Thursday, June 24, 2010

Embedded yet committed?

The dismissal of Gen Stanley McChrystal after a damning profile in the Rolling Stone magazine is not likely to be big news in India. However, the story does raise an interesting question on journalism in these contentious times when we ponder the wisdom of sending the army to fight our own people.

I am going on a limb here, but the Indian media does not seem to have come up with the kind of access-based reporting of the Indian security forces' operations that the Rolling Stone article perfects. Now, it's an open question whether we need more official versions but I would think that access-based reporting that sticks to the principles of journalism can bring out far more colours than the drab grey of officialese.

Our visualisation of the many conflicts taking place in our country, whether Kashmir or Chattisgarh are crippled by our inability to see them as fights involving people-even if they happen to be in uniform. Reporting of this sort, if it can stay off the tempting jingoistic ride, can perhaps influence public opinion about these silent wars in a subtle yet effective way.

Of course knowing all the practical and professional difficulties associated with such an endeavour, it's too much to ask;still...