9 stories which the media has underplayed…

Source :SIFY
Last Updated: Mon, Feb 23rd, 2015, 23:30:00hrs
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9 stories which the media has underplayed…
1. Coal windfall: 2G was such a big scam that it made it to No. 2 in the list of Time magazine’s Top 10 Abuses of Power (only the Watergate scandal was ahead). Then the Coalgate scam was touted to be much bigger.

The Indian media rubbished the claim strongly. Now with the way coal auctions are going it is clear that the figure of Rs 2 lakh crore is conservative and the final amount will be much higher.

Three things are clear…

a) The governments of India are in for a windfall.

b) There was a whopping scam.

c) Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who is Coal Minister is under a severe cloud.

This translates into banner headlines but for some strange reason the media is quite lukewarm about the whole affair.

2. Decline in Kashmir terrorism: Terrorism began in Kashmir in 1990 when for the first time more than 1000 people died in a year. That number kept going up and peaked in 2001 when the toll crossed 4000.

However then 9/11 happened and the tables were turned. More people started dying in Pakistan and less in Kashmir. In 2008 for the first time since 1990, less than 100 civilians and less than 100 security forces died.

Since 2011, the combined toll for civilians and security forces has been less than 100 every year. Kashmir is becoming more and more peaceful and the high turnout in the recently concluded State Assembly elections was an indication of that.

3. Sunanda Pushkar death case: In January 2014, Union Minister Shashi Tharoor’s wife Sunanda was involved in a Twitter spat with Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar and frantically called journalists invoking both IPL and ISI conspiracies.

When she was found dead suspiciously in a hotel room soon after, the media curiously played down the story. They may have totally

overplayed it in January 2015, but they underplayed it in January 2014 for reasons known best to them.

4. Mexico’s drug war: Everyone agrees that drugs are a menace and there should be a war against them. However there is one country that has declared war on the drug cartel. Way back in 2006. More than 10,000 cartel members have been killed, more than one lakh detained and the convictions have crossed 8000.

And yet many Indians are totally unaware that such a drug war is taking place.

5. Boko Haram: They have similar goals like the Islamic State and have been killing for ages too and yet they get very little media coverage. The biggest story was when they kidnapped schoolgirls, but otherwise their killings sprees don’t even make news let alone front page headlines.

Listed here are some of their activities: 10 deadly Boko Haram attacks.


6. Death of nuclear scientists: After the high profile Indo-US nuclear which almost brought down a government and may have got Prime Minister Manmohan Singh re-elected in 2009, the nuclear scene went cold thanks to the liability clause.

But that wasn’t the only thing. Indian nuclear scientists also have been dying mysteriously in the last couple of years. It is a story worthy of investigative journalism, but it is only an RTI activist that brought this fact to light and that was merely reported by some media organizations.

No-one wants to probe this issue further.

7. West Bengal becoming a failed State: In the 1970s, the Congress cracked down on Naxalites and broke the State. The 34-year-old CPM rule derailed the State. Now Mamata Banerjee in charge is proving to be worse than the two.

Intolerance has increased, the Saradha scam has rocked the leadership and the amount of bombs being discovered is alarmingly high. While individual events are reported here and there, there is no comprehensive coverage on how West Bengal is on course to become the worst State of India.

8. The end of caste/religion politics: In 2013 Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Vasundhara Raje stormed the hustings based on a lot of development talk. You will hardly find talk of caste and religion in hundreds of election speeches of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand were won on promises of good governance. Even Arvind Kejriwal talked of Wi-Fi, power, water, anti-corruption measures etc to storm Delhi. 2013 could well be a landmark year ending caste/religion politics.

But TV channels are still obsessed with caste and religion as headlines like “non-Jat CM” “Brahmin CM in Maratha bastion”, “minority vote” as the media insists on discussing caste and religion politics in detail even though nobody seems interested.

9. How Sonia destroyed India: From 2004-14, Congress President Sonia Gandhi ruled her party men and ministers with an iron fist. She was the power behind the PM’s throne. The period also saw a record number of scams, foreign policy weaknesses, vote seeking out and out populist schemes and lack of governance.

Yet there were virtually no stories, investigative pieces and TV panel discussions even mildly criticizing her let alone blasting her.

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The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs here
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