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Aakar Patel in The News, Pakistan:
An advertisement film was made for the Shri Ram Sene on January 24. It was scripted and directed by Muthalik. It starred the boys that Muthalik had sent (he was not there himself -- clever). It also featured, involuntarily, the young men and women who were thrashed and molested. It was shot by the TV crews and freelance cameramen. Its broadcast, the most expensive part of advertising, was paid for entirely by the news channels. And it still is.
Muthalik set about that day to become a national story. He knew what he had to feed the television stations to become a big story: upper-class women, violence, moralism. And of course he needed to reach his audience. And he did that through a single act.
As they repeat the footage from that day, it is accompanied by high dudgeon from the television anchors, especially India's liberal English news channels. But this is a hypocritical indignation, because they are using the footage of the act, just as Muthalik used them to get the footage. The channels remind the girls, slapped, falling, fondled, of their humiliation every time they broadcast it, but they persist in doing it while insisting that they are on the girls' side.
Muthalik, who has played his cards excellently, comes across as calm. And like dogs being thrown a bone, the television journalists have chased the stories that Muthalik has tossed in the air after that day. Journalism is reactive. The reporter responds to the world and the editor must pick and choose what it is of interest. He must also decide what is compelling.
HT: Navjot Sandhu