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Reporting Mumbai

Richard Porter | 17:02 UK time, Tuesday, 11 July 2006

Terrible news emerging from India of a series of explosions on trains in Mumbai. The latest reports suggest 135 people have been killed - although experience tells us that these figures are likely to change over the course of the evening.

BBC World logoBBC World has a large audience in India and the BBC has traditionally held a special position there as a trusted and valued broadcaster. So it's important we get this right.

For a news channel, an event of this kind sets off a tried and tested set of processes. This is what we call a rolling news story - we're staying on this to the exclusion of all other events. We're calling upon all our resources in India to help us keep viewers up to date. We have two correspondents based in Mumbai, who are at the scene of the explosions.

A blast site in MumbaiWe have pictures coming in from local news organisations, and our producers in London are checking these before making them ready to go to air. The wire services are providing us with new information - such as the prime minister of India's reaction to what's happened. And our own producers are calling upon their contacts to get as much fresh information as possible.

It's also important for us to provide some context. Our security correspondent Gordon Correra has been on air a number of times in the past three hours explaining the background to the security situation in India. Gordon has a deep understanding of issues related to terrorism around the world, as well as a good knowledge of previous events in India.

It's not our job to speculate, or to guess - but we do use our experience and knowledge to give as much context as we can to the events. As I write, our Pakistan correspondent has just gone on air to report on reaction from Islamabad - President Musharraf has condemned the attacks.

One production team is keeping the channel on air. Another team of people is looking further ahead. Reinforcements are being sent from Delhi to Mumbai, and we are also sending teams on the overnight flights from London to Mumbai. We hope to have one of our presenters anchoring our coverage from Mumbai in the morning, but there's a lot of work to be done first.

Most of all, however, we have to remember this is a terrible human tragedy for many people. We must adopt the right tone, take great care with our use of pictures, and remember that there are people watching who may well be directly affected by the attacks.


  • 1.
  • At 06:03 PM on 11 Jul 2006,
  • DPR wrote:

It's just a pity that we don't get BBC World here in the UK because News 24's coverage of the blasts has been pretty pitiful so far.

  • 2.
  • At 06:21 PM on 11 Jul 2006,
  • Amitabh Thakur wrote:

One more act of hastly violence, one more sordid drama in the journey of human race, one more point of shame. What have we really come up to? What is the aim of all these arbitrary and idiotic acts? Why all this bloodshed? Why the killings of the innocent?
Will a time ever come when people would realize that such acts are not only futile but are extremell deplorable and shameful?
Think of the people dead and gone. Think of those reduced to limps for the rest of their lives. Think of others injured reeling in pain. And finally think of those weeping and wailing for their near and dear ones.
Finally think that it can be any one of us.
Oh God, is this your world?
Amitabh Thakur, Lucknow, India

Richard, per your Mumbai coverage today. I've included a link to our blog there where our writers are posting their coverage on the ground there. Thank you for drawing international attention to this horrific act of cowardice against the people of Mumbai.

  • 4.
  • At 09:00 PM on 11 Jul 2006,
  • J.G. wrote:

With all those resources, you might think someone on the BBC website might mention the I or M words when they review the security situation. They say "There have been a number of bomb attacks in Mumbai in recent years." but do not go on to tell us who planted them. Why is the BBC news output now like some bizarre Soviet-style reporting where people have to read between the lines to find out what probably happened?

  • 5.
  • At 10:24 PM on 11 Jul 2006,
  • Carlo Montgomery wrote:

I just watch BBC News and read your online news to really find out what's going on in the world.

The news channels in the US seem to be getting their information from a "BIg Giant Head," who tells them exactly what to say and the all say it at the same time.

  • 6.
  • At 11:53 PM on 11 Jul 2006,
  • Prashant Tenjarla wrote:

For nearly thirty years, we in India have faced repeated acts of terrorism from Pakistan-based terrorist organisations including the overt attempt to invade and capture Indian territory via Kargil.

Delhi, Jammu & Kashmir, Mumbai then and now; it is sad the international community did not wake up to India's warning of terrorism breeding in its neighbourhood, and support it it's difficult fight against the scrouge.

No one took heed from their petty political platforms.

Very soon, 9/11, Bali, then 7/7, Chechnya, Jordan, and so many similar instances were to be suffered worldwide. Why?

Today we have gradual global awakening after so many lives have been maimed and lost. Why?

