The news about India’s surgical strike on Pakistani soil on 29 September sent newsrooms on both sides of the border into a tizzy. And its effects have been long-lasting.
Two media organisations – India's NDTV and Pakistan's Dawn newspaper – have seemingly found themselves caught in a crisis of sorts.
On Pakistan’s side, Dawn reported a closed-door meeting in which its civilian government asked its military to clamp down on terror.
In the days that followed, the Nawaz Sharif government not only denied the report thrice, but also barred Cyril Almeida, the journalist who wrote the article, from leaving the country.
Across the border, NDTV decided to not air senior journalist Barkha Dutt’s interview with Congress leader P Chidambaram, as he was reportedly “critical” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s handling of the surgical strike. Chidambaram subsequently attacked the channel – and questioned what was objectionable about his interview.
The two situations, albeit different, revealed the two choices that media houses often make in times of crisis: Stand its ground or succumb to pressure.
On one hand, Dawn published a strong editorial, declaring that it stands by its story and its reporter.
NDTV’s editorial director Sonia Singh, on the other hand, introduced a new editorial policy to its employees in the form of a four-point-bulletin.
Take a look at how the two media houses from across the border made tough editorial decisions.
In the Dawn editorial, the editor took responsibility for the story. Barkha Dutt, too, whose interview NDTV decided to censor, came out in support of the Dawn journalist.
And so did CEO Vikram Chandra.
Perhaps Ms Dutt is right. How indeed then, will India earn its gloating rights?