The Indian media and its head honchos have their own standards and rules and the masses, with smart phones in their hands have turned into some sort of armies on one side or the other rather than providing cultural policing and asking for accountability.
Anyone can say anything and it is no longer right or wrong. It is either for or anti Modi if it is politics. It is liberal or right winger if it is social. Attacking religion(s) is the new pastime in India and o boy people love their social media armoury and relish spending hours on end siding with one or the other.
Yes there are paid followers or warriors that lead the debate in most cases but the commoner on Twitter or Instagram loves lending his/her voice although no one may be listening.
Australia is different. There is luckily, still sense of what is right or wrong and even in politics, there some common ground – Australian common values – which normally people leave out when they want to attack or criticise. In short, although things are fluid, but right is still somewhat right and wrong is seen wrong by most, unlike India.
Thus, it is not surprising that the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has found that Radio star Kyle Sandilands breached decency standards with controversial remarks about the Virgin Mary when in September 2019 in an episode of Kyle & Jackie O on KIIS FM he alleged that the Virgin Mary was probably impregnated “behind the camel shed”.
“I thought Mary was his [Jesus’] girlfriend but apparently it was the mother,” he said on air.
“The mother lied obviously and told everyone, ‘Nah I got pregnant by a magical ghost’. Bulls–t.”
ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said Sandilands had “overstepped the mark” in terms of generally accepted standards of decency.
“Australians are generally tolerant of irreverent humour and critical discussion about religion,” she said.
“But they would not expect a host of a broadcast program to derisively criticise people’s intelligence because of their religious beliefs.”
Sandilands had apologised on air for his comments, shortly after he made them.
“I never intended to purposely upset anyone. Obviously, I have upset people and I am sorry for it. There’s nothing else I can do but to say, hey, I am sorry for that,” he had said last September.
If only Indian media were intelligent to value what is not decent and not turn a flagrant violation someone’s personal belief’s into a discussion on how India today strangulates artistic freedom.
Discussing the episode of Lord Rama’s exile for 14 years, an American author Wendy Doniger in her book The Hindus: An Alternative History among many other atrocious interpretations of Hindu beliefs, wrote that Lord Rama said only an idiot like father would give up a good son like him for the sake of pretty women.
The book was withdrawn from India by Penguin Books as settlement of the case filed by a Hindu commoner, Dinanath Batra.
But many self imposed, overseas decorated, celebrated and in many cases paid Indian commentators jumped to Wendy Doniger’s defence. Wendy in her statement painted the decision a threat to freedom of speech in India.