Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ram Admits the Truth

Check out the Reader's Editor's comments today. He cites all the grievances that readers have had about the Hindu's coverage and then allows the Editor-in-Chief to explain. N.Ram appears to have admitted to many of the allegations made against the Hindu. Here are his comments:

We have an arrangement with Xinhua. We have also used western agencies and PTI. The violence reported and confirmed editorially was by Tibetan discontents, some hundreds of them. The Chinese authorities seemed unprepared at first but moved to stop the savagery in Lhasa and violence in some Tibetan areas. The riots were easily overcome. The violence in Lhasa, by every account, was by protestors, who included monks. No specific incident of violence by the police or paramilitary forces has been reported by any credible news source or eyewitnesses.

The comments in the column fail to look critically at the abundant editorialising in the guise of news. If the content in The Guardian, The New York Times, and Western news agencies is analysed, the problems of professional news reporting on the Tibet developments can be better appreciated. They were full of editorial judgments and loaded phrases and were often inaccurate (such as death toll). Their websites published wrong photographs or photographs with wrong captions. The Dalai Lama’s statements were edited because he is a separatist and tended to justify the savage and murderous riots in Lhasa. Not many letters were received other than what we published.
No particular instance is cited of an erroneous report in major foreign newspapers. While I cannot vouch for every paper, I do know that the New York Times has stringent requirements for verification of the truth of material to be published. Also what does he mean by 'No specific incident of violence by the police or paramilitary forces has been reported by any credible news source or eyewitnesses'? There have been numerous reports of peacefully protesting monks being incarcerated but then again, these are in newspapers that the Editor-in-Chief has already concluded to be biased. So has the Hindu done any original reporting from inside Tibet or reported any eyewitness accounts? None that I have seen so far. So what is the chief source of reliable news for Mr. Ram? Xinhua, the official organ of the Chinese Communist party!

The editorial policy on why no other letters were published was left unaddressed. Also I wonder what is the job of the Reader's Editor if the Editor-in-Chief decides both on news content and editorial policy? Just to read readers' comments and report to the latter?


Anonymous said...

"The comments in the column fail to look critically at the abundant editorialising in the guise of news"

the height of irony...Hindu talking about "editorialising in the guise of news" !

"The Dalai Lama’s statements were edited because he is a separatist"

What sort of a ridiculous justification is this?...does Hindu adopt the same standard for all separatists across the world?...I don't think the Hindu ever edits statements of Kashmiri Separitists like Geelani and Yasin Malik even if they are against India...but then ofcourse Chineese and not Indian national interest is in Chindu's interests

Anonymous said...

Would Mr.N.Ram care to explain how the NY Times a magazine he quotes here as a credible news source, quotes the Chinese Government's report, right here,
"On Thursday, China acknowledged for the first time that security forces had opened fire on Tibetan protesters in Sichuan Province, while also saying that protests had spread to several areas of China where ethnic Tibetans live."
Maybe N.Ram you should read the newspapers you quote, once a while.

Ram said...

Good points anon.

A point made by Rahul Basu sums up the problem with The Hindu "I would defend The Hindu Editorial Board’s tilt towards the Left as a matter of policy, but news coverage must be fair and balanced and seen to be so. The Hindu practises convenient self-censorship."

I would also add The Hindu not only does self-censorship, but serves as the propaganda mouthpiece of the Chines Communist Party.

What are the other Board Members doing? Are they waiting for N. Ram to run The Hindu to the ground before they do something about this? I wonder what G. Kasturi would have say about this?

Does anyone from The Hindu read this blog? Maybe we should write to the Board if they dont.


pilid said...

Good points guys. Dear Anonymous (#2), N.Ram thinks that the NYT is biased as well (and so is the Guardian) as far as China is concerned; only Xinhua is fair and balanced.

Anonymous said...

Comrade Ram discussing Nepali affairs, offers free advice thus: "As long as King Gyanendra accepts the people's verdict with grace, there is no reason why he and his family cannot continue to live in republican Nepal as ordinary citizens."

Now he can also offer similar advice to his friend (living quite nearby, in Republican India) who goes around the city calling himself "Prince of Arcot" "Nawab" etc. Even if due to some strange reason the Govt. has not withdrawn the anachronisic priviliges to this Triplican resident, Comrade Ram should tell this fellow to behave like an ordinary citizen, work and earn his money (just as all comrades are asked to do).