KARACHI: As tensions between the hyphenated but hostile neighbours flared on foreign shores, Indian media’s belligerence and war mongering boiled over on Thursday with the main headlines of some of their top news outlets dominated by Pakistan in one way or another.
Meanwhile, stories about the Indian government gagging defence journalists in the country for exposing false allegations against Pakistan in the Uri attack received scant attention.
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Most Indian news websites and television channels ran with a statement from the junior government official at the United Nations General Assembly that was meant as a “counter” to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s speech on Wednesday.
“Pakistan now host to ‘Ivy League of terrorism” screamed the headline of the news story on Indian television channel NDTV, one of India’s top news channels.
It went on to detail a statement from India’s First Secretary to the UN Enam Gambbhir.
Other websites also included statements from the spokesperson of India’s external affairs ministry Vikas Swarup that the Pakistani establishment was colluding with terrorists.
This was mild when compared to the likes of Zee News, the popular news channel and website.
Around half of Zee News’ top stories were dominated by Pakistan leading with the Indian official’s statement in the UN General Assembly stating that the ‘Land of Taxila’ was now a terror hotbed.
One headline accused the military of using rape and bombs as weapons to “silence Balochs”.
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Another compares conventional military strengths of the nuclear-tipped neighbours. Quoting an obscure website, it shows that the Indian military is ranked nine spots above Pakistan based purely on absolute numbers of defence equipment and overall manpower. Curiously the story’s title picture uses a combination of the Rafale to denote India and an F-16C (Block 50) for Pakistan. While Pakistan has been flying F-16s for nearly 30 years, India has yet to secure a deal for the Rafales let alone fly any over its skies. The article ends with a note “Zeenews.com does not vouch for the authenticity of the data provided in the above slide”
Another top story said that a Pakistani journalist had ‘embarrassed’ Defence Minister Khawaja Asif by pointing out that one picture of fighter jets lined up on a runway was not from Pakistan.
However, the worst offender by far was India Today, a website of the newspaper and channel of the same name. Almost all of its top stories related to Pakistan with efforts to link it to either terrorism or to an impending military conflict.
Its top story was about F-16 fighter jets flying over the federal capital – a not too uncommon occurrence. Another story was about Indian security forces being put on alert to ‘defend’ against ‘honeytrap’ messages on Facebook and Whatsapp from Pakistan and to stop locals from talking about security measures being taken.
Another story alluded to an unknown “raid” that Indian forces say they made against terrorists on the Pakistan side of the Line of Control.
The website also sought to drag in Army Chief General Raheel Sharif in its war mongering calling the military commander’s statements at a high-level meeting “defiant Pakistan’s show of bravado”.
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If this was not enough, the website completely changed a story from international news wire service Agence France Press. The original story was about how India’s meager acquisition of Rafale fighter jets would be insufficient to match China’s accelerating airpower. The website altered it to how the 36 new jets it is buying over the next three years would somehow grant it an edge over Pakistan.
While most websites were engaged in war mongering about Pakistan, most forgot how just a day earlier the Indian government had issued a gag order on defence journalists.
The gag order stemmed from a report in the Indian Express which exposed claims of some Indian military officials that guns recovered from Uri attackers carried markings which proved they were Pakistani.
The story of markings on the guns had been the top headline news in India a day earlier. But news of it being blatantly false did not garner the same attention. Even less attention was granted to the story that it had resulted in a universal gag order from the Indian government.
Courtesy : Express Tribune