Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Tribals are animals, Dalits are sub-humans, Techies are god. - Biased Media reporting in India

Tribals are animals, Dalits are sub-humans, Techies are god. - Biased Media reporting in India

This is the general conclusion one can arrive at when one looks at
how the Mainstream media chooose's to cover news issues.

By now most Indian's would have been familiar with the
kidnapping drama of Adobe India's CEO's son and how
the news media masturbated to this event for 4 day's.

Post climax when the kidnapping drama ended one would have
assumed that the frenzy that was whipped up would die down but
NO ! the media decided to try for multiple orgasms and
continued wanking clinging onto this limp piece of news.

One news channel even brought in an astrologer who claimed that
she had correctly predicted the time the kidnapped boy would
return home and that the kidnappers would have fed the boy ice-cream !

It is also important that one understands under what circumstances
this coverage happened for on the first day one could see
Naresh Gupta(CEO of Adobe India) begging the reporters not to
report this matter as it would jeopardize his son's life.

But did the media listen No..
It not only ignored the father's plea's but
deliberately jeopardized the life of the boy,knowing well
that the publicity generated over this matter could cause
the kidnappers to panic and react in a negative manner.

They replayed,rehashed it again and again...
It took only a few hours for the kidnapping to become national news
but how long do you think it took the kherlanji massacare to
become national news ?

One and a half month(50 days)

That is the time theKherlanji Massacre took before it could make it to the front pages of
newspapers that too only after co-ordinated campaigning and
violent actions by protesting organisations.

While all this kidnapping drama was unfolding

60,000 people(mostly tribals) marched against
Essar Steel and Salwa - Judum(it is widely believed
Steel corporations like Tata and Essar are covertly
backing Salwa-Judum).

What did the media do ?

Nothing it didn't even blink an eyelid,the national
media did not even report it.

Why ?

The media houses do not want to displease their corporate bosses
who have in the past threatened to cut off their advertising spends
on those channels,newspapers which portray them negatively.

With increasing foreign and private control of news channels
and newspapers the trend has only got accelerated in the last few years.

Not only did the media totally ignore the rally but it chose to publish Essar
Steel's version that the tribals have agreed to give up their land !

And what did the government do ?
It tried to ban the rally initially but
relented only after the high court intervened.

This is the state of affairs in the country
where the rape and massacare of dalits takes 50 days
to make it to the newspapers.

Where protests by tribals are hushed up for fear
of displeasing their corporate bosses.

But hey
When a capitalist pig's three year old runt get's kidnapped
That's News !
So much for being "Sabse Tez" and "Feeling the news"

From Anoop Saha's blog

The 60000 strong rally that was denied permission

More than 60000 people (mostly tribals) attended a rally in Dantewada today. The rally was called by CPI (Communist Part of India) to protest against illegal land acquisition by essar steel in two villages of Dantewada district, namely Dhurli and Bhansi. The people also protested against Salwa Judum. The rally was entirely peaceful and people came as far as 200 km. Most of them walked to the venue. This despite the fact that their was no major leader addressing the rally and no party paid for their transportation.

Interestingly the Dantewada district administration had originally denied permission to hold the meet, citing security reasons. Not once, but thrice. Apparently, the administration was of the impression that protesting against essar is illegal in Dantewada. The organizers went to the CG high court in Bilaspur. The high court instructed the collector of Dantewada to ensure that the permission is granted for the rally, and ensure adequate police presence at the venue.

Ironically, the district administration on Dantewada allows the armed SPO and salwa judum cadres to roam around freely, kill at whim, extort from the common men and women, beat anyone, and doesn’t feel that they are a security concern. For them anyone opposing industrial houses, however large in numbers, however peacefully, they are a threat to peace.

Here it is important to note why are people angry with essar? As I wrote in my earlier post, the government of CG has acquired land in Dhurli and Bhansi on behalf of essar. Essar steel has signed an MoU with the CG govt to set up a steel plant in Dhurli near the Bailadila iron mines. Since Dhurli falls under fifth schedule, hence express permission of gram sabha is required before acquiring land. The people of Dhurli naturally protested against it.

On 30th august, a gram sabha was forcefully conducted in Dhurli. Before the gram sabha, some prominent panchayat members known for their opposition to the proposal were arrested on 26th August on a false charge. Their bail was denied. On 30th, villagers were called one by one to a room, where the MLA, Collector and essar officials were present and forced to sign on a document. Despite that the meeting was inconclusive, as quorum was not achieved. The next meeting was called on 9th september.

This time the administration took no changes. This time quorum was not necessary, as this is the second gram sabha on the same subject. Again the arrests were made and the entire road was sealed off. CRPF was deployed on the entire stretch. All villagers in Dhurli were ordered to stay in their homes. One by one each of them were escorted to the panchayat building by armed police and forced to sign on a document. The document said that the villagers agree to the rehabilitation package and are ready to vacate their land.

The details can be found in the memorandum (pdf) submitted by the people of Dhurli/Bhansi to NCST. Down to earth did a cover story on it last month. The dte story can be read here (link: word document). On 13th september 15000 adivasis took out a rally from Dhurli to Dantewada protesting against the illegality of the whole process. Daily Chattisgarh was the only newspaper that highlighted the rally .

Every other national and international newspaper carried on the essar story that tribal protesters have agreed to give up their land in favour of the steel plant.

Dhurli is a 100% adivasi village located on the road. The people here have never supported the naxalites. The state paid them back.

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