Why, that ‘jhootha Pakistan’ (DD News) with its ‘flop show chart’ (CNN News18) and ‘mad dossier’ — ‘Oh, they will pay.’ (NewsX).
And how: in ‘a pitched battle’ (NDTV 24×7) at the United Nations Human Rights Council, India ‘smashes’ Pakistan (India Today), ‘pummels’ it with ‘10 knock out punches’ (Republic TV) and when it lies there stunned, India ‘shreds’ it (Times Now) and flings it inside the open jaws of the ever-hungry news channels – along with the ‘tukde tukde’ gang led by ‘Vadra family’, something Arnab Goswami now chooses to call the Gandhi parivar.
Pakistan may have been ‘crushed’ (CNN News 18) by India over Kashmir at the UNHRC session in Geneva, but as it dusts itself off the floor and rises unsteadily to its feet, it might raise its arms in pyrrhic victory.
For, in a week when automobiles sales in India crashed (forgive the pun) to their worst ever in two decades and the second Narendra Modi government completed its 100 days in office, Pakistan still managed to remain the top news story of the day, every day except for Friday-Saturday. That’s when Chandrayaan-2 came very close to the moon — so close that news anchors like News Nation’s Deepak Chaurasia had already landed on it.
— Deepak Chaurasia (@DChaurasia2312) September 6, 2019
Eyes on Pakistan
Such was the dominance of Pakistan across India’s English and Hindi news channels that, on some occasions, you could have mistaken some of these for Pakistani news channels.
Channels like Zee News and Zee Hindustan have long since dedicated themselves to that nation — with almost non-stop coverage from across the border. Wednesday morning, for instance, saw ‘Atrocities against minorities in Pak’ flash across the channel.
However, other news channels are now giving Zee News and Zee Hindustan stiff competition.
To quash Pakistan’s propaganda is the legitimate duty of the Indian government. What makes its job easier is the wholehearted support of the Indian media, especially of the news channels that have made Pakistan bashing and thrashing a full-time occupation — they were, in the words of News X, ‘UnitedAgainstPakistan’.
The thrust of the Indian media’s approach to Pakistan has been manifold: attack Pakistan on its treatment of minorities – this saw reports on Hindu women being forced into marriage with Muslims (India Today); accuse Pakistan of infiltration across the border, successfully countered by the Indian security forces — several reports to this effect were aired Sunday and Monday; discredit it at international forums — UNHRC, for instance, received all-day coverage Tuesday; and, finally show that Kashmiris are against Pakistan, while life in the Valley returns to normal.
Consider Monday, which came after a Sunday when the airwaves were alive with reports of infiltration by Pakistan and protests in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), where Republic TV had found civilians used as ‘fodder’ by the Pakistan Army.
Monday started out with news of ‘Pak atrocities on Balochis’ (News X), followed by three videos that again ‘exposed’ Pakistan in PoK — the Pakistan army ‘at gun point’ dragged three civilians ‘by their throats’, claimed Times Now.
In the afternoon, an orchestrated performance saw English news channels claim ‘exclusive’ Indian Army video evidence of another Pakistani ‘misadventure’, this time in the Keran sector of Jammu and Kashmir.
Channels such as Times Now, India Today, CNN News 18, News X and Republic TV ran video snippets of mountainous terrain with smoke ballooning out of the peaks where an ‘intrusion’ by Pakistani terrorists had been ‘foiled’ (Times Now).
India Today zeroed in on and drew red circles around blurry lumps, which it identified as ‘bodies’ of the terrorists.
Then came the 5 pm news bulletin on NewsX. It carried reports on Pakistan for 30 minutes: a ‘rant’ in Geneva on Kashmir gave way to a report on Pakistan’s investment conference in Baku, Azerbaijan, where it apparently roped in belly dancers to woo investors — India Today had the same story. The channel reported the release of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar to ‘train’ 300 Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agents, followed by the Keran incursion — ‘you can see the bodies unclaimed’, said the anchor on NewsX.
And finally, Fawad Chaudhry, Pakistan’s minister of science and technology, who had tweeted pettily on Chandrayaan-2 and has been trolled for criticising it, was in the dock: this “may sound petty”, warned the anchor, “but their ministers don’t know how to use spell check….” because they are so “rattled”— this was in reference to ‘Endia’ in Hussain’s tweet.
Also read: Why Pakistan is changing its tune on Kashmir
And so back to Tuesday: news channels were helped by Baldev Kumar, formerly with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party. ‘Pak exposed by its own,’ crowed India Today as Kumar requested India for asylum because ‘minorities were not safe in Pakistan’.
Simultaneously, India TV and Zee News reported ‘voices’ from Uri, near the LoC — local people, interviewed by India TV, said that ‘shelling’ from the other side was commonplace and caused them much suffering.
In pitched battles, thousands of kilometres away, we saw Australia thrash England in the Ashes (Sony Six), Bianca Andreescu and Rafael Nadal smash their way to US Open tennis titles (Star Sports), while Afghanistan pummelled Bangladesh into submission to achieve their second Test match victory (Star Sports).
The language of news sure rubs off easily onto other subjects.