Journalism is considered a noble profession but the media loses respect of society when it thrives on sensation to create reports that cause panic in the society.
Dainik Bhaskar, a mass circulated daily, began with publishing a series of stories by reporter Siddharth Machhiwal on large number of Kashmiri students studying in Bhopal. But the series soon acquired communal overtones and was clevery worded to sound alarm about all Kashmiri students.
For a community that finds it tough to get a rented home, it could be disastrous. First, the story pointed at the manner in which police take money for verification of students. This was a proper story and it is true everywhere as even passport seekers would tell that often policemen ask for bribe for verification.
But soon the story turned into a communal propaganda. It demonised Kashmiris on the premise that students who are admitted in Bhopal's Hamidia College and other educational institutions could be 'involved in throwing stones' in the recent Kashmir violence.
It further went on to suggest that under the garb of Kashmiri students, terrorists could also sneak in. Further, rather than putting onus on corruption, it branded Kashmiri youths with assumptions like 'a youth who got a bullet injury could be a student of college'.
Without any names or quotes, the report suggests that 'stone-pelters' are terrorists and that one of the stone-pelter was studying in Bhopal's Hamidia College. But whom? By getting ABVP to support its agenda, the report further lost its credibility. ABVP activists or NSUI activists are also involved in bandhs and protests all over India, so how come a protestor becomes a terrorist? In fact, we don't know yet if there was a youth involved in stone pelting either. But all Kashmiri students in Bhopal are now branded as terrorists!
Read the cleverly worded but vague sentences from the report:
1....aashanka hai ki Kashmiri mein jaari hinsaa mein Hamidia college ke sandigdh chhatron ki bhumika ho sakti hai..
2....ek praadhyakapak ne naam na bataane ki shart par bataaya ki voh chhatr Hamidia ka hi hai
When the need is to integrate the Kashmiri youths and take pride in the fact that Madhya Pradesh is lending a helping hand to Kashmiri youths and letting them study, the story veered off with falsehoods and unsubstantiated charges to take a fasicstic tone. By equating Kashmiri students with terrorism, the newspaper lost its credibility once again.
It is unfortunate that while Agarwals intends to take their newspaper to the national level and have been working hard to get it a progressive and credible face of Hindi media, its editorial seems to have lost something that is vital for any media group--Credibility.