Curbs on media

Print edition : June 15, 2012

K.G. SANTHOSH

THE Cover Story effectively highlighted the systematic efforts by many vested interests to curb the freedom of the fourth estate in the world's largest democracy (Fear of freedom, June 1).

With the rare exception of a few involved in the unethical practice of paid news, the media's exposes of corruption and of immoral, anti-social and anti-national activities have brought many elites to the book. It is unfortunate that the media are now at the receiving end of the judiciary's ire. When many in the judiciary are for all the curbs, it is heartening to know that the former Chief Justice J.S. Verma is against any restriction the Supreme Court is contemplating on the media.

G. Anuplal Bangalore

THE judiciary and the media complement each other in a democracy. While the judiciary intends to keep a check on wrongdoers, the media seek to be the eyes and ears of the public. The apex court's move to evolve guidelines for legal reporting is a step backward.

Although Indira Jaising is right in her own way when she contests the Attorney General's views and says that Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution does not empower the media to misinform or misguide, raising the qualification bar for legal reporting is no solution. There are arguments that public opinion often tends to influence court rulings. But the media are not to be blamed for this. It is up to the court to prevent itself from being influenced by that and take decisions objectively.

Ritvik Chaturvedi New Delhi

ACCORDING to a recent report from Reporters Without Borders, India ranks below many African and South American nations in the Press Freedom Index. We are at rank 131.

We proudly proclaim we are the second largest democracy with a vibrant press. Newspapers play the role of a second government in all democratic societies. If independent newspapers do not exist, cases of corruption and social abuses will increase.

H.N. Ramakrishna Bangalore

PRINT and broadcasting media have to improve their professional practices and follow a code of ethics, train their personnel properly, and appoint ombudsmen.

Syed Khaja New Delhi

THE government has no locus standi in censoring the Internet, especially social networking sites as these are meant for people at large to exchange views. The importance of the Internet in a democratic set-up cannot be undermined.

Mahesh Kapasi New Delhi Kerala politics

THE gruesome murder of Revolutionary Marxist Party leader T.P. Chandrasekharan in Onchium is the worst Kerala has seen in recent times (Testing times, June 1). Perhaps the Assembly byelection result may offer a lesson. As the image of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is crucial for the United Democratic Front, the disunity may wither away in due course. In a tri-cornered fight, will the BJP make a mark?

Jacob Sahayam Thiruvananthapuram

CHANDRASEKHARAN'S murder has brought upheavals in the monolithic Communist Party of India (Marxist) in Kerala. Former Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan and CPI(M) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan are fiercely engaged in a war of words, and a split seems imminent after the Neyyattinkara byelection.

N.C. Sreedharan, Kannur, Kerala Bangaru Laxman

FORMER BJP president Bangaru Laxman has finally, after 11 years, been sent to jail for having accepted an illegal gratification from journalists who posed as arms dealers (A real sting, June 1).

K. RAMESH BABU

Laxman's contention that the sting operation intruded upon his private life does not cut much ice.

On its part, the BJP stands exposed for having prepared a false party fund receipt in favour of the bribe giver.

S. Balakrishnan, Jamshedpur, Jharkhand

BANGARU LAXMAN is the first chief of a national party, a Dalit at that, to be put behind bars in a concocted corruption case. He was lured and trapped. The sting-operator is just as guilty.

S. Raghunatha Prabhu Alappuzha, Kerala

THE case highlights a fast erosion of ethics among most of today's politicians. Leaders like Laxman, irrespective of party affiliation, deserve the severest punishment, which will ensure that they do not vitiate the political atmosphere in the country.

Jayant Mukherjee Kolkata Hillary's visit

SECRETARY of State Hillary Clinton's recent visit to India was only to arm-twist India into cutting down the purchase of oil from Iran (Building pressure, June 1). Such coercive diplomacy not only smacks of opportunism but reveals that the U.S. wants India to toe its line on Iran.

KAMAL NARANG

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement that India will not do anything to create unrest in the subcontinent nor strain its relations with a reliable friend is a step in the right direction.

K.R. Srinivasan Secunderabad

IT is the apprehension of a threat to MNCs that brought Hillary Clinton to India. Capitalism, claiming to be the unipolar order of the universe, gains virulence in the absence of a strong socialist bloc. Such a void in the world economy emboldens global finance capital to fish in the troubled waters of developing countries. One wishes that voices like the ones being heard on Wall Street reverberate in high decibels to expose the trickery of capitalism.

C. Chandrasekaran, Mumbai DRDO

THE interview with DRDO's Avinash Chander is informative, interesting and inspiring (Quality our concern, June 1). It brings to the fore DRDO's strategic efforts to incorporate game-changing processes envisaged for the Indian missile defence programme against the backdrop of rising Chinese dominance and influence in this field.

Both ISRO & DRDO need to develop a strategic and reliable early warning system and counter-offensive satellite network.

C.V. Viswanathan Chennai Macaques

THE article and photographs on lion-tailed macaques evoked childhood memories (Many moods of the macaque, June 1). My father was a forest officer at Parambikulam in Kerala. I have seen macaques in the forest, but I did not know they were so expressive.

M.A. NASEER

The photographs and the article will send a message throughout for their protection.

Tanushi Saurabh Ambekar Mumbai Education

EVEN without the Right to Education (RTE) Act, millions of children were getting education (Postcards from the margins, May 18). So RTE 2009 should have addressed itself to the educational needs of those denied education for generations and for whom schools are inaccessible.

RTE 2009 will not solve the problems faced by the poor. As the reserved section is not welcome in private schools, children will face discrimination, and the responsibility for that will be the government's.

S.S. Rajagopalan Chennai Sri Lanka

SUSHMA SWARAJ deserves praise for the effective and efficient way in which she conducted the Indian MPs' delegation to Sri Lanka (High on Hope, May 18). As Sushma Swaraj rightly observes, the Sri Lankan Tamils issue is of concern to the whole country and not Tamil Nadu alone.

The regional parties of Tamil Nadu did not do the right thing by opting out of the visit.

K. Ravindran Rasipuram, T.N. West Bengal

CHIEF Minister Mamata Banerjee did not take much time to disconnect from the electorate that voted her to power (Mamata Raj, Cover story, May 18). She does not have a magic wand to transform overnight the industrially ruined State, but going back on her promises and creating an unpredictable, autocratic atmosphere has been too much for the people of the State.

Janga Bahadur Sunuwar Bagrakote, Jalpaiguri, West Bengal

Corbett

THE rest house that Corbett stayed in (In Corbett country, May 4) to hunt for the Panar maneater is located in Panuanaula not Panwalunaula, as reported (naula in Kumauni stands for a small step well). It will not be out of place to mention that the accompanying photograph of Corbett with gun slinging on his arm is the hunter's only known photograph with the firearm. Surprising, is it not, for someone who lived most of his life by the gun?

Anil Joshi Nainital, Uttarakhand CORRECTION

In the article Modern by design (June 1), the export target of NTC is Rs.150 crore and not as published.

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