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Re: Would Mr. Guptara now please retract or contradict?




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> We have thanks to Mr. Narayan the following reported facts about >the
Rape
of the Nuns which was discussed a few motnsh ago:
>"Takefor instance the rape of the four nuns in Jhabua. Today the
>Indian
Press (and the foreign correspondents witness Tony Cliftons >piece in
the
last issue of Newsweek) are sitll reporting that it was a >93religious
rape.
Yet I went to Jhabua and met the four adorable >nuns, who themselves
admitted, along with their bishop George >Anatil, that it had nothing to
do
with religion. It was the doing of a >gang of Bhil tribals, known to
perpetrate this kind of hateful acts on >their own women. Yet today, the

Indian Press, the Christian
>hierarchy and the politicians continue to include the Jhabua rape in
>the list of the atrocities against the Christians."
>
>I wonder if Mr. Guptara may now care to retract what he said earlier on

this issue or contradict the report given above.
>
>Subroto Roy.
>

Here is another report that questions with facts the credibility of
India's
English newspapers on the recent unfortunate and deplorable incidents:

Ram Narayanan

REDIFFUSION ON THE NET
HOME | NEWS | COMMENTARY | ARVIND LAVAKARE
February 2, 1999

  Arvind Lavakare
The English media's hostility towards Hindus

At long last, thank god, a confession has come from the English media.
Reacting to the BJP's grievance that the entire media, particularly the
one
which communicates in English, has been greatly exaggerating the recent
anti-Christian violence, the regular column last week of Shekhar Gupta,
Editor-in-Chief of The Indian Express, displayed a rare ethical
standard,
combining as it did a fair degree of contrition with a healthy
commitment to
truthfulness --- qualities which are difficult to find these days in our

troubled land.

Let's see the facts as outlined by the gracious Gupta himself. His
column
stated that---

· "First of all in Jhabua, there has indeed been no evidence yet that
anybody from the Sangh Parivar was involved in the rape of the nuns."

· "Then, despite all the commotion and outrage in the media and the
world,
not a single Christian has been killed in Gujarat yet.  Also, Gujarat
has a
history of Hindu resentment against the missionaries dating back to
Mahatma
Gandhi's times."

· "Similarly, Orissa…a state run by the Congress, has a history of
indigenous violence against the missionaries. Six persons were killed
only
last year and since the state has a large tribal population, conversions

have been going on there…There is no evidence yet that Dara Singh" (the
main
suspect in the Stains incineration) "was actively involved with any
Sangh
Parivar organisation…"

Based on an examination of the above, Gupta came to the conclusion that
"On
facts, therefore, it would seem that we in the English-language media
have
something to answer for." Just a few paragraphs later, Gupta's column
recanted even more by stating that "Surely, we in the media have much to

answer for."

Now it is precisely such irreverence for the vital difference between
"something" and "much" that often exhibits itself in a lot of our
newspaper
copy and misleads millions of readers.

It is the same old imp that springs to action again towards the end of
Gupta's column. After admitting that the media has "something" as well
as
"much" to answer for, he quickly passes the blame on to the Sangh
Parivar
spokesmen's utterances for causing "self-inflicted wounds." He finds
fault
with (i) the Vishwa Hindu Parishad's charge of Christian conspiracy in
the
matter of the Nobel Prize awards to Amartya Sen and Mother Teresa, and
with
(ii) L K Advani for quickly giving a clean chit to Bajrang Dal for the
Stains carnage. Now can any mature media man accept these two utterances
as
grave enough to warrant the kind of calumny that was repeatedly heaped
on
the Sangh Parivar by the media? The first reason cited was over in just
a
couple of days when the VHP withdrew its statement; and, revealingly,
the
second reason cited occurred weeks after the calumny had already been
stuck
by the media on the Parivar.

No, Mr Gupta, it is no use finding pretexts for running away from the
truth.

Just consider the following:

* The lead paragraph of a front-page report of The Hindu appearing in
its
edition of January 2 stated that "The two-member central team which
visited
Gujarat to assess the situation there after attacks on Christian
missionaries were reported, has pointed out that the situation took an
ugly
turn after a meeting of the Hindu Jagran Manch was stoned at Ahwa town
on
Christmas Day and the HJM retaliated."

