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The media needs introspection

The closure of “The News of the World” and the incidents that followed, should serve as lessons for the media anywhere in the world (editorial, Media under a cloud”, July 22). The media has begun to consider itself omnipotent, and that is not helping anyone. While Murdoch apologised, he did not accept the blame that he was also partly responsible for the sordid act of phone-hacking. This is typical of media barons anywhere in the world.

However, there are lessons to be learned for the media. First, it needs to reassess its role in the modern world. Secondly, if media practitioners have forgotten the ethical principles they are required to follow, they need to start in-house classrooms for journalists to teach them media ethics. Thirdly, media organisations should tell their employees to adhere to ethics and norms during their practice of journalism.

They can also think of reviving the institution of ombudsman. These are not exhaustive measures. The media, above all, will need to introspect further for better solutions in the future.


People’s consent

I agree with the editorial that there are issues related to land, which can be emotive (editorial, “Disputes over land”, July 26). I can understand how people feel about their piece of land. When I was a boy, my family had to leave our village, which was then in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, after India and Pakistan became separate States. Those were perhaps the worst days of my life. We had to leave our land and everything we possessed, and come to Calcutta.

The people of a particular area should have the right to voice their concern over any proposal of the government, which they consider to be against their interest. If they do not want a nuclear plant in their area, the government should not force them to accept its decision. The government should try to convince the opinion leaders within a given community. If the opinion leaders are convinced that the proposed nuclear plant is safe, they should convince their own people. If they feel it is safe, the government should go ahead with the plant. If they are against it, the government should not use force to implement its projects.


Neglected anganwaris

It is disappointing to read that anganwaris are in a state of neglect (editorial, “Cradles of neglect”, July 26). There is nothing wrong with the scheme, as one of the anganwari centres at Dadumajra in Chandigarh has proved that if taken seriously, and with a commitment, such schemes can revolutionise childcare and development in the country. But with the kind of salary that is given to anganwari workers and helpers, not much can be expected in the short-run. This has been the tale of so many good schemes and projects in India.


Kashmir policy

This refers to the editorial, “Pakistan’s K obsession” (July 22). There is no doubt in the fact that Pakistan has always been obsessed with Kashmir. This obsession has not helped the country and its people. The priority of any country should be the welfare of its people. Fighting for territorial gains does not yield positive results for the people.

The recent arrest of Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai proves the point that Pakistan is desperate to win the support of the US for its Kashmir policy. This may never happen, as the US Government does not trust Pakistan. But it is difficult to believe, as the editorial quite rightly says, that the US had no knowledge of Fai’s identity.

Now the US, it seems, no longer wants such divisive forces to utilise its resources, and work against another nation.

Pakistan should also desist from its obsessive Kashmir policy and focus on other areas of interest. Terrorism is not an answer when it cannot win a conventional war. This is because terrorists do not respect any ideology, religion or country. Pakistan itself has witnessed terror attacks in the recent past. If it does not act now, it may be too late to mend later.


Independent audit

We are good planners, no doubt. But when it comes to implementation, everything goes horribly wrong in this country. There are programmes for the benefit of the poor in India, but they have not been implemented properly (editorial, “Well-being of the poor”, July 20). The National human Rights Commission will review the progress of some of these programmes such as MGNREGA, NRHM and ICDS.

It is not difficult to discern that some of these programmes have not been able to reach anywhere near fulfilling their objectives. India’s immunisation record is highly disappointing. An independent audit may help us in fulfilling the objectives of these programmes. But, as the editorial says, instead of blaming one another it will be better if the entire focus is on improving people’s condition.


Lokpal Bill

This refers to the article, “The drive for Lokpal” (July 19). The Lokpal Bill was taken up decades ago but could not bear fruit. The editorial has rightly pointed out that the reshuffling of the Cabinet shows that the Prime Minister is conscious of the nation’s outcry. The CBI showed courage, as a result of which some corrupt politicians have been put behind bars. The people, who are talking to the government on behalf of civil society, need to be cautious.

They should bear in mind that the movement can embrace a number of sections of the Indian society. At this juncture, they are expected to act in a responsible manner. They should not voice criticism in public. They should sort out their differences over the type of Lokpal the country should have.


Life’s untold predicament

This refers to the middle, “Unkempt heights” (July 26). The writer likes to have different hair-styles. While his wife and kids do not seem to like his style, he does not seem to mind it. It happens in life. We do something with the hope that people will appreciate it, most of the times they do not. It does not matter so long as we do not do anything, which is against social norms.

I also like to dye my hair, but my wife does not like it. Children, in this case, do not care. What makes me sad at times is the fact that I do not discourage my wife whenever she wants a new hair-style. But when I need her approval, she refuses saying, “You can do whatever you like; it is after all, your head and your hair.”

However, I am not discouraged. I do what I like to do. It is a relief that there are also people who seem to share my predicament.




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