ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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What Is the Self-image of TV News Channels?

A few television news channels in India seem to be coercively inducting viewers into combative nationalism.


In the aftermath of the tension at the India–Pakistan border, the partisan “representation” of the post-Pulwama developments by both print and electronic media has led to many saying that they have stopped watching many of the television (TV) news channels. This expression can be understood in terms of the scare and fear that these channels have created in the minds of those who would like to reasonably reflect on these developments. What is more worrisome was the use of particular hashtags by these channels to scare people into silence. Where do we place the question of editorial ethics in the use of hashtags by TV news channels? One could argue that hashtags make viewers aware of an event or a TV news channel’s web presence. However, this argument is tenable only when the hashtag performs such a classifying function. But, in the case of these channels, they seem to perform the function of propaganda by fulfilling a three-dimensional role: embedding political meaning into hashtags, directing viewers and audience to an already polarised narrative, and encouraging them to participate actively in a vitriolic discourse.

TV anchors on these news shows have been constantly condemning the concerned liberal voices that opine that the notion of nationalism is much larger than the one that has been thrust down the throats of these anchors by the government. Their spectacular presentation of conflict between the two countries is aimed at mobilising our attention away from other problems and towards a singular focus on the conflict at the border as if there is no other issue that is worthy of attention. These anchors seem to be suggesting that the only way to ensure security for the nation and everyone in the nation is primarily through waging war against terrorism. Security from the external enemy, thus, is projected as the primary social good. This attitude brings enormous moral pressure on the poor, the unemployed, the destitute, and the farmers in distress to make national security their primary concern, while, on balance, the wealthy do not feel this pressure, nestled safe and satisfied in their affluence and privilege.

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Updated On : 12th Mar, 2019
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