Of 60 hours of terror and the 24X7 broadcasting of it

Of 60 hours of terror and the 24X7 broadcasting of it

Summary: The world is today talking about Mumbai and the 60 hours of terror the whole of India lived in last week. It's truly shaken us as a nation.

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The world is today talking about Mumbai and the 60 hours of terror the whole of India lived in last week. It's truly shaken us as a nation. It's also brought India's vulnerability, its corruption and inefficiencies to the fore.

And I am referring to everyone here--not just the Indian politicians, armed forces, police or the intelligence; but also the media and the common man, who is truly apathetic towards political issues, as also resilient beyond the point of acceptability.

But there is another aspect these terror attacks have manifested-–how broadcast technology can put the sovereignty of a nation at stake. We literally got minute-by-minute account of the terror attacks on our television screens.

We saw journalists speak to all kinds of army personnel, commandoes, police officers and other such people who were probably not even authorized to speak to the media. And they did not even know that they weren't supposed to speak to the media.

Our television reporters thrust their cameras into hotel rooms destroyed by the blasts. They were talking to army officials about their modus operandi.

And all this was being brought to our drawing rooms "live" by some 35-odd television news channels--each trying a newer trick in their bags to get higher viewership (or television rating points) in these hours of crises. News channels that would, on any normal day, show repeats of comedy shows, suddenly had their battery of reporters running across Taj and Trident hotels in south Mumbai with microphones in hand and camera persons in toe. A senior journalist was seen shedding tears on camera, outside the Taj… all this and more for higher television rating points (TRPs).

No one had any clue what was going on. TV channels were showing a live broadcast of commandoes landing via helicopters onto the roof of Nariman House. What was being broadcast in the name of news was, in fact, the operational procedures and actions of the armed forces and the police.

All this, when all the terrorists at the sites, we learn, were equipped with VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol) phones that were allegedly being manned out of Pakistan. Obviously, some terrorist in Pakistan (or elsewhere) could be watching this on television and relaying the information back to the terrorists in Mumbai (hiding inside the two hotels and Nariman House).

According to a TV channel's news report, the 10 terrorists were divided into groups of two, with one VOIP phone each. And they were on a conference call with their chief (reportedly, in Pakistan), who would tell them what to do next. No wonder they could terrorize one billion people for 60 hours and more. Everyone in the country (including young, school-going children) is today living in terror.

We never know when something like this could happen again and our TV channels would play the (unknowing) aides of these anti-social elements. Broadcast technology is making things so simple for these demons.

Topics: Enterprise 2.0, Hardware, Legal, Telcos, Unified Comms, India

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8 comments
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  • Of 60 hours of terror and the 24X7 broadcasting of it

    Agree!! I do not think anyone else thought what you just penned!!!

    I think whatever money the media made by increased TRP's should go to the relief fund !!

    Just wanted to add that at a time of crisis we forget the need of the hour - Unitedly taclking a problem and coming up with a permanent solution to deal with such situations. Its OKAY we were not ready to deal with such a situation, however what we need to do is ensure we channelise our energies to ensure that we CAN deal with this in future!!! We discuss this everytime there is a crisis and do absolutely nothing about it !!!

    What does our darling media do - broadcast the mud slinging and blame game!! Why is it so difficult to take onus for a slip , MOVE ON and work on a concrete plan of action........Our corruption is killing us back !!

    From which level do you start the cleaning job !!! How much can you fill your pockets - slowly you realize that beyond the money you are now accumulating the curses of the dead !! Aren't these very same corrupted lot accountable for the lives lost ?

    Every celebrity is in mourning because they have lost a loved one, which is publicized and encashed on .........did or does anyone care about the lower or middle class when they lost their lives............no interest, not a money churner !! My heart goes out to every life lost, I do not care if Sushmita Sen, Sunil Shetty or Karan Johar knew them............

    Lets grow up!!! Grow beyond the Thackeray's, Congress , BJP, Bachans !!!! If there is NO nation tomorrow........there will be no NAMES either!!!! These guys reached the parliament , now the Taj.........next it will be your homes!!! If they hit mine the nation will NOT care , however if its hits BJP's house all hell will break loose...............

    Whose house guys..............India is your house..................It is NOT religion that makes a Nation, it is people - just incase someone forgot this!!!

    Fix the gaps and create a non-political group that caters to National Security !! At least Chief of Army, Navy , Air-forse, NSG etc etc are accountable. Let the chiefs form a group and handle the Nations Security.
    anonymous
  • Of 60 hours of terror and the 24X7 broadcasting of it

    Agree, the media messed up.
    But I believe in the principle of "Demand and Supply". Who are they catering to?
    Who increases their viewer ship? Why did they report, the way they did?
    I am not willing to accept that the Indian television viewer is going to watch whatever is aired. They have over the years developed a taste--they want a certain kind of programming. And these news broadcasters just catered to that. And made some money.
    (In the current economic situation- making money is a very very good thing.)
    Just a thought.
    anonymous
  • Of 60 hours of terror and the 24X7 broadcasting of it

    Yes, making money is a good thing (and especially in these times). But definitely not a good thing when your national safety and lives of innocent people are at stake.

    We need a broadcasting law that prohibits media from broadcasting live in situations where army operations are involved. Freedom of the Press certainly does not mean compromising on issues related to sovereignty and national safety.
    swati-bb48c
  • Of 60 hours of terror and the 24X7 broadcasting of it

    I work for a news channel and therefore making an anon comment.

    We were the only channel that did not show any visuals of the NSG commandos on Thursday and then showed recorded visuals of them on Friday coz everyone else was airing them. Our coverage was non-shrill, composed, mature and based only on facts - which were hard to come by.

    I promise you - no one would've watched us :-)
    anonymous
  • Of 60 hours of terror and the 24X7 broadcasting of it

    I think TRPs should be the least important thing in these times. If that's really the case -- hats off to your channel, anon. But all TV channels need to show the same level of maturity. And be responsible citizens first.
    swati-bb48c
  • Of 60 hours of terror and the 24X7 broadcasting of it

    Dear Anon,
    Please ask your boss to resign right now, and if you are the boss, then please shut shop and go to the Himalayas. Because that's where you belong.
    You have no business staying in the news business.
    :)
    anonymous
  • Of 60 hours of terror and the 24X7 broadcasting of it

    hey they are the only one practicing responsible broadcasting! it takes a lot of grit, discipline and absolute sound mind to do that. If you are fighting a war, do you want to broadcast how you are sending your commandos behind your enemy lines to attack them? That is stupid right? This is as good as telling your enemy what you are trying to do, thus giving them the right intelligence to respond to the attack. That was what had happened!! You might as well walk up to the front door instead!
    fletcher.khoo
  • Of 60 hours of terror and the 24X7 broadcasting of it

    i wonder if news on the american financial crisis and mumbai terror attacks will actually make the problem worse ? the problem lies in the sensationalisation of these news - which creates an environment like that of a reality tv which prompts for repeat sequels and giving the limelight to people to go one better (or more horrific).
    anonymous