Monday, March 17, 2008

The press on the press

A journalist in an article titled "Whither the Indian press?" (URL: bemoans the loss of a fellow journalist's employment.

> ....who owned the Deccan Chronicle, a money-spinning
> publication centred in the south Indian city of Hyderabad.

Wonder what "money-spinning" means? That it generates revenue? But that is also the case of other newspapers referred to in the article, like the Times of India, Hindustan Times and even, the Asian Age. This juvenile attempt at bad-mouthing the opponent should be spotted by any fair thinker.

> Was Reddy told that the Congress Party would support him
> for a Rajya Sabha seat, provided he got rid of Akbar?
> That is the speculation and it will be confirmed if
> such a scenario actually comes to pass.

No, it will not. And here our journalist reveals a complete and mind-boggling lack of logical thinking. Or is this a deliberate attempt at misleading the reader? It is a valid speculation, certainly. However, if the Congress Party does support Mr. Reddy, it may be because they believe him the right man for the job, or because he gives really good dinners, or plays the tabla with a virtuosity that would bring every khadi-wearer to tears or indeed deserves a quid pro quo for services rendered. But there is no reason to accord, on the basis of the information shared by the journalist, one of these reasons supremacy over another, as the journalist has unashamedly tried to do.

> Indian newspapers have become brands and products
>, not agents of change and enlightenment.
> This trivialisation of what is one of the
> main pillars of democracy should disturb all
> thinking Indians.

And if it does not, does it prove that the undisturbed one is not a thinking Indian? A newspaper is not end-in-itself, and this is what the journalist seems unable to grasp. Neither, and this will probably further shock the journalist, is democracy. What about television, or the Internet, or radio, or magazines - are newspapers somehow more useful to democracy than these?

And, in any case, I fail to see why a foreign-language publication should pretend to be the main pillar of Indian democracy.

The journalist may bewail the loss of the job (though the fired one, as mentioned in the article, was the owner of a significant share of a newspaper) of an ex-colleague of his father's (also mentioned in the article), but surely he will be glad that the law has been upheld, that the owner of a publication has had the right to exercise his prerogative. Or will he defend every dismissal? Or only that of journalists? Or those of journalists who were acquainted with his father?

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