Edits In Short: January 21
Didn’t get time to read the edit pages in today’s papers? Don’t worry. We’ve read them for you!
The Hindu, January 21, 2013
Rahul is willing – Editorial
The editorial on Rahul Gandhi’s elevation is soft and tender, almost like a doting grandparent. While Rahul’s aloofness over the years drove Congressmen to “the edge of despair”, there was “unbounded joy” when the expected happened. “For the rank and file, a Nehru-Gandhi in line for the prime ministership is a cherished wish that has gone unfulfilled ever since Rajiv Gandhi lost the 1989 general election.” The edit worries about Rahul: he has inherited the job at “the worst possible juncture” and faces a “potential adversary” in Narendra Modi. “Rahul must be complimented on choosing to walk a difficult path at a difficult time”, it concludes.
The death of the reporter – Main Article
Sandeep Bhushan, former TV journalist who teaches at Jamia Millia Islamia, describes the Zee “extortion” case (in which the “news network is alleged to have demanded Rs.100 crore in return for rolling back its campaign against steel tycoon Navin Jindal’s ‘misdemeanours’ in coal block allocations”) as a landmark case in the history of Indian media, especially TV journalism.
If the Zee editors had been “extorting” money at the owners’ behest, it turns the spotlight on the “micromanagement of news gathering operations by the promoter”. The editor’s role changes; he is merely a front for the owner. The political reporter becomes irrelevant, as political stories are determined by the “top”. He writes that reforms, including protection to journalists, professional management and strong anti-trust laws, are the need of the hour.
The Hindustan Times, January 21, 2013
All ready for the big fight – Editorial
This editorial, based mainly on Rahul Gandhi’s overtly dramatic speech delivered at the Congress’s Chintan Shivir in Jaipur, can be summed up in a few words: yes, yes, yes you can Rahul! It says that for “a man of few words” (and reportedly few ideas too, but then what do we know), “Mr Gandhi was almost eloquent with his forceful agenda for change”. While you may ponder on “almost eloquence”, the substance of the speech is hastily dealt with in a single sentence – “the renunciation of power and the corrupting influence of power were recurrent themes” – the rest of the edit happily dwells on how the speech turned “emotional” towards the end, how “movingly” Mr Gandhi spoke, his “mother’s tears” and how the Congress is “full of beans as it goes into election mode”.
A dream come untrue – Editorial
The Dreamliner 787 “sat very well” in Air India’s scheme of things, says the edit, and the beleaguered airlines’ “plans to fly out of the red may be delayed by its six Dreamliners sitting on the tarmac as investigators check onboard battery systems that are at risk of overheating”. While the Cabinet had last April cleared the purchase of 27 Dreamliners (that cost significantly less to operate), the edit concludes that it would have been a “bigger setback” if the safety audits kicked in after more aircrafts had been delivered.
The Indian Express, January 21, 2013
Chunav chintan – Editorial
The Congress’s Chintan Shivir at Jaipur will be remembered, says the lead edit, for the “formalisation of Rahul Gandhi’s status in the party as its vice president and official no 2”. He has been enjoying and wielding that power, but now he will have to take the responsibility that comes as well. “He no longer has the option of parachuting in and out of situations at will and evading questions about failure or follow-through”. The celebrations among party workers might be a bit premature feels the edit, if the “patchy outcomes” of Rahul’s work in the NSUI and Youth Congress and the dismal outcome of his campaigning policy in the UP and Bihar polls are anything to go by. That the party, which finds itself overtaken by events and ideas and the demands of a young electorate, chose not to ask the hard questions, is the real loss.
Full Article: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/chunav-chintan/1062342
Ban is not the way – Editorial
This edit comments on the Union cabinet’s decision to permit the export of agricultural processed products. Before you mutter Monday morning, yawn and move on, do remember that even though India ranks second in global fruit and vegetable production, only seven percent of this is processed, compared to 65 percent in the US and 23 percent in China. “A well-developed food-processing sector increases farm-gate price, creates an incentive to reduce wastage, and promotes crop diversification”. Alright, go ahead and yawn.
The Times of India, January 21, 2013
Go full throttle – Editorial
The lead edit chooses to comment on the government’s decision to allow state-owned oil marketing companies small increase in diesel prices from time to time. While it makes political sense to go in for “partial decontrol”, it doesn’t make economic sense at all, says the edit. The experience with petrol price deregulation (where domestic prices are not in sync with global trends) holds no reason for hope. “…patchwork policymaking on fuel subsidy reduction has failed till now to build a retail market that’s open to all players”. Competition could have been the consumer’s best friend.
Rahul is crowned – Editorial
It is futile to pick on the use of the word “crowned” in the headline, as the edit goes on to say that Rahul Gandhi’s “anointing”, which was “long-heralded and long-pending” has finally taken place at Jaipur. The party is structured along dynastic lines, and any further delay would have fed perceptions about Rahul’s “diffidence to lead”. The job at hand is a “daunting challenge”, and whether “he is up to it or not will not only make or break him as a politician, it will also decide whether the dynastic principle has any future in the Congress party”.
The curious case of Qadri – Editorial
Sadia Dehlvi, in this editorial, brings out a side to Tahir-ul-Qadri that few have spoken about. She points out that in his book Fatwa on Terrorism “Qadri completely dismantles the ideology of Muslim extremists. The comprehensive fatwa demolishes all the theological arguments used by terrorists.” He wants Sunnis and Shias to bury their differences and quotes occasionally from the Vedas and other scriptures to emphasise common moral ethics. It is for these reasons, that Pakistani militant outfits have been targeting him.
Qadri, she writes, has toured India and Pakistan both, and has hundreds and thousands of followers. And while Dehlvi says she understands the apprehensions of Pakistani intelligentsia, that he may be an army “stooge”, she doesn’t think he is anything but a man of peace and one of the best advocates of moderate Islam.