By Monjib Mochahari|ThePassword|7 August 2016
At a time, when the government agencies are failing to establish the group behind the brutal terror attack in Assam’s Kokrajhar district on 5 August 2016, some national dailies and online new sites have come out with their own destructive explanations – which deserved to be called as Media Terrorism. Complete insensitivity and communal overtones are visible in their news headlines. I believe these are intentional attempt to portray a poor image of the Bodo community. Some national dailies have looked at the entire episode through the narrow prism of communalism. For instance, The Hindu (Chennai edition, 6 August 2016), which is known for its objectivity published the terror attacks with a provocative headline in its front page. It says, “14 Dead as Bodo Men target Assam Market”. Similar headline is given by The Times of India (6 August 2016) which says, “Suspected Bodo Militants kill 14 in Assam; injured 20”. Online news website – Dailyo.in also carried a similar headline. It says “What Bodo’s latest attack in Kokrajhar Means” (6 August 2016). It is deeply shocking. Disgusting. Unacceptable. Such catchy headlines are beyond journalistic objectivity and practices. Such reportings are also done by regional media who attempt to see everything through communal angle and they cannot tolerate the idea of Bodoland.
The Hindu, Chennai Edition (6 August 2016), The Times of India (6 August 2016)
The Hindu, Kolkata Edition (6 August 2016)
How do these provocative headlines read or what message the publication want to disseminate by wrongly using name of the Bodo community who can hardly be held responsible for the violence? Among 14 dead, six of them were Bodos. For those who read the headlines, it misrepresents the community as if they are indeed a killing machine targeting innocent civilians in which six of the 14 victims were Bodos themselves. Bodo is not a name of any terrorist group but a largest tribal community in entire Northeast India, whose political struggle for equality, justice and democracy has always been equated with violence by been intellectuals, politicians, media persons. It creates a poor tastes of the community, which is not the job of a journalist do so. Why does the terror attack need to be seen through community angle? Was it really necessary to figure out from which community the militants come from or which community is involved in the violence? Wasn’t it a prime responsibility of the media persons engaged to report the event without associating it to any particular community after all there not hard evidence to prove it. While some militants groups including Jihadist, NDFB, Kamatapur Liberation Organisation (KLO), United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA, among others, do operate in Bodoland, but it doesn’t mean they represent the community. If any particular militant agency is involved in such terror game, why not point out the name of organisation instead?
After social media pointed out the insensitive headline in The Hindu, Prabir Prabir Kumar Talukdar , the journalist who wrote this story posted wrote in his Facebook:
Violence must be seen as violence. Militants have no colour, creed or tribe. Prefixing them with the name of the community is an insult to Bodo people who have faced enough tragedies due to attrocities committed by both state and non-state actors for decades. It’s high time media relizes it’s role. They must abstain from deconstructing everything narrowly keeping in minds their personal interest. On the pretext of freedom of expression, they shouldn’t indulge in such hyperbol, or else they are should equally be charged for media terrorism.
Moreover, the parents of the suspected militants who was killed by security forces have contest the charges made by Assam police. What is rather shocking is that media is partly igonoring the parent’s reaction.
The Telegraph, 7 August 2016