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CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
M A I L B A G

Channels must check news before telecast

I read the editorial, Stinging frameup (Sept 10). If sting operations by the electronic media are conducted merely to create sensation among its viewers, it is disgusting on their part. If the purpose of these so-called operations is to expose, as the writer aptly avers, the black deeds of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats in the public interest, it may be acceptable to some extent. However, if the purpose is just to keep the viewers glued to the TV sets, it is a crime as this activity of pseudo reporters is playing with the emotions of innocent and is infringement of their rights as well.

What Live India channel did in the case of Uma Khurana, a Delhi school teacher, was nothing less than committing a breach of duty on the part of the reporter who blemished her character for no fault of her own. The onus lies on the reporter and the channel itself.

What will the TV channel do to bring back her honour? Should it not be made to pay damages to the loss of public property ruined by the mobs in frenzy? Will the state government tell the Delhi High Court which asked, “why was she in jail if the evidence was “concocted”? Will the National Women Commission come forward and book all those guilty in the episode? The irresponsible TV channels that play havoc with other’s honour and telecast sensations without confirming their veracity must be brought to book for their irrational behaviour.

Dr VINOD K. CHOPRA, Hamirpur (HP)


 

II

The false allegation regarding a Delhi school teacher is indeed the electronic media’s moment of debasement and erosion of its credibility. However, it is not just about peephole journalism of questionable methods and morals mixed up. The debate is much more titanic in nature.

It’s time to answer some really uncomfortable questions as to whether news has become a commodity today and viewers turned into a mere market? Is journalism becoming soft and commodity driven and the descent of media to pure commerce complete?

The problem starts from the point media presumes that only fashion, lifestyle, and sex sells. There is simply no space for serious stories on drought, famine, agrarian crisis, rural poor migrating to cities, farmers’ suicides, rising inequalities, exploitation of tribals, human trafficking and health and gender issues.

News that ought to be hard objective information has degenerated into sparkling tabloid commodity driven by TRP ratings. While truth is always the first casualty in the mad race of ‘breaking news’, rumours are often sensational and passed as ‘hard facts’.

In this age of 24-hour news channels, the influence of media is immense and when misused, it can have extremely unfortunate consequence. The media must understand its moral responsibility and pursue ethical journalism. The fraudulent sting operation should serve as a good occasion for the media to do some serious introspection and soul searching.

GAURAV JULKA, Ferozepur City

Farce in Parliament

The editorial, For people’s sake: MPs must behave and earn respect (Sept 12), castigates MPs for their deplorable antics on the floor of the House, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the monsoon session sine die four days ahead of its schedule and without transacting meaningful business.

As the editorial points out, in the session under question the Lok Sabha lost 42 hours and the Rajya Sabha 41 hours, costing the nation Rs 18 crore and the august institution “a lot of respect and credibility” in the bargain.

The hapless “electors” -- the so-called masters in a democratic set-up -- seem to have no option in the matter except viewing the sordid drama virtually like mute spectators. What a pity!

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)

Why this discrimination?

The Haryana pensioners are haunted by an acute sense of deprivation when they compare themselves with their counterparts in Punjab. Punjab’s pensioners are entitled to 5 per cent and 10 per cent enhancement in pension after attaining 65 and 75 years of age respectively. They are also paid one-month pension in lieu of the LTC. The rules governing reimbursement of medical bills to them are also more liberal. The denial of these benefits to Haryana pensioners is causing heartburn and discontent.

The situation is more agonising for those who were allocated to the new state of Haryana from the common pool in the erstwhile Punjab. They rendered valuable service till their superannuation to uplift Haryana from a backward area to a modern state. Moreover, under the State Reorganisation Act, all pensionary expenditure in respect of them is to be shared by Punjab to the extent of 60 per cent. Haryana has to contribute only 40 per cent to bring them on a par with their ex-colleagues in Punjab.

The state government has often expressed its determination to ameliorate the lot of old people. Senior citizens in the evening of their life deserve immediate attention.

K. R. AWASTHY, Chandigarh

Health hazard

During a visit to Hamirpur recently, I was shocked to see the appalling condition of the link road via Bara. While touching Kunah Khad, one has to cross the bridge near Jalari. This bridge rattles whenever vehicles and pedestrians go through it.

Moreover, the residents of the nearby villages burn the dead beneath the arc and the bridge. This has become a health hazard as the air is polluted with the stench of ash. The very thought of this charred spot causes both nausea and depression. This wayward practice of burning and burying the dead near public places is unhygienic and totally unacceptable. The authorities concerned should check the problem in public interest.

RAVI DATTA, Dehra (Kangra)

Ludhiana centre

The Punjab government’s delay in appointing an arbitrator to sort out the matter of the City Centre is inexplicable. The Centre, having advertised it as “City’s pride,” has become its disgrace.

The stoppage of work at this stage of construction has not only wasted 26 acres of premium land but will make the foundation of the proposed building weak. The rainwater has done great damage to the incomplete building. The 40 feet road all along the periphery of the site has caved in. The residents of the locality are put to great hardship. Let the law take its own course, but it is important to resume the construction work immediately in public interest.

AMARJIT SINGH, Ludhiana


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