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Some media fooling people, or are they being fooled to fool people?

by Rinku Khumukcham
0 comment 4 minutes read
Some media fooling people, or are they being fooled to fool people?

The Manipur media’s coverage of the ongoing violence inadvertently contributes to a cycle of misinformation and complacency rather than catalyzing positive societal change. While ostensibly aiming to inform the public and spur critical thinking, the media has fallen victim to manipulation by the government, perpetuating a narrative that fails to address the root causes of the violence and its detrimental impact on society. Despite diligently chronicling the events, the media’s coverage has become predictable and superficial, characterized by a repetitive cycle of tragedy and empty assurances from the government. This pattern not only fails to engage the public in meaningful discourse but also serves to normalize and perpetuate the status quo, allowing systemic issues to persist unchallenged.
Furthermore, by uncritically amplifying the government’s narrative, the media inadvertently contributes to the public’s disillusionment and apathy, reinforcing the notion that change is unattainable and that violence and injustice are inevitable. Rather than fulfilling its role as a watchdog for democracy, the media becomes complicit in perpetuating the government’s agenda, further eroding public trust in the institution’s ability to hold power to account. In failing to provide comprehensive and unbiased coverage of the violence and its underlying causes, the Manipur media unwittingly misleads the public and undermines its own credibility as a source of information and catalyst for change. Rather than empowering the populace with knowledge and fostering critical thinking, it inadvertently fosters ignorance and complacency, allowing the cycle of violence and injustice to continue unchecked.
The government, under Chief Minister N Biren Singh’s leadership, has mastered the art of deflection and diversion, shirking responsibility for the ongoing crisis by conveniently blaming past administrations while absolving itself of any culpability. In lieu of substantive action to address the root causes of the violence, the government relies on token gestures such as distributing relief materials and constructing pre-fabricated houses, which it presents as noteworthy achievements deserving of praise. Complicit in this facade, the media uncritically amplifies these superficial accomplishments, disseminating them as news items to the populace without delving into their efficacy or addressing the government’s failure to tackle the underlying issues fueling the violence. Meanwhile, the genuine victims of the violence—the impoverished families grappling with loss and suffering—are marginalized and left to endure their pain in silence. This suffering is not limited to them alone; it encompasses all the people of Manipur, with the exception of a handful of lawmakers, their families, and close associates.
Manipulated by the government’s persuasive tactics, these grieving families are coerced into accepting the premature cremation of their loved ones, lured by hollow promises of support and justice that never materialize. As casualties continue to mount and the conflict persists, the media’s focus has shifted away from its duty to hold the government accountable for ensuring the security and well-being of its citizens. Instead of demanding concrete action and solutions from lawmakers, the media is complicit in perpetuating divisive narratives that pit one community against another, further exacerbating tensions without seeking genuine reconciliation. In failing to challenge the government’s narrative and demand accountability, the media abdicates its responsibility to serve as a check on power, allowing the cycle of violence and injustice to persist unabated.
It is imperative for the media to move beyond merely reporting the statements of Chief Minister N Biren Singh, ministers, and other government officials. Instead, they must analyze their words in conjunction with their actions to present the people of Manipur with an accurate portrayal of reality. In the past nine months, numerous Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have emerged, organizing press conferences and expressing their views. However, as the watchdog of society, the media must scrutinize the motives behind these CSOs’ actions. There is a growing sentiment among the populace that some CSOs are ineffective and merely serve the interests of lawmakers. It raises questions about whether certain CSOs are being backed by politicians to advance their agendas, thereby misleading the public. The media’s coverage of these events may inadvertently contribute to this deception, further misleading the people of Manipur.
With nine months having elapsed since the onset of the crisis, it is time for the media to take a proactive role in highlighting and analyzing emerging trends. While the government claims to be making efforts, there should be a limit to the time it takes to save lives and address the root causes of the violence. As gatekeepers of information, media organizations must also be subjected to scrutiny. The public should research the ownership of newspapers or TV channels before accepting information as fact. By empowering themselves with knowledge about media ownership, the public can better discern the credibility and potential biases of the news they consume.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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