Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bankrupt Journalism

Machines that pollute our environment in Bengal, in the form of privately owned mass transport are staying away from the road today, perhaps indefinitely. I love it, really.

I scanned two newspapers in the morning, Anandabazar Patrika in bengali and The Telegraph in english, and failed to find the word environmental pollution. They call it their Bureau's reporting. Its really the stuff of chai shops. I know enough about editing to see through this irresponsibly naive purpose of misdirecting readers.

The court order, as they point out, is an year old. Why do we need a court order to stop polluting our environment, once again? I don't want polluters be it in the form of nitrogen oxides or just plain old spit around me. Speaking of spitting publicly, I will need to record a video or something to show the action but its really incredible; its like a constant shower coming down from both sides when you walk. I wonder how that will affect the spread of the influenza A /H1N1 here. I'm not 'panicking' though. On May 15th we had zero reports and on July 22 it was 348, on July 19th it was 298; but no one died. We are such a self sufficient, mature nation! We told the US to screen their passengers before sending them over here; the US consulate in India asks for screening reports even before issuing the visas. But we can take care of ourselves. By the way, this virus is evolving.

But enough about health and environment, how about our agricultural economy and the monsoon? The day after Prithviraj Chavan conducted that farce with full court press coverage declaring the 'updated' report on the progress of monsoon, which to us clearly said that the showbiz was to distract the people from something much more pertinent, Anandabazar patrika had a very short 250 words or so, by someone and I apologize for not being able to recall the name of the author, calling the bluff and hinting that what if the prediction of IMD was wrong this time. You know, when they predicted in April 96% of normal rainfall in long time average, we got 48% below normal; now when they are predicting 93% of normal how credible is that? An organization that can't predict today's weather straight, why is it asking the Nation to believe that in August we will get 101% of normal?

Anyways, this report was embedded in an obscure corner, way inside; only weirdos like me must have read it. However, its made to the front page today. But now, the blame is squarely on the government. All through winter and summer, when we were not getting the expected weather conditions, we were joking as to when the public will start blaming the government for not allowing us any rainfall. We were suffering in the heat waves but ours is a rich man's problem.

Sadly, we have all the facts and can plan our lives accordingly. The people who most needed the facts, and spent money on these print media to acquire the information, are left without it and instead directed towards agitating against the administration and continue on with their already miserable lives.

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