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Info Change India - Reporting conflict


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Amplifying chaos, sowing discord

By Sukumar Muralidharan

In many ways, the media revealed more about itself through 60 hours of feverish and frenetic coverage than about the terrorist atrocity that was being perpetrated in Mumbai. After its coverage of 26/11, the question the Indian media faces is not a trivial one. Is it going to be an exclusive forum for the more extreme voices? Or can it find a sensible way forward, to promote a genuine social dialogue?


The ethics of conflict coverage

By Sevanti Ninan

How much truth-telling do you do in times of conflict? Do you tell it like it is, or weigh the consequences of doing so? Ethics in conflict situations is seldom black or white; it has to be shaped by changing contexts


Manipur: The tussle and the compromise

By Thingnam Anjulika Samom

Mediapersons in Manipur are caught between the diktats and threats of around 40 underground groups and the authoritarian directives of the state government which recently proscribed publication of a great deal of content from or about "unlawful organisations". How does Manipur's media cope with these pressures and still try to uphold the freedom of the press?


Media perceptions vs law enforcement in Kashmir

By Muzamil Jaleel

Reality in Kashmir is multi-layered and multi-dimensional. There is a Kashmir reality, a national reality, and whether we like it or not, a Pakistani reality. All these realities jostle and militate against one another, often overlapping and mingling. The biggest tragedy is that there is no neutral space left in Kashmir. The journalist's biggest challenge is to retrieve this space from the debris of a conflict-devastated state


'The stress is on conflict, not its resolution'

By Aditi Bhaduri

Conflict is at the heart of every interesting news story, says Chindu Sreedharan in this analysis of how the Indian and Pakistani media cover Kashmir. But journalism tends to simplify issues and see things in black and white, which won't do in reporting conflict


Reporting communal conflict

By Jyoti Punwani

After 20 years of almost continuous communal violence, the basic principles of reportage -- facts are sacred, comment free; get both sides of the story; check your facts before writing them -- are not enough in reporting communal riots. The guiding rules for reporters should be: look for the background; don't perpetuate the stereotype; find residents who deal with both communities; corroborate victims' accounts as well as police accounts; ascertain the role of the police, the politicians and the media; highlight stories where communities have helped each other


The art of not writing

By Shubhranshu Choudhary

How does the media in Chhattisgarh report the conflict between the Naxalites and the Salwa Judum, or the conflict between local communities and corporations? Quite simply, it doesn't. The pressures on journalists in Chhattisgarh are unique. They are paid not to report stories that are critical of the powers-that-be, whether they are industrial lobbies or state authorities


Who is Ima Gyaneswari?

By Teresa Rehman

The media portrays the northeast as one homogeneous trouble-torn frontier. Why doesn't the media get behind the statistics of the number killed and ammunition recovered? Why doesn't it find out what makes boys and girls barely out of their teens take up arms? Who bothered to find out what led Ima Gyaneswari and 11 other women protest the Armed Forces Special Powers Act by stripping in front of the Assam Rifles headquarters?


Sensation and sympathy

By S Anand

Dalits can figure in contemporary media only under two conditions: when they are pushed to doing something dramatic and spectacular (like burning a bogey of the Deccan Queen to protest the Khairlanji killings), or when a bleeding-heart publication carries a sad story on "suffering" dalits. But daily atrocities against dalits and democratic assertions of civil rights by dalits are not covered


A skewed definition of balance

By Nityanand Jayaraman

Media coverage generally displays an alarming lack of curiosity in exploring and reporting land/livelihood struggles and campaigns by peasants, fisherfolk and indigenous people. The media never finds out why people choose to fight for their land, what it is that ties them to land and drives them to defend it with their lives. Instead, as was clear in the coverage of the conflict in Singur, the media is likely to over-represent the views of commerce and government


Is it really tiger vs tribal?

By Pankaj Sekhsaria

In reporting on environment, why does the media always present the conflict in black and white --tribal versus tiger, trees versus wider roads? These are fundamental questions, because it is the media that plays a key role in setting debates and deciding both the frame and the outcome


War, peace, and journalism

By Dilip D'Souza

What is the duty of a journalist reporting on the horrors of war? To join the chorus of chest-thumping outrage against the enemy? Or to tell the story of war in such a way that we understand and value peace? Honest journalism about war and violence must ask the hard questions, challenge authority, and never be blinded by what passes for patriotism


To give peace a chance, make peace the story

By Aditi Bhaduri

A journalist recounts how she discovered the many nuances of the Palestine-Israel conflict, and how she discovered the truth in the statement that objectivity doesn't mean treating all sides equally, it means giving each side a hearing. After years of exploring and covering the conflict, she found herself increasingly telling stories which proved that, along with the indignities and the insecurities faced by Israelis and Palestinians, there was also a constituency for peace


Terror on TV, or by TV?

By Rashme Sehgal

Leading television anchors including Barkha Dutt of NDTV and Ashutosh of IBN7 counter questions from our correspondent on the sensationalism, hyperbole, unnecessary editorialising and inaccuracies of the real-time television coverage of the recent Mumbai terror attacks


'We need to handle painful stories with great care': Peter Horrocks, BBC

Indian television channels have been criticised for their coverage of the November 26, 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai. Both the content and tenor of the coverage have come under scrutiny. How would older, more experienced television networks like the British Broadcasting Corporation have handled a situation like the one in Mumbai? To find out, Agenda emailed questions to Peter Horrocks, Head of the Newsroom at the BBC in London


Some hard questions

The media coverage of the Jamia Nagar police operation at Batla House in New Delhi is a sad reminder of the diminishing credibility of the media, says this critique by the Delhi Union of Journalists. Besides the shocking confusion over the reported facts of the case, the media displayed implicit bias and uncalled for dramatisation on television. Excerpts from the DUJ report


NBA guidelines

The News Broadcasters Association (NBA), which represents 30 channels run by 14 broadcasters, has set up a body to enforce a code of ethics and address public grievances. These are its guidelines