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“Our Army cannot be doubted or questioned or used for political gains,” channel staffers are told in an internal email.

 

The graphic that played out at the top of the 9 pm bulletin of NDTV 24×7 on October 6, 2016. The Indian soldiers who attacked terror targets in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir may have returned home without any fatalities on their side but there is one casualty that the surgical strike did cause on our side of the border: Indian journalism has been left grievously injured.

Marching right behind the special forces who crossed the Line of Control to deliver “five slaps” on Pakistan – to use defence minister Manohar Parrikar’s phrase – most news channels have crossed the line that separates journalism from PR and worse. If one channel is trying to get its anchors to end their bulletins with a ‘Jai Hind’ sign-off, another has created a ‘war room’  for its staff to play soldier – complete with an anchor wearing an imitation ‘flak jacket’ to shield him from enemy fire as he plans his own surgical strikes on Pakistan.

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