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Freedom of Speech and Anti-Nationalism

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Published on Oct 13, 2011

On one hand it may look like a proud moment for the Indian media to share a national podium with a separatist leader under the banner of freedom of speech, but it is actually a debatable topic and a stab on the back of the army javans and J&K citizens who have lost their lives and displaced from their ancestral place. It is an insult to their families and loved ones. Furthermore, it is very anti-national at the core.

Here are the following key issues that spring out from this very debate:

1) Why were the invitees on the show not notified of the guest list in advance? It seems CNN-IBN held the guest list as a surprise element until the start of the show, as evident by the statements of Mr. Aditya Kaul.

2) Why a known separatist leader and his organization getting a prime time air coverage? He is admitting that guns and arm struggle has been used until 2007, right here on the show. Does no FIRs exist against Mr. Malik or JKLF? If true then where are the media protocol standards to be followed prior to putting people on a prime time national media? Are the JKLF crimes from 1988-2007 somehow forgotten or forgiven all of sudden? Does no qualification criteria exists for guests on national television?

3) This is not a barometer but a mere perspective context that the US did not even publish the photos of Osama Bin Laden post his killing in Pakistan. No free and unjust political mileage on tax payers money was provided to Bin Laden, especially on the basis of national interests . Also, the US decisions were bi-partisan and collective of the nation. It is one of the principles in the United States or any mature democracy. National interests run deep and supreme. When is India going to the learn the same? Don't you think there are many media houses in the US who wanted or had the photos but did not publish the same? Would you call such an act freedom of press or a national duty? Does national duty or protocols outweigh freedom of speech at times? Are national interests higher at times than transparency required by press?Isn't it true that press also holds information? Therefore, who is entitled to makes such decisions and when? These are just few interesting observations and questions that arise from this very debate.

Rajdeep or the CNN-IBN media house herein touts that it is the very freedom that sets India apart from the rest of the countries. Does it really? Lets call spade a spade. I do not recall seeing stories of displaced Hindus from J&K on national media. I do not recall seeing a national debate when thousands of temples have been uprooted or continued to get demolished in J&K, Afghanistan and Pakistan!? There is a reason why so many lives have been lost in J&K. It is a very sentimental issue and let us not forget the core sponsor of the trouble in the region (read ISI of Pakistan). The results and situations are very much intertwined with national security of India and can NOT be brushed aside under the carpet of freedom of expression or speech. In fact, one can argue that growth of such situations is also due to this very indifferent and unjust behavior of the Indian media. It clearly courts minorities and their issues against the very tolerance and cover provided by the majority. Furthermore, it issues biased statements and coverage as it suits the running government. We do not have a genuine freedom of press and transparency. Hence, this at times does feel like a facade or matter of convenience by the media houses. This whole debates feels like a foul or bad start since the media itself can not be trusted.

Furthermore, this very debate can be turned upside down. Has the tolerance of the majority been taken for granted and a ride by the minorities? Does media continue to support such intolerance in a biased and unethical fashion or as it seems fit? Has the anti-nationalism thought process continued to sprout in the backdrop of fake tolerance and indifferent media, policies and political leadership in J&K, Chattisgarh, Orissa, Assam or all of India? What are your views? Have a say.

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