Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Waking up to Mumbai's troubles...

Being someone who works all night and then sleeps most of the day sometimes cuts me off from breaking news alerts...added is the fact that I am on the eastern seaboard of the United States, and the 9 and a half hour time difference cuts me off from most breaking news stories about India...

As I waddled into my lab this evening at 6 pm, I was unaware of the turmoil in India's financial capital, Mumbai. The news channels out here aren't very reliable in carrying "breaking news" alerts about other countries...at times other states even ! So, when I look up from my usual list of RSS feeds, and I see a vague item about bomb blasts in Mumbai somewhere deep in the Washington Post's list of stories, I was absolutely shaken ! And this was about spending 15 minutes looking at RSS feeds from the New York Times, which had no coverage on it until then ! And then I found more information on Wikinews, and finally launched into the Indian Express and the Telegraph and the list of Indian bloggers to get more information...

Being a large city with huge financial undertones and the myriad people that live there, I have great hope in the resilience of the Mumbaikars in being able to get back on track. Already I hear reports of people coming down to the stations to help out with the rescues and provide water/food/etc. to the people affected and also the rescue workers ! Hold on Mumbai...the people affected must be helped without thought of costs and the police agencies must be cooperated with fully to help aid in the capture of the miserable characters responsible for this dastardly crime...above all, our condolences and hearts must go out to those whose lives were lost and their families and friends...

I would like to take an alternate spin on the media coverage in this post actually...I was incredulous about the response to the event by the American mainstream media ! They passed it off as a footnote at best, and then got on with more "serious" matters ! As I mentioned, the Washington Post probably had the initial uptake on the matter and a couple of editorials and op-eds. Similar coverage was seen in the New York Times. While I have great respect for the journalistic integrity of these two large institutions in world media, I was more than disappointed ! CNN, seemed to have better coverage and analysis on this situation ! So did Pajamas Media, Wikinews and Slate ! BBC, of course, has a pretty good handle on this situation (as expected from a respeced International news organization). So, why this blind spot from the two of America's (and probably the world's) largest news publications ? Even the Los Angeles Times had just one story on this...are American newspapers editors and readers just not interested in a bombing in internationl cities ?

Hang on a sec...the bombings in London and Madrid got a lot more coverage that this incident! I remember constant news reports and updates and stories and editorials being written about those "heinous" crimes ! Journalists were crying in unison about the rise of the islamic terrorists and how they should be countered...but in the case of Mumbai, not so much as a peep ! Have they come to accept the loss of life and property in a non-caucasian country as "acceptable" and a fact of life ? Do they think that the mutilated bodies of Indian citizens will not be a cause of concern for ordinary Americans ? And this from some of the lofty perches of journalism that have usually set a high standard on integrity and the knowledge of information! Of course, this is not really a part of the "war on terror" is it ? This is probably an internal matter of a country that is halfway across the world and is of significance only because of the customer service support that once receives and is in the news only because of the recent nuclear deal and outsourcing !

I think it is well past the time that the American mainstream media woke up and realised that this incident is just one of the many that have been taking place all over the world, the real war on terror is a much larger subset than just the one started in 2001.

1 comment:

jen and em said...

we are doing an analysis on the problems that Mega cities contain. We havn't read this, but it looks exciting. we are doing the analysis on Mumbai(Bombay). wish us luck fellow citizens!