Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: Freedom of the press is one thing, but is the media above the law?

A selection of readers’ opinions.

Media hunt

The story of an unscrupulous government carrying out vindictive raids on a media baron who has been criticising its actions fearlessly is a plausible one, given the past record of many regimes (“NDTV raids: The BJP’s saffron-tinted view of India has no room for a watchdog media”). But it is equally plausible that the said baron may have had improper financial transactions with the bank that has lodged a complaint with the police. It’s also possible that both reasons simultaneously hold. An objective report should examine both angles. – KG Narayanan


It seems in the name of freedom of the press and freedom of speech, this pillar of democracy wants to get away with corruption and crime. This article says, “media houses are vulnerable if their financial dealings are investigated.”Does this mean financial or other crimes by media houses should not be dealt with, lest it affect their freedom? The so-called self-regulation in the media has led to a “you scratch my back, I scratch yours” situation and now there’s crime and corruption in all the media. – Arun Venkat


Any corrupt person, when raided by the IT department or the CBI, plays the victim card, be it an Opposition party or a media house. Let us help Modi in rid India of corruption. If one has done no wrong, why make such a ruckus? Wait for the investigation to prove you right. – MP Sinha


Scroll.in should give room to readers’ to comment below articles as other news portals do before talking about press freedom. What explanation does the author of this piece have for the numbers given by the CBI backing the raid? Having read this articleh, I feel that the government should hurt Leftist, low-intellect people like you and magazines like these. – Abiram Devnathan


Agreed that government has a saffron-tinted view and will go on a witch-hunt against all media houses that see differently. But does that mean that a government should not take action against a media house that violates the law? If the Roys of NDTV have misappropriated funds, should that be overlooked? And if there is evidence to prove that such misappropriation, should the government keep quite for fear that the media would lambaste it, as is happening now? – MN Rao


Hats off to Kalpana Sharma for having the courage candidly express her views even in the current environment of fear. Not just the media, most citizens too are afraid of openly expressing views that go against those of the current dispensation. It’s a difficult phase in the history of India, a time when people are feeling terrorised by different forces. – Ghanshyam Mahla


Where is the question of intimidation? Both Subramanian Swamy and S Gurumurthy have given strong evidence of fraud by the NDTV founder. Let him prove his innocence in court. Why is this a question of freedom of the press? – Ravichandran S


Freedom of the press is fine, but the media cannot be above the law. Prannoy Roy is a pioneer in TV journalism but that does not mean that he is above board of the judicial processes. – Piyush Tewari


So, what are you suggesting? That one should join a media house like NDTV or get into an NGO like Setalvad did, then get involved in financial fraud, and then scream harassment if any state agency investigates you? Elsewhere, another section of the media has already published details of the the loan chain NDTV created on its way to defraud. Setalvad and her husband couldn’t explain the diversion of large amounts of foreign funds into their personal accounts that funded their very comfortable life style. What are these people doing in return? Are they above scrutiny? Are they above the law? – Asit Dutta


Despite what journalists may wish to portray, people at large are convinced that media big-shots are involved in corrupt practices, have amassed wealth not commensurate with publicly known sources of income and threaten the government with dire consequence if they dare to act steps against them.This strategy worked well with weak governments who could not afford negative publicity, but Narendra Modi obviously does not care about all this.That’s why corrupt people in media are annoyed these days. – Ramesh Kumar Mishra


What is so objectionable about the raid on NDTV? News channel and its owners are not above the law. The agency conducted the raid based on some concrete evidence. Let the law take its course and if the agency is really at fault, we will also join you in denigrating it. – Shreehari

New heights

Great job, ISRO (“Isro launches its heaviest rocket carrying GSAT-19 satellite”). Thank you to all your members for their effort. Thanks also to our Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the support in empowering our country. As an Indian citizen, I am proud for ISRO and pray for success for future missions too. – Sayan Ghosh

Doctors’ dissent

As a doctor trained in a prestigious government medical college who has done a lot of community work, I congratulate Dr Sanjay Nagral for his decision (“To the Indian Medical Association, here’s why I am not marching with you today”). I think a morcha on the problem of attacks on doctor is a wrong step. It is inappropriate politically because the malaise lies in the failed healthcare system in our country. Also, unless we as professionals are unable to satisfy the patient’s needs, we will continue to face the brunt.

Ethically, the step is wrong because we instead of antagonising the attackers, we should understand their mental framework. Do no harm if you cannot heal a person is a cardinal principle we have avowed to follow.

Socially too it is incorrect as many of those who had attacked doctors were poor people who had put all their savings on the line to cure their loved ones, who unfortunately couldn’t surive.

A systemic change with a more patient-friendly environment and doctor-patient dialogue is the only choice we have. If we need to to do a morcha, it should not be to demand protection but to negotiate with the government to press for change. – Dhruv


Dr Nagral and I may differ greatly in our thinking and approach to our problems on the professional front and with the Indian Medical Association’s leadership, but as a medical doctor myself I am not convinced why an “active” doctor like you did not support the rally. I hope you raise your voice in other Indian Medical Association forums. – A Kumar


This is a long-winded explanation for why 2+2 is not 4. The various points raised can be debated, but there is no excuse for not supporting stringent action against violence. The writer seems to have a grouse against private practice but will up hurting young residents at the forefront. – Sekhon


I really appreciate Dr Sanjay Nagral’s letter to the Indian Medical Association. It is beautifully written and thought provoking.Thank you for publishing it. – Mithila Pathare

Sporting spirit

Ramchandra Guha did good by standing up for what he believed in (“Full Text: ‘Superstar culture afflicts the BCCI,’ writes Ram Guha as he resigns from panel”). It is high time that celebrity cricketers stop assuming greater importance and taking precedence over the sport or the nation. – Vasantha Buddaan

Memories preserved

This is a fascinating account of Mrs N Fernandes (“Mrs N Fernandes: The woman whose pickles inspired Salman Rushdie and a legion of British soldiers”). Ferns Prawn Balchao used to be a favorite in our family and your article brought back memories of it. I shall now keep looking out for the Ferns green label.

