Indian Media Degraded To Level of Ethical Crisis

71 Views       Author: Laxman Datt Pant / 

At a time when the world is struggling to fight COVID19, Indian media outlets particularly television channels are engaged in a mean campaign against Nepal, its integrity and sovereignty. The smearing media campaign that started with disseminating fabricated and baseless information about Nepal’s historical decision to incorporate Limpiyadhura in its official political map, continues by offending Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli with framed obnoxious story; a discoloration in the name of journalism.

The fabricated video story produced and disseminated by Zee News of India and sensationalised on social media sites fantasised that the Prime Minister of Nepal has been honey-trapped by Hou Yanqi, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Nepal. The video story has not only fantasised framed information but also attacked the integrity of a sovereign nation. It has assassinated character of a woman ambassador and escalated ongoing bilateral and tripartite tensions among the people and governments of Nepal, China and India.

Earlier, the Republic TV host Arnab Goswami and television channels in India verbally abused Bollywood actress Manisha Koirala, who favored Nepal’s decision on updating of the map. She was attacked on television shows, newspaper articles and trolled in social media merely for her stand in favor of her country’s historic decision. The television channels and newspapers in India have been giving space to so-called experts, ultra-nationalists who often engage in intensifying conflict between the people of two nations. The participating Nepali guests on such shows are sidelined, strategically limiting their space to have their say.

Indian media today are trapped by power centres, business tycoons and Indian state authorities converting their role of watchdog to lapdog, to which critics in India characterise as ‘godi’ media. A serious introspection on the part of Indian journalists and a strong media content monitoring by Press Council of India is required to put in track the long cherished relations of two countries. Deteriorating the fundamental principles of journalism and ethical standards would cost Indian media industry and the academia a lot for bringing back the credibility that is taught in universities and institutes across India.g independent views are proof that Indian media have forgotten integrity, mutual respect, truthfulness, verification and accuracy to the minimum.
It is relevant to note that Indian institutes have produced thousands of journalists for Nepal and they hold prestigious positions in Nepal’s media outlets. Yet they have never been engaged in defaming nations and national integrity. It is disheartening for the audience of a country that shares open borders and free movement across India to read and watch each day crafted, half-baked, unverified and botched stories from the Indian media that reach out to audiences in cities and villages.

The message to Indian media workers from Nepal is that you have lost the credibility of journalism. It is almost difficult for one to find a person who trusts the way information is disseminated in Indian television channels. This scribe is confident that the authorities, Press Council of India and the Broadcasting Authority would seriously look into Indian media content surrounding Nepal-India issues and take action against those engaged in smear media campaigns. Nepal and India enjoy long cherished and specific bilateral relations with similarities of culture and civilisation. Nonetheless, Indian fellows and media should understand and respect the way Nepal maintains her relations with other neighbors including China. Let’s play a role conducive to contribution towards dialogues, initiatives and solutions to the problem. Disseminating disinformation at the cost of credibility will do no good to strengthen Nepal-India relations. The fabricated story by Zee News is a blemish in the name of journalism. Illustrating the Nepali premier and Chinese ambassador to Nepal in a love frame, narrating that the former has fallen in love with the latter and demeaning the latter as ‘venomous-virgo’ are perfect signs that Indian media are suffering with serious ethical crisis. It is high time for Indian media, media academics and experts to introspect their approach and understanding of issues that go beyond their geography and require serious diplomatic analysis of the information. How can journalists of a country that has hundreds of journalism schools and takes pride in being largest democracy indulge in a smear campaign? Don’t they understand that an independent nation that was never colonised deserves full freedom of choice who to talk to and what to discuss around? Have they not been taught that information should be processed before dissemination?

This and many stories of recent months on Nepal-India border dispute demonstrate that television journalists in India are puppets of the business world. Additionally, the channels of that nature are serving the ultranationalist forces in India for survival, sacrificing principles of journalism. The act of Zee News demeaning a sovereign nation and hosts’ clamors on television shows trolling independent views are proof that Indian media have forgotten integrity, mutual respect, truthfulness, verification and accuracy to the minimum.

It is relevant to note that Indian institutes have produced thousands of journalists for Nepal and they hold prestigious positions in Nepal’s media outlets. Yet they have never been engaged in defaming nations and national integrity. It is disheartening for the audience of a country that shares open borders and free movement across India to read and watch each day crafted, half-baked, unverified and botched stories from the Indian media that reach out to audiences in cities and villages.

The message to Indian media workers from Nepal is that you have lost the credibility of journalism. It is almost difficult for one to find a person who trusts the way information is disseminated in Indian television channels. This scribe is confident that the authorities, Press Council of India and the Broadcasting Authority would seriously look into Indian media content surrounding Nepal-India issues and take action against those engaged in smear media campaigns.

Nepal and India enjoy long cherished and specific bilateral relations with similarities of culture and civilisation. Nonetheless, Indian fellows and media should understand and respect the way Nepal maintains her relations with other neighbors including China. Let’s play a role conducive to contribution towards dialogues, initiatives and solutions to the problem. Disseminating disinformation at the cost of credibility will do no good to strengthen Nepal-India relations.

(The author leads Media Action Nepal. [email protected] 

(Source: The Rising Nepal, 11 Jul, 2020)