Thursday, 4 December 2008

Why is everybody angry with Barkha Dutt over coverage of Mumbai terrorist attacks?

A wave of angry messages and comments directed at senior journalist Barkha Dutt have flooded the internet in the last couple of days.

On social networking website Facebook, communities like 'Take Barkha Dutt off air' and 'The worst senior journalist on the planet' have been joined by thousands. What's the sudden reason for this tsunami of anger against her?

Perhaps, it was because of the fact that ordinary young reporters could be excused if they get worked up in such circumstances, but not a seasoned journalist like her. She was accused of over-excitedness, histrionics and 'made up' emotions besides insensitivity towards the victims and their kin on whose faces the mike was put up when bullets were raining.

Such was the anger that Barkha Dutt had to respond and a special article was featured on the homepage of NDTV's website. Says Anurag Kashyap to Tehelka, "When I see Barkha Dutt on We The People, trying to talk with a common man who lost six members of his family, almost trying to force something out him, that makes me angry. It seemed so false, so overdramatic."

"A general sort of suggests that there were no hostages in Oberoi Trident. (Clever.) Then, our herione of revelations calls the head of Oberoi, and the idiot confirms a possibility of 100 or more people still in the building. Hello! Guys with guns, you’ve got more goats to slay. But before you do, you’ve got to love NDTV and more precisely Ms. Dutt. She’s your official intelligence from Ground zero, writes a blogger.

Another angry blogger writes that Barkha moved around Taj and didn't venture towards the CST which is a more vibrant symbol of Mumbai and where 55 person died, probably because the latter represents middle-class and the poor citizens.

Citizen journalist Sunitha Stalin wrote at Merinews website that media allowed terrorists to make use of the medium and gave them wide publicity. "When the commandos and police were fighting the terrorists to save the lives of our brothers and sisters, what was the media doing – gaining publicity and earning money?

Though Naval chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta went a step ahead and made a personal charge that during Kargil war the NDTV coverage led to the killing of three armymen. Barkha, who is Group Editor of NDTV English, has called it baseless and wrong. She has countered the charges.

Barkha's close friends in the media are trying to come to her rescue. But such was the outpouring of criticism that she had to write a long reply to all these accusations. The wikipedia entry was altered recently and it read, 'she will do pretty much anything to be seen on TV', mentions Neha at her popular blog.

Her bossing over others, interrupting the work of everybody from police to the fishermen and shoving passers-by for a byte, irrated the viewers. Blogger Mekin summed her response up in a sentence: Barkha meant that there were no rules in place, so we could not have broken any. Mekin says that she wanted to say that you, viewers, have no intellect that tells you what is right and what is wrong.

May be she is loud, arrogant and bossy. Some of her criticism may be because every successful person has a hategroup just like he has several fans. But many factors combined to give rise to this anger. Her response can be read at the link.

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