Sunday, January 02, 2011

Does The Week's cover story hurts managazine's credibility?

News magazine 'The Week' has steadily emerged the leading English weekly in the country and its rise is almost parallel to the decline of India Today.

However, its cover story and the selection of 'Man of the Year' has been surprising to say the least. Activist Satinath Sarangi has been eulogised as saviour of victims of the world's biggest industrial disaster, the Bhopal gas tragedy, by the magazine.

Many consider this choice as controversial. No denying that the suave Sarangi remains in focus through websites and his occasional events in India and abroad, the truth is that the opinion about his organisation are entirely different at the ground level.

Unlike activists who have fought for victims on the street, his group is known for what NGOs have become in popular imagination. The fact is that holding candle light marches once or twice a year, something which appeals to Western media, is clearly not enough.

Real activists like Balkrishna Namdev, Abdul Jabbar and Sadhna Karnik who have all these years kept the issue alive, fought for victims, remained watchdogs, organised victims, fought legal battle and ensured that victims get treatment at hospitals were ignored and given a footnote in this long report.

At least, a magazine like The Week that symbolises standard journalism could have done a bit of hardwork and research before writing about activistm in the aftermath of the gas tragedy in which nearly 25,000 perished and 5 lakh were affected. Philip Mathew would better take a tour and find the truth himself.

In the past magazines have hurt their image and credibility by publishing surveys of best colleges and best hospitals that often found to be undertaken on the desk, on the basis of factors other than real data and statistics. Shouldn't The Week learn from it!

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