Newsbytheway's Blog

January 11, 2010

Securing our airports

Filed under: Terrorism — Rabea Khan @ 12:23 am
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Recently Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced new security measures to be introduced in major British airports. Among other things full body scanners will be installed in airports very soon, starting from Heathrow.

Copyright Rabea Khan 2010

No doubt that these scanners will be a step forward in securing our airports, but are they enough to prevent a repeat of 9/11?

Al Qaeda, the most persistent and deadliest of all terrorists group has time and again beaten us. They are far too innovative. This world would have been a far better world if half of the brilliant minds, working for Al Qaeda, were doing something for humanity rather.We need to think ahead of Al Qaeda now, think of new and smarter ways to beat them.

May be Israel has the answer.

El Al, the Israeli airlines, is said to be the safest airlines in the world. They don’t depend on the machines; they go by their intuition. Anything that looks ‘out of the ordinary’ is probed. Anyone who looks a bit suspicious is stopped and questioned at length. It can be defined as racial profiling but it is more of using common sense than anything else.

Racial profiling

It is a fact that terrorist today has a specific profile. A typical terrorist-

  • Is a Muslim
  • Is Educated and/or radicalized in US or UK
  • Belongs to Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan or any other similar country

If racial profiling were used, it would have prevented the bombing attempt on Christmas Day in US. Abdulmutallab fulfilled all the conditions of a typical 21st century terrorist. Then it makes sense to have a debate about using it now.

There are fears that it will lead to seclusion and harassment of Muslims all over the world. Truth is, it may. But I am sure ways can be devised a have a system considering all such drawbacks. Let at least one Muslim be a profiler in the team. This will not only avoid any possibility of harassment, but also give faith to the Muslim passengers that they won’t be unnecessarily targeted.

This may not be the ideal solution but I believe this is the price Muslims need to pay. I am ready to pay the price, for securing my loved ones and myself.


October 20, 2009

Broadcast media in India-Bad & the Ugly

Filed under: Media,Terrorism — Rabea Khan @ 11:11 pm
Tags: ,

From the days of an-hour news bulletin broadcast on Doordarshan (government) to the ever-increasing 24-hr news channels, Indian broadcast media has certainly come a long way.

Till 1990s, Indian news scenario was monopolised by Doordarshan, a public broadcaster that presented news in a neutralize manner. More than a news channel it was a mouthpiece of the reigning government.

Its monopoly was broken when private channels penetrated the Indian boundaries and gave viewers the option of choice. They grew and thrived in the liberalised environment and have reached a point now where they seem to have altered the definition of `News’.

Today news channels in India are solely guided by Television Rating Points or TRPs. For them the equation read:

More TRPs=More Advertisers=More Money

So to gather more eyeballs, channels don’t shy away from sensationalising every piece of news. Flick through the news channels and you are guaranteed to see a BREAKING NEWS on the ticker of more than one channel.

A boy trapped in a well was made into a celebrity overnight; love affairs of film stars are given more air time; astrology shows are an integral part their FPCs, so on and so forth.

On 26th Nov 2008 when Mumbai was attacked, it was a litmus test for the news channels. A war was been fought right in middle of a city. It was called India’s 9/11. News channel televised every moment of the ordeal. The coverage earned more flak than appreciation. The news channels were accused of not applying any discretion. National security was put at stake as LIVE pictures of the strategic positions of the commandos at the Taj, Oberoi and the Nariman House were been telecasted. Security officials and the broadcasters association eventually asked the channels to exercise restrain.

At present, broadcast media in India is in its early stages of evolution. Like a child, it needs direction and nurture to break out from the clutter of sensation and hyperbole.  The only way is forward.

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