|nettime on Sun, 13 Jun 1999 12:26:32 +0200 (CEST)|
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|Harsh Kapoor: (fwd) On India's Foolish Ban on Pak TV|
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - <email@example.com> is the temporary home of the nettime-l list while desk.nl rebuilds its list-serving machine. please continue to send messages to <firstname.lastname@example.org> and your commands to <email@example.com>. nettime-l-temp should be active for approximately 2 weeks (11-28 Jun 99). - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Date: Sun, 13 Jun 1999 00:39:23 +0200 To: nettime-l@Desk.nl From: Harsh Kapoor <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: On India's Foolish Ban on Pak TV June 9, 1999 FYI (South Asia Citizens Web) ====================================================== The Hindustan Times - Online Edition (http://www.hindustantimes.com) Wednesday, June 9, 1999, (New Delhi) Opinion A FOOLISH BAN By Chanchal Sarkar AT THIS testing time of warfare and tension the minds and hearts of every Indian woman and man - and it's the same for Pakistanis - are pinned on the remote and rugged areas around the Line of Control. Many have their loved ones fighting there. From their own governments they are unlikely to hear the truth of what is happening - governments suppress truth and exaggerate gains in war time. And so some bits and crumbs of reality might fall from the broadcasts of the opposite side, heavily larded, of course, with propaganda and tendentious untruth. But it is something and it has been crassly unwise to ban television signals from Pakistan. We have been through three full-scale wars without any banning. Jamming and banning with viewing or listening punished by fines, imprisonment or worse were practised by Vichy France and totalitarian dictatorships like Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. Democratic countries abjure such throttling. Its effect is invariably counter-productive. Most disappointing is the realisation that those responsible for taking such decisions are totally unaware of the nature and power of broadcasting. It is immensely more powerful than Bofors guns, aircraft carriers and Stealth bombers. For Pakistan, Bangladesh and our other neighbours, India should have a very well thought-out and programmed broadcasting policy not just for times of tension and shootouts but very much so for the roller-coaster years of relative non-war. For after all we are getting into the homes, parlours and chabutaras of people across our borders. Have we really evaluated the effect of the crap that we are giving them? Or of what they are giving us? Pakistan may be engaged in a proxy war but we have become a proxy democracy. Else how is it we cannot trust our people not be moved by and to see through the propaganda of Pakistani television? I cannot say I watch a great deal of Pak television, but if it is a matter, as some say, of juggling images around and harping a lot on the communal issue, I cannot see what would be the gain. Juggling images and figures is done by all military spokespersons. As for the communal issue in a country that has more Muslims than Pakistan, do the strategists in Pakistan really expect Indian Muslims to be convinced and to rise in revolt? Their thinking cannot be so infantile. In fact they must be laughing into their sleeves because India has exposed itself as insecure. Look at the design for broadcasting to our neighbours. It needs psychology, sensitivity, deep knowledge of the people concerned, and a mix of entertainment, news, drama and discussions. It needs excellent planners and producers. Such people are not easy to find. To stimulate them to work creatively is harder still. It is criminal to downplay radio. The poor people displaced from Kargil, Drass, Batalik or Skardu and living either in caves or in uncomfortable camps are desperately eager to listen to what is going on in the fighting and to know about their future. Giving them radios and broadcasting to them is essential for their morale. As for those who complain about the falsehoods in Pakistani broadcasting - and therefore say that it should be banned - far better to have a programme, or more than one, pointing out the falsehoods and setting the record straight. What amazed me is that at a meeting of senior journalists the other day the majority supported the ban.