India: Mistakes, Media and Mumbai

The terror attacks have brought more media attention to Mumbai. The world is now aware and cautious of the situations in India. Many countries have already issued travel advisory for the visitors to India. The English Cricket team has called off its participation in the upcoming test series. And the world-at-large probably has already forgotten and moved on to worry about other things.

‘CNN, MSNBC and FOX are good for nothing’, cries Ptcbus at ‘Random Rambles':

“I was trying to find out the latest happenings in Mumbai this evening. All that I was able to see was Anderson Cooper presenting some award to someone, Hannity’s America on Fox and some shady prison documentary on MSNBC. Why do they call themselves News Channels? I had to rely on websites from BBC and other Indian sites to find out the latest videos and news stories. What do these channels achieve by keeping the American population ignorant of world news? American media: Shame on you.
– -
2227 Hrs Nov 27: The only news channel that is broadcasting any news about the Mumbai attacks right now is CNBC (which is a business news channel). Pathetic!”

Local Mumbai newspapers: Image by Flickr user James Cirdland, used under a Creative Commons License

Let’s turn our focus to the Indian media, was their lack of digression a mistake? Could they have done any better to support the local police? Did they do a pathetic job as well? ‘Yes!’ replies Veetrag in his post, ‘Pennies prevail over prudence’:

“One disappointing thing that has emerged is irresponsibility of media. Role of media is to provide information to the public but in a proper way and taking care of that they are not divulging important information. I am watching TV channels – NDTV, IBN-CNN, India TV, Sahara Samay, Star News and many other and have realized that none of them are doing their job properly. In this unfortunate event they are trying to sensationalize the information and acting irresponsibly.
First mistake they are making is providing sensitive information such as movement of NSG and Police forces to public. I am sure, this information is not useful to public at this time. At this time, people need to find out where their relatives are, who is injured, which hospitals are people taken to, what blood type is needed and where. These are much more important information if provided to public it would be helpful.  Yes, people need to know what area are safe, what is the progress but giving step by step information is not useful. There are rumors (and probably true) that the same information is retrieved by terrorists and can be used against the brave souls who are trying to protect our lives.”

Has Mumbai survived this onslaught? Or have the insurgents prevailed? SriRam Vadlamani notes at his blog Indianomics:

“Were they successful?
•    BSE and NSE the two important stock exchanges were closed on Thursday
•    India’s sovereign rating by S&P revisited but remains intact.
•    England pulls out of the cricket series and re-think the coming test series.
•    Champions league is postponed.
•    Most countries issued travel advisory.
•    Hotels and aviation stocks are losing more than 6% in today’s trading.”

He notes amongst other things that the Indian GDP is seen at 7.6%. Inflation is down to 8.84%, which he adds, ‘is something to cheer about’ and shows some positive signs:

“Terrorists were successful to some extent. But, Sensex was much more resilient and matured in its behavior. It did not tank 1000 odd points because of panic. Only select stock like aviation and hotel sectors took a beating, which is expected. Tourism, aviation and hotel sectors will see a downturn from now on, but the other sectors should be able to pick the mood up. The mood might be down for a few months but India will bounce back. If there is positive which can be take out of this, it is the resilience of India, its economy and most importantly its people.”

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


  • Aparna

    I might as well go ahead and accuse CNN-IBN of aiding the terror-mongers. Its 5:00 PM in India and CNN_IBN has George Koshy reporting LIVE on the grenade launch by the NSG at the Taj in such details and focussing their camera images at the target and the NSG launcher that such information can be of help to no one except the terrorists and possibly harmful to the security or the public.

  • ganesh

    In India, We have this unfortunate habit of tolerating incompetence everywhere. If any government official is not able to do his/her job they should be fired or they should be asked to resign. Home Minister should have already resigned. What is his job? To safe guard the country. He failed, so he better resign and lets have someone else to do the job. Let’s give more press coverage to Army, Navy and Police top offcials. They’ll be honest and straight forward and say to the people of india if they are succeeding against terrorism. We don’t want to hear from our stupid external affairs minister or Home Minister that we should be resilient and ready to face another terror strike. We need assurance. can they assure me that we will be safe. If not, will they resign? The corporate world is much better in this sense. If we are not doing what we are supposed, we’re either fired or asked to resign. US was attacked and in a month, Afghanistan got demolished. India got attacked, not once, twice but more than 5-6 times in this year alone. Let’s see what India does. I want my tax money back from Government of India. If you’re not ready to protect or assure me of protection, why should I pay tax anymore. I am very worried about the future of this country. India is in need of an Obama. I hope I see an Obama from India atleast in my lifetime.

  • Vishwanath

    I am currently posted outside India so i caught most of the news on CNN.What was very disappointing to see,especially,coming from a highly respected organisation like CNN is their lack of coherence in presenting information to the people.The situation was really confusing and almost all media outlets were adding to the commotion by bringing out Yellow-marked Breaking News which made absolutely no sense as they themselves were unsure of what was happening.One primary example:the Hostage situation.Does the media really know the meaning of a Hostage situation?As far as i know there was only one clear hostage situation which happened(as per the account of a British citizen) and that too for a very short while.No negotiations,No demands,Nothing remotely resembling like hostage situation in any other instance.But right since Wednesday night,I have been watching breaking News relating to Hostage situation.”People locking themselves up inside hotel rooms to save themselves not knowing who is outside their door is surely not a hostage situation”.And as many people came out of thei hotels on Thursday,It was clear that there was no hostage situation at all.
    SO wil the media try and be a little more authentic instead of being sensationalist?

