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Re: Press Freedom - Issues




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Friends

Responding to Prof. Guptara

>     Dear Shashi
>     
>     You seem to be convinced that the reports of attacks against 
>     Christians are "LIES" even though you have not investigated the        
matter 
>     yourself, and you would seem to have no basis for questioning the 
>     bonafides of the people who have reported these matters.  


   Quite on the contrary 
    - I have not said that the reports are "LIES", My contention was 
      clear and unambiguous - 
        a. The media was being judgemental about
           the perpetrators of the crime within 6 HOURS of its 
           occurrence even before an investigation has taken place, 
           identities and antecedents have been established.

        b. The media was being terribly inaccurate and ambiguous by
           printing headlines
             "Sangh Parivar men burn christian missionary"
          because such a lumping is far too general and
          misleading. It is as bad as the western media printing
          headlines "Hindus burn christian missionary".

>     
>     Are you aware of, and have you examined, the report of the 
>     investigations, either by Christian bodies themselves, and by       
the  National Commission for Minorities?
>     
>     If not, and if you do not know how to contact them, do let me 
know,  and I can send you the contact details.

       Please do so, I would love to delve into the facts of the matter. 
I would love it more than anybody around to see what factual evidence 
these bodies have at their disposal and how they have drawn their 
inferences. If there is such strong factual evidence I fail to see why 
not a single newspaper, single magazine has come out with a detailed 
investigative report. 

I am sorry to say this but the spirit of "Investigative Jounrnalism has 
turned perverse into Speculative Journalism" which is more often than 
not veering towards the polemic and the politically correct.


>     
>     Your wider point about the need to distinguish between facts and 
>     opinions in newspaper reports is of course quite valid and it is 
good 
>     to examine ways in which we can make this distinction clearer.  In 
the 
>     old days, the distinction was clearly between "news reports" 
(fact) 
>     and columns, editorials etc (opinion).  If you feel that "news 
>     reports" are not factual, this needs to be taken up first with the 
>     newspapers themselves, then with a Newspaper Ombudsman whose 
>     responsibility this sort of thing must be, and if all else fails 
with 
>     the Press Council....
>     

 I agree to that, but I feel that we as readera have been far less 
vigilant and very complacent. We need to have a pro-active media watch 
group which gives positive and meaningful feedback on items while they 
are still news-worthy because that is when the greatest damage is done. 
A Press Council which acts months after incidents have occured is no 
good. 

>     As for your question: "Why is every single incident of violence 
>     against christians receiving such exposure?", I would have thought 
the 
>     answer was simple: this is the first time that a 
lawfully-constituted 
>     government in India has been in bed with groups inciting communal 
>     hatred, with the results that we all see today.  Previous attacks 
>     against Muslims and Sikhs were at the very most covertly supported 
by governments, if at all 

If what u have said is such a strong reason why isnt the same yardstick 
applied to other parties which have not only been in bed but conjugated 
and are also the offsprings of groups which have an equally  blatant 
record of instigating casteist/linguistic/regional hatred & intolerance. 

This is more like George Orwells "Animal Farm" where communal hatred is 
more politically incorrect than casteist or linguistic hatred.

The truth is there is far more political capital to be made out of 
minorities' insecurity than any other issue :)

regards
shashi

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