Moi aussie.


It’s interesting to see how quickly and efficiently the Indian online community reacts to any incident affecting their freedom of expression, terrorism, free markets and/or porn. The speed and vehemence of reactions is impressive, and such situations tend to inspire a surprising amount of solidarity.

I know that while watching the coverage during the Mumbai terrorist attacks P was outraged at how openly all our news channels and websites were showing pictures of commandos silently rappelling down onto the Taj and taking cover in various corners. I know for myself, that when I first read the Kunte blog post (link to Google cache: scroll to the very end) via Desipundit, I – and, presumably, many others – were moved enough to edit Ms Dutt’s hagiographic Wikipedia entry to something more balanced and also cite Kunte’s post (not best practise on Wiki to quote a blog, but wev). What this whole incident, upto and including NDTV’s actions, should’ve led to was a debate on how exactly information is best communicated in times of crisis. On how you can and should balance freedom of expression with, on the one hand security, and on the other hand, privacy, concerns: the debate that should’ve taken place in the USA before George Bush Jr. signed on to the FISA amendment and before Barack Obama ratified it in July 2008 after promising to vehemently oppose it.

It would, of course, be more impactful if we actually had, y’know, a little more substance to our arguments. It would help if more blogs focused on solutions – on what the journalist in question and her media house should have done rather than on virtually disrobing her, using sexist, abusive language and right-wing attacks.

What helps, of course, is that once again, people in India are seeing how the MSM can effectively filter out information that they don’t find interesting. There’s apparently no mention of this controversy in most media outlets, and no surprise. What is happening there is exactly what happened here in the US after 9/11 and during the Iraq war vote, and during the presidential campaigns last year when first Clinton and then Palin were misquoted, their interviews edited, and outrage drummed up against their non-existent insults.

But looking at the way we’re going, I have no great hopes of a self-correcting blogosphere in India – it’s as biased and as much an echo chamber as anywhere. Tragic.

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