Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Propaganda and the journalistic bias

I've mentioned before the journalistic bias, and the utility of Google News as a great leveller. This should be old-hat for Americans, what with alleged "neo-con" bias of FOX news. But the subcontinental media are proud of their independence and courageous reporting, so I had wait for a special story to highlight this in a stark way. And this week, I was presented with just such an opportunity.

Yesterday, the arbitration verdict of the Baglihar dam dispute in J&K was out. It quickly became a Google News headline, and grabbed my attention. On clicking "all X news articles" in the Google News homepage, I found some pretty juicy stuff. Here's how the newspapers covered it:

Pakistan terms Baglihar Dam ruling a victory Monsters and Critics.com, UK
India has not violated water treaty with Pakistan -- World Bank expert Kuwait News Agency, Kuwait
Expert’s nod for Baglihar Hindustan Times, India
World Bank rules on Kashmir dam BBC News, UK
World Bank asks India to cut Baglihar height Pakistan Dawn, Pakistan
Baglihar Design; WB Neutral Expert gives Verdict in favour of Pakistan Pakistan Times, Pakistan
Baglihar: Pakistan wanted construction stopped Hindu, India
Neutral expert's clean chit to Baglihar dam Mangalorean.com, India
WB expert says Indian dam violating bilateral treaty People's Daily Online, China
World Bank validates Pakistan stand on Baglihar Dam PakTribune.com, Pakistan
WB asks India to lower height of Baglihar Dam Daily Times, Pakistan
Dam stays, but not so high, rules World Bank expert Daily News & Analysis, India
'Decision to reduce dam height will not impact generation of power’ Daily News & Analysis, India
Baglihar cleared, India has its way Times of India, India
Neutral expert's clean chit to Baglihar dam Earthtimes.org

... and many more. Google News is indeed wonderful ...

I'm puzzled by the claims of "victory". If, obviously, both sides won the victory, then the solution was a "win, win" (as we MBAs are so fond of saying). In that case, why go into arbitration ?

If both claim that they have won, but the other has lost, then somebody must be lying completely or everybody must be lying partially. So what's the truth ? Isn't it the job of journalists to bring it out - report the facts and objectively analyze it ? If you want to tell the readers what they want, instead of what is, then openly say so. Or if you are too lazy to do some basic research (or Google search) and then report, then, atleast don't be partial.

QED. I rest my case.

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At Saturday, 24 February, 2007 at 9:37:00 PM IST, Blogger altaccount said...

haha both posts at same time. But something so ridiculous had to be noticed by all


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