Friday, December 5, 2008

Mumbai fallout: Calling bloggers and anchors

Confront or perish - this appears to be the option for the Zardari-led Pakistan government that is engaged in a clash of attitude with its military establishment over their response to the Mumbai terror strike.A perceptive edit-page piece in The Hindu, by Nirupama Subramaniam, makes these points:

1)President Asif Ali Zardari finds himself isolated in his government's promise of co-operation with India in respect of Mumbai terror strike investigation.
2)Pakistan military,on the other hand, would like to see India go for the military option.Their generals see in it an opportunity for resurrection of the Pak army image in the eyes of Pakistanis.
3)A majority of people,led by a 'disproportionately' influential electronic media is dismissive of evidence built up by India as just so much anti-Pak hype and 'conspiracy' to defame Pakistan.

Thus, we have a situation where the right-minded in Pakistan find themselve marginalised and voiceless.They have a well-intentioned,if weak,government at odds with its own military.And,above all, an opinionated electronic media with no-good opinion about India's intentions.

Question is: What can we do to make their media change their stance? Nirupama, who is The Hindu Islamabad correspondent, says Pak television has gone into a denial mode; which, in part,is a reaction to the ham-handed manner in which the Indian TV channels began implicating Pakistan soon after the Mumbai attacks. Media leaks from interested quarters played their role.
How do we make the Dutts and Sardesais,the Kanwals and Goswamis of our electronic media realise that their spirited utterances have unintended consequences on the minds of people beyond our borders? Would it be too much to expect our talking heads to do some thinking before they talk on TV?

Question is: How can the right-minded, but marginalised, millions find their voice? Blogs could be an answer,according to Ashutosh Didwania. His Rebuilding India forum, an online initiative to mobilise bloggers, gives one an idea of the possibilities open to an increasingly influential online community the world over. With its proactive networking,focused on factors that unify peoples in India and Pakistan, we should be able to identify Didwanias in Lahore and Karachi, and engage them in a collaborative endeavour to turn the worst of all isms - terror-ism - into a wasm.

As I key in this post, there is report of a car bomb explosion in Peshawar,klling 20.

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