What India was worrying about yesterday
India is a worried nation today and a look at the newspapers across the country will give us an idea as to how the Kashmir Issue has dominated headlines…however it is interesting to note that Kashmir has taken second place in almost all newspapers, except the Kashmir Times. This is what this post is about…to see how much weightage the media (English) in different parts of the country gives to different issues. At the end of the post I have mentioned an American newspaper, the New York Times.
In my earlier comparisons, once for 29th October 2007 and once for 16th April 2008, I had tried to show how some newspapers sensationalised news, while some didn’t. Today’s exercise is slightly different because when a major crises is facing the country most newspapers tend to drop the sensational news and concentrate on the main issue of the day. However it is interesting to see how differently they handle it.
(Click on the image for a larger picture).
In the Kashmir Times, headline after headline screams out…Entire Valley under seige, Separatists under house arrest; Curfew continues in Poonch; Shri Amarnath Shrine Yatra Board extends bandh; Separatists go ahead with march; Congress favours alternative models of talk in Jammu & Kashmir; Stark divide between Jammu based Congress leaders…
The Assam Tribune (epaper image was not available) did not mention the Kashmir Issue on its front page at all. The headlines went thus: Curtains on Olympics with fireworks, PM arriving in city today, Tribal Sangha for expulsion of aliens, Indian behind major UK cyber crime, Mixed response to ATASU bandh, Arunachal major tourist hotspot, Concern over Dibang project…(A planned dam which is raising environmental concerns).
Another newspaper from the East, The Telegraph, Kolkata is full of the Tata-Mamta spat over the land issue (she wants the government to take back 400 acres of land allotted to the Tatas). Surprisingly, the Kashmir issue isn’t anywhere on the front page in this newspaper either. I guess the Tata land issue is very big for West Bengal because if the Tatas pull out their Nano project, it will be a big blow for West Bengal government. And the Tatas said they will do it if necessary even if it means losing Rs 1500 crore! The headlines from the front page were: The seige is on, Good for UP not for West Bengal, The Olympics medal math. (The image below has been cut as there was more of the same story)
The Asian Age (published from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore and London) doesn’t have the Kashmir Issue as its lead story either…instead the newspaper highlights a story about the Maoists debating the forming of suicide squads. An important section of the Maoists feel that “since they were not a “fundamentalist” outfit and believed in the right to life (for loyal soldiers), forming suicide squads would not be “ideologically correct.” On the other hand, there are those who feel that they “could not ignore the lethal success of suicide squads and (their) fearsome impact on the psyche of the Indian State and security forces.” Looks like India has a real problem on its hands…and it’s not just the Kashmir separatists.
The other headlines on the front page of the Asian Age were: J&K simmers, Army changes seniority rules, Big tender soon for Afghan projects, Indian behind the greatest cyberheist in the world, Pak rulers head for showdown, Mamata: I don’t want Tatas out. This paper has more international stories on its front page.
Now let’s go to the other end of the country…and see what The Hindu, Chennai has in store for us. The headlines are: Government cracks down in J&K, 8 patients still have critical vision problems (about messed-up eye operations). The front page has a large photograph of the Olympic closing ceremony and a short description.
The Deccan Herald, Bangalore has the Kashmir Issue as its main lead story (could not get an image of the epaper). The front page has these headlines: Curfew continues in Kashmir Valley, US, India to jointly push for clean NSG exemption, Trinamool protest chokes highway in Bengal, Bandh hits normal life in Orissa (Hindu parties, including the ruling coalition partner in Orissa the BJP, called the bandh to protest the killing of VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati), Soren stakes claim, Koda supports (Shibu Soren is set to become the chief minister of Jharkand).
The Daily News and Analysis (DNA) is disappointing, as always. The headlines are: Belly dancers spice up NCP’s dahi handi at Bandra, Terror email traced to city college, Nano unit under siege in Singur. There is nothing about the Kashmir Issue or the Olympics. However, in a small little box in the middle of the front page they say: INSIDE: One killed in Srinagar Firing, Indian in cyber heist, India’s ultimatum, Pak govt. in crises.
The Indian Express is full of the Beijing Olympics but the Kashmir Issue also shares space. Headlines here are: Beijing signs off with another awesome display, next stop London 2012, Separatists to lead march today, alert across Valley, Govt let down athletes: Boxers were sanctioned Rs 1 crore, had to make do with just Rs 13.8 lakh, Amar Singh by her side, Mamata to Tatas: stay, but return 400 acres, Bomb circuits failed in Surat, worked during simulation blasts in labs, To save the girl child, the Golden Temple lends its shade.
Here is the Hindustan Times, and it is full of the Beijing Olympics. The headlines were: Bye bye Beijing, see you in London, Young and Fearless yearn for azadi (about the youthfulness of separatists), Mamta takes the battle to the gates of Nano, Mosques lead attack on terror (about how mosques are denouncing terrorism, a Mumbai-based story), and In God’s own country, Singh is toon king (Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is to be presented an album of 123 cartoons and caricatures that feature him when he next visits Kerala)/.
Times of India in keeping with the Hindustan Times, The Indian Express and the Assam Tribune, has the Olympics as its main story. The headlines were: Bejing bows out with a big bang, Nano Plant seige begins, latest terror email traced to Khalsa college (in Mumbai), IIT’s to lower bar for SC/ST’s, Indian hacker steals data worth 3 bn pounds, sex by 18 for 50 percent of women in Maharashtra (because of early marriage)
New York Times had the following headlines yesterday: Anxious Party Hopes to Show Strong Obama, In Nuclear Net’s Undoing, a Web of Shadowy Deals (about how the Swiss government had destroyed computer files and other documents concerning the business dealings of a family of Swiss engineers suspected of helping smuggle nuclear technology to Libya and Iran), Blacks Debate Civil Rights Risk in Obama’s Rise, Holding Out, to Last Isle, as Gulf Takes Cajun Land, After Glow of Games, What Next for China (a discussion as to whether a post-Olympic China will “pursue deeper political reform or whether the success of the Games and the muted Western response to repression will convince leaders that their current model is working) and lastly, Drilling Boom Revives Hopes for Natural Gas (American natural gas production is rising).
I rather liked their analysis on the Olympics and China’s future.
Related Reading: What was India thinking of on 16th of April 2008 (screen shots of the front pages of some English newspapers)
What India was thinking of on 29th October 2007 (Screen shots of the front pages of English as well as regional language dailes plus some global newspapers)
Is Print readership falling in India?
In defense of the Indian Media
Indian print media in trouble
About fake stings and fraudulent journalism
Note: This is a pre-scheduled post. There will be no post tomorrow as I am not in town. There will be a delay in replying to comments. Do excuse me! Will post day-after-tomorrow (thursday) as usual. Thanks.