Sure, the war in Ukraine is a big, “newsworthy” event. The resultant humanitarian crisis that has erupted all across Eastern Europe ought to be extensively reported on as well. Such wars are not ‘regular’ anymore. For many, a conventional war of this scale will be the first they will witness panning out on their television and smartphone screens. It makes sense for European and Western news agencies to relentlessly report on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. America, its allies, and Europe, in particular, have a stake in the ongoing war.
India has no stake. Apart from the thousands of students who suddenly got stranded in boiling conflict zones – most of whom have now been brought to safety – India really has nothing much to offer in the ongoing conflict. It can be conciliatory. It can call for an end to violence. Apart from that, there’s nothing much India can do.
Yet, turn on any mainstream Indian news channel, and the whole screen will be occupied by news relating to Ukraine. Mind you, even news channels like CNN and BBC take frequent breaks from the crisis in Ukraine to focus on news from their countries, and from around the world.
Indian channels, however, are displaying an unprecedented zeal to report on Ukraine throughout the day. While doing so, they are shamelessly competing with each other.
“We have the best graphics!”
“We have the best reporters!”
“We have the best experts!”
It’s an all-out clown show playing out on Indian television channels that claim to be news presenters.
In the process, news from India is being ignored. And the only news that does manage to make it to the TV screens is of the ongoing Uttar Pradesh elections.
West Bengal Poll Violence Ignored
Did you know that democracy has witnessed a slaughter in West Bengal over the past few days? TMC has swept the civic polls in West Bengal. Out of 108 municipalities, the TMC won 102. It did so on the back of violence, mass voter intimidation and a hunt down of opposition leaders across the state.
The BJP had asked the West Bengal State Election Commission (WBSEC) to declare the elections “null and void.” Of course, when it comes to Bengal, that’s all the BJP can do – issue useless statements and keep requesting some “higher powers” for an intervention.
The CPM and the Congress described the election as the “murder of democracy” and faulted the TMC, police and State Election Commission.
At least 1,400 complaints were submitted during the civic polls to the Election Commission. The polls were held on February 27. According to the Indian Express, since polling began at 7 am, reports of Opposition candidates being beaten up, alleged vote-rigging other electoral malpractices had started pouring in.
Even TMC MP Sougata Roy took a shot at his party, saying, “The way the municipal vote has taken place in West Bengal, it will not give a good image to our party. This will tarnish our image. People will stop believing us.”
Did Indian media care to report on the mass electoral violence in West Bengal? No. Indian media couldn’t care less. Mamata Banerjee had a free walk all over democracy.
Defence Sector Gets Major Boost
On Thursday, the Modi government gave in-principle approval to a draft of indigenous defence projects that will involve design and development by the Indian industry, with the military hardware covering light tanks, airborne stand-off jammers, communication equipment and simulators.
The defence ministry has cleared nine such projects: four under the ‘Make-1’ and five under the ‘Make-2’ categories of the Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020.
The move is a big push for ‘Aatmanirbharta’ in the defence sector. The Ministry of Defence said, “This is for the first time since the launch of industry-friendly DAP-2020 that Indian industry has been involved in development of big-ticket platforms such as light tank and communication equipment with Indian security protocols.”
Does mainstream India care, though? No.
Crimes of Islamists
Remember Kishan Bharwad, Rupesh Pandey and Harsha? They were all killed by Islamists. Why?
Because they spoke their mind. Rupesh Pandey, for one, was merely participating in a visarjan procession a day after Saraswati Puja. He was lynched to death by a mob of Islamists in Jharkhand. Kishan Bharwad was killed in Gujarat, and Harsha, in Karnataka.
Do you remember Lavanya? She was a child who took her own life in Tamil Nadu to escape the torture of missionaries, who tried to coerce her into converting to Christianity.
These were big crimes. With the war in Ukraine, they vanished. Nobody cares for the lives of these innocent Hindus anymore.
Read more: How Indian media firms harass journalism grads in the name of internships
Indian media needs to take a chill pill. The crisis in Ukraine is big, but national news can still be accommodated by news channels every now and then. If CNN and BBC can do so, there is no reason for Indian news channels to lose their sleep over the crisis in Eastern Europe.