I have been noticing something odd on my daily newspaper. We read ‘The Hindu’ at our home and lately, we have been noticing something odd about the way news are being reported. Maybe, this has been the norm and I am noticing it just now or this is a new growing trend. To clear the confusion, ‘The Hindu’ will have to clarify the facts so we do not misinterpret anything. Hence this open letter:
Dear ‘The Hindu’,
Please refer to the instances of alleged unfair reporting on your part and please clarify the reasons and facts behind them:
Article Title: Madras High Court orders fresh autopsy on Monisha
Date of Publishing: January 28, 2016
The article ends with a mention of a person and his membership with a ‘fringe Dalit outfit’. The outfit’s name or the basis for classifying it as ‘fringe’ however did not make it anywhere on that news report.
Here are the questions:
What is the name of the Dalit outfit? Why are you not mentioning the name of the outfit?
What is the basis for classifying the outfit as a ‘fringe’ outfit?
Article Title: Decades-old group rivalry revived
Date of Publishing: March 9, 2016
|This report is also online: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/decadesold-group-rivalry-revived/article8329195.ece|
One of the victims [of a tit-for-tat gang war] is being described as a Dalit leader without mentioning the name of the outfit he founded or was associated with prior to that. However, soon after covering his involvement in murders, the report includes victims and members of the other group by mentioning the title of the outfit they belong to. That outfit is not categorised as ‘fringe’ outfit.
Murderers are murderers, irrespective of caste/ethnicity. When one group of murderers are mentioned only with a broad classification of their caste, the other group is mentioned with specific mention of their caste and the outfit they founded/belong to.
Here are the questions:
What is the basis for avoiding a Dalit outfit’s name and including a Caste Hindu outfit’s name, when members of both outfits have been involved in the same murder case being covered in the report?
The report includes this phrase: “…, who had nurtured himself as ‘saviour of Dalits’ by orchestrating a few attacks.”
What does ‘few attacks’ signify? How many attacks are being included as ‘few attacks’? What is the factual data behind those attacks that establish the individual’s effort to become ‘saviour of Dalits’?
When the rival group has committed similar retaliatory murders, why aren’t they being classified as someone nurturing themselves as similar ‘saviour of Caste Hindus’?
Overall, I see this trend of classifying minorities as ‘fringe outfits’ while exclusively mentioning caste-hindu groups in your reporting. May be, this has been happening for a long time and I remained unaware. Irrespective of the frequency of occurrence and history, the reporting style followed by ‘The Hindu’ is outright unfair.
The final interpretation is:
‘The Hindu’ is deliberately allowing the negative representation of minorities [in this case the Dalits] and positive representation of caste-hindu groups.
‘The Hindu’ doesn’t really care how minorities are being mentioned in its reports and therefore knowingly tolerates such unfair reporting styles from its reporters/writers.
Irrespective of what it may be, here are the final questions:
Is ‘The Hindu’ following such unfair reporting styles to get the favour of the ‘Hindutva’ movement?
What is ‘The Hindu’ getting from caste-hindu groups for such negative representation of minorities?
In my opinion, ‘The Hindu’ is operating as a ‘divisive media partner’ that can support the ‘divide-and-rule’ tactics, irrespective of who is trying to apply them.
The questions for you, ‘The Hindu’,
Are you really missing out on such negative reporting styles or this is all part of your larger design for a divided society that can crumble at the snap of a finger?
Why is your reporting looking to breed contempt and retaliatory hatred among ethnic groups within the market you operate?
I don’t think anybody from ‘The Hindu’ is going to reply, however, as a human being who believes in equality, I cannot allow a media house play spoilsport unasked and unquestioned.
I still believe, if all kids go to school and college and if the education they receive are of decent standards, we might end up with a society that can at least be taught to practice equality. With millions of citizens remaining illiterate/uneducated, we as a country are building a society of blind followers who can be manipulated by those who practice sectarian governance through inter-ethnic hatred, something supported by media houses such as ‘The Hindu.’
If you think this is an issue that needs to be curtailed, please consider signing this Change.org petition below and share the same with your friends and family:
Thanks for the help!!!!
Update as of 21-03-2016:
'The Hindu' published a follow-up report on the same incident and this time, both the organisation titles were mentioned. However, the Caste-Hindu individual's position/rank within his organization is mentioned but the Dalit individual's position/rank is not covered. The Caste-Hindu individual is mentioned as the 'President' but the Dalit individual is mentioned as the 'leader'. In spite of a forced response for fair news-reporting, the reporting style still holds minority groups at least one step below the Caste-Hindu groups.
Here is the follow-up report as it was published today:
So the questions to you 'The Hindu' are:
What makes dalits so inferior that you are so desperate, not to mention the rank/position of the Dalit individual covered in the report?
If the Caste-Hindu individual is the 'President' what was the title held by the Dalit individual?
If you have the journalistic prowess to cover one group in such detail, why is that you wilfully neglect the finer details of the Dalit individual?
This is the true indicator of how deep and hard the anti-dalit prejudices are imbibed within the society in Tamilnadu, as of 2016. I am almost suspicious if there is a deep inner voice among these anti-dalit mentalities which keeps screaming 'Don't let the Dalits stand-up as equal. Keep them a step below you and that is how it should be.' In my honest opinion, it is this deep caste differentiation that is causing such unfair news-reporting styles.
A word of thanks to those few individuals who signed the petition. Some of them are not Dalits but still they have the heart to support equality. My deepest respects to those human beings.
Summing up, @'The Hindu', there is very little you can do about this. You have hundreds of reporters working for with hundreds of prejudices each. Given that your own editorial group has been flying away from you citing unfair management practices, there is very little evidence that you actually have any fair thought behind your news-reporting strategy.
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