13-08-201913-08-2019 14:05:14 IST
Updated On 13-08-2019 17:36:12 ISTUpdated On 13-08-20192019-08-13T08:35:14.614Z13-08-2019 2019-08-13T08:35:06.292Z - 2019-08-13T12:06:12.246Z - 13-08-2019
BIZARRE ‘TERRORIST-GUNMAN’ DISTINCTION: The universal broadcaster’s bewildering description of some of the most dreaded terrorists as mere ‘gunmen’ has often drawn flak for its hypocrisy. The broadcaster is widely perceived to draw this line of distinction only for some conflicts around the world, Kashmir being the most glaring.
Every terrorist worth his sins in the strife-torn Kashmir Valley is just a ‘gunman’ for this venerated broadcaster. This includes the likes of Burhan Wani and many more, even after their irrefutable involvement in bloodshed was established beyond doubt. In fact, the height of the BBC’s conservative thinking came to the fore during the Pakistan-sponsored Mumbai terror attacks.
The whole world watched in horror a group of Pakistan-sponsored LeT terrorists shooting down close to 200 people with multiple strikes in the Indian financial capital. Ajmal Kasab, the only terrorist caught alive, was lodged in an Indian prison till the time he was hanged to death at the end of a thorough trial. The BBC always chose to refer to this dreaded terrorist only as a ‘gunman’.
This ended up as a classic example of how this broadcasting entity is still caught in the archaic and clichéd perception that ‘one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’. This instantly brings the Northern Ireland conflict into the context with the inquisitiveness of how it was viewed by the BBC. All along the armed struggle and through its suppression, the British government always called them as ‘terrorists’.
One is not sure at this moment, if the BBC simply toed the official line or came up with the same defiance that it exhibits in some conflicts around the world. How did it treat the Northern Irish activists, as ‘freedom fighters’ or ‘terrorists’?
CHECHENYA VISUALS FOR CHARAR E SHARIF: The BBC on several occasions was seen shattering its ‘holy cow’ demeanour all by itself with the use of fakery in its coverage. Way back in 1995, when Pakistan-backed terrorists sneaked into the Indian territory and seized the famous Charar e Sharif, the Indian forces had no option but to raze the shrine to the ground to end the seizure.
While the Indian action drew severe flak, the BBC was accused of fishing in the troubled waters by blatantly using fake visuals in this context. It was alleged that the visuals chosen by the broadcaster were actually from the Chechenya conflict where the Russian forces were seen in action. There were reports in its aftermath that the broadcaster had admitted to using the visuals from the Chechenya turbulence.
Interestingly, the BBC was accused of resorting to similar tactics in another standoff with terrorists in the Hazratbal mosque a year later in 1996.
The media organisation’s coverage of the popular sentiment in Jammu and Kashmir post the recent Balakot airstrikes also smacked of prejudice. The BBC was accused of completely ignoring the prevailing mood in Jammu and Ladakh regions and highlighting voices only from the Valley. This was seen as part of a brazen attempt to whip up anti-India sentiments.
The displeasure in the Indian administration over this type of ‘anti-India media campaign’ is not just confined to the BBC. Aljazeera was barred from India for quite some time till recently for its continued coverage of Kashmir laced with bias. Only recently, it was allowed to resume its services after it gave an undertaking to the government committing to an unbiased coverage of India.
-Durga Prasad Kanamaluru
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