Monday, May 14, 2012

2002 & Narendra Modi - Part-1

The Supreme Court appointed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate a complaint filed by Ms. Zakia Jafri and Ms.Teesta Setalvad (who has been using Ms. Zakia as her front). Amongst other things, Ms. Zakia also accuses the Gujarat Chief Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi of being responsible for killing her husband. An IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt also joins the petition and says he was at the meeting where Mr. Modi said illegal stuff.

TV media has a field day inviting these folks and telecasting their views/screams over and over again. Any small event related to this, full hour long debates and pages worth material were published. A couple of months ago, the SIT report was "leaked". And again these people went into a tizzy.

So what is this SIT report? What is this Amicus Curiae report? What exactly were they investigating? What happened in 2002? What happened in Gujarat before and after 2002?Why is the media behind Gujarat 2002 as if it is the only riot that ever happened? Who were the victms? What about the justice to the families of the victims? How has the internet helped in making people better informed? What is the role of the media in all this? 

These and many more questions/thoughts have been floating in my mind since a very long time. The only way to seek clarity was to read as much as possible and form informed opinions. In the next few blog posts, I want to discuss these and many more such thoughts. 

For about 6-8 years since 2002, my primary source of information opinion on these riots was the mainstream media. Therefore, in the posts that I plan,  the narrative will revolve around these various shades of media opinion that were imposed on readers/viewers like me. 

In the first post today, we will discuss the latest media coverage on the final SIT report submitted to the Supreme Court. 

The above snapshot is of a tweet Padmashri Barkha Dutt sent out almost immediately after that statement was out. She also re-tweeted a couple of other tweets sent by fans.

Those were the days when she was being hounded by all and sundry as guilty (of scam, of lobbying, of unethical journalism etc). And then this statement by Radia to the CBI came out. And Padmashri Barkha Dutt was very happy that this statement did not include her name. And more importantly, she wondered "why some sections of the media are now silent".

Now isn't that a logical question? Wouldn't you expect the media houses that screamed judged someone "guilty", scream at the same volume when that someone is found "not guilty" (mind you, the statement still does not absolve her of dishonest journalism!).

Nevertheless, isn't it common sense that the media give the exact same coverage to both the "guitly" and the "not guilty" scenarios? Since Padmashri Barkha Dutt is the group editor of NDTV, so you'd expect the same objectivity from NDTV when dealing with other cases too.

When the SIT report was "leaked",  NDTV even had a "Big Fight" on "what the various versions of what the report apparently contains".

And this week, the SIT report was out. Officially. You want to take a guess at the airtime for this? 33 minutes. Yep, just 33 minutes. And what do they debate on?

See the headline. You would assume that Narendra Modi gave an illegal order and the SIT still said it was not an offence. And don't miss the outrage too - "Really, SIT?" Oh, where would we have been if not for this torchbearer of the law!

And they didn't do it once, they did that twice. Another snapshot below.

You see that? - They continue to say "Modi's illegal orders not an offence?". The headline continues to the imply the same - Mr. Modi gave an illegal order

Now read the fine print - "The panel concludes that even if Modi gave illegal verbal orders...". Read it again - "even if"

So what exactly did the SIT conclude? It concluded that Narendra Modi gave no illegal orders. That too, after detailing in an exhaustive manner as to how it arrived at this conclusion. Not once, but twice.

 In it's preliminary report:

In it's final report:

And it also "concluded" this -

 This report by Kartikeya Tanna clarifies the "conclusion" for you in better detail.

So now you see the game? Editor of NDTV will question the "silence" when it comes to uneven coverage on her, but when it comes to the most high profile case, will keep mum (not a single tweet on this report by the Padmashri), will not debate the final report. The CEO who had a "Big Fight" on the "apparent versions" hasn't yet bothered to have a debate when the only version has been submitted. NDTV even took credit for the early stopping of the riots, but when it comes to the final report that nails their claims, they are mum.

Instead, they hung on to one line in the report, twisted it to the max possible extent and went into radio silence ever since!

Other news media went a step further, and started to discredit Raghavan personally (a clarification of this report was published in a remote corner of Page 10). Some dished out "analysis" - these would lose out badly if submitted in an essay writing competition for 6th class students! 

Like a fellow tweeter commented, "The SIT report should not be confused with a movie which did not end like you wanted"

In the subsequent posts, let's discuss more in detail these investigations and the actual happenings. 


PS: Just to make it easier for the reader, am pasting an earlier blog on how The Hindu covered this report.

Am reorganizing an earlier blogpost to better capture the coverage in The Hindu over the past one week. 

The Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team that investigated certain complaints about Narendra Modi's role in fomenting the 2002 riots submitted it's report to the court and the petitioner. A separate post (or maybe multiple posts) are in order to detail the timelines etc. One of the things that the petitioners did was to ask the Supreme Court to appoint an "amicus curiae". He will give his opinion on the report. On Monday May 7th, 2012, that "opinion" was published everywhere. A totally misleading headline 0n the front page of The Hindu on Tuesday, May 8th too. .

Front page on the Friday, May 11th, 2012.

Front page on the Saturday, May 12th, 2012

So what happened on Wednesday and Thursday?

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Nothing on the front pages on Wednesday and Thursday.

And today, Monday, the May 14th, 2012

The SIT report was uploaded here, on the evening of Tuesday, May 8th. Then one would assume that since the report is 547 pages long, perhaps they were still reading it and hence no  front page report. That's where The Hindu surprises you - detailed reports based on SIT's findings in pages 14 and 12 !! 

So if you are guilty based on an "opinion", it is Front Page (note that all three front page items are views and not news). If you are not guilty, based on an "investigation", then it is Page 14 news. Why? 

Earlier too, The Hindu did something similar (you can read about that here). Again, why?

The "letters to the editor" column was also filled with those praising the Hindu or those ridiculing the SIT (barring 1-2 exceptions). Infact some letters were less than 140 characters too! Sample them below:


Shreedharan Raman said...

Superb compilation.

Venkat said...

Great effort

Sunil GR said...

Wonderful observation and collection. Great work.

Rati Parker said...

Superb! Read Part 2 first!

Anonymous said...

The real truth is here
Zakia - wife of congressi.. That tells the story
Teesta.. Who can do anything for fame and mileage.. Can even try to expose her mother by false allegations. She has been charged numerous times for false allegations.
A one more paid article. Why dont you all(Bhatt, teesta, mallika, and Mr Sudhir) just SHUT UP and let judiciary decide. Dont be the JUDGE. Thank you
Some truth if you guys interested

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

down with the main stream media

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

I heard on a tv debate that the first FIR by Zakia accused a local Congress politician of leading the mob that killed her husband. The leader and Jafri had a rivalry. This is not mentioned by anyone.

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