Time to Hold India’s Media Legally Accountable
This is an excerpt from one of my books titled, ‘Orissa in the Crossfire – Kandhamal Burning.’ This is the same book that the Indian Parliamentarian and Congress Party leader Digvijaya Singh demanded be banned for allegedly being a cause of community strife. However that be, the fact that there is a direct correlation between violent mayhem and the media’s actions has been established repeatedly. I therefore call for India’s media to be held accountable for its many crimes against society. This can be done by using the Indian court system based upon the precedent of setting convictions conducted by the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal’s Rwandan Media Trial.
The trial was known as the Rwandan Media Case. These precedent-setting convictions have established the standard regarding those that abuse the power of the media and disturb and disrupt civil society. India’s mainstream media has long been at the forefront of sowing seeds of mayhem and chaos across the nation. Rather than my writings, it is the Indian media which is blatantly setting Indian society against itself. Thus such publications and journalists must be held accountable and convicted for their crimes.
The fact is anyone who reads ‘Orissa in the Crossfire’ will see that I did not pit one group against another nor did I condemn any religion or ethnic group. But I did expose many crimes, criminals, mass corruption and the many conspiracies, groups and personalities that are actively engaged in a brutal campaign against India. Recently, India’s Minister of External Affairs VK Singh characterized the mainstream media as Presstitutes, who ignored his major international humanitarian rescue mission in Yemen. Yet this same Press attempted to accuse him of damaging the morale of the Indian Army.
The basis of this bizarre claim? The Minister had attended a Pakistan Day celebration at the Pakistani Embassy. Despite this being an annual event that the Indian Government has often attended, the media created an artificial scandal aimed at damaging the morale of India’s armed forces. This is pure sedition. It is high time the Indian judicial system tackled this destabilizing force that is traumatizing the country. Perhaps the precedent-setting UN Rwandan Media Case has applicability within the Indian court system as well. The following excerpts are from the chapter entitled ’A Medium for Chaos.’
Obfuscation: ‘To totally obscure with non-germane information in a verbose manner, with the intent to provide a non-answer, and provide total befuddlement.’
This perfectly illustrates the modus operandi of the Indian media.
India’s media is in a league of its own. It presents itself as beholden to none. It claims itself to be the voice of reason, the conscience of the system and guardian of the public weal. Though this ideal is at the basis of a responsible media, India’s media is infamously and obviously far removed from such a role. The pattern and record speaks for itself. A graphic example would be the anti-Bihari riots in Assam. A false story detailing a Bihari’s rape of an Assamese girl led to a public response leading to much violence, injury, destruction and death. Despite the media’s role in initiating the mayhem, the obvious disconnect between the law, social welfare concerns, the people and the media, no action nor resolution was taken. The powers that be, behind the media, continued as before untouched by the law and uncaring towards the plight of a victimized people.
The media is clearly being used as a weapon against the RSS and affiliated Hindu organizations. Rather than being the fourth estate of civil society, India’s media is more like a bludgeon. It decides what is relevant to its pre-scripted scenarios and cherry picks information to fit into its preordained scripts. This propaganda is then disseminated and imposed upon the public and the designed perceptions popularized as fact. India’s media has long abandoned its responsibility as a medium for information, events and facts. In a manipulative process, the Indian media trivializes the profound and sensationalizes the profane.
On a recent research visit to Govardhan in Uttar Pradesh on the last day of the Hindu holy month of Kartik, a full moon was in the sky. Thousands upon thousands of pilgrims were circumambulating the sacred Govardhan hill. In an endless march beginning from the predawn hours until late evening, thousands of Hindu pilgrims circled the sacred mount. In a massive display of the living and ancient Indian culture, people of all ages, including entire families walked bedecked in colorful clothes. The excitement was tangible. Such a massive event inspired no mention in the media. For the media, it was a non-event. Coming from the same media that highlights every minor gathering of Leftist politicians and religious minority groups, such bias by the media is intentional. By constantly disenfranchising the Hindus, distorting their words and denigrating their efforts, the media is the primary cause of social chaos and political mayhem. The same media that projects itself as a voice of concern provides the rationale for oppression.
In America this same method was applied against the great American Indian leaders of the 1800s who struggled to defend their culture, people and lands. In every case, without fail, it was the media which provided the sensational and gruesome tales of massacres of ‘innocent white women and children at the hands of the Red Savages’. The media-induced frenzy and uproar that followed led to organized lynch mobs and groups of US soldiers bent on murder. American Indian tribes were ruthlessly massacred, ethnically cleansed and imprisoned by the thousands. As the brutal aggression continued, the media provided the rationale within a context of law and order. By completely ignoring the injustices, the brutal acts of violence, rapes, murders and loss of land and water rights that instigated the trouble, the media distorted the historical underpinnings involved. With a focus on the effect and denial of the cause, the media becomes a powerful tool and weapon against a targeted group. Guns alone do not create genocide.
This conclusion was reached by the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal. In reference to the media’s complicity in the violence, the Tribunal declared, ‘Without a firearm, machete or any physical weapon you, (Nahimana founder of Rwanda’s RTLM, Radio TV des Milles Collines) caused the death of thousands of innocent civilians.’ The media case as it was known, was conducted by the UNICTR or the ‘United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda’ and presided over by Judge Navanetham Pillay. The historic ruling clearly delineated the responsibilities and consequential role of the media. ‘The power of the media to create and destroy fundamental human values comes with great responsibility. Those who control such media are accountable for its consequences.’ (CCCLXXXIV)
This important, precedent-setting landmark case has been virtually forgotten and suppressed. For some in India, the media is the weapon of choice. The implications of the Rwanda Media Case are far reaching and significant. Such a legal mechanism based upon this landmark Rwanda Media Case would no doubt be of great benefit to the Indian authorities, law professionals and overall socio-political climate. Freedom of the Press does not refer to the freedom to oppress. In the landmark case, the UN convicted three Rwandan media personalities for ‘genocide, incitement to genocide, conspiracy and crimes against humanity-extermination and persecution.’ The verdict is clear and the precedent set.
The Indian media has been clearly and repeatedly implicated as a cause of violence and mayhem. It is widely recognized for its ruthless and biased approach towards news reporting. The Indian media has also been implicitly involved in stirring up tension and fear amongst the people in a manner nearly identical to the UN Media Case. India would do well to challenge its media to create rather than destroy fundamental human values. The Indian media should be held to account for the consequences of its actions.
CCCLXXXIV UN Integrated Regional Information Networks ‘UN Tribunal Convicts Media Leaders of Genocide’ December 3, 2003