Sunday, February 14,2016

NEW DELHI: The mainstream media–with just a few exceptions– is either taking sides, or pitching those opposing the charges of sedition slapped on Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union President Kanhaiya Kumar with positions taken by the Delhi Police and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. This, when the answers are contained in a speech made by Kanhaiya just before his arrest and at the venue where pro-Pakistan slogans were allegedly raised.

A video recording of Kanhaiya’s address is available all over YouTube.

As is a second video that ,of course needs to be verified, a job that a cub reporter can do, portraying alleged ABVP activists from the University shouting pro-Pakistan slogans.

Both these videos requiring just basic investigation by a reporter can answer the main question: is the government justified in slapping sedition charges on Kanhaiya and the other students? A job that the media, in the search for truth, is expected to do and/or at least present the evidence provided by the ‘other side’ as against the statements put out by government and police.

Significantly the video capturing the entire speech by Kanhaiya has been ignored by the media. Why? After listening to it the answer is simple: Kanhaiya Kumar’s speech refutes the charge of sedition under which he has been arrested entirely. There is not a single word in his long and passionate address that remotely suggests sedition, and is instead an assertion of the Indian Constitution and a definition of patriotism and nationalism as arising from democracy, rights and equality.

The questions a beat reporter is expected to raise and get answers to in such circumstances are basic:

1. Are charges of sedition justified?

2. What did Kanhaiya actually say?

3. Were the JNUSU students actually involved in raising pro-Pakistan slogans?

4. What has been the role of the new Vice Chancellor and the University authorities?

It is strange that in the big debate that the media has unleashed on JNU and sedition, there has been little effort to get the facts right. The answer to these questions can be found from the campus, the students, the teachers and the video recording of the JNUSU Presidents address. And instead of just reporting the one side of the view against the other, the job of the media is to gather the facts of the case and present these to the people.

The nation wants to know the facts, not the views of opposing sides in the news-turned-reality shows. And in traditional journalism the facts are gathered by the reporters to the best of their ability, credible and clear, and presented to the readers and viewers. Interestingly in this case the charge of sedition was slapped on Kanhaiya for raising slogans in favour of Pakistan, and against India. The video recording of his speech cuts into this claim, and presents a completely opposing picture.

The points that the young and rather brilliant orator placed before the students can roughly be summarised into the following points:

For More: http://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/OldNewsPage/?Id=6853&WHY/IS/THE/MEDIA/NOT/REPORTING/KANHAIYA%27S/SPEECH?

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