Tag Archives: Foreign Correspondents

No news is good news unless it is bad news?

One of the hackneyed charges against Western hacks in India is that they diligently separate the wheat from the chaff and report the chaff. India’s successes, triumphs and achievements, we are told ad nauseam, are ignored by the “nattering nabobs of negativism” who can only see death, disease and despair; floods, famines and failure.

KANCHAN KAUR forwards a story from the latest issue of the superb tech magazine Wired, which looks at India’s underground trade in human remains. For long, India was the world’s primary source of bones used in medical study. Officially, the export was banned in 1985, but Scott Carney reports that the trade still going on.

Coming in the wake of The Observer‘s undercover story on use of child labour for Gap products, and in the wake of the New York Times story on manhole overs being fabricated by foot in Bengal, is the western media’s infatuation with India’s tech boom, the new billionaires, the growing consumption, etc, over?

And is it back to business as usual for the foreign correspondents?

On the other hand, isn’t this what journalism is all about? Comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable. Throwing light in the dark nooks and corners that we want to turn away from.

Is it such a bad thing that the western media should alert us to what is happening in our backyard when our media seem inclined to ignore the warts? Is the western media dutybound to buy into the new rising, shining, incredible India? Should the media only be purveying good news, as the former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam believes?

Isn’t there a difference between advertising and journalism, hacks and flacks? Or have we lost the ability to distinguish?

Read the Wired story here: Inside India’s underground trade in human remains

Illustration: courtesy Wired

Crossposted on churumuri


Why we don’t know who Jagennath Lachmon is

Every media house magically finds the resources to send correspondents to the Cannes, IFA or Frankfurt festivals. Indra Nooyi‘s climb up the global power ladder has our media charting her step. Every Mira Nair film has film correspondents flitting half way across the world for her bon mot. And of course each new car or cellphone release has our auto and tech correspondents doing a “dummy run” before the ad hawks swoop in.

Yet, why has no Indian media house still sent a correspondent to Malaysia to cover the plight and persecution of Tamils, and why do we have to depend on the International Herald Tribune and international news agencies to tell us of razed temples, asks Dasu Krishnamoorty on The Hoot:

“For our media, Indians reside only in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. Neither our media have space nor has our foreign office the time… Our newspapers are as loathe to posting correspondents in these countries as our journalists are loathe going there except in the company of the prime minister.

“Our media and foreign office make us believe that there are minorities only in India and not elsewhere. Our secularism is so pristine that Indian minorities in Muslim countries are not its concern. Are they children of a lesser God? Our embassies and consulates come to life only when a minister from India is visiting. People of Indian origin are not their concern.”

Read the full story here: Children of a lesser god

Crossposted on churumuri