And that awakening is so incomplete and misdirected. Everybody knows the terror nurseries of the world. They have been repeatedly highlighted alongwith evidence in the press, UN and every available forum. Yet, the world looks elsewhere, in the process creating new terror fields and pushing the existing terror-mongers away from those theaters to newer pastures.

Why cannot the world body act upon the evidence presented to it? How many more such barbaric liberties are we to witness around the world?

India hasn't taken the route of Israel or the US over the past three decades and has gone about it through the proper channel of United Nations to no avail despite presenting strong evidence that have unfortunately proven to be prophetic.

Is the Israeli and US approach the only answer? Are we all to be laws unto ourselves and reign in anarchy? Or will the world body come together as one only and only if petty political concessions are given and taken first? Or does it merit recognition as a problem only when countries that constitute the Security Council are also affected?

The pain of human sufferring is the same for us all irrespective of who we are and where we belong.

I have many questions from those who matter on this planet as a citizen of this world. Mankind needs to know peace that hasn't been available through the wars of the last century and this one's going the same way. After all we may not have much time on this planet anyway, the way we are creating ripe conditions to wipe life off its face one way or the other.

It is yet another sad day for us here in India. Hope, at least now, the world takes the evidence more seriously.

My condolences to those who have suffered bereavement and injury. I share the pain of my fellow countrymen.

  • 7.
  • At 02:48 AM on 12 Jul 2006,
  • Jenny wrote:

How do the editors of a worldwide news provider avoid it seeming that they are just using such loss of life as this as raw material for their production line? The usual reporters and presenters flown in for a day. By trying to add something valuable to the coverage? Something international, something of extra quality, extra depth, something that comes from having reported things somehow similar elsewhere, so that learning and understanding increases? One wonders how individuals dropped in to a location disrupted by such events can gather the information to make much of a contribution, to do much more than just be on-location verbalisers for scripts fed them from the studio. How is it done? Is it, indeed?

  • 8.
  • At 06:26 AM on 12 Jul 2006,
  • venky iyer wrote:

such serial bomb blasts had occurred in bombay in 1993 as well. but this time the terrorists have hit the most sensitive area of (now) mumbai, its local railway. millions are packed into these trains during rush hours. the blasts have killed almost 200 people and injured many more. thousands would have been shocked by the impact and noise as well. something needs to be done about the mass psychological impact of such planned destructions.
amazingly the mumbai spirit have withstood many such major shocks previously, and hope it does so again...
everyone of us need to think what to do to stop such terrorising trends in future.
venky iyer, mumbai

  • 9.
  • At 12:26 PM on 12 Jul 2006,
  • Ben wrote:

In a similar vein;

"Rumsfeld makes suprise visit to Iraq"

Why must the BBC swallow this appalingly misleading "surprise visit" crap? "Rumsfeld Sneaks Into Baghdad" is much more accurate, or perhaps "Rumsfeld Visits Baghdad" followed by "Due to the dire security situation in US-controlled Baghdad, the visit had to be made unannounced".

Rumsfeld isn't popping in, like some long-unseen uncle. As with Bush, who couldn't even tell the Iraqi PM that he was in the country until 5 minutes before the meeting, they are having to visit surreptitiously because the country is a very, very dangerous place in the throes of civil war (don't even get me started on why no-one is calling it this).

  • 10.
  • At 07:06 PM on 12 Jul 2006,
  • Thanh wrote:

It is bizzare that many times, the BBC website refers to the Mumbai train bombers as "terrorists" -- in quote. Why the quote? You think the bombers are not truly terrorists? You are concerned that they might be freedom fighters in some quarters and therefore a quote is called for?

If those evil bombers are not qualified as terrorists , who else can be then? Please look at evil in the eyes and call it as it is, without quote. BBC, please grow a spine, for once.

  • 11.
  • At 09:44 PM on 12 Jul 2006,
  • jaz wrote:

mmm,no mention of the "m"or"i"word.are we burying the bad news again?

  • 12.
  • At 10:09 PM on 12 Jul 2006,
  • Kuthar wrote:

I appreciate the post # 10. I noticed the quotes too. The respect that I have had for BBC has been eroding over the last few years. I had hoped that after the 7/7 London bombings British press and BBC in particular would be a little more un-equivocal in condemning such acts. Apparently when it comes to non-western nations BBC is usually unable to find a clear perspective when an act of terrorism occurs. That is a shame.

I have to say one thing in favor of BBC. While the Indian TV Channels falshed the images of dead bodies and injured again and again with scant regard to human dignity, BBC desisted.

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