News value?

In “Stop press! No breaking news, please” (July 18), Nissim Mannathukkaren has rightly pointed out that irrelevant news and gossip is telecast to fill the news slots. The result is that a sizable percentage of news stories, instead of informing the readers and viewers, has acquired the tag of entertainment in the name of news. The solution is to transform the news channels into news-cum-information channels where news will be telecast for a limited period and rest of the time will be used for informative programming.

P. Esakki Muthu, Chennai

After reading the article I became nostalgic for the news I used to listen to on All India Radio. The

news items were crisp and aired without any unnecessary drama and no intention of sensation. The news items now broadcast on television are more entertainment for the urban educated wealthy class rather than about positive inspiring news for society as a whole. It is high time media start re-evaluating their operations.

C.A.S. Chidambara Vinayagam, Secunderabad

The article brings out the mismatch between the flood of information we are exposed to and the inherent capacity of the human brain to register facts and later recollect them. The one-upmanship among media houses has led to the 24x7 news culture. But few can cope with even half an hour of uninterrupted attention on a single news channel, irrespective of the quality. Our media survives on public appeal, and any deviation from the existing system will be at the cost of the commercial peril.

S. Purushotham, Kochi

Promising test

Dr Francoise Soussaline's new cytological test for cervical premalignant changes (“A boon for women”, July 18) indeed looks promising. Its benefits will be realised only if there is a concerted effort on the part of obstetricians and gynaecologists, the media and social workers to educate the population on regular testing for women beyond 35 years. The new test should also be complementary to the HPV vaccine and not a total replacement.

Dr. Shaila S. Shenoy, Mangalore

It is sad to hear that many women fall prey to cervical cancer in India. Most women are ignorant of the disease and the way it is spread. An awareness programme stressing the need for check-up is a must. The new test for early detection developed by Dr. Francoise Soussaline is of course a huge helping hand for women. But India must ensure that even the poorest women can afford such tests.

Sheraf Karuva, Kollam, Kerala

Innocence lost

With reference to “The end of innocence” by Nirmala Lakshman (July 18), I have only seen the movie. So the article was like a flashback in the mind's screen. It brings out the value of the book; of how innocence is exploited...

Dr. Ramachandran, Kochi

Minimalist approach

This refers to Harsh Mander's “Hunger beyond calculus” (July 18). Even after 63 years, the country has not, sadly enough, been able to evolve a realistic and reliable deprivation index. The Directive Principles of State Policy (luckily not justiciable) mandate that the State shall strive to secure to the people adequate means of livelihood. Yet the very same State is engaged in a chase after ‘minimals'.

C. Divakaran, Thiruvananthapuram

Harsh Mander has correctly summarised how our inability to define and calculate poverty has hampered our fight against it. We tend to underestimate its complexity and cruelty. The present definition of poverty is constructed around words like ‘average' man/woman, ‘cheapest' food, ‘minimum' calories and ‘normal' work. Our fight against poverty will gain meaning only if its definition is reworked. "The poverty of the poor is their ruin," says the Book of Proverbs. And the ruin is not just material. Poverty kills the spirit of the poor.

Vaibhav C. Ghalme, Rahuri, Maharashtra

The hungry know no mathematics or statistics and are unconcerned about standards and allocations. The enactment of the FSA, 2010 has been easy but do we have the compassion or the will to enforce it? If not, all the promises made under the Act are meaningless.

Dr. Sunil P. Shenoy, Mangalore

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Sunday MagazineJune 28, 2012