Edit & Opinion

In India’s Opinion | The Dispatch on 12 June, 2020

Every Monday to Saturday, The Dispatch brings to you a selection of Editorials from leading newspapers across the country.

Ministry of Truth

“With the Opposition locked down, new media policy for J&K is an affront, will have chilling effect on any voice other than official, reads the editorial of The Indian Express. It further reads, ” The New Media Policy of the Jammu & Kashmir administration resembles 1984 in its 53 pages of rules and regulations on what is news, the setting up of a mechanism for “monitoring” of fake news, conditions newspapers need to meet in order to be empanelled and under what circumstances they will be “de-empanelled”. The J&K Directorate of Information and Public Relations may not have George Orwell’s vocabulary but the framers of this policy have managed to provide a remarkably clear picture of the media they want — journalists and news organisations answerable not to their readers, nor even to their editors, but to government bureaucrats and security officials, who will have the powers to decide which news item is fake or “anti-national”; and with these determinations, to further decide the economic viability of a newspaper through the carrots and sticks of government advertisements. Officials will sit in judgement on journalistic ethics and issues of plagiarism. All this for building “a genuinely positive image of the government based on performance”, and to “build public trust” and “increase public understanding about the Government’s roles and responsibilities” read the full editorial here.


Gone with the Wind

“But it’ll be back with a learned explainer on racism. That righteous burden may weigh down the film,” read the editorial of The Indian Express. It further reads, “Against the backdrop of Black Lives Matter, HBO Max has pulled down the 1939 Hollywood classic Gone with the Wind. Victor Fleming’s screen rendering of Margaret Mitchell’s novel has for long been criticised for glorifying the antebellum South, perpetuating stereotypes of Black Americans and romanticising a fictional history. The pulldown was celebrated as a moral victory by many but others have rightly protested that it was just the easiest thing to do. Perhaps in reaction, HBO will bring it back on stream with an introduction by a prominent African-American scholar, contextualising it as a cultural product of an era when racism was regarded as normal. But the history lesson can be accused of preachifying and imposing on the patience of the public — popular cinema should be directly accessible, without heavy-handed mediation. It should be left to the viewer to engage with it, and to seek out the context, instead of force-feeding it to her,” reads the full editorial here.


Negligent hospitals

“Ascertain, rectify reasons for the lapse,” reads the editorial of The Tribune. It further reads, “The shortcomings in public healthcare system have come to the fore along with a spike in Covid cases. In Haryana, the family of a young woman, who was shifted to a government hospital with Covid symptoms, had to run from pillar to post for five days to get her body lying in a mortuary. The doctors allegedly forgot to send her samples for testing. She was earlier refused medical attention at the community health centre. In another instance, at Jalgaon in Maharashtra, a family lost its members admitted for treatment of coronavirus to a government hospital, for want of facilities. Five officials of the hospital have been suspended and an inquiry ordered,” read the full editorial here.


Slips show: QS rankings plummet for Indian unis

“One criticism of the system is that it gives 40 per cent weightage to ‘academic peer review’, which, many believe, may become subjective,” reads the ediorial of The Teklegraph. It further reads, “Upbeat labels and ambitious programmes are politically attractive, but they have apparently failed to impress the Quacquarelli Symonds world university rankings system. Among the Indian educational institutions that have slipped from their earlier places in the QS rankings, quite a few boast Narendra Modi’s ‘institution of eminence’ label. While three institutes have remained within the first 200 ranks, they have all lost points — the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, has dropped from 152 to 172, although it remains the topmost among Indian institutions in the list. Of the 25 institutions included earlier in the first 1,000, 21 have made it this time. The Study in India programme inaugurated in 2019, designed to attract students and teaching faculty from overseas, has obviously not had the desired success, because one of the criteria requires internationalization. A statement of the ranking agency says that in spite of high research quality, internationalization levels, teaching capacity and academic standing are not as good in Indian institutions as in their competitors elsewhere,” read the full editorial here.

Don’t delay building large, makeshift Covid care facilities

“The world has known since February that a key part of the Wuhan fightback against the novel coronavirus was converting school dorms and hotels into mass quarantine facilities and building field hospitals out of sports stadiums, exhibition centers and even cultural complexes,” read the editorial of The Times of India. It further reads, ” Let us say India began this fightback in earnest on March 25. Two and half months later confirmed cases are near 3 lakh and still climbing upwards, with uncertainty about when the peak will hit as different parts of the country experience different infection trajectories. For India too, a key part of the fightback has to be increasing bed inventory through temporary field hospitals,’ read the full editorial here.



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