Selective secularism and secular journalism are almost co-related terms. Selective secularism is the act of bestowing a particular minority community with more rights than the majority whereas secular journalism is reporting against or in favour of a particular community as per the choice of the organisation.
Selective Journalism or selective secularism has become the new trend in modern Journalism. With media houses toeing the line of their bosses, selective secularism has turned into an assault on the objectives of Journalism. Press was born to serve as a medium that asks accountability from the establishment but with the passage of time and with the growing supremacy of private news organisations, objectives have drowned. Those incidents which suit the ideology are highlighted while those are dumped which do not toe the self-claimed objectives.
There are many cases to assert that how ‘choosy’ media has become. Let us recall the instance of The Godhra train burning which was an incident that occurred on the morning of 27 February 2002, killing 59 Hindu karsevaks who were returning from Ayodhya. This event is widely perceived as the trigger for the Gujarat riots that followed, which resulted in widespread loss of life, destruction of property and killed 790 Muslims, 254 Hindus, estimated 2000 deaths.
There is no hate, establishments use people to incite hate between religions, communities for their vote banks.
Gujarat riots were the first case of communal violence in the age of 24 hours media coverage, they were covered and reported worldwide.The media coverage was generally critical of the Hindu right; however, the BJP portrayed the coverage as an assault on the honour of Gujaratis and turned the hostility into an emotive part of their electoral campaign.The local newspapers Sandesh and Gujarat Samachar, however, were heavily criticised. Some report states that Sandesh had headlines which would “provoke, communalize and terrorise people”. The newspaper also used a quote from a VHP leader as a headline, “Avenge with blood”. The report stated that Gujarat Samachar had played a role in increasing the tensions but did not give all of its coverage over to “hawkish and inflammatory reportage in the first few weeks”
Then-Chief Minister Narendra Modi declared that the attack on the train had been an act of terrorism, and not an incident of communal violence. Local newspapers and members of the state government used the statement to incite violence against the Muslim community by claiming, without proof, that the attack on the train was carried out by Pakistan’s intelligence agency and that local Muslims had conspired with them to attack Hindus in the state. False stories were also printed by local newspapers which claimed that Muslim people had kidnapped and raped some Hindu women.
We are taught in Journalism that any medium or source which tries to instigate hate, violence, tensions between communities are neither to shown nor to be published
Most of the national and International media agencies were critical of the Hindu right wings and claimed that it was a state-sponsored violence. Claiming that the then Narendra Modi government fuelled the communal violence. But can we just afford to claim that the media did not play any role in inciting the violence? Relentless coverage, non-stop reporting, forming stereotypes, igniting headlines and reports did fuel the violence. The private channels went on to report and claim incidents on the instructions from their bosses which either belonged to a political party or to a corporate house leaning towards a political ideology. But most of them reported in favour of the minorities hiding behind the logic that minorities have got no representative.
Even today after 15 years of the “brutal” series of violence, there is no change in the media, whatsoever. We call the Gujarat riots as the most horrendous and the most shameful act of inhumanity in the history of communal violence in India but what about the Godhra train burning incident which was also equally cruel and ferocious, 59 people were burnt alive, wasn’t this an act of ‘inhumanity’? And for those who only highlight the Godhra incident while trivialise Gujarat riots and calls the genocide of minorities as “reaction of the Godhra incident” needs to re-evaluate their claims. We condemn Gujarat riots and question the identity of people involved in it. What about an incident which was equally barbaric and believed to have triggered the 2002 Gujarat riots. Killing of any innocent living being on the basis of religion, caste, colour, creed, race, is an act of inhumanity and must be refrained from.
Because Journalism cannot be selective!