Fake news and biased reporting by foreign media are vitiating the atm¬osphere in India and perpetuating false perceptions abroad
Western Media is known to peddle negative propaganda against India. In their bid to undermine the Narendra Modi government at the centre, they regularly publish reports geared towards tarnishing India’s reputation. Western Media often singles India out for negative coverage. The British Media especially BBC and left-leaning Guardian are active in mailing the image of Bharat. Why do they run a hate campaign against India? There are many reasons. The answer lies within complex layers of history and culture. The tone and texture of Western Media has become more biased with a certain purpose. In 60s and 70s they portrayed Bharat as a country of beggars and jugglers. When India established itself as a leading economic and military power in the world, their writing gun moved to disturb the communal harmony and caste system. In one of the editorials of Guardian explained, “In India, the BJP-RSS combine is trying to push the country towards a theocratic fascist state.”
During the Corona Pandemic in which Tablighi Jammat spread the virus through its religious congregation, the government of India tackled this issue amicably. But the western media went on the rampage of writing fiery editorial as if Muslims were targeted on behalf of the Tablighi Jammat. The fake news was manufactured to disturb the communal harmony of the country. A movement was started in Muslim countries against India. Global terrorist group Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has asked Indian Muslims and scholars to join hands and wage jihad against India to defend against what it described as discrimination and genocide.
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Kuwait government, a royal princess of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well as a number of Arab activists have called out Islam phobic hate speech by Indians seen to be accusing the country's Muslims of spreading the novel coronavirus. There are many twitter handles were found which were stirring the campaign against India. Indian security agencies had verified the statement by Al-Qaeda’s Middle East wing reveals an unusual synergy between the global jihadist group and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence in building a narrative that accuses India of discrimination against minorities. There are social media which were located in Pakistan and other countries which were running a hate campaign.
The western media has been trying to create a different narrative on Kashmir, especially after the fundamental changes were brought in by the Indian government. Global media coverage of Kashmir is just the latest example of how misinformed, inaccurate and biased Western reportage on India can be. The New York Times editorial board wrote: “The Indian government’s decision to revoke the semi-autonomous status of Kashmir, accompanied by a huge security clampdown, is dangerous and wrong. ‘Bloodshed is all but certain.’ The United Nations recommended holding a referendum ‘to let Kashmiris decide their fate, but that never happened.’ Note the confidence with which The New York Times makes the assertion: “Bloodshed is all but certain.” Worse is the newspaper’s reference to the United Nations “recommending holding a referendum”, without mentioning the fact that the UN had set a pre-condition for Pakistan to vacate PoK before any referendum could be considered.
The BBC’s and Al Jazeera’s editorial coverage of Kashmir has been equally ominous. They wilfully skipped the role of Pakistan in abetting cross border terrorism. When the whole world is fighting against the virus Pakistan is involved in spreading terrorism in India. This has not been covered prominently by the western media. Neither media organisation sufficiently stressed Pakistan’s malignant role in abetting terrorism in Kashmir.
When US presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders talked about “widespread anti-Muslim mob violence” in Delhi, it had much to do with the international media’s reportage. Many editorials were written against India. From 2014, when Narendra Modi took over as PM, to coverage of the recent Delhi riots, the foreign press has gone on extreme offence writing that this regime is changing the largest democracy into a Hindu theocratic state. In its February 26 editorial, The Guardian called it a “Hindu nationalist rampage”, adding that “Modi stoked this fire”. Time magazine cover story in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls called Modi “India’s Divider in Chief”.
The ministry has already sent rebuttals to leading foreign media organisations, including The Guardian, Wash¬ington Post, Time, Al Jazeera, The Eco¬nomist, Huffington Post, New York Times and the BBC. Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati was among the first to register his protest. “Fake news and biased reporting by foreign media are vitiating the atm¬osphere in India and perpetuating false perceptions abroad. India is the world’s largest democracy. There has been a historical western biased approach to trivialise India. A recent report of America put India in very dim light. The annual report by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) places India alongside Pakistan, China and North Korea. The Indian government said the report was "biased" and a "new level of misrepresentation”.
The prejudice in the west is more deep-rooted. A group of Democratic senators have said that there has been a surge in the hate crime against the Asian-Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic and urged the Trump administration to take concrete steps to arrest the spike in such incidents. In a letter to Assistant Attorney General Eric S Dreiband, the 16 senators, including first Indian-origin Senator Kamala Harris, requested the Trump administration to address this discrimination like it had been done in the past. The US, Britain and other Anglo-Saxon nations have a grim record of committing historical crimes: trafficking Africans to North America during the centuries-long Atlantic slave trade; invading and colonising countries; waging extra-territorial wars; destabilising elected governments; supporting apartheid in South Africa; dispossessing Aborigines in Australia and indigenous Indians in the US; imposing a racist White Australia immigration policy.
Therefore, the west cannot act as a moral teacher nor it can display an example of social harmony and brotherhood. During the pandemic, India has shown the world of its generosity and humanity by connecting through its diplomatic ventures. It also showcased the Indian way of democratic structure which is fundamentally different from the west. The coherence between the state and society was set a new example for the world. There are many case studies. The US citizens came out on the road against the lockdown, where as communist regime mercilessly killed its own populace, the Islamic regime put forth religious temper against the state like Iran and Pakistan, where as Indian obediently followed the guidelines of the state. A judicious combination between the state and society has established a new case study under the democratic polity. This pandemic has evolved a different world, but a world which is very near to Indian values and culture. But this unique finding has not been reported by the western media. The truth has many hands, though it is not visible, it cannot be painted by brush nor it could be inscribed by pen. That is why the western biased against India will not go a long way.