The West has a long history of interfering in other countries internal affairs, a practice that the Western media faithfully mirrors in their reportage. This unspoken alliance between political agendas and the media in the West is reflected in their brand of journalism, which is habitually shallow, dishonest, and biased.
India, Hindus, and Lies galore
India and Hindus frequently find themselves at the receiving end of such dishonest journalism. The lack of contextual understanding or deliberate anti-Hindu agenda, or both, makes Western media’s portrayal of Indic issues simplistic or skewed and often borders on the absurd.
We offer a few examples of such inane journalism to illustrate the point:
- India’s Narendra Modi lays foundation stone at divisive Ayodhya temple (CNN) – Discusses Ayodhya temple’s impact on India’s secular values, suggesting a move towards Hindu majoritarianism. The article leans towards mischaracterizing Hindu nationalism while underplaying the historical significance for Hindus.
- In Hindu-nationalist India, Muslims risk being branded infiltrators in their own country (CNN) – Links Modi’s Hindu nationalism to policies like NRC/CAA, hinting at a challenge to India’s secularism. The narrative misses Hindus’ motivations for supporting such policies.
- Ayodhya verdict: The Indian top court gives the holy site to Hindus (BBC News) – Summarizes the Ayodhya verdict, focusing on the emotional reactions of Hindus rather than the historical context for the verdict.
- Inside an Indian camp for radical Hindu women (BBC News) – Criticizes Durga Vahini, the female branch of the RSS. The article essentially equates embracing nationalistic and religious sentiments to propagating hate.
- In India, a Ghost Town and a Mythological Bridge (The New York Times) – Dhanushkodi is referred to  as a ghost town, while the archaeologically recognized Ram Setu is labeled a mythological bridge.
- At World’s Biggest Religious Festival, Nirvana and ‘Glamping’ (The New York Times) – Despite its success, NYT describes the 2019 Kumbh Mela, organized under Yogi Adityanath, as mere “glamorous camping.”
- Christian persecution set to rise ‘sharply’ in 2019, group warns (Fox News) – Fox News reports on U.K.-based charity Release International’s claims about increasing attacks on Christians in India, attributing them to rising Hindu nationalism.
- Citizenship Amendment Bill: India’s new ‘anti-Muslim’ law explained (BBC) – Neglects concerns about illegal immigration and associated threats, focusing solely on the implications of the Act for Hindus.
A deeper analysis of the Western media’s treatment of Hindu topics clearly shows that media outlets like CNN, BBC, NYT, Fox News, The Guardian, and MSNBC can be reliably counted on to present Hinduism and India in a negative light. Topics such as the Ayodhya temple, NRC/CAA policies, and figures like Narendra Modi are frequently framed within the context of Militant Hindu nationalism, whereas the subjects pertaining to Hindu traditions like the Kumbh Mela and Ram Setu are reduced to simplistic or misleading descriptions. On the other hand, topics such as the persecution of Hindus by Christian missionaries are either swept under the proverbial rug or rationalized away.
Where are the Hindu Journalists?
Within the media landscape, influential journalists like Anderson Cooper and Christiane Amanpour at CNN, Huw Edwards and Lyse Doucet at BBC News, and Maggie Haberman at The New York Times dominate headlines and discussions worldwide. Fox News relies on commentators like Sean Hannity and, until recently, Tucker Carlson, while figures like Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes steer MSNBC. The Guardian features voices like Gary Younge, and Reuters, renowned for its comprehensive coverage, was led by Stephen J. Adler.
However, there’s a noticeable lack of representation of Hindu journalists in prominent media positions. A few noteworthy names stand out, including Manu Raju from CNN, Amol Rajan from BBC News, Aditya Chakrabortty from The Guardian, and Manas Mishra from Reuters. However, these Hindu journalists are rarely assigned to report on Indic matters. Amol Rajan focuses on domestic issues instead of international affairs, while Aditya Chakrabortty concentrates on U.S. economics, and CNN’s Sanjay Gupta primarily covers health and medical topics. Although they all bring interesting perspectives, they have little or no opportunity to report from their Hindu perspectives.
On the other hand, known anti-Hindu journalists are often given a free hand to report on Indic issues. The Washington Post, for instance, frequently features Barkha Dutt and Rana Ayyub. Barkha Dutt’s Kargil coverage, infamously aiding Pakistan with real-time updates on India’s actions, makes her a highly controversial figure. She has also been roundly criticized for crassly blaming Kashmiri Pundits for their own genocide. Similarly, Rana Ayyub has garnered attention for posting vitriolic statements against Hindus on social media. Recently, she was the subject of a legal action for falsely framing an incident involving Muslim youth assaulting an elderly Muslim as a Hindu-Muslim confrontation.
Given the Western media’s longstanding and instinctive anti-Hindu posture, the Hindu diaspora cannot expect the situation to change any time soon. Their success in professional spaces or multitudes of contributions to their adopted Western societies is unlikely to make a difference in how their perspectives or issues are treated in the media. Only by actively participating in media ownership and advocating for accurate and respectful representation can the Hindu diaspora contribute to a more diverse and inclusive media landscape in the West.