Mumbai Terror Attacks: The cons of live coverage

Posted on November 28, 2008 By pramitsingh Topic: Terrorism, Mumbaiterrorattack2008, Television, Mumbai

We now know from TV news that the security forces ordered TV signals to the hotels under seige to be cut.

1. The order came after our Union Home Minister announced on Live TV that 200 NSG commandos were on their way to Mumbai and would reach in so much time. Brilliant.

2. Even if the TV signals to the Hotels were cut, the terrorists were reported to have access to satellite phones. Surely, they had access to TV reports from elsewhere, seeing how prepared they had come.

A question comes to mind: who is Live TV Coverage most useful for?

- Is it meant to provide live entertainment for all of us - to induce increased heart beats and foster 'meaningful' dinner table coversations at home?

- Is it meant to provide information to friends and relatives of people trapped inside the hotels and hospitals?

- Is it meant for the decision makers (we have seen how effective they are)? I think they have access to other classified sources of information.

- Is it meant for sundry politicians and political parties to parade their faces on the screen?

- Is it meant to create myths (alongwith the mandatory heroes and villains) for a a sad society rooted in mythology, hero worship and false beliefs?

We can go on and on about the semiotics, semantics, media theories and what not about the sad situation.


I am not suprised to read that this writer proposes that that 'security agencies should have the power to impose a delay of say three to six hours w.r.t live reporting of anti terror operations'.



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