Coverage of Ukrainian crisis in Indian media

Completely absorbed in the ongoing elections, Indian society is not paying too much attention to the processes taking place far from the borders of the country. But the events in Ukraine and around get noticeable coverage in the Indian media.

The problem is that among the Indian news agencies or a vast majority of Indian newspapers, none has a correspondent in Moscow, not to mention Kiev. As a result, Indian newspapers simply reprint reports from Western agencies. And this, even if we forget about direct manipulations, leads to a unilateral and biased coverage. Boris Volkhonsky, an expert with the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies, looked into the methods of Western propaganda used for covering the events in Ukraine.

Today only one Indian newspaper, The Hindu, has its correspondent in Moscow. Others covering the events in Russia and the CIS countries simply reprint messages from Western agencies: Reuters, AFP and AP. And there is evidence that more and more materials come from AP.

“Let us try to figure out what picture these agencies paint before their readers, talking about the Ukrainian crisis. I will not talk about outright lies and manipulations of the facts, even though they deserve special consideration”, says Boris Volkhonski, “I'll talk about those situations where external feed seems to be held in the framework of objectivity, but the choice of words to describe the current events and their participants creates a very definite idea of who are the "good guys" and who are the "bad guys".”

Residents of the south-east of Ukraine, who have rebelled against the dictates of the central government in Kiev, are invariably referred to as " pro-Moscow " or "pro-Russian " separatists and sometimes as “militants”. “Pro-Russian mob seized the building of a police station” is quite a typical headline. It immediately gives the impression that it was a riotous mob that smashed everything in its path, beating the helpless police. Though actually the "capture" occurred peacefully, and the guards themselves went over to the side of the people.

And, for example, while reporting on the blatant case of brutal beating of the Ukrainian presidential candidate Oleg Tsarev by Ukrainian nationalists, the newspaper " Times of India " quoting an AP despatch calls these bandits "enraged activists”. That is, according to the agency, and hence according to the newspaper also, the beating up of a presidential candidate fits into the normal logic of political struggle.

The self-proclaimed "president" Oleksandr Turchinov in articles is referred to at best as "acting president ", and in the headlines, simply as the president without any reservations. Although actually the powers of Viktor Yanukovich, the legitimately elected President by popular election, were not terminated in a legal manner, and all executive power in Ukraine is now in the hands of usurpers, who came to power in a coup.

Here is a typical headline in the same newspaper " Times of India ", received once again from AP: "Ukrainian troops, tanks head to troubled east for 'anti-terrorist operation”. Everything in the headline is pointless - both in terms of the validity and in terms of internal logic, says Boris Volkhonski: First, anti-terrorist operations are conducted against individual criminal terrorist groups, and to call the inhabitants of eastern Ukraine, who have been conducting peaceful mass protests since March, "terrorists" is frankly a distortion of reality. Second, anti-terrorist operations are usually conducted by intelligence agencies and not by regular army, and even more so – with no heavy armored vehicles. So, actually it is not an "anti-terrorist operation," but the beginning of a full-scale civil war, which the junta in Kiev is unleashing against its own people. But not a word is mentioned about that in the article.

Examples can be continued indefinitely. I delved into the publications on this topic in at least four central Indian dailies- continues Boris Volkhonski - More or less objective information can be seen only in the newspaper "The Hindu", although it also sometimes smooths over real problems.

Finally, let us focus on only one example - the case of the Russian military aircraft flight over the U.S. warship in the Black Sea. You read the article about this case ("Times of India" even devoted two whole publications to this), and you see the following picture: a peaceful American ship quietly sailed near the coast of Romania, and suddenly a Russian warplane flew towards it and nearly bombed it. But in fact, the ship was off the coast of Ukraine and the Russian Crimea. In addition, the Black Sea does not wash the shores of the United States, and under international law, the stay of warships of countries not washed by the sea, is limited to 21 days. Destroyer USS Donald Cook, in violation of the Montreux Convention, had been there longer. Finally, the Associated Press "forgets" to mention that the Russian plane was not carrying any weapons, that it was making simply an observational flight. Transfer this situation, say, to the Andaman Sea near the coast of Bangladesh and replace the USS by a Chinese Destroyer. And let's look at the reaction of the Indian readers.

To the credit of the Indian readers, I must say that the vast majority of them, judging by the discussion of articles in blogs, are not "taken by" such propaganda.

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