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Keeping a tab on the Media

The role of the media in today’s society is two fold. It reports the goings on of our society as well as tries to reform its social evils. But there is a certain section of the electronic visual media which also attempts to kick off a controversy by exaggerating their reporting which ultimately leads to a public outcry followed by its repercussions.

The recent furor created by the Beltola violence where Adivasi rallyists clashed with locals is a direct result of such a trend. Moreover, it also exposed the gaping ignorance of the national channels regarding the region that is termed the northeast.

The media’s attempt to sensationalize the incident of the Beltola clash reached boiling point when it telecast repeated footage of an adivasi woman being molested by a few sick youths. The news item gave the impression that such incidents are a common occurrence in Assam whereas in reality Assam and the entire northeast is known for the equality of the women folk and the absence of Dowry which plagues the rest of the country. As a result Assam is burning today reeling under the violence and counter violence. Bandhs, road blockades, group clashes are still going on in many parts of Assam, the tea gardens being the worst sufferers.

Sadly, the doings of a few twisted youths has stained the name of Assam and it’s the duty of the government and administration to bring the culprits to book.

As is the trend in India the politicians are trying to cash in on the situation by politicizing the whole situation which has led certain organizations like the All Assam Student’s Union and the Adivasi Student Organisations to say “Stop giving a political colour to the unfortunate Beltola clash.”

Though the All Assam Adivasi Mahila Mancha has hinted that it would intensify the agitation demanding Scheduled Tribe status but it also promised that the forthcoming agitations of the tea community would be violence free.

The Assam Press Correspondence Union (APCU) has appealed to the media to exercise restraint while reporting on the protest programmes of the agitating communities. It also stressed that the media should lead the way to peace in crucial times. Similarly the Journalist Federation of Assam (JFA) too has called upon the media to remember its accountability to the state and place its reports in a controlled manner.

The media should refrain from sensationalism for the sake of news for it does more harm than good to society which is its bedrock.
Author info

Rituparna Goswami Pande's picture

Journalist, writer


charles's picture

From the beltola incident some media mainly national media canth go on defth of the incident and just saw the news one sided and try to established how assamese society behave to female and they were barbaric society from here i request to them feel the assamese society how they sober and kindness to others but AS U WROTE IN U ARTICLE ITS TRUE AND I AGREED WITH U STILL HERE NOW EQUALITY OF STATUS STILL HERE WITH FEMALE WITH RESPECT AND ABSENCE OF DOWRY WHICH IS NOT HERE IN ASSAMESES SOCIETY STILL, BUT DOWRY AND DISRESPECT TO FEMALE IS VERY MUCH STILL TO THE REST OF THE COUNTRY. AND THE NEWS ITEM SAW BY NATIONAL NEWS CHANNEL GAVE THE IMPRESSION THAT SUCH INCIDENTS ARE A COMMON OCCURRENCES IN ASSAM AS U TOLD I AGREED WITH U ITS NOT FAIR BY NATIONAL NEWS WHT THEY HURT TO ASSAMESES SOCIETY AND ADIVASI IS BELONGS TO ASSAMESE SOCIETY THEY ARE NOT OUTSIDERS AS BANGLADESHI . The article u wrote as shown others journalist put a news correct way with courage AND dignity , u way of article is always appriciated by me and to others as i feel carry on.............
jay's picture

Well, what I think is that incident like Beltola are just an eye-opener and an insight into what may be coming in days ahead. Something to be worried about and if history is any indicator, then we may have moved well into the MAYHEM culture. Looking back, nobody thought Masjid would be brought down with Stones and shovels because 'THIS WAS NOT OUR CULTURE', Young girls of minority community would be raped and thrown to fire in Gujrat because 'THIS WAS NOT OUR CULTURE', Leaders from communities are openly claiming that they are icons of religions first and then an INDIAN because ‘WE ALWAYS TOOK PRIDE IN OUR NATIONAL IDENTITY’, but all of this happened and is happening and we could not stop it. We are still fighting over the ownership of a piece of land thought to be the place where Lord was born, gone are the days when women was respected for WHAT SHE WAS, ‘A WOMEN’ and not a piece, whom anybody could have claim on to, and not only in Assam but across the length and breadth of our Country. I have been to most part of India and travelled extensively and of all places North East was the only place where I found women had a lion’s share in general life. I saw her working more hard than most men, I saw that she took her decisions and stood by it and was proud of it, there was a glimpse of confidence one could see when she moved on streets. And let me tell you somewhere the society accepted this and lived with this. But I am afraid; the incident at Beltola could change this. The article was well written but I am afraid the question which you have raised about the electronic media is misplaced, not because they were trying to say what I read in your article but I felt the article should have been addressed to all those people who stood by and watched the incident. The poor girl had to walk; all the way to nearby Dhaba to get a cover, What were all those WOMEN-RESPECTING individuals did when this happened? Why not anyone thrashed that person there and then and saved the girl? Media openly claims that ‘SHARUKH and SEX’ sells, so they managed to SELL this incident in the best way they could, but an article from you, can make people think where they are heading to, make those people think who watched this incident as to what they could have done. I know people like you can make the difference and we look upon you. Nice article.
rituparna Goswami Oandey's picture

Thanks Jay on yr comments on the article. I agree with you that the people who were a witness to the Beltola incident should have come forward to save the modesty of the adivasi women. But in the above article i wanted to point out that a certain section of the media especially national channels do not represent the northeast in its totality. The northeast has other things worth reporting than terrorism, tea, and the one horned rhino. No doubt the media has to portray life as is but it should also exercise restraint while reporting sensitive stuff. For the repurcussions of the Beltla mayhem have not yet ended. Similarly the Gujarat riots would not have been so horrifying had the media exercised restraint. For its the nature of man to react in a certain manner when instigated. But the main aim of the media and the govt should be to punish the guilty with their visual evidence not telecast these evidence un censored which leads to further loss of innocent lives. As ultimately its the politicians who pull the strings of such incidents for political gains only.


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