Millennium Post

Who is to blame?

Terror has been a global concern in the past few years and numerous summits and discussions have taken place in order to address this menace that has been assuming greater proportions in recent times. The National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval has a perspective and expressed that "Perception management is an important part in the fight against terror", highlight how media has a role to play the fight against terrorism, suggesting that security and intelligence agencies take the media into confidence when it comes to terror investigation and warnings since the media is a "very important organ to fight terrorism". In a clarification he made in a room full of senior police officers who are directly and indirectly dealing with anti-terror operations on a daily basis, he stated that "It is all about perception. Since most of us do not tell them [the media] anything, they speculate and carry news. That news, in turn, terrorises society rather than prepare society to fight terror." Also suggesting a change in media policy, Doval quoted Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister of Britain, that, "Terrorism will end if the media is quiet". There is certainly much to be said from the other side on this account. Free press is the fourth pillar of a reasonably functioning democracy. But, in the present times when democratic values are blatantly compromised, making suggestions to the effect of manipulating press in the favour of something that only emphasises the extent of control that is wished to be exercised over the mainstream media. It is true that after the Balakot airstrike in retaliation to Pulwama devastation in February this year, the popular media on both sides of the border engaged in relentless war-mongering—the media stand blamed for blowing matters out of proportions and indulging in bombastic discussions with deplorable insensitivity to grave matters like war for a hyped and thus belittled notion such as nationalism—but, a more fundamental question remains glaring: that matters of national security are highly confidential, why should media be allowed to bring up these issues to any extent? The answer to this is a difficult truth. If the media is roped in to promote something for eventual gain, it is already reduced to the status of a puppet. Then proposing possible solutions to prevent media from being a hindrance only reeks of a cheating mindset whereby media is to be used and discarded. If press is free to endorse, promote, and advertise any pro-stance, it must also be free to bring up difficult and uncomfortable facts.

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