The Union government must increase the price of petroleum products by some fixed percentage every month. The present pricing policy of the government, that is both populist and appeasing, will reduce navratna oil companies of the country to bankruptcy. People should think as to why they have to run four-wheel drives with a single occupant when 75% of the oil consumed in the country is imported. Similarly, why must cooking gas be subsidized when it is imported by spending foreign exchange. The government should not have short-term measures in mind and should save the oil industry from ruin.
— P.K. Gambhir
Notices have been issued by a division bench of the Supreme Court (justice Altamas Kabir and justice Markandey Katju) to the Union ministry of information and broadcasting, the Press Council of India, the Uttar Pradesh government and media houses in the course of a public interest litigation.
These notices direct them to frame guidelines for reporting of criminal cases. It is very welcome.
In the wake of the mess created by the press and television reporters in the Aarushi Talwar murder case, it is imperative that strict norms be put in place. This is necessary so that reporters, in their haste to “break news” and sensationalize the issue, don’t jeopardize the investigative process and prematurely and unjustifiably blame innocent people for the crime.
In many cases, especially in case of crimes by terrorists and gangsters, investigative officers jump the gun. They are often eager to take credit and gain publicity. As a result they readily inform reporters about the suspects, the progress of the investigation and evidence gathered — thus enabling criminals to cover their tracks and escape the law.
One hopes the honourable justices will ensure that fool-proof guidelines are put in place that will force responsible behaviour on the part of journalists. This is necessary to ensure that criminals don’t get the upper hand in the process. It’s also needed to avoid damage to reputations and mental agony to victims.
— G.R. Vora
The article “Policy sans accountability”, Mint, 18 August, raised an issue that has always been quashed by the general press. When I curse the ills that befall our cities, I am often reminded of a time when all this was beginning to change: It was the time of Sanjay Gandhi.
There was a sense of order that was beginning from the chaos around. But, then, the press remembers that time as the darkest hour of our democracy.
It is ironical, though, that it was also a time of accountability.
But, what we need to do is to be more forgiving of the state. If a state works for the welfare of its people, it is likely to make many mistakes, but we have to be forgiving of these mistakes and correct them.
Our policy paralysis has stemmed from our policy to get everything right, from the day a particular policy is put in place, something that is not possible.
This is not a realistic approach in any case and many well-meaning steps cannot survive the strains that our expectations impose. We need to have an approach of going forward with an open mind and only then can we make any meaningful progress.
— Akshay Sekhri