P. Sainath’s incisive and well-researched article (Nov. 30) on the Maharashtra Chief Minister’s expensive advertisements-passed-off-as-news made excellent reading. Politicians are known to use all possible means to woo voters and the media. The Election Commission may have its rules against the misuse of its code of conduct, but which politician cares about rules? He knows the system weaknesses.
There is a pliant media keen on obliging the high and mighty politicians. Unless the law enforcement system is strong enough to curb such violations, the misuse of the media will continue.
Why fault Mr. Chavan? It is the criminal prosecution system in India that is toothless and weak. It harasses only the hapless aam aadmi. We proclaim that we will not sit quiet until the foreign terrorists who attacked Mumbai are brought to book. But who will bring to book our very own home-grown wrongdoers?
It is indeed shocking that candidates can mislead potential voters through such “news” items. It is clear that Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has breached limits before winning the elections. Hope this episode makes the people of India more aware of the true nature of Indian politicians and the role some top media enterprises play.
It is disgraceful that the Fourth Estate stooped to such low levels of selling news space. It is an insult to its patrons who repose faith and trust in its objectivity. This practice is abominable and deserves serious condemnation. From free press to “paid press” our media have come a long way indeed. Will the Election Commission and the Supreme Court take suo motu cognisance of this malady?
We compliment The Hindu for its crusade against certain sections of the Fourth Estate which have surrendered moral values for money. Unfortunately, the Election Commission too does not have a suitable mechanism to examine fictitious election expense accounts submitted by candidates. The very purpose of prescribing a ceiling on expenses gets defeated. It is high time the Ministry of Information, the EC and the Press Council came up with a fool-proof procedure to prevent “paid news.”
A. Varnika Harini,
Though the politician-media nexus is nothing new, the article exposes the brazen and novel ways employed to hoodwink the watchdogs. Only the naive would overlook the so-called “news” in different leading dailies, attributed to their own correspondents. The CEC and the Press Council should step in to arrest the trend.