How Media Exacerbates Issues Between India & Pakistan

The Pakistan and India relations have always been complicated since the inception of two countries. The differences have always been present between two even before these countries came into being. Thus the rivalry runs deep within the blood of people of two states which is fueled and fed by politicians, media, and the contention is majorly due to political differences rather than religious, racial or social differences. From the very emergence of the two countries, three wars have already taken place between them, and there has never been a healthy relationship between them. The dispute has been there on various matters since the British Indian Empire dissolved. Just after the birth of two states, issues on the division of assets, state, armed forces and water bodies raised. Through mutual dialogue and negotiation, solutions to the problems were proposed but nothing has proved effective so far. Even today, there is a conflict between the two.

Apart from the dispute on previous historical issues, many new competitions have appeared with the passage of time in different areas like sport, showbiz, and media. Media plays a very crucial role in the modern era. It has promoted journalism and has provided a huge platform for people to use their voice in raising various matters. It highlights different issues in our society and helps to shape the society. Media is exacerbating issues and is, at large, is responsible for politics of spin, sensationalizing issues and diverting attention from actual challenges faced by both countries.

Role of Media in fueling up situations 

Media makes high use of politics of spin while informing the audience with the particular news. The Indian media tries its best to deliver such kind of news that will make its neighboring country look evil and venomous in front of the Indian nation. It exercises the language of hatred for Pakistani people and army and instills the very similar thoughts into the minds of its audience. For example just few months back, when Burhan Wani (a popular social media activist who was leading movements in Kashmir for the state’s freedom) was shot dead allegedly by the operations held out by Indian army, it caused Kashmiris to protest against Indian army and as the result of which Indian army tries to desist the freedom fighters.

media, india, pakistan                       John Pilger

The mayhem in Kashmir captures the attention of the world upon which Pakistan calls out India for such brutal acts and assures Kashmiris of full support. (Sikandar).  Indian media accuses Pakistan of interfering in India’s internal affairs and files claim that Pakistan has been the one causing the chaos in Kashmir. (“Kashmir issue our internal matter”). Pakistan’s spokesman strongly puts out that people of Jammu and Kashmir get to decide their own future. (Ali).Similarly, in the recent Uri attack, Indian media stated that Pakistan was responsible for it.

The famous Political leader of BJP, Rajhnath Singh, stated on his social media account that Pakistan is a terrorist state and should be identified and isolated as such. Pakistani media called these accusations baseless claiming that India is using such statements just to deflect world’s attention from heinous ordeal it is carrying out in Kashmir on innocent unarmed Kashmiris. (“Pakistan hits back at India in UN after Indian FM speech”). The media of both countries also creates hype about every single activity that is to take place between the two states. Let it be the meetings between the ministers of Pakistan and India or any sports matches played between the teams of two countries or films are made featuring the cast from states, media creates sensational hysteria about it and attaches extreme importance to smallest of stories.

Media especially spices up in event of any government official meeting or consultation. Questions such as “what is India’s or Pakistan’s next move going to be?” “Will this meeting/agreement have any kind of effect on the current relationship between the states?”  “Is it going to last on forever?” speculate the social media, TV, and newspaper. They take general public’s views on the topic and don’t let it go for another good six months. The best example here is the meeting Nawaz Sharif and Modi had during UN Climate Change Conference in Paris. The news was met with high coverage. It made it to the headlines of every news channel. It was even met with a lot of reviews on social media. (“Nawaz Modi shake hands during climate summit in Paris”). Similarly whenever there is to be a match (cricket, hockey, kabaddi etc.) between Pakistan and India, media of the both countries take it upon themselves to build up a thrill about it.

nawaz, sharif, modi, india, pakistan, mediaIndia

It makes such events political by employing the language of competition and bitterness day and night through different shows. For example, prior to the match between Pakistan-India in 2016 T20 World Cup, all the news channel sensationalize the atmosphere by running various transmissions where the topic of discussion is which team is going to win. Cricket being the passion of both the nations get the most attention from media which even debates over the attitudes of players as well as the spectators.