  • I have been following the news channel in US- CNN and MSNBC and I am amazed at how self absorbed some of these reporters were. The only thing they have been/are concerned about are how this affects America, or how dangerous things could turn for America or how many lives of Americans have been lost. I have to remind them that they are reporters which means they need to be objective about how and what they report. I understand the need to be selfish about the situation, but you need to understand they literally lives being lost nationality be Darned.. Please be a little more EMPATHETIC to the tragedy that surrounds Mumbai and the people who trying their very best to fight against such tragedy.

    One more thing I need to mention. How is it that this is being compared to the 9/11 and the American reporters are worried about how India would wage war against another Nation. Do I need to remind US that after their 9/11, THEIR so called war against Afghanistan was waged. WHY DIFFERENT RULES FOR DIFFERENT PEOPLE.
    About the lady who said– the 19 million mumbaities arent rich and people who have been staying in the TAJ are mostly FOREIGNERS… MY GOD your conceit. PLEASE pay attention to your media pictures…… Please… out of the lives that have been lost 6 turned out to be foreigners and the rest are INDIANS MAAM ….
    Please turn your blinders and selfishness off… please respect lives.. THATS your JOB.

  • paul

    India TV transcripts of the phone call with terrorists is more sanitised and seems more manipulative to force them to agree that they are from pakistan or pakistan behind them.

    Listen to your self. you will see different picture.

    there is more humanness in his emotions than the India TV Journalist who wants to extract information .

    If so , these terrorists seems to be influenced by Hindi Movie Rang De Basante. ?

    Though is all round propaganda going on westren media in US and India probably else where also , which is out of proportion to the death toll. Western Media depicts india as Incompetent so does its indian counterparts like Time Now and CNN IBN .
    India always had attacks where 100’s of people died. Why suddently Now ?.
    western media did so after 911, before intrusion of afghanistan, Iraq and so.
    Are they planning to invade first as security consultants and then slowly trying the security people , hidden death squads, getting billions of dollars of contracts and Gold etc.
    We should better understand the game played in the name of Terror and shocks. Every country faced shocks , see these video’s for the end results. who are the beneficiaries of all it.

  • Isaac Washington

    I am not sure who the female anchor woman was that anchored the breaking news before Fredricka Whittfield today at 8:00 am CST, but I can say that she not only came across as being snobby but also rude. Perhaps she doesnt realize that the reporter who allowed her voice to crack in elation of the situation ending was a perfectly normal reaction even for a reporter. But then to make the sny remark that the phone connection went bad because of computers, being Dell, which is located in India, came across as condisending. Who ever the anchor woman was, obviously doesn’t understand that this type of reporting just wont do. Hopefully someone gets her the message that this is not the type of reporting that the viewers want to watch.

  • Ruhie

    Zee news has a foreign news edition, they had a news piece on the mumbai terror attacks, to my horror they sensationalised the news, used pre-recorded gun shots noise and, kept using as back ground sounds…bang-bang-bang-bang…disgusting, stop making a mockery out of it, absolutely ridiculous!

  • Charles Maloney

    Let’s get one thing exquisitely clear: those responsible for the violence in Mumbai are not “terrorists.” They are religious people…period.

    These valiant crusaders of rectitude conveniently come in the Big Three flavors, and more, although they all produce identical side-effects of murder, repression of women, and myths of gargantuan deception.

    Ain’t religion wonderful? Either you believe in the Torah, Koran, or the Bible completely–as the definitive word of whatever deity you love to fear–or it’s bunk.

    No picking and choosing to match your particular suburb.

    Sometimes I really fantasize that the world’s most devout could find one place where they could all gather and finally carve each other up as to “whose right.”

    Meanwhile the rest of us could join hands in addressing the real problems of our mutual world.

  • Charles Maloney

    I guess commentary posted on Global Voices has some “sanitizing” process? I’m sorry, it’s called “moderation,” right?

    Maybe this forum isn’t the best for the hottest, most truthful part of the flame.

    I think even the Taliban have a “compliance committee.” The Catholics embrace such a Honor Squad, as well. The Israeli’s simply bomb those pesky Palestinians.

    Ahhh…..theocracy! Let’s hope the religious right can revive it here in “Amurika!” Shit-howdy! Then we can overturn Roe v. Wade and create some real hell for all them “hooomoooe-sexxx-you–alllls!”

  • Rakiah

    these British and American news channels have shown in this crisis, how they see “non-british” and “non-american” as, they have shown that if you are not an american or british then we dont give a damn about you! I mean, the tragedy happened in India didnt it? then why in the world are they concerned about its impacts on the American and British people. why arent they showing the Indian aspect; the ones who lost everything!

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