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Loss of Credibility

Loss of Credibility Nireekshak WITH the armies of India and Pakistan facing each other along the entire border in the west and the cast, newspapers like Times of India and Hindustan Times have been paying special attention to such things as rice harvesting in Chhamb and the road traffic out of Ferozepore. Some other strictly military information

Low Farce

Low Farce Nireekshak THE new Congress, it seems, is nothing In it the old Congress in thin disguise At least this is what everyone

To Make a Martyr

To Make a Martyr Nireekshak BRAHMANANDA Reddi's decision to give up office ("because the Prime Minister asked me", as he put it), has earned him much praise in the newspapers. Naturally, opinion in Andhra Pradesh itself was somewhat more agitated than elsewhere. For, as Deccan Chronicle observed, "the resignation of Chief Minister Brahmananda Reddi and the decision of the Telengana Praja Samiti to merge with the Ruling Congress, both happening within a week with rapid succession, have added new dimensions to the political situation in Andhra Pradesh", Whether the resignation and the merger were two unconnected, merely coincidental, developments

Old Hat on New Events

Old Hat on New Events Nireekshak THE Prime Minister's visit to the Soviet Union and President Podgorny's brief stopover in New Delhi on his way to Hanoi provided the opportunity to newspapers for reviewing Indo-Soviet relations. Much of the review based it- self on the joint statement issued at the end of Indira Gandhi's visit, and once again reassessed the Indo-Soviet treaty of friendship particularly, its im- pact of the Bangla Desh crisis. The Prime Minister's visit was covered quite extensively, hut not in any depth. A noteworthy feature of the reporting was that there was a team of Indian correspondents in full charge of it. Newspapers here could therefore afford to dispense with the service of the foreign news agencies altogether. Thus was, of course, more accidental than deliberate, and was possible largely because PTI happens to have a resident correspondent in Moscow.

Reflecting Disenchantment

In fact, the liberation forces are mounting offensives all along the line and the occupying forces are being forced onto the defensive. The biggest setback for the 70,000 Portuguese army has been its inability to prevent the liberation forces from crossing the Zambesi river. The Portuguese did everything possible to prevent the crossing.

Easy Judgments

Easy Judgments Nireekshak "WITH the ... invitation to India by the Sponsoring Committee of the Asian and African countries to participate in the table tennis tournaments to be held in Peking, and India accepting the gesture", wrote Hitavada recently, "a new era of international diplomacy and understanding has begun". Whether it has or not, many China- watchers have been busy airing their prognostications about the future of India-China relations. Earlier, all of them, without exception, had been smitten by Mao's smite. Their many interpretations of the smile would surely make Mao literally smile. But that was before the 'Sons of Heaven' showed a penchant for ping pong. Ping pong has since put the smile in the shade.

Will the Press Be Free

Will the Press Be Free?
Nireekshak EVERYONE agrees that the proposals ostensibly to effect diffusion of ownership of the press by an amendment of the Companies Act should never have been published at this stage or in the present form. But that is the only point of agreement about the proposals among those who are directly or indirectly concerned with the press and its working. I say 'proposals' because, according to the authoritative voice of National Herald, "no draft bill seems to have been prepared, and whatever is being discussed is baseless, incomplete, or misleading", 'Baseless'? May be 'incomplete'. But 'misleading'? After all, what is being discussed is a spillover of the discussion initiated at a (secret?) conclave of some journalists and Government officials in the capital, which was sponsored by the concerned Ministries themselves. How then can the discussion be baseless?

A Matter of Supplements

A Matter of Supplements Nireekshak FOR a number of years now, newspapers have managed to get by without expressing any special Independence Day thoughts of their own on August 15. The accent rather has been on the thoughts of others in the form of specially written articles in l-Day supplements, and, more specifically, on advertisements which only a once-a-year supplement can attract. Something seems, however, to have happened this year to slightly upset the established practice. To begin with, not many supplements were issued on the occasion and, probably because it was a Sunday, even such supplements as were issued were almost indistinguishable from the usual Sunday supplements

Issue Unclinched

Issue Unclinched Nireekshak THESE are indeed days and "week(s) of wonder", as a Blitz columnist exclaimed recently while surveying the national scene. First there were the constitutional amendments which suddenly enlivened Parliament, rescuing it and the Press gallery from the boredom of an otherwise uniformly dull session. Then came another shocker in the guise of the Indo- Soviet treaty of friendship and co-operation which, while it has rattled a few, has unmistakably left the many gaping in astonishment and relief! Newspapers, of course, are not unaccustomed to sur- prises but the treaty came as so great a surprise to every known and unknown pundit in the Press that it threw most commentators off balance.

Right to Property, Above All

Right to Property, Above All?
Nireekshak THOUGH the Constitution had been amended 23 times already, the 24th amendment that has just been enacted as well as the 25th and 26th ones that arc pending have together caused more editorial hearts to ache for the future of the 'rule of law' than ever before. However, this simulated or genuine concern for future generations has been well-nigh smothered by the general welcome with which the Press as a whole greeted the constitutional exercise. Why the 24th amendment alone should cause such heartburn, when Parliament may be thought to have already established both its competence and the need occasionally to bring up-to-date the wisdom of the "founding fathers", is not difficult to see. The 24th amendment, which is designed to reverse the effect of the Supreme Court judgment in the Golaknath casti and to restore to Parliament its right to amend any part of the Constitution including the Fundamental Rights, is rightly seen only as a curtain raiser to the two other amendments yet to follow. The latter two seek to make inroads into the citizen's right to property which the Supreme Court has so far held to be fundamental.

The Easy Way Out

The Easy Way Out Nireekshak THE "triumph and tragedy in space" as Free Press Journal announced the death of the three Russian cosmonauts, elicited flashes of sub-editorial genius for display from more than one newspaper. It was the lead story in every newspaper on July 1, and continued to stay on the front pages at any rate until the funeral of the cosmonauts in Moscow. Nevertheless, the Press made little effort scientifically to inquire into the- disaster or otherwise to provide technical and scientific information on the Russian experiment; Indian Express, for example, while making a point of covering all the American moonshots in great technical and other detail, showed no anxiety whatever to delve below the surface of the obvious facts relating to the Soyuz flight and disaster which were relayed by the news agencies.

Much Ado about Perfidious America

Much Ado about Perfidious America Nireekshak WHAT with The New York Times and some other American newspapers choosing to print extracts from a Pentagon secret report on the origins of the Vietnam War, Swaran Singh's visit to New York and Washington and its shattering denouement in the disclosure, again first in The New York Times, of the secret American arms shipment to Pakistan, the 'land of hope and glory' has been much in the news. Indian correspondents stationed in Washington who had been writing flowing accounts of the 'success of the Foreign Minister's visit were all suddenly and most rudely compelled by the American Press to stop short in their tracks; they seem subsequently to have taken their cue from the Indian Ambassador who told a TV interview- et soon after the publication of the Times story on arms shipments, that his Government no longer knew what US assurances to believe and what not.


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