Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Balanced opinion vs. loose hinges

This Opinion piece in The Dawn today, Media falls in the old trap is an excellent example of a balanced opinion from the Pakistan press.

I must mention that Indian news channels last night disgusted me by repeatedly airing some stupid material from Pakistan TV and then getting involved in a childish media war about it. We don't need proof that part of Pakistan's media is unhinged - just as part of India's media is unhinged. (Parenthetically, one of the most unhinged TV channels in the world is Fox News in the USA!).

In seeking common ground, as people on both sides are trying to do, one hopes the valuable point gets made that there are Indians and Pakistanis with similar views, counterbalancing the nut cases on both sides who'd just like to blow each other up with no concern for what happens to the world.

To change the subject, talking of "unhinged" media reminds me of two Indian politicians whose hinges have come off in the last couple of days. In case you've just come back from Mars, Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan had this to say about the family of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan who died in the gun battle against terrorists (the family rejected the CM's condolence visit):

"If it were not Sandeep's house, not even a dog would have gone there."

Not to be outdone, BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi came up with this priceless gem: "Some women wearing lipstick and powder have taken to streets in Mumbai and are abusing politicians spreading dissatisfaction against democracy. This is what terrorists are doing in Jammu and Kashmir".

I realise now that the growing criticism of India's political class over the last week has been far too mild. Not just their ethics and competence, but evidently also their sanity is in question!


Gautam said...

Thanks for the pointer to the Dawn article. It is, as you say, very balanced.

Perhaps one antidote to all the hype would just be to let newspapers from each country be freely available in the other. (Yes, they are on the net mostly, I guess, but that restricts their readership considerably.) Or at least make it a point to regularly feature opinion pieces from the major newspapers in both countries -this does happen occasionally, but not often enough. At least we can then figure out that our extremists are no better than theirs. As well as see events from other prisms!

Dileep Jatkar said...

Dear Sunil:

I am in complete agreement with you both on balanced opinions as well as loose hinges. Regarding loose hinges, Kerala CM and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi are recent additions to a long list of insane politicians, R.R. Patil, Advani and Modi. However, you forgot to add the RSS spokesperson, who seconded Naqvi's opinion, to this list.

Re:Balanced opinion, Geo TV programme was very good and so is the article by Beena Sarwar. On the Indian side we have many channels indulging in sensationalizing the news than actually reporting facts. Certainly, Star News report was pathetic.

There is a nice quote today in HT about TV.
"Television - a medium, it is so because it is neither rare nor well done." In fact, news reporting is "rarely well done!" on TV.