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Press Freedom - Issues




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Friends

Let me first react to the 2 responses I have got.

To Prof Guptara
 - Sir I would pretty much like to know the facts, not judgements and
indictments which are malafide. For example can you forward or refer to
me at least 1 IN DEPTH INVESTIGATION in any of the national media which
has taken the pains to dig out detailed facts on each of the
perpetrators of the various crimes to SHOW SUFFICIENT CAUSE and
establish An UNAMBIGUOS CHAIN OF EVENTS/INCIDENTS/INCITATIONS which led
to these acts. I would take that denouement as accurate, credible.

To Umesh Tiwari
   - On a code of conduct restricting the freedom of press. We already
have a press council which I believe enforces such a code. But on the
other hand I am not suggesting a Government enforced code but a
voluntary code that the media decides consenually and appoints an
Ombudsman like the Washington Post to function as unbiased referree. The

media can be made to realise the importance of such a code if we were to

have a MEDIA-WATCHDOG on the net which tracks news-papers and other
sources of news for their accuracy and sense of responsibility and
attributing CREDIBILITY RATINGS to them using some yardstick which we
may develope over time. This way at least factual inaccuracies and
journalistic transgressions can be publicised and the
agencies/individuals involved made to realise.

The reason why I feel very strongly about the role of the media is
simply this. A LIE REPEATED OFT REPEATED IS STILL A LIE. But not so much

so in India were a remark oft repeated can be cast from a mere
"possibility" to "an absolute certainity". This happens so subtly that
we often take it for granted that the misconception is an unambiguous
credible fact. In this context I want to mention Chomsky's
"Manufacturing Consent" and George Orwells "1984". The fact is George
Orwells 1984 is equally true for an open society inundated by
information from multi-media which have created a surreal world for us.

I see this blatantly happening in the specific case of "Violence Against

Christians".

This is not to justify any single act of violence. Each such act is a
criminal act and has to be severely dealt with. At the same time the
media has to
 - Maintain Factual Accuracy
 - Resist the temptation to be judgemental
 - Guard against stereotypes and cliches
 - And above all maintain a sense of proportionality and balance

Why is every single incident of violence against christians receiving
such exposure ?

Why isnt the same level exposure given to
 - Every Political Murder that takes place in the casteist
   faction fueds of Cuddapah, A.P. patronised by major national
    political parties
 - Every incident of casteist hate crime in U.P., Bihar
 - Every  incident of gunning down of Policemen in AP by Naxalites
   sympathised overtly by the Left Parties
 - Every incident of ethnic cleansing in the North East which is a
   convoluted mess.
 - Every incident of rape that takes place in this country.

Media reporting & Political attention is today replete with
 "Political Correctness".

Point to ponder gentlemen.

regards
shashi



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