Feature Article

Attack on media: freedom, arrogance and playing with the will of people

[TamilNet, Thursday, 16 October 2008, 23:57 GMT]
The Tamil nationalist sentiments bursting into anti-media violence, spontaneously or otherwise, is not the appropriate way, said a senior Eezham Tamil editor in Colombo, commenting on the reported recent attacks on The Hindu in Tamil Nadu. "Camouflaged in the name of Indian national interest, the intellectual venom, sectarian interests, dynastic interests and personal biases sadly making The Hindu into a pro-Sinhala and anti-Tamil media have to be countered socially, culturally and politically on a superior intellectual plane by bringing out public awakening locally and globally," he said.

In the sidewalks of the upsurge of agitation in Tamil Nadu in support of the Eezham Tamils facing genocide, minor attacks on The Hindu, a Chennai-based national newspaper of India, have been reported from the Tamil Nadu cities of Coimbatore (Koayampuththoor) and Erode (Eeroadu).

On Tuesday, people protesting the pro-Sri Lanka editorial thinking of the newspaper tried to march into the Coimbatore office of the newspaper. According to the Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper, there were incidents of hurling stones on Tuesday and on Thursday morning, copies of the newspaper were snatched and burnt at the distribution point at Erode bus stand.

The Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu, N. Ram names members of the Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam, Tamil Desiya Podhu Udaimai Katchi and some lawyers as well as law college students as responsible to the incidents. Ram has come out with a strongly worded statement against the attackers, not sparing 'chauvinism' and 'terrorist Tamil Tigers'.

The Hindu, a more than 125 years old newspaper, started by Kasthuri Ranga Aiyangar in Chennai and is now being run by his family members in 12 locations throughout India, is internationally acclaimed of its intellectual potent. Many innovations in Indian media were contributions of this newspaper. Once in the 1970s it received the best newspaper award internationally.

However, in the context of the Indian sociopolitical intricacies, the paper has always been accused of its pro-elite, especially Brahmin elite, anti-people and anti-subaltern views of thinking. It is considered as a pro-establishment organ sabotaging the social, political and cultural revolutions of the downtrodden masses.

Perusal of news and views appearing in The Hindu point to the fact that in recent years the editorship of the newspaper, particularly its Chief Editor N. Ram, has crossed the journalistic etiquette and neutrality needed for the calibre of a paper such as The Hindu in dealing with the crisis in Sri Lanka, by being 'emotionally' explicit in attacking the LTTE, nullifying Tamil Nationalism and in supporting the repressive Colombo government.

In 2005, Ram received the Sri Lanka Ratna award for his 'exceptionally outstanding and most distinguished service to Sri Lanka in particular and/or humanity in general,' from the then president of Sri Lanka.

The Hindu and Ram are not only indicted in the journalistic sabotage of the Tamil cause in Sri Lanka, but also in the struggle of the Tibetan people.

Many Tibetan organizations and media such as the Mumbai based Friends of Tibet and Nepal based Himal Southasian have accused The Hindu and its editor, of links with the establishment of China in recent years. In one of their articles Ram has been described as 'China's India PR guy'.

Commenting on the attack on The Hindu, a senior Eezham Tamil media editor in Colombo told TamilNet: "Camouflaged in the name of Indian national interest, the intellectual venom, sectarian interests, dynastic interests and personal biases sadly making The Hindu into a pro-Sinhala and anti-Tamil media have to be countered socially, culturally and politically on a superior intellectual plane by bringing out public awakening locally and globally."

However, the Tamil nationalist sentiments bursting into anti-media violence, spontaneously or otherwise, is not the appropriate way, he said.


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