By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Dec 2: Media in India and Pakistan is catering to populist nationalistic feeling, often resulting in blurring of facts, says Imtiaz Alam, secretary-general, South Asia Free Media Association.
Participating in a meeting organised by the World Editors' Forum as part of the ongoing world newspaper congress here on Wednesday, Imtiaz Alam said "Pakistani and Indian media is unable to see things in its proper perspective due to politics, market competition leading to national jingoism and warmongering. Can we rise above narrow national objective and do justice in media coverage," he wondered.
Mr Imtiaz Alam narrated how he earned the wrath of Pakistani establishment when he went on a TV channel saying that 26/11 terrorist Kasab indeed belonged to Faridkot in Pakistan. "When Azmal Kasab was nabbed by Indian police in the 26/11 attack on Mumbai, the Pakistani media was in denial mood. It asserted he did not belong to Pakistan. I made inquiries and went on a TV channel and said he is a Pakistani," he remarked.
He added "it caused havoc. Five armed sleuths came to my office and smashed my car, sending a clear message."
Senior journalist Dileep Padgaonkar said both India and Pakistan blame each other for the troubles in their respective nations. It is believed in Pakistan that what’s happening in Baluchistan and other parts of the country is due to RAW. India blames Pakistan’s military establishment and ISI for the trouble in Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of the country," he said.
Journalist Vinod Sharma said everyone thought BJP would win the polls after the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai, but people did not fall prey to nationalist feeling and voted for a secular party. However, BJP won Madhya Pradesh polls on a development plank.
Sharma faulted Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh statement that he did not know whom to talk to in Pakistan. "The national jingoism is urban centric in India. Bureaucracy in India and Pakistan is the biggest hurdle for ensuring smooth relations," he said.
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