Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mumbai attacks create media frenzy

The saturation of news by Indian media during the Mumbai terrorist attacks is now a subject of debate for the country's Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, who are charging that the intensive live coverage may have helped the terrorists.

Citizen journalists, who used the Internet to post updates and criticisms on services such as Twitter and Flickr, made the realm of Internet reporting an unparalleled sensation. Traditional media were "too slow and inaccurate," citizen journalists said.

Eyewitness reports from blogs, file-sharing and social networking functions on the Internet delivered information "faster than conventional media and challenged some of its reporting," Variety reports. Despite their coverage of the attacks, which some called a "social media experiment in action," citizen journalism reports were often false or inaccurate.

As for the mainstream media, the deputy commissioner of police ordered a blackout of the country's TV news channels for a half an hour, arguing that the transmission of live relay and clips caused "an impediment in the police action" and endangered the lives of hostages and police.

During the MIB's meeting, representatives from the Indian Broadcasting Federation and News Broadcasting Association criticized the government for "failing to keep up with developments in the media industry," and failing to create a procedure for coverage of national emergencies.

Pakistan's media also weighed in on the reporting, with the News describing Indian broadcasters in a "race for propaganda" and providing "unsubstantiated" charges about the origins of the attackers.

The judgment comes after an "explosion of specialist news TV channels in India" in recent years.

Source: Variety

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