Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Has the world changed?

My last post was 10 days ago and in the last 10 days, a lot seems to have happened. The first and the foremost that is in our minds--the sad Mumbai terror attacks, some people have called it India's 9/11. Amitav Ghosh, the well known writer, has written a very interesting article on it. But we can always discuss that link later.

What was very distressing to me was the fact that the Indian media people were very immature. We had live updates and the Tv channels had to be told by the security commandos that they should stop live updates because it might give away the positions of the forces to the militants. Isn't it shameful? Can't the TV channels have enough sense to understand such delicate situations?

When the 9/11 took place in the US, did the US TV channels react the same way? Did they too show bloodied bodies on their networks? We had a number of channels and newspapers stating that 'the country was brought down to its knees' or 'the city was brought down to its knees' by 'ten' or 'twenty' young men etc. When 9/11 took place did Bush say so? Did US media say that the US was brought down to its knees? Or that the country was cowed down?

These are very important and pertinent questions.


Suzana said...

Excellent points! Sensitivity apparently applies only to our own. Just another example of how broad "the other" is from the US point of view. At times, it seems to encompass most of the world... save maybe Western Europe or Israel.

Shine Kapoor said...

Your points are valid. Media should have followed voluntary retrain while covering Mumbai seige, this attitude is further exploited as India do not have any broadcasting law, this calls for genuine broadcasting laws.


Betsy Hansel said...

As a New Yorker who watched the World Trade Center towers fall from my office window in 2001, I have to say that I found the US news coverage of the event to be just awful, but for perhaps different reasons that you put here. What was awful? Mostly, they reported any rumor they had, and there were lots of them flowing around that day. They also showed the film clips over and over again, as if the image we saw the first time wasn't etched permanently in our memory. I stopped watching. In part, I had to stop, since I received my broadcasts from the tower that used to sit on top of one of the World Trade Center towers, but more to the point, I stopped watching because there was no new knowledge to gain from watching, and no historic context to draw new insights. It was a big relief when finally the radios were willing to play music again.

I spent about a week in Mumbai when it was still known as Bombay, and I remember the beautiful harbor and the many lovely people I met and interviewed as part of my research there. My heart and my hopes are with all of you in India in these moments.