L E T T E R S    T O    T H E    E D I T O R

Gagging media will hurt public interest

The government should not censor the media because any such step would hurt public interest (“No need to censor media, says Press Council chief”, September 17).

We live in a country that supposedly believes in freedom of speech and expression, in the ideal that a free, open and vibrant media is good for democracy.  The public deserves to know the whole truth and nothing but the whole truth. 

It will be a great disservice to the public if we allow the government to control the contents of the media.  Everything we read will be even more skewed and messed up than it is now.

Mr Raj Chengappa, the Editor-in-Chief of this esteemed newspaper, has rightly opined that apart from exposing the instances of corruption and other irregularities in the functioning of the government setup, the media should also highlight the positive aspect in the right perspective.

So far as the issue of paid news is concerned, it needs to be noted that so long as journalists are expected to earn their livelihood by also performing the task of advertising agents, such malpractices will continue to exist. 

Censorship is the first step towards dictatorship.  If the media has access to information that affects people, they have the right to know as to what is happening around them. However, the media should never report anything that would compromise our national security, and the Centre should have the right to intervene in such cases.


Petrol prices

With every hike in petrol prices, there is a countrywide hue and cry, and the Union government comes up with one excuse or the other. State governments join hands to oppose the hike. In a way all of them try to mislead the tax payer by making false assertions.

In fact, the Union and state governments stand to gain from the hike in petrol prices because excise duty and sales tax are charged as a percentage of the base price. The Union government can reduce the excise duty proportionately to ward off the added burden on the common man, and to make up for the loss to the exchequer, it can reduce the exorbitant perks of the MPs.

State governments can similarly reduce the amount of sales tax to the absolute amount that was being charged before the hike, without incurring any loss to their kitty, if they really wish to come to the rescue of the common man.

Dr H S ANEJA, Panchkula

Educational ‘terrorism’

Incidents of suicide are increasing among students pursuing higher studies, especially those pursuing postgraduate and doctorate degrees. The demoralizing attitude of teachers/ guides in the name of discipline adds fuel to fire. Teachers believe that they are superhuman. Cupidity for diverse favours adds to their misconduct.

University laws don’t allow students to change their guides and coerce them to continue with the same teacher or else choose a new topic of research. It is not easy to change a guide while staying in the same department/ university. The guide may continue to be vindictive. Out of frustration, many students eschew their research work. Due to this educational ‘terrorism’, they develop suicidal tendencies.


Discretionary powers

The news report, “Ministers lose discretionary powers” (September 15) by Anita Katyal, and the editorial, “Clipping ministers’ powers” (September 16), reflect the government’s commitment to cleanse the system. Having witnessed the public outrage during Anna’s crusade against corruption, the UPA government accepted the GoM’s report to take remedial measures to curb corruption prevalent in the system.

So the acceptance of the GoM’s proposals includes fast-tracking corruption cases against public servants, doing away with the discretionary powers enjoyed by ministers, and setting up of 71 special CBI courts for speedy clearance of corruption cases.

Moreover, the package of measures will be extended to electoral reforms and setting up a Judicial Commission for appointment of judges. A new Bill will be brought to streamline public procurements. An effort has been made to inject a strong measure of accountability into the country’s “steel frame”.

Certainly, the vested interests would try to sabotage well-meaning policies. To restore people’s faith, the good intent must be backed up by results.

Capt S K DATTA, Abohar

Cyber crime

We are witnessing a steep rise in the offences related to cyber crime causing irreparable damage to a person’s reputation by putting an obscene video on the Internet or by hacking somebody’s bank account etc.

The term ‘cyber crime’ defines various forms of offenses, including credit card fraud, electronic commerce transactions, computer hacking, pornography, cyber stalking, and software piracy. It is the need of the hour for the authorities concerned to update the existing cyber crime laws enabling stringent punishments to cyber criminals who tamper with computer source documents, hack computer systems, and publish information, which is obscene, in electronic form.

Lawmakers should also use advanced technology in combination with our existing laws, to provide a legal framework for electronic commerce, and to enable electronic governance to prevent this menace of cyber crime. Today, our country requires a separate cyber police force and laws.

HARPREET SANDHU, Advocate & former Additional Advocate-General, Punjab, Ludhiana

Medical allowance

As per the recommendations of the Sixth Central Pay Commission, the Government of India has increased medical allowance of central government pensioners from Rs 100 to Rs 300 per month, which is not sufficient for getting proper medical treatment. The Centre should intervene in the matter and increase their medical allowance sufficiently.


Teachers’ pride

The middle, “Teacher’s pet” (September 15) by Vinod Prakash Gupta, has quite rightly highlighted the role of a teacher. Teachers, especially in schools, are not meant merely to teach their subjects. They have to teach their students how to build a positive attitude in life. Teachers must be capable of imparting attitudinal training to their students.

Students learn to behave in a certain manner from their teachers. It may not be true to say that there aren’t teachers who care for their students. Those, who take the profession of teaching seriously, care for their students. A teacher feels the joy of success every time his/her students do well in life. Students also feel a great sense of happiness and pride when they meet their teachers after a long time. Those are moments of joy for all.

Yes, when we are young and not matured, as the author of this middle was, we tend to misunderstand some of the actions of our teachers. But later, it gives all of us a feeling of pride when we share our good moments with our teachers. After parents, teachers alone can give us selfless love and affection in life. The underlying message of the middle was very satisfying.




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