[Reader-list] Media war update

Ravi Sundaram ravis at sarai.net
Tue Oct 9 14:55:44 IST 2001

An interesting if 'nationalist' analysis of the media....

More ink flows for US war than Kargil

ANURADHA RAMAN (Indian Express)

NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 8: FIGURES supplied by the Centre for Media Studies 
(CMS) show that major Indian dailies — The Indian Express, The Times of 
India, Hindustan Times, Asian Age and The Hindu — spent 50 per cent of 
their editorial space to reporting on the war against terrorism between 
September 11 and September 29.

Problems in Afghanistan and the Kashmir issue followed closely with 30 and 
20 per cent respectively. Compared to this, for the first 20 days of the 
Gulf War which lasted over a month, Indian newspapers had spent 20 per cent 
of their column space to the war waged by the US against Iraq.

These two figures, which were of foreign wars, can be compared with the 
Kargil war where India was directly involved. For a week into the war, 
newspapers devoted 33 per cent of their space to the conflict between 
Pakistan and India. ‘‘This is a media war being waged by the US and being 
reported by the Indian press,’’ said Bhaskara Rao of the CMS, commenting on 
the war reporting in India.

And this time, the CMS said, local politics and economic issues took a back 
seat. In the same period period, six per cent of the available space was 
devoted to Tamil Nadu — more specifically former chief minister 
Jayalalithaa — and UP politics. Individual issues like the CNG crisis and 
the ban on SIMI grabbed nearly seven per cent space in the press. Cricket 
has been confined to the sports pages of the major dailies so far.

The downside of the ongoing war is that while Indian news channels, such as 
Star News, Zee News and Aaj Tak, raked in about Rs 2 crore from 
advertisements, newspapers after September 11 have not got more 
advertisements. ‘‘The War’’, however, continues to hold sway in print.

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