The media needs to practice restrain when reporting on terrorist attacks. Ronald Schatz, a senior adviser to the UN Director General says the media should not put a terrorist’s picture on the front page. Schatz says the terrorists want the media to portray them in a way that one could feel sympathy for them.
“As long as we keep the suicide bomber in a way that their picture will be on the front page, in all likelihood, you could create hundreds more of them” he made these statements at the WION Global Summit in Dubai.
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Schatz said that India and Germany have been ‘victims of terrorism’. He said “One of the lessons from Germany is that in the 70s, media and the vast majority of people were against terrorists. It was very clear that a terror attack was absolutely a ‘no go’ and one would not get any credit even in a small section of the society.”
And that was the moment he said “when terrorism faded away.”
In regards to Kashmir, Schatz explained that an act of terror only works if it gets the attention. “From my experience and learning, I have come to the conclusion that terrorism only works if you give them global attention. While a news report needs to mention the death toll and other details, we should be very careful with the pictures we choose”, said Schatz.
Experts say that today’s terrorists are well aware of the power of the media and manipulate them to their own advantage and need. Then there are notions and arguments that ‘one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter’ and this very much applies to Kashmir. Senator Henry Jackson, an American politician, had said the idea that one person’s ‘terrorist’ is another’s ‘freedom fighter’ cannot be sanctioned.
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Senator Henry Jackson said “Freedom fighters or revolutionaries don’t blow up buses containing non-combatants; terrorist murderers do. Freedom fighters don’t set out to capture and slaughter school children; terrorist murderers do. Freedom fighters don’t assassinate innocent businessmen or hijack and hold hostage innocent men, women and children; terrorist murderers do. It is a disgrace that democracies would allow the treasured word ‘freedom’ to be associated with acts of terrorists.”
Moreover, the media has been accused of helping terrorists orchestrate a horrifying drama in which the terrorists and their victims are the main actors, creating a spectacle of tension and agony. The media becomes part of it, adding to the drama. And in the past week, the Indian media has been doing so.