Saturday, March 15, 2008

Objectivity isn’t media’s precept anymore

Somebody has rightly said “nothing has deteriorated as much as journalistic ethics”. Some one else has also said about the print media: “just because it is in black don’t think it is true”.
The Times of India, it seems, enjoys denigrating the Catholic Church. The editorial that appeared in the Guwahati edition on Friday, March 14, 2008 had several factual misrepresentations.

Firstly, the editorial said that there was a decline in the number of Catholics. To the contrary, according to the data available for the last four decades, the number of Catholics has been rising steadily from 653.6 million in 1970 to 1.115 billion in 2005.

Contrary to the TOI editorial, the church is not against family planning. It only advocates against use of contraceptives. In fact in many parishes; married couples and about to be married couples are educated about family planning through a natural way.

Regarding the church’s view about excessive wealth contributing to a divide between rich and poor: Is there any doubt? Can we shy away from it? In many countries of the world Estate tax or ‘death tax’ exists. Why don’t we introduce it in India? More than anywhere else, India, with its vast disparity in income levels, needs such laws.

While taking a dig at Vatican’s wealth, TOI should have realized that the wealth belongs to the Church which comprises of over 1.1 billion Catholics and not some individual. The editorial also insinuated that Vatican City is a tax free zone and therefore exempted of tax on all its wealth. It was mischievous and misleading to say the least. Vatican City is a sovereign state and not some institution exempted of tax. Being a sovereign state: who should the Vatican pay its taxes for its own wealth?

Paedophilia isn’t such a big concern that it is being made out to be. Some such cases are inevitable in an institution that spans the globe and has the largest number of followers. But it is reported as if it has become an epidemic. Besides, wherever such cases have been reported the concerned people have been adequately punished and the law has taken its own course.

Lastly, contrary to TOI’s editorial, the Catholic Church still remains a powerful institution in the world and its contribution has been largely constructive. For a reality check, the Times of India should take a count of the number of people in its group who count a Catholic institution as their alma mater.

Manoj Tirkey - POLEMICS - Diversity of views - ACADEMIA - An academic discourse

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