Pakistan and Indian media indulged in shameful and choreographed propaganda and put on full display an ugly transgression of human dignity during the reunion between incarcerated former Indian naval commander Kulbhushan Jadhav and his family (mother and wife) on December 25, 2017, a political analyst has said.
In article written for and published recently by the website thenewsonsunday.com.pk, political analyst Adnan Rehmat, says, "The problem between Pakistan and India is not just the entrenched political economy of conflict centered on security interests - it is also majorly the media on both sides. Conflict fills up the coffers of media profits. People's perceptions of issues are largely based on media's own perceptions of those issues."
Holding the view that the Jadhav family reunion exposed the true nature of the moment for what it really was: a real-time media event to conduct propaganda and a security driven foreign policy, Rehmat further said, "In the end, this otherwise human and beautiful gesture by Pakistan leaves in its wake a sense of despondency. It appears that even tangible human relationships and possible new beginnings using these human relationships to resolve the inhuman nature of states can't be successful."
"The meeting between a man certified as an enemy combatant and his mother and wife was an unusual display of bilateral diplomacy even by the sulky Indo-Pak standards. The gesture in itself was a refreshing expression of propriety and heart by Islamabad for catering to human values... It was the moment pregnant with the promise of Pakistan actually winning hearts and minds in India.. It was not to be," he adds.
He says that the time preceding the 43-minute reunion and the time thereafter certified that Jadhav, his mother and wife had become the "latest pawn in the propaganda wars on both sides."
It saw both Pakistan and India indulging in deep and opinionated analysis rather than logically doing a "first complete event reporting".
"The social media in both countries, in keeping with the high-octane mood of the moment, also exploded with public opinion in real-time with the Jadhav family union," he adds.
Pakistani media, he says, was completely and unacceptably boorish in its presence at the Foreign Office and in its line of questioning both before and after the meeting.
"This media has for about two decades now become a real time affair and has expanded its remit to the omnipotent internet, making sure most people remain hostage to its biases," Rehmat maintains in his article.
He concludes by saying, "For journalists, being unbiased is not optional - it is mandatory. The Jadhav women are neither terrorists nor on trial, nor a party to the Indo-Pak rivalry, even if Jadhav is indeed guilty of killing. Journalists are guardians of public interest. Their professional remit is accountability of policymakers and the government. If the Jadhav women did not want to speak, the Pakistani media should have respected that right as professional duty. The media's silence - haranguing is not journalism - could have spoken out louder than anything else said on the subject of Pakistan's good gesture of allowing the meeting."