Non-veg genes

This theory of existences of 13910T gene appears to be based theory of Aryans, who settled mostly in areas where prevalence of non vegetarianism is highest (“Beef warriors, please note: The deep reason for India’s differing food habits might lie in genetics”). Do we have some data about existence of 13910T gene in Germany and proportion of vegetarians or non-vegetarians in that society? – Badhawan

Pakistan gaffe

Just because a majority of Kerala is not Hindutva or RSS-leaning, the media has a negative attitude towards it (“Times Now apologises for saying Amit Shah is heading to Pakistan when it actually meant Kerala”). This state is superior to others in all fields. When there were communal riots and serial blasts in other states, nothing happened here. But one party is trying its best to create problems and the media is highlighting the same. We have our own system and culture. We are Hindus of Kerala. Let media like Times Now, Republic and others call us Pakistan, no problem. – Murali Narayanan Nair

Views on Varadkar

As you mentioned, most Marathi newspapers did not specify Leo Varadkar’s gay identity even as they stressed that he was a Marathi manoos (“Media watch: The Marathi press skirted around Irish Prime Minister-elect Leo Varadkar’s gay identity”). However, there was one exception, Loksatta, under the Indian Express group, which did cover this as well. – Kiran Lobhaji


First and foremost, Leo Varadkar is Irish born, Irish raised and as Irish as they come. His father’s ethnicity was Indian. Leo Varadkar was elected by his party to be the prime minister of Ireland because of his intellect and progressive ideas and not because of his ethnicity or sexual orientation. Let us all applaud the Irish people for their progressive outlook in choosing a leader without prejudice. – Usman Madha

Farmers’ demands

The photograph accompanying the article on the farmer’s strike in Maharashtra shows people throwing milk on the road with smiles on their faces (“Maharashtra’s leaderless farmers strike is in confusion as many want to step in to take the helm”). This suggests that they are not actual farmers but people planted by political leaders to aggravate the situation. A real farmer, who milks his cow, will never throw it on the road with a smile because he knows the value of the product and of his sweat.

The loan waiver demand is coming from big farmers who are also in politics or other businesses and have taken big loans from banks and are now pressuring the government to bail them out. Most small farmers work hard to repay their loans and have only few demands: that they get a fair price for their agriculture produce, regular electricity and water supply and an end to explotation by middle-men. – Sharad Pant

Last song

Thank you so much for writing about Amir Zaki (“Remembering three decades of friendship with Aamir Zaki, Pakistan’s unsung guitar hero”). I wish he’d used YouTube as well to display his proficiency, especially to those who were unaware of his works. His sudden demise was heart-wrenching and I still haven’t come to terms with it. I hope he’s in a peaceful place now.

I want to know how his family is doing, and whether it was true that he was out of money in recent days. It’s a big shame that a platform like Coke Studio failed take care of it’s foremost talent. People like Zaki are rare. He was so dignified that he did not even speak up about his troubles and tolerated every harsh phase in life quietly. I wish he had demand his rights. Given that he was so humble, generous and compassionate, it hurts to know that he was destroyed by his kind nature. – Emmli Joseph

Tragic end

This life of the young and talented Manjula Devak had a tragic end (“Behind the suicide of an IIT scholar in Delhi, a struggle between new ambitions and old restraints”). It is heartbreaking to read her story. Can’t we have some space where such talented and highly educated women can reach out for help? – Anasuya


It’s without doubt that thousands of brilliant young women who do extremely​ well in school and college and who are capable of doing equally well in their careers are forced into keeping households and bringing up babies. But it is equally true that they make a grave mistake when they marry a man who is equally ambitious. That’s when clashes start to occur. Marrying a less educated, less employed, less ambitious and less powerful individual is what that they should do if they want to fly high and far. – Abhinav Gupta

Captain coolest

Just like Captain Cool, this article is also unconventional and comes as a surprise in the middle of the frenzy over the Kohli-driven Indian team’s stint (“Champions Trophy is the beginning of MS Dhoni’s final chapter, soak it in while it lasts”). India always had some great batsmen and bowlers to lead its teams: Ganguly, Kumble, Azhar and Kapil Dev, to name a few. However, Dhoni was different.

This may not go down well with some, but Dhoni was never the best batsman. However, was always captain material and the finest we’ve had. When you think of Dhoni , you don’t recall his batsmanship or glove-work (which is classic anyway), you remember Dhoni the captain. Also, the Scroll.in team is doing some really special work. I am becoming a fan of the brand of journalism you put forward. Keep up the great work and stay unconventional. – Akash

Misreading Modi

I am glad that at least someone had the courage to accept that they misread the Modi phenomena (“Shiv Visvanathan: Four ways I was wrong about Narendra Modi three years ago”). However, this article plays to the gallery of a few intellectuals. That Modi is leading India to a slow disaster is a claim we can debate forever, because it has to do with the unseen future. Similarly, who could have thought that a government headed by a brilliant economist would grapple with financial mismanagement and treachery, right?

This country turned against the Congress family for not doing enough and will turn against Modi and Amit Shah too if they do not deliver. But the intellectuals should extend the same support to this regime as they did to the previous one. – Prashanth

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
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