In the old days, there used to be War Correspondent courses for journalists. I don’t know if they still have them. Perhaps such need to be reinforced and made absolutely compulsory for our loquacious TV commentators. These ‘journalists’ fall over each other to make revelations of what is happening on the front, hoping to later claim credit for having sparked off another Indo-Pak war …... complete with hectoring of the Armed forces and the administration on how they should handle situations that they have been trained for, cocksure in their belief that they and they alone know how any and every situation should be handled!! Obviously opposition leaders cannot afford to be left behind in hectoring and making absurd demands which, if anything, exhibit how far from reality they actually are.
This morning’s Indian Express Op-ed page (August 13, 2013) carries a very very rationale argument “A Competitive Pseudo-Patriotism” by Rtd. Lieutenant General V K Nayar reiterating that there are laid down procedures for the armed forces to deal with whatever happens at the front, which need not become fodder for competitive newshounds and political spokesperson to make war on TV, to be beamed to millions who do not know of how the Armed Forces operate; and have been operating for the past 66 years to keep the country safe, except when politics overtakes defence needs.
The full glare of media, at all times, with its damaged integrity and blatantly incomplete reporting may end up negative for India’s national interests. If everyone is always looking over the shoulder to wonder how some action may appear to a novice reporter unaware of the nuances of the situation, very little would be actually done in national interest alone.
Is it not time that we accept that there is a role away from media coverage for operations at all levels in matters that have to be conducted with some confidentiality, whether defense or diplomacy?