (remember the Emraan Hashmi case a few years ago?). Such things do happen in other countries where Hindus and several Indian citizens of minority sections get humiliated but even the government hardly bothers about it! Even in Kashmir, several Hindu Pandits, who are in minority there, are ill-treated and deprived of rights and ownership to properties. At such times, many “well known activists and celebs” (whom I need not name!!) turn a blind eye.  It is an open fact that in our neighbouring nations like Pakistan and Bangladesh too, many Hindus, Christians and Sardars get ill-treated to say the least and they are not allowed to stay anywhere they want or enjoy their basic rights and follow their respective religions. Many temples, churches and gurudwaras are openly attacked and vandalized.  These incidents are never ever highlighted and will never find a place even in the newspapers!!

Why talk about these cases which have become so regular that no one bothers to show concern and carry “exclusives” on TV channels nowadays! See what has been happening even in the US and the UK too. Recently there have been cases how the white skinned cops had targeted poor black civilians and even killed a couple of them for no rhyme or reason?

Today the polarization or what they term as the ‘ghettoization’ has gone beyond the Hindu-Muslim divide. Today anybody who is non-vegetarian will also have a tough time getting a house in Mumbai. For instance, a non-vegetarian can be denied house, say in Jain housing society; an orthodox Hindu would not like to have a core non-vegetarian who would cook anything from fish to beef, as a neighbour!  Why this….even in a Muslim dominated suburb or a place, a person from any other community may not get an accommodation so easily.

Secularism today has become a handy tool for our politicians to shower favour and appease members of other communities. Some people just take advantage of the situation to gain unwanted publicity—as we saw on the TV channels!. They should learn a lesson from his/her own colleagues like the Khans in the film industry alone, and several Muslims who have held / do hold high positions in the government and elsewhere too. It’s only in our country that minorities have risen to attain the highest offices  of  the President, VP, CJ, Governor, CM, VC,  PC, secretary level positions and many other coveted positions.  Whereas you would never find the “minority communities” attaining even a lower level position of importance, in any Islamic nations!  Still, there is open hatred and venomous attack against our nation, insult to our national flag and the motherland.

All I would like to say in the conclusion, is that today the media and the TV channels should restrain from making issues and mountains out of petty cases. They need not carry such cases to the level of having an exclusive newshour or a debate and thus trigger more hatred and divide between the affected parties or communities. It’s better if the media and the channels behave responsibly, are also not biased but follow the  path of  impartial coverage of events;  and  that they also do not go to the level of appeasing certain sections of the community  or playing politics which ultimately leads to  further hatred  and unsavoury  situations.

S.Krishna Kumar

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