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‘Media soft-pedals riot coverage’


New Delhi, April 5 :

The media has traditionally “soft-pedalled” coverage of violence during riots in the country, senior journalist Manoj Mitta said here Saturday.
Giving examples of the 1984 anti-Sikh and the 2002 Gujarat riots, he said the media, except in some cases, largely remained silent when violence was being unleashed in certain worst-affected areas.

He said a Special Investigation Team (SIT) report on Gujarat riots showed journalists did not ask a single question about the Gulbarg society massacre in Ahmedabad to Chief Minister Narendra Modi at a press conference held within an hour of the incident.

“There is no explanation of why the media was unaware of the incident,” he said while delivering a lecture on “Riots and Media Cover-up” at the Press Club of India here.

The lecture was organised by the Foundation for Media Professionals.

“There is a tendency on the part of the media to soft-pedal these issues,” he added.

Mitta, who has written separate books on both the riots, said the coverage of the Godhra incident in the Gujarati media “was termed as inflammatory by the Editor’s Guild of India”.

“The coverage of the post-Godhra riots was also similar. This matter was taken up by the SIT,” he said.

The senior journalist said the 24-hour TV channels extensively covered the Gujarat riots.