On an evening when Christians across the world were celebrating Easter, a few Christians in Pakistan, had congregated at Lahore’s Gulshan Iqbal Park to celebrate Easter. To target this minority, a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban, which as per reports, has subsequently claimed responsibility, conducted a gruesome suicide blast in the garden, killing at least 65 and injuring over 200. Majority of the victims were said to be women and children.
Ehsanullah Ehsan, a spokesman for the splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban known as Jamat-ul-Ahrar vowed such attacks would continue.
As news of the inhumane terror attack was being reported by Pakistani media, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) issued a strong advisory to all Pakistani media channels to “cover the events with utmost professional responsibility, keeping in mind that any irresponsible or hyper attitude at this stage could jeopardize the ongoing National Action Plan”.
Further, PEMRA took a strong dig at the Indian media saying:
Pakistani media needs to follow the example of professional handling of Brussels attacks by international media rather than following in the footsteps of Indian media that is driven by crass commercialization. We expect that Pakistani private TV channels will express with their commitment with the country and national morale by their acts instead of pursuing for ratings through hyper marathon transmission which sends across a message of uncertainty about Pakistan to the national and international audience.
PEMRA could be referring to past acts of poor reporting by Indian media with respect to terror attacks. NDTV has repeatedly been at the forefront of such poor reporting.
According to an interview of Narendra Modi, the then CM of Gujarat, Barkha Dutt and Rajdeep Sardesai, played a role in sabotaging police operations during the 2002 Gujarat riots, through a channel called Star News,which was then under NDTV’s control:
This led to a blackout of the channel for a few hours.
Barkha Dutt has also received extreme criticism for her poor or rather excessive coverage of the 26/11 terror attacks, which eventually might have helped terrorists in their mission. She has long denied this, but recently she did admit to this and this was her best defence:
26/11was a turning point for all of us.As a representative of media, I admit we made mistakes.but why did the govt.not warn us, asks @BDUTT
— ThePrint (@theprintindia) February 13, 2016
Even if we discount that this was a learning curve for NDTV, what explains similar alleged misreporting as recently as 2016 when a retired colonel of the Indian Army made some very serious allegations about NDTV:
This was followed by a show cause notice to NDTV India, from the Information and Broadcasting ministry over its coverage of the terrorist attack on Pathankot airbase which “prima facie” violated norms. The notice said:
It has come to the ministry’s notice that when the operation was on, the correspondent of the channel gave details and locations of sensitive spots in the airbase. Telecast of such strategically sensitive information could affect the operations and could even cause damage,” a source said.
It is learnt that during the telecast, the channel mentioned facilities like the fuel tank etc, which should have in any case been avoided when the operation was still on, officials said.
The I&B ministry has repeatedly asked for restraint by TV channels in their reporting of terror attacks especially when the operation is still on
It is indeed shameful that Indian media has been aiding terrorists in their activities, and has been repeatedly been censured by Indian authorities. Now, Indian media has added a new feather in its cap by getting brickbats even from media authorities of failed states like Pakistan.
To add the above, even as the news of the attacks was unfolding, Indian journalists were using social media to spread their agenda. Indian Islamist journalist Rana Ayyub, who also happens to be a frequent panelist on NDTV, used her account to address the concerns of the group that, according to her, was the most affected by the attack:
Let us not forget that the worst casualty of terror across the world are muslims themselves. #Lahoreblast
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) March 27, 2016
Rana Ayyub appeared more concerned about bad image to Islam/Muslims than safety of the Christian victimes. This, even as the casualty number was still rising. Last year, she had again spread untruths on media and social media, trying to blame RSS activists for the rape of a Nun in West Bengal, whereas police investigation had revealed that all the accused were in fact Bangladeshis.
Similar attempts were made by Shahid Siddiqui too, where he claimed that the attack was an “attack on Islam”
Killing of Christians in Pak by fanatic Muslims is an attack on Islam. Let every Muslim in d world raise his voice against this atrocity
— shahid siddiqui (@shahid_siddiqui) March 28, 2016
All this even as Pakistani journalists themselves were pretty clear that the attack was targetting Christians celebrating Easter:
— Naila Inayat (@nailainayat) March 27, 2016