A chopper full of cameramen who couldn't care to carry with them a bottle of water or first aid kit , we don't need! #GoHomeIndianMedia
— prakriti khadka (@khadka_prakriti) May 3, 2015
— सुरज YFB (O+) (@skyasesh) May 3, 2015
All through the week there were murmurs of anger at the way the Indian media was covering the earthquakes there. Indians are used to a very particular cliche from television journalists no matter what the situation: "Kaisa lag raha hai?" (How are you feeling?) It might see like a normal question to ask, unless you're talking to someone who might have just lost her house or child to the quake.
For all Indian media who ask us "aapko kysa lag raha hey ? " my back question for you" ghar kab ja rahe ho?" :P #GoHomeIndianMedia
— ASHISH ACHARYA (@sk__fan) May 3, 2015
An indian news reporter to a mother who's learnt her only son has been buried under their house. Q. How do you feel? #GoHomeIndianMedia
— Prasanna KC (@KC_Prasanna) May 3, 2015
The basic unhappiness with the Indian media stems from this insensitivity, which many are seeing as an aspect of sensationalism. The impression that has been created is that the Indian media has been happy to benefit from disaster porn. Consider this open letter that takes pains to insist that the Indian people and the Indian government, which have done much to assist with Nepal's rescue efforts, are not the ones being blamed, just the media.
"Your media and media personnel are acting like they are shooting some kind of family serials. If your media person can reach to the places where the relief supplies have not reached, at this time of crisis can’t they take a first-aid kit or some food supplies with them as well?"
In addition to the sensationalism, two other undercurrents are also playing out with #GoHomeIndianMedia. One is the general sense, jumped on by many in India as well, that the coverage of Nepal has been needlessly jingoistic and hyped up the contribution of Indians. This cartoon perfectly encapsulates that feeling, which was embraced by Indians who feel the coverage has also been part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's image-building exercise.
— सुमित #HelpForNepal (@pathaksummit) May 3, 2015
— Kanak Mani Dixit (@KanakManiDixit) May 1, 2015
But this has also been furthered on by an old Nepali grouse that India treats the country like a little brother. When reports turned up in the Indian media that its aid workers were doing better than China's or that Nepal was inquiring into Pakistan sending beef masala packets, the feeling that went around was that, rather than the story being about Nepal, it had turned into the playground for India's neighbourly battles with Pakistan and China.
@narendramodi Nepal is a sovereign country not the state of India. We respect what India is doing for us. Please respect our soverignity.
— laxman (@Laxmanbral) May 3, 2015
— डा.मेन्टल (@jhyaulagyo) May 3, 2015
Of course, Indians on Twitter, the home of media criticism in India, happily jumped on board, insisting that they didn't want to take the Indian media back.
I'm cackling in delight at Nepal's trending #GoHomeIndianMedia I vote for Kashmiris, Manipuris and while we're at it, Bhutanis to join in
— Amba Azaad (@AmbaAzaad) May 3, 2015
Some did, however take issue with the hashtag, saying that if the Indian media had not played up the scale of the disaster, the world wouldn't have taken notice.
Indian TV does wall2wall coverage of Nepal, raises awareness, support from all quarters. Get flayed for intrusive presence. 1/2
— Indrani Bagchi (@horror06) May 3, 2015