You’re It

is an essential skill to understand anything approximating reality. Politics here in Kashmir is seemingly a war of rhetoric and allegations, but imperceptibly it moves subtly, somewhat mysteriously. Most often our politics is to be as sensational as possible and media is chasing sensation for the sake of it..
One of the most striking aspects of the current wave of press attention has been that we the people of Kashmir are facing a time of image and identity crisis. We are getting a tag of morally corrupt society. The negative media exposure is eroding our Identity. This is fraught with anxiety over our conflicting image. The media outside Kashmir is all about the news of our sex scandals, rapes and murders. Every hour and every 15 minutes viewers are flooded with breaking news on our moral issues, even though the news may not be that important.  Many have gone toward blowing situations out of proportion.
Several of our leading news channels … in their competitive zeal … bombard viewers with little tit bits of this news. Every tom, dick and harry becomes a ‘distinguished penalist’ on satellite channels and opines on our social life, politics, conflict fall outs and what have you. Recently, sex scandals have been blown so much out of propositions that now as the outcome, I feel we are becoming desensitized. Yes, media is consciously or unconsciously desensitizing society towards the moral values and issues thereof. For some reason, the local media close the eyes to this issue.
Unfortunately, our own media sometimes, ignores many things that are important to large numbers of citizens and when it matters most. Our vernaculars are traditionally commenting on essential commodity prices, when people need an objective, balanced and investigative view of critical survival issues.
We live in irrational times, where truth is a commodity defined by the government and propagated by a compliant, corrupt media. All that the politicians do is they raise concerns over “scandals” and the lapdog media accepts the rationale with total, unthinking, compliance. The media should be a watchdog, not a lap dog. The media should practice the art of questioning authority, not acting as Governments stenographer.
The evidence is strong that “morality” concerns in our politics are largely a smokescreen and a farce. It is a free of cost lime light and media attention.
Although tabloids, daily newspapers, magazines, pirate cable distributors flood the market, and more seem to appear every day, the public is gradually becoming bored with a diet of pure politics, crime, sensation and sex.
Ironically our more popular mainstream press is much business-oriented and it less ‘opens up’ politics we face on daily basis.  In following the media principle that negative stories have greater news value, they succeed in ‘stretching’ the discourse in different and often conflicting directions to see how far it will go. In order to, raise the capacity of the media as an institution, credibility is one of the foundations of what our newspapers have to offer. The longer we pursue strategies for individual survival, the less time we have to create any viable, systemic solutions.
Benjamin Franklin, is remembered as saying words to this effect: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”


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