Saturday, November 29, 2008

New and Old Media Coverage of Mumbai Siege

Courtesy NDTV and Stuti's photostream on FlickrIt is very sad for an Indiaphile like me to see the Taj Hotel burning - if you've been there, I'm sure you feel the same. I regret the innocent loss of life, and seeing westerners gunned down in places that I have myself visited. And I am apalled seeing urban warfare, with citizens running in terror, live on the Internet.

For the past two days, Internet social media has allowed me to follow the Mumbai Siege in a breathtaking torrent of information. News reports came in via Twitter with much more immediacy than the mainstream media. The urgency and passion of reports from the front lines was evident - though sometimes the 'facts' were partially or even entirely wrong.

But images rarely lie, and I had direct access to live video feeds from Mumbai via NDTV and IBNLive. I could only fault them when they replayed scenes under the banner of 'live news', which they later claimed meant that the audio was live and the video was blocked to prevent compromising anti-terrorist actions in progress.

In the end, mainstream media are stronger on analysis. The best photo coverage goes to Boston Globe's The Big Picture. The best geopolitical perspective is found on Stratfor's defense intelligence site. And the most sensitive opinion piece I've read is the one by Suketu Mehta, author of 'Bombay Maximum City', in the New York Times.

India has to get much more serious about stopping terrorism, and Pakistan too if anyone can take them seriously. This siege has been a wakeup call for both Indian and Pakistani governments. In the meantime, we should all support Mumbai in whatever way possible.


Abhishek Kumar said...

Microblogging brings in news with much more immediacy, and effect. And ofcourse, its not censored or biased.