India: Media, Mumbai and Terror Attacks

This post is part of the Global Voices coverage on the terror attacks in Mumbai, India on November 26, 2008.

Anger at the media for their coverage of the terror attacks in Mumbai is apparent on the blogosphere. For one, the mainstream media appears to have taken the approach of “shock and shake”, as opposed to verifying rumors before reporting them. But the nation appears glued to their television sets, as it is probably the most “live” source of information at this point in time. Kalyan Varma writes:

In tough economic and global times like this, we will win only if we move on with out lives and keep this behind. This is how we fight terror, not overreacting to this, not invading countries and giving up our freedom. Bad enough the security guards check my car and bags each time I enter a mall or hotel here in Bangalore, I do not want to give up any more of my freedom.

and someone please shut up Barkha Dutt of NDTV. She is causing more damage to the country by FUD than the terrorists themselves.

And from the perspective of a media man, Smoke Signals writes a poignant post on news and the self.

The rational corner of my mind tells me that there is no security measure, no multi-crore security ‘plan’ that can permanently inoculate me and my fellow Mumbaikars against what is becoming a gory ritual. But who, listening to a colleague call in with details of grenade explosions and the rattle of machine guns and mounting body counts or watching images of the Taj Mahal Hotel – more, to me and my fellow Mumbaikars than a ‘hotel'; its facade is as much a part of my Mumbai-ness as is vada pav and cutting chai and the boon-granting Ganesha of Siddhivinayak – can stay rational? That other me, the irrational me that showered and dressed and drove to work today, watches news reports of the Prime Minister talking to his wannabe successor to work out travel plans [Shall we go to Mumbai together or separately? Prime Ministerial plane or commercial airliner? Window seat or aisle?] and wonders, don't you guys have anything more important, more immediate, to do? Does Mumbai really need, want, either or both of you to regurgitate the cud of banality, to trot out prefabricated statements on the order of ‘The country must come together to resist this threat to its security?

Falstaff comments on the relentless media coverage, and if someone has stopped to think about how it might end up helping the attackers:

It's a particularly bad idea because it seems to me that most media channels are too busy trying to sensationalize the news to bother thinking through the consequences of what they're saying. It's not just that much of the coverage seems to be designed to amplify the general hysteria and panic, it's also that watching journalists describe what the police are doing or report on who is still trapped inside the hotels, I find myself wondering whether anyone's considered that at least some of that information might be helping the attackers.


  • Generally, I try to get into another man’s shoes to gain his viewpoint. I imagined the terrorist was watching the same NDTV coverage I was. He could make good use of some of the information passing over the airwaves.

  • Krishna

    Seeing what the terrorists are causing in the name of religion is disgusting.Who could have poisoned these minds?
    Who were responsible for masterminding these attacks? Look no further than those who want to send a message to the free world in the appointment of a new president of USA.
    There are many possible people or organizations.Apart from the usual suspects, there are strong advocates with money and resources from middle east and Malaysia. The Malaysian government newspapers never call them terrorists but militants.9/11 was planned in Malaysia.A certain Malay leader was in Spain just before the bombing. Certain Malay Muslims govt.leaders are strong advocate of Islamisation with means and resources towards violence.Just see how they could break down hundreds of Hindu temples and move towards banning yoga apart from practicing apartheid against non-muslims in the country.
    Sharing thoughts.

  • ifthi

    This is in response to Jason’s comment. The authorities are restricting info given out to the media and keep them at a distance so they cant help the terrorists. Additionally, it has been reported that the cable connections in the beseiged hotels have been disabled.

  • [LinkBack]Neha Viswanathan writes in Global Voices that anger at the media coverage of the Mumbai terror attacks is apparent throughout the local blogosphere.

  • […] You can also read more instant analysis and coverage at Global Voices; they have an interesting take on the anger felt by bloggers at the media for their coverage, in which they quote blogger Kalyan […]

  • Ahmed

    I can see a lot of people around blaming Pakistan and naming Pak’s ordnance factories for the manufacturing of MP5 guns etc. I think this is insane to say that out of sheer hatred, Pakistani and its forces are not insane, they are already too much stuck up in fighting terrorists at home and on the Afghan Pak border, they are not insane to open other fronts where countries like USA, UK, India, Israel are already their sworn enemies. Why do you think Pakistan will send the terrorists handing them their trademark weapons :-p. That’s a pity to think like that.
    We are equally struck by terrorism in Pakistan and you should show some respect to our feelings as well.
    Lahore, Pakistan.

  • Hamed

    Hello Every one,
    Why so much coverage for the deaths a few 100 people. I am suprised!. Because it happened in Mumbai[ heart of India] involving a few big hotels. well shame on the media and world leaders who care only for those who are rich and agree with their views. On a daily basis bombs are ripping homes and markets in Iraq as a result of US invasion. On a daily basis innocent people are being encountered in India [ Kashmir and other muslim areas] for no reason just to demoralize and weeken muslim community. I am sad at the loss of life. THe media reports that a little unknown group “Deccan Mujahideen” is resposible. Shame on the government of India. This was done to divert the attention of the people from the probe being carried by ATS officers in the recent bomb blast in different cities. THis is absoulutely an handy work of organizations like VHP, BJP , BajaragDAL to gain votes in the upcoming elections by raising their facist ideology.

  • Deb

    Sree Sreenivasan has updates every twelve hours with the real news. He’s talking with callers from Mumbai and also the chat rooms are open. Two hour broadcasts are at 10:00 am and 10:00 p.m. (EST)

  • Venkat Ramesh

    War is still raging in South Mumbai. Yet,it appears from the mainstream media live feeds that the war zone has not been sanitised. The fact that LK Advani, Jaswanth Singh and other BJP leaders have been permitted to visit the war-zone while the security forces are still battling, demonstrates the lackadiasiacal approach to terror-management by the state authorities. Needless to say, this is the height of political chicanery,cynicism and utter disregard for security protocols by the Prime Ministerial aspirant that reminds me of Ariel Sharon’s visit to AL-Aqsa Mosque that triggered Intifada-II. Does the events of today, capped by Advani’s audacious visit to the Taj hotel, a harbinger of an Indian Intifada?

  • Bharat

    I am surprised at the comments some of the people have posted.
    What’s really sad is that they are drawing parallels with other countries/places and trying to put across a point ‘What’s the big deal?’ Further, diluting the incident by conveniently blaming it on Hindu Parties…
    Well, you are missing the big picture, Terrorism in any form is bad! The intensity is not decided by rich or poor! Wake UP!!!
    Comments such as these make me think if Secularism is worth its price in New India?
    What is really required is Hard Core Policy which is Action Led and smashes terrorism at all costs, irrespective of religion, place or economic status!
    If you really believe in safe world, then stop playing the blame game, which is of-course the route cause of such cases…!

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