The editorial “What’s in a name? A life” (June 29) has given the real picture behind the Sarabjit/Surjeet Singh name mix-up in the media. The Hindu deserves to be lauded for writing an editorial on the subject. I sympathise with the family of Sarabjit Singh which was misled by the media.
It is time the media, print and visual, asked itself whether it is disseminating information in the true sense or adding unwanted colour to get attention.
Fr Paul Percy D’silva,
The editorial on the name mix-up is a graceful admission of a bad slip-up by the media. Vying with one another to be the first to report, media houses display insensitivity to human sufferings, particularly during major calamities. It is time journalism became true journalism again — reporting, reviewing, analysing and acting as a bridge between the rulers and the ruled in an unbiased manner. What we see today is more of “investigative” journalism, reporting questionable information and drawing hasty conclusions.
It is really disheartening to see that the fourth pillar of democracy can become so insensitive as to create a mix-up of names and mislead the people of two nations. Conspiracy theories floated on television news channels added salt and pepper to the story. Political parties, of course, were not to be left behind. The media stands exposed. It should go back to the basics of checking facts before publishing/reporting news. It should collectively apologise to Sarabjit Singh’s family.
Mohammed Shahbaz Akhter,
As a gesture of sympathy to Sarabjit’s family and goodwill to India, Pakistan can release him. The act will go a long way in reducing the embarrassment caused in both countries and in pleasing the family which was misled by the media and remains disappointed.
Sensationalism has become the order of the day. Many sections of the media are obsessed with false reports. Sarabjit’s family is understandably heartbroken. The Hindu did a commendable job by acknowledging its mistake. The media should perhaps ponder over self-regulation as suggested by Justice Markandey Katju.
The editorial on the Surjeet/Sarabjit confusion shows why The Hindu stands apart. I was shocked to read in another daily that it was jihadists in Pakistan who were responsible for replacing the name of Sarabjit Singh with Surjeet Singh. I wonder what its sources were.
T. Anand Raj,
It is disturbing to note the non-stop and disgraceful rush of the visual media to claim proprietary rights over breaking news, unmindful of its authenticity.
Such is the state of affairs that the media needs an overseeing authority rather than self-regulation.
The fact that the media plays a significant role in a democracy cannot be denied. But it stands badly exposed in the Surjeet-Sarabjit mix-up. In many cases, the media, instead of informing, creates confusion. It should bear in mind that it occupies an important place in a democracy.
In the words of Malcolm X, the famous American leader, “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.” It is, therefore, important for the media to be responsible.
The ostensible purpose for which Minister Kapil Sibal sought to replace the IIT-JEE with a common entrance test for engineering was to reduce the burden of students who had to write multiple exams. But the new formula places more burden on students since they have to concentrate on their Board examinations as well as the JEE in two stages. The government’s purpose has been defeated. It need not have meddled with the time-tested procedures and played with the future of students.
For the tenth Board examination, the government introduced grades system so that students could focus on overall learning, not just marks. But to get admission to IITs, it wants them to get into the rat-race of percentile system where every mark scored determines a student’s future.
Although a minimum qualifying criterion for qualifying in the JEE is acceptable, the stipulation that a candidate should be in the top 20 percentile in the State Boards is a retrograde step. It undermines the creativity and ability of students who lag behind in our rote learning based education system. The new formula will, in no way, reduce the burden of students.
K. Vishwanath Reddy,
The assumption that only students who appear for the IIT-JEE, AIEEE or PMT take coaching classes is not true. Students belonging to the humanities and commerce stream also do so in order to secure better marks and get admission to top level undergraduate colleges. So a common entrance will not solve the problem of coaching classes. Students will attend them for scoring better marks in the Board exams. A student is not necessarily stressed when he takes multiple exams but he comes under pressure when forced to study different curricula and prepare for different patterns of questions in different exams.
There are about 40 State Boards at the 10+2 level with different curriculum, question patterns and evaluation processes. How can marks scored under them be normalised? A new pattern should be adopted only if it is more beneficial than the previous one.
24 Parganas (North)
The new formula sounds good but there are many pitfalls since the dependence on coaching institutes would be still exponential. Obviously if the students now have to come in top 20 percentile, the coaching sector would come out with some extra coaching classes.