Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia campus shooting coverage

Indian-origin prof killed in Virginia campus shooting shouts the headline on CNN-IBN website. Even their TV coverage in the morning was focussed on the Indian victims - a professor dead, a missing student etc. I don't understand this. If this was some hate killing and the victims were mostly Indians, then yes, it makes sense to emphasise the nationality of victims. But from what I gather, there have only been a couple of Indians at most out of the 30+ victims. It seems more like indiscriminate killing than targeting persons of any nationality. Then how does the Indianness of the victims matter? Is it some kind of pride: "We Indians are not behind others in any field - not even in getting killed on US campuses"? I just don't get this. If you want to cover it, cover it for the human tragedy it is. Cover it for the growing trend of violence in US schools and colleges. Or if you think such coverage won't be of much interest to Indian audience, then leave the topic. Go on to something else. Even Richard Gere kissing Shilpa Shetty. But why focus solely on the couple of Indian victims?

I really want to see how the thought process of those who decide such things goes. Do they get excited when they hear that there were a couple of Indian victims. "Whoopee, surely they must have some relatives over here. Can we get their sound bytes?".

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Anonymous said...

It is a very sad story... and above all it does not provide any clue so far on the motives. Natianality, terrorism none linked. And it is definitely not the time to start the blame game, when the victims families are mourning their heavy losses. I remember my grandparents loosing their 17 year old son in 1971 in an indescrete accident while returning from a university sponsered science exhibition in quiet university town of Mysore. What can you link that loss to? It wiped away a lot of hope for the entire family and they never recovered from it. Many such hopes have been wiped out in this incident. All victims are innocent and unconnected to the victim. Only thing it connects them to this violence was that they lived in the same world the victim seems to hate. Not their fault.
People are already bringing in their agendas to the media, for their self motives and politics. None of it helps the victims family today. There is always a better time to solve the issue. But it is not the better time then for media to cover it. Because by then life goes on and every one forgets V-Tech like they all forgot Columbine. An FBI agent came on CNN last night and warned CNN of spreading more hatred and copy-cat incidences if they continue to show the violent images and video from the killer. Some sense prevailed when CNN stopped the video braodcast but only for 7 minutes.. till that FBI guy was on the show. They brought back the images once he was gone.

Mohan said...

Shekar: I agree. Innocent lives have been lost for no fault of their own. And this is certainly not time for blame game.
But my criticism was on the excessive focus on couple of Indian victims in the Indian media. And while it makes sense to cover the killings, everything remotely related to it doesn't automatically become news too - "Loganathan's mother travelling to US. Will she get a passport and visa in time? SMS Y or N to 2055"