Barkha Dutt’’s article Subject to the truth (December 23) was compelling. She summed up the whole issue by stating that it’s better to take sides with the truth than sit on the fence. The case in question is the conviction of Mohammad Afzal for the terrorist attack on Parliament. The issue is whether or not he was part of the plot and she agrees that he probably was. Once complicity is established, then the quantum of punishment cannot be debatable as long as the act under which he is charged has a provision for the same. But one wonders what she is arguing about.
Barkha must remember that there is no middle ground in matters where security and lives are involved.
One couldn’t agree more with Barkha regarding the watchdog role of the media. Without the heat generated by the press, justice in the Priyadarshini Mattoo and Jessica Lall cases may never have been done. The observation of the judges bears testimony to the fact that the public pressure can influence the course of justice. The two judges not only came heavily on the convicts, accomplices, hostile witnesses and cops, but showed the trial court judge in a dim light for not applying his mind to the case.
Barkha Dutt should know journalism is not simply reporting but portraying the truth frankly. The only thing to be remembered is journalism should not rake up controversies in the name of exposing the truth. Let it be left to the courts to decide the fate of offenders, subject to the circumstances and truth.
Barkha’s view that media investigation should take sides is wrong. An orderly society and governance requires each institution to act within its defined domains and not take on the duties of others. The media as an institution need only to report while interpretation and decision is the prerogative of the judiciary.
A judicial change in stand in the Jessica and Mattoo cases has led some people to blame the media for leading a campaign and influencing the verdict. But this criticism does not take into account the fact that the media is not a mere chronicler of events. Instead, it has to build public opinion against those who seek to subvert justice and those who commit crimes. How else can we expect the media to be a watchdog for society? The media should not be expected to remain sitting on the fence. This alone can lead to a positive change in the system.
Arundhati Roy is factually incorrect on several counts in Who needs Reality TV? (December 23) on the Afzal tapes. She mentions Barkha Dutt’s name unnecessarily when Barkha had nothing to do with the airing of the Afzal tapes on NDTV. Dutt is the Managing Editor of NDTV 24x7, which has a separate editorial team. Moreover, NDTV India had clearly and unequivocally stated all the facts related to the background and legal status of the tapes.
Managing Editor, NDTV India
Bridge too far
Rahul Bose’s article Land ahoy! (December 26) was a commendable venture in bridging the distance between the mainland and the island. In fact, we realise the worth of a thing when we lose it. Alarm bells are already ringing over the Arunachal issue after the Chinese took it up again. Can we afford to let the Andaman adrift away especially since it played an important role in our freedom struggle? The government and the private bodies should be more enterprising in bringing about socio-cultural exchanges. Doling out crores in relief is not enough. Let the island be an integral part of India.
The Singur land offered to the Tatas in West Bengal has been politicised. There are a few so-called well-wishers of poor farmers like Mamata Banerjee who are an obstacle to economic development in the country. If the SEZ is flawed, the protest should be against the policy. But why attack the company that is hoping to develop it?
Readers may e-mail letters to the editor at: email@example.com