There have been multiple points in a single match where a feud started between the players. And these are the points about which media creates hype about by continuously rewinding the scenes, taking analysis from professionals and common man alike. Such events are organized to promote peace and ease international political stress and politicizing these makes them another meaningless, purposeless practice. It provokes the inner patriotism and diminishes the sportsman spirit and blinds the people and the players in the old rivalry that they share.

media. CNN,India, Pakistan CNN

Another thing that the media does, by promoting such competitiveness, is it actually diverts the attention of masses from the issues that really need to be looked upon. According to a report, both Pakistan and India lie in the realm of developing countries. Both of them are suffering from extremely poor economic and social issues.(Shah). Poverty and poor health conditions demand to be addressed on urgent basis. More than half of the population lives a life where they have no access to food, clothes, shelter or even clean water. Media induces patriotism in the people by stressing on the likelihood war.

It makes its audience believe that the only solution to conflict or differences between the two states is by use of arms and ammunition instead of dialogue or negotiation. War is thought to be a determining factor to decide the power of the two states. This leads to an immense pressure on the armies of both countries as they become more vigilant and keep an out for any unusual activity on borders. This even causes the state of restlessness and fear among the people living in areas closer to boundaries. Both governments begin to spend more on armed weapons than what can be invested in providing food, shelter, clean water and education to the people.

loc, border, india, pakistan, mediaNDTV

Although many would say that media uses the politics of spin because it is their job to do so. Media acts as a watchdog only interested in non-important issues. It’s a job that requires journalists and news anchors to keep the public aware of what is happening around them and they need to do that by awakening the inner patriotism in people. It needs to inform them what are the intentions of the neighboring countries are so that they can be prepared beforehand if any war breaks out. But at the same time, media calls itself thoroughly objective and just wants to highlight the issues that are serious concerns for the public.

Delivering the news of one side, one party does not lie in the realm of objectivity. Highlighting one issue, while ignoring the facts and details that cause the problem is not unbiased. War is not really a huge concern for people who are currently living their lives in poverty.  It is not the only important matter that needs to be looked upon and not the weak social and economic concerns. If media is actually unbiased and works for the betterment of public, it should critically analyze the entire situations before drawing a conclusion from it and making it “Breaking News.” Its concerns should be the improvement of living standards of people and not the politicizing of every situation.

Border, India, Pakistan, Media
Wagha Border  Wikimedia Commons

Driven by the politics and governments of both the countries, the Indo-Paki rivalry dates centuries back when Subcontinent was invaded by Muslim invaders. This justifies that the rivalry is older than the countries themselves. Media plays an undeniably crucial role in developing and manipulating the mindset of masses on both side of the border and with the mainstream social media, it has become easy to go viral using out of context quotes and incomplete information. Thus during the past few years, the enmity has taken wild and vicious turns. Print, social and electronic media have come into play while provoking patriotic sentiments in people. While media can positively impact the lives of people, asking them to work together to achieve a common goal of peace, stability, and better living conditions, it chooses to portray how hateful and evil people on the other side of the border are and hence adding fuel to the fire. High time that media realizes the only common goal for both of these countries should be peace and prosperity.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Ali Shafqat. “Pakistan gives shut-up call to India on Kashmir.” Nation, 25th July. 2016,

http://nation.com.pk/national/25-Jul-2016/pakistan-gives-shut-up-call-to-india-on-kashmir..

“Kashmir issue our internal matter.” Indian Express, 18th July. 2016,

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/kashmir-issue-our-internal-matter-mea-to-pakistan/.

“Nawaz Modi shake hands during climate summit in Paris.” 30th Nov. 2015,

http://tribune.com.pk/story/1001110/nawaz-modi-shake-hands-during-climate-summit-in-paris/

“Pakistan hits back at India in UN after Indian FM speech. Times Of Islamabad, 27th Sept. 2016,

https://timesofislamabad.com/46833-2/2016/09/27/.

Sikandar, Sardar. “Pakistan observe black day violence Kashmir.” Tribune, 15Th July. 2016,

http://tribune.com.pk/story/1142430/pakistan-observe-black-day-violence-kashmir/.

Shah, Sabir. “Pakistan and India have identical poverty level now.” News, 3rd June. 2016, https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/124999-Pakistan-and-India-have-identical-poverty-levels-now.


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