Media prejudice towards Muslims

By Azizur Rahman for,

The word “media” plural of the Latin word “medium” has evolved to connote the meaning “all the means of communication” be it print or electronic”. Literally, it does not make any distinction on what to choose and what not, to communicate to the people. Hence, the media is morally obligated to report everything that is in the interest of the nation irrespective of any bias towards what and whom it is relating to.

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However, instead of reporting with the highest level of integrity, impartiality and transparency, it always seems to be acting either out of its own ideology or at the behest of its masters covering only what suites and benefits it.

While the media tends to ignore many things that don’t serve its vested interests, it seems to be deliberately ignoring news and stories concerning the Muslims as well. This attitude of overlooking Muslims on the part of the media is not just accidental, else it is symptomatic of a larger ongoing conspiracy to keep Muslim community in dark, lest they could unite and form a decisive front playing a pivotal role in the government formation thereby having a better say for their rights.

As the Muslims, except for few minor instances, do not have their own media to effectively communicate and educate the community on their current status and rights, ideally it should the responsibility of the mainstream national media to give the community its due coverage if it believes in justice and secularism. But, on the contrary, it has terribly failed in doing justice to its profession. Out of its visible apathy towards the community, it doesn’t take any effort to understand the fact that there is an entire missionary working behind to perpetually keep Muslims alienated, backward and marginalized. This mindset is crystal clear from the below instances where the media has virtually ignored covering these events of considerable significance for the community.

Maulana Aamir Rashadi Sahab, the president of Rastriya Ulama Council, has been staging a sit-in at Jantar Mantar, in Delhi, for the last two weeks, demanding the lifting of the religious ban from the Article 341 which allows only Hindus from the scheduled cast groups, to benefit from the reservation. In its initial form there was no religious restriction in the said article, but on 10th August 1950, Jawaharlal Nehru had got it amended through a Presidential Order. This ongoing protest did not hold enough significance for the TV channels and newspapers to duly cover it.

Recently Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid Syed Ahmad Bukhari convened a meeting of Muslim representatives from across the country to discuss the possible strategies to be adopted by the community in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. However the biased national media could not find enough reason to report on this.

Likewise, when a few days ago, Imam of the Masjid-e-Nabvi, Dr Abdul Mohsin Al-Qasim along with Maulana Arshad Madani Sahab, visited Assam, attracting a huge congregation estimated up to 12 lakhs, the media again didn’t bother to report this, though it was a historic gathering both in terms of the crowd size and the purpose.

On the other hand, when it comes to other than the Muslim community, the same media seems feverishly frenzied to cover even the funniest thing. The reporters relentlessly keep running like dogs here and there to find their favorite spice. It is pathetic, shameful and ironic as well, on the part of the reporters, that if there is anything done or said by any politician, political party carrying enough stuff to woo, confuse and divide the Muslims, the mean media spares no efforts in publishing or airing it wholeheartedly. For instance, when BJP president Rajnath Singh recently wooed the Muslims by stating that he was ready to apologize to the community for any mistakes committed by the party in the past and begged at least one more chance, the same media widely and religiously reported the statement as it was aimed at polarizing the Muslim votes. If a person in Modi’s rally shows up even in the guise of a Muslim, the entire TV cameras unmistakably remain focused on the person, airing it over and over again. And this very media takes pride in reporting even a burping by Kejriwal. But, when the beleaguered and helpless Muslims with their modest means and resources, by assembling at a place, try to arrive at any conclusion, the media’s eyesight gets lost, and it goes unreported.

Thus, at a time when already so much is being pumped by political parties and communal organizations into pushing Muslims to abject backwardness, the media instead of acting like a ray of hope for the community, is on the same page leaving no room for the community to not believe that the media too is complicit and hand in glove with the divisive and communal forces to help achieve the common goal collectively. It is an unfortunate sign for the world’s so called largest democratic and secular country to have such a partial and prejudiced media. It is extremely detrimental to the country folks’ egalitarian coexistence with peace and harmony. The media and the other forces should be mindful of the fact that it is impossible to live peacefully at the cost of injustice inflicted on others, as its adverse effects are bound to bounce back. Alas! There doesn’t seem to be a viable solution in the current setup where entire system seems to be overtly or covertly against Muslims. And again the community is desperately left to fend for itself.

Azizur Rahman is a financial professional working in Chennai.