OpIndia.com has already explained why the report by The Indian Express reporter Praveen Swami sounded like a hit-job against the Coast Guard in particular and the Indian security agencies in general.
The obvious question is why Swami, and other journalists who are sharing his highly speculative article like gospel truth, would do that?
Our team believes that it has to be one of these three reasons, or maybe combinations of these reasons:
1. There is a “Deep Throat” in the Indian government: Although Praveen Swami’s article is full of loopholes and it aims to counter some claims that were never made by the government in first place, it still quotes “sources”. So who are these “sources”?
If asked, Praveen Swami will either block you on Twitter or give a standard reply that a ‘journalist is not obliged to reveal his sources’. Indeed, a journalist may choose not to reveal his sources for various reasons, but he can’t just make up things when the national security is involved.
If we indeed believe that Swami has got some “sources” in the government or in the defense machinery, it means there is a whistleblower in the system who thinks that India is the aggressor vis a vis Pakistan.
It is a very serious charge. But we will still say that Praveen Swami doesn’t need to reveal who this whistleblower is. But at least say that there is one. Name him something like “Deep Throat”.
Mr. Swami, this is not the first time you have questioned Indian security agencies. Earlier also you had published reports that painted the Indian Army as aggressors. It is a serious charge. It means that our nation is not as pious as we believe.
However, Mr. Swami, we are not going to believe you just because you claim some “source” told you. And no, we are also not going to believe those who think this “source” is living across the border. But Mr. Swami, at least invent a name for this “source”, if you are not inventing reports.
2. Revenge attack for denying access: It is a well known fact that “access journalism” has received a major setback ever since Narendra Modi government took charge. Access journalism is where a reporter receives special treatment and “exclusive” information from government authorities, and later the same is published in newspapers as information coming through “sources”.
(a journalist also invents sources, but that’s another issue and we will let that go right now)
The Modi government is increasingly denying journalists such access. There have been many occasions when journalists have got information through Twitter feeds i.e. at the same time when any common man of the country got. This drying up of access has hurt the ego of many journalists who feel that their “power”, which is due to information asymmetry, is being threatened by the new government.
To get even with the government, the journalist has to flex muscle and show his or her “power”. And he or she can do it by planting speculative stories that hurts the image of the government.
This particular case could be one example of such revenge attack with a message to the government – “start giving us importance or we will malign your image and weaken people’s faith in you.”
3. Political dislike transforming into dislike for the establishment: Let’s accept it. Narendra Modi is indeed a divisive figure. He induces extreme emotions. People either love him or hate him.
With the mainstream media mostly dominated by people identifying themselves as left-liberal, most of them hate Modi. Now with Modi being the Prime Minister, this hate has overwhelmed them so much that now they have started hating the Indian establishment itself.
In such a scenario, a journalist starts disliking, distrusting, and hating everything about the Indian establishment – defense and external relations included. The enemy of enemy becomes a friend. And thus in this case, Pakistan becomes a “friendly state” while India becomes an “aggressor” for them – assumptions that pushed them to question the official narrative without waiting for details to emerge. In fact, our journalists raised questions before Pakistan did!
Please note that India is seeing such thing for the first time. Even the Modi supporters hated Sonia Gandhi a lot, but their dislike for Congress had not transformed into dislike for the establishment. When Praveen Swami had published reports questioning Indian Army’s narrative, many Modi supporters had chosen to believe the army and the UPA government over Swami’s “sources”.
So which of these do you think is the reason? Let us know by commenting below.