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Of Science and Earthly Politics

Of Science and Earthly Politics Nireekshak IT is all to the good, no doubt, that the Times of India should send its sports editor all the way to Jamaica to cover the Indian cricket team's tour of the Caribbean, and that the Indian Express should engage the services of another Indian sports writer, resident in Britain, to report the same tour for its readers. Cricket is news for a lot of people and, where resources permit, enterprise of this kind is entirely laudable. People have little to complain, also, when certain newspapers like the Statesman find the money to employ foreign "kremlino- logists" for the benefit of their studious readers and the space to print periodically the outpourings of these kremlino- logists. Aspiring natives may feel a bit let down, but then foreign by-lines are still much favoured by the Press. It is all in the game.

Whir of Words

Whir of Words Nireekshak HAD the belief been widespread that the election manifestoes of the various parties would decisively influence the forthcoming mid-term poll, the Press might have been expected to devote considerable attention to examining the different manifestoes. But either the general belief in the. political significance of manifestoes is minimal, or the Press itself regards them as little more than an unavoidable electoral ritual. Consequently, the journalistic effort devoted to the study and analysis of the manifestoes has been very light indeed. There have been isolated attempts to analyse the .manifestoes in detail but, generally speaking, they have met with a run-of-the mill treatment. The general approach to the manifestoes was probably most eloquently summed up by the Free Press Journal when it said that the manifestoes "appear like a wild whir of words". A common comment on the Jan Sangh manifesto was that it was a "pie in the sky"

To Keep the Press in Line

To Keep the Press in Line Nireekshak NEWSPAPERS throughout the country have once again raised their prices

Busy Season

Busy Season Nireekshak WHAT with a 'grand alliance' which is neither grand nor even an alliance making its belated bow, the victory and subsequent disqualification of the yoked bullocks in the symbols sweepstakes, the extradition of Sheikh Abdullah from Kashmir followed by the outlawing of the Plebiscite Front, the Commonwealth conference in Singapore preceded by the comings and goings of Commonwealth statesmen through New Delhi and sundry other distractions like the fall of the Orissa Government, the Press has been very much on its toes these last three weeks. The 'grand alliance'

Norms for the Poll

Norms for the Poll Nireekshak NOW that speculation on the likelihood or otherwise of a mid-term poll has been finally set at rest; journalistic Interest is focused on the probable outcome of the poll and on the various alliances and adjustments that may take shape before the final battle. The poll had for to long been a subject of continuous discussion in the Press that when the actual decision to dissolve the Lok Sabha came, it did not take either pressmen or readers by surprise, Nevertheless, it was big news, of course, which news editors could an- nounce under eight-column streamers

Questionable Collaboration

Questionable Collaboration Nireekshak NO one who is even remotely acquainted with It is likely to accuse the Press Information Bureau (PIB) of originality or initiative. Its latest endeavour in co-sponsoring with the Press Institute of India a 'code on reporting communal and ethnic tensions' therefore looked, at first glance, suspiciously like a departure from tradition. But no, u closer look allays all suspicion

A Good Word for a Revolution

A Good Word for a 'Revolution' Nireekshak HOWEVER shabby might have been the news coverage in the Indian Press of the recent cyclone havoc in East Bengal, no such criticism can be directed against the Press for its treatment of Pakistan's first general elections. It was a very competent performance indeed. Days before the elections, commentators and editorial writers scanned Pakistan's political horizon while reporters filled in, though mostly from Delhi, much monitored information about the contest, Reactions to the poll results were also prompt and sharp. The Press has always had some fondness for politics, and this might conceivably have been one of the causes of its intense interest in the Pakistani elections. But even more than this general tendency to, emphasise politics, sometimse to the exclusion of more important issues, what probably gave the election coverage a certain depth was the knowledge that Indian interests were directly at stake in the elections. , Newspapers seem to have recognised only too well that, no matter what the outcome of the elections was, it was bound to have an impact on India. Statesman expressed this succinctly when it wrote: "How Pakistan rules itself is entirely its own business. But any Pakistani leader who stands for good relations with India is bound to be applauded here, for India's interest in Pakistan is to live in peace and amity with it. 'The paper noted in this connection Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's call for the restoration of trade and friendly relations with India

Futuristic Conspiracy

Futuristic Conspiracy ? Nireekshak CORRESPONDENTS who covered the Lucknow session of the AICC(O) must undoubtedly have been competent man but they seem nonetheless to have passed off quite a bit of local gossip, garnished generously with their own wishful thinking, as hard news. Political reports are, of course, rarely if ever totally uncoloured by the reporter's subjective attitude to the news; and, as Nehru once remarked to a group of pressmen, perhaps no journalist should be so insufferably objective in his approach to news that he loses his vision altogether. Yet objectivity of approach is still what is enjoined on the reporter, by tradition as well as modern practice. Generally speaking, he observes the rules. However, the temptation seems to have been strong in Lucknow to dump the rules.

Doubtful Disengagement

Doubtful Disengagement Nireekshak WILL there be a general election before 1972? The Press has speculated upon the possibility ever since the Congress split last year. Comments have varied, quite naturally, depending on the commentator's own individual predilections and on whether or not a particular newspaper had editorially com- mited itself to supporting one or the other of the splinter parties. For the many eager-beavers who advocated an early poll there were an equal number of others who counselled patience. Yet the predominant impression left on the reader probably was that a midterm poll was unavoidable.

Little Understanding, Less Information

Little Understanding, Less Information Nireekshak INDER Gujrars latest remaps in the Rajya Sabha on the proposed new "international news agency" lend themselves to only one inference, namely, that the Government has no clear idea as yet of what it wants or how to go about getting whatever it wants. The Minister of State for Information has often in the past made rambling references to the need for having a news agency which would disseminate objective information from and to India and expressed Government's anxiety to see one established. Neither he nor any other spokesman of Government has, however, thought fit to spell out any concrete suggestions for organising such an agency, or otherwise indicated how Government proposes to attain its objective. Was this to be done by setting up an entirely new agency or by reorganising one of the existing four to conform more closely to the requirements in view? Is the Indian Press capable of supporting a fifth agency when it seems unable to support; adequately even the two major ones how in existence and the other two, both Indian language agencies, which are still in their infancy and in bad shape? If an officially favoured agency comes into being, how will Government subsidies for other agencies be affected?

A Prime Minister in Office

A Prime Minister in Office.. Nireekshak WHAT is the 'relevance of Nehru' in 1970? It seems Mountbatten and Edward Heath, not forgetting Krishna Menon, all of whom participated in Nehru's birth anniversary observances in Britain, were more concerned with the question than the professional pundits of the Indian Press. National Herald, as might have been expected, did have some observations to make. So had Blitz, though, almost only in passing, which seemed uncharacteristic of a paper which has never concealed its claim to being the conscience keeper of Nehru. Yet, like Herald, it marked the date on the calendar while most others, why almost everyone else, quite simply ignored it.

In the Cause of Integration

In the Cause of Integration Nireekshak WHETHER the Press as a whole can be regarded as a force for the common social good has been recently, particularly since the split in the Congress, a subject of much public debate. No one, however, has questioned the concern of the Press for national unity or, what has come to be described as, national integration. Indeed, the Press could claim with some justification, notwithstanding the odd black sheep in its own ranks, that it has done more than any other sector of organised opinion to advance the cause of national integration. Perhaps because of this awareness, and certainly also for other reasons, the Press had always looked upon the activities of the National Integration Council with unconcealed scepticism. Riven as the Council is by political differences, its latest meeting seems only to have enhanced Press scepticism about the Council's usefulness.

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