Towards the end of his report the newspaper's special correspondent
mentioned that "In view of the tense atmosphere prevailing in the
regions,
the judgement exercised by the District Administration in permitting a
protest rally on Christmas Day seemed to have been inappropriate and
this
led to the occurrence of other incidents." Yet the heading of that
report
proclaimed "Timing of Hindu rally inappropriate: panel." Was that fair?
And
despite that categorical report of the Central team, (without any such
word
as "seemed"), Mr Gupta is not willing to buy the Sangh Parivar argument
that
Christians started the riots in Dangs on Christmas Day.

* Despite the categorical report of its special correspondent, Yogesh
Vajpeyi, did The Indian Express loudly announce to its millions of
readers
that no Hindutva group was involved in the Jhabua rapes? On the other
hand,
if Vajpeyi's report had even smelt the Hindutva hand in the affair, one
can
imagine what the paper's headlines would have been.

* Despite the categorical report of Vajpeyi, a veteran correspondent we
are
told, did The Indian Express and the rest of the media Parivar dub the
Christians' national protest day of December 4 last year as being
unwarranted, communally acrimonious and a vicious slur on the BJP-led
government?

* Based on the information provided by the Congress government of Madhya

Pradesh, Home Minister Advani announced that half of the arrested
persons in
the Jhabua case were Christians. However, one Church forum had the gall
to
publicly label Advani as being untruthful. Did the media criticise this
defamation of the nation's home minister?

* On January 7, Ghelubhai Nayak, a 75-year-old Gandhian settled In Dangs

since 1948, sent a fax communication to the Special Bench of the
Minorities
Commission setting out some disturbing facts of Christian activity in
several villages of that district on December 25 and prior to that day.
Did
any journalist bother with Nayak and that fax of his?

Perhaps the gracious Mr Gupta and his ilk should seriously introspect
over
the accusation in a rare article published by The Times of India on
January
29, 1999 in what seems another welcome instance of transparency
tantamount
to a confession. The writer of that article, Sultan Shahin, says, "The
products of Christian missionary and other English schools that run our
media treat everything Indian, particularly Hindu, with contempt. Our
intelligentsia, by and large, treats the Hindu leaders as usurpers of
power,
even though they have come to power in a democratic manner. This is what
is
leading more and more Hindus to fundamentalism, militancy and violence…
Hypocrisy has perhaps become a part of our intelligentsia's bloodstream
during the long Congress rule."

This bellicose stance against Hindus and their BJP-led government is not
the
only affliction of the English-language media. Be it politics, civic
affairs, economic issues or sports, the typical working journalist
exhibits
a flippant-cum-arrogant attitude in the stuff he churns out, oblivious
of
the rights of the readers. And the award of the by-line status is
considered
as licence to play around with myth and reality as per the writer's
predilection or mood of the moment. The desire to learn, to study, to
research, to dissect objectively is being sacrificed at the altar of
sensationalism or animosity. Retired journalists of not so long ago will

testify to this.

That state of affairs must be why the country's Vice-President, Krishna
Kant, was provoked to say what he did at the function last year to give
away
the B D Goenka awards for excellence in journalism. As quoted in The
Indian
Express, Mumbai, of July 1, 1998, our vice president observed that
"Loaded
phrases, attitudinising adjectives, coloured descriptions, one-sided
versions, half-truths, twisted statements, distorted quotations --- all
of
them diminish the truthfulness of reporting" while stating that if the
Indian press wants to ensure its credibility, it needs to report
faithfully
and without bias. Now Krishna Kant is not a Sangh Parivar man, is he?

But then, even the gracious Shekhar Gupta admitted in his column last
week
that "It's difficult to defend the English media at the best of times.
God
knows we do commit crimes each day, on each page, including the rape of
Queen's English."

It would therefore be of incalculable help to the vast, ocean-like
Indian
public if our media bothered less about suggesting solutions for
preventing
the so-called "self-inflicted" wounds of the BJP; the media's more
important
task ought to be to improve itself by attending to the malignancy taking

root within. Instead of advocating transfer of the district magistrate
of
Dangs or Dhule as "an elementary administrative measure," it should
first
examine what degrees of punishment it can mete out to those of its own
who
are a slur on professionalism. And the first action in this regard is
for
every editor to suspend for a week all those reporters who write the
all-too
familiar phrase of "pelting stones" at the Church or the temple or the
train; punishment alone will drum into all those errant ones that "pelt"

means "attack," not "throw," and that the correct thing to is to say
"pelt
the train with stones."

Yes, it's high time to remember the old, old advice of not throwing
stones
at others if…

Arvind Lavakare





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