Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The truth is out here

[This is my first in what I plan to be 2-3 posts on the unfortunate incident that happened in IITB,and my very own hostel and the utter half truths and full lies that media is putting forward to people.]

I am not touching on the issue of the unfortunate incident and the controversy over the apathy shown by the authorities,whoever they might be.It's an entirely different debate and is going on in our internal newsgroups and I think it should remain there,at least now until things are being discussed.Neither am I talking about the stress and pressure involved that led to such an extreme step.There are confilcting opinions and accusations and counter accusations,there will always be.Us students will will blame the system and they will blame us,it's a never ending debate.I am already engaged in that in internal forums and I'll keep it there for now.

What has utterly disturbed me is the way the newspapers are twisting and making up stories of their own and even misquoting people to add sensational value.It's really disgusting that anything related to IIT's which the media have painted to have a 'holier than thou' image is splashed over with added creative inputs from the reporters to add shock value.It has been done before,I will cite those examples in my next post.Here I'm restraining myself to the case in hand.

"Hacking take toll of IITians" screams the headline of the TOI article.In my three years stay here I have never heard of any hacking competitions that seemingly takes toll of our lives,let alone take part.Neither have any of my institute mates.It gets really interesting with the followup line:

"Hacking competitions, gaming competitions, music downloading and file-sharing, chatting and blogging are taking a heavy toll at the elite campus-affecting attendance, grades and even personal lives."

Taking on each term would be childish and I won't do that.But this a classic case of jargon throwing to dupe common people.Gaming competions yes,there is a part truth in that,people do play games on LAN.But not to the extent that it begins to 'affect their lives' and 'taking toll'.Rest of the terms don't even deserve a discussion.LAN games are blamed for poor turnout in cultural and sports events but there is more to it than meets the eye.Banning of freshie GC where 1st year students take part in events is the major reason for that.It is then when interest is developed and can be sustained.Trying to do that after one year when the enthusiasm levels are lower is slightly tough,and this is exactly what has happened.It is more a combination of factors than one alone,and that has not been put forward.

All this was bearable.Until they started misquoting people.One of our profs was quoted as saying 'He was not fit enough to be in IIT' in the print version of HT.One of the students mailed him to know if he really said something like that,this is the reply that came on our newsgroup:
I have been as much shocked to see this quote attributed to me and we
sent an immediate protest to HT.

I do not make such comments about
anybody much less about someone who has passed away under such tragic
circumstances.
A journalist came to me yesterday with a statement that students believe
that XX grade is respoinsible for the suicide of this boy. I had not
known the student personally nor was acquainted with his academic
performance. What I did was to call up the academic section immediately
and asked for the academic data of this boy. The factual data was given
to them and I said that he would have cleared the courses with one
additional year. I was then asked as to why a transfer to Computer
Science Department was not given as the student was so bright in
computer related area. I said at that time that we have some strict
norms on transfer of Departments and in view of his performance at the
end of first year he would not have got such a transfer.
Incidentally HT has also reported that two attempted suicides were not
reported, which is a fabrication. I have no explanation of this yellow
journalism other than to say the new publication from Bombay is trying to
sensationalize the issue.
I apologise to the entire campus community for the anguish that this
report has brought to them
You may kindly forward my statement to iitb.general if you feel it is
appropriate.

There is little left to say at this point.Making up quotes of people for shock effect is the lowest they can stoop to.

I can go on,but considering that I have an exam tomorrow,I will leave that for a later time.

And of course these views are my own,and of many of my fellow mateswho have discussed this on the newsgroups.Everyone else is free to decide the version of truth they think is true.

4 comments:

Phoenix said...

very true
agree with u

read my post on this!

Mirage said...

I am sympathetic towards you and your colleagues...this was indeed unfortunate.

Being a student of journalism myself, I knw how tabloids are taking over the newspaper business...it has indeed become a business. Using phrases like 'takes a toll on their lives' and all is in 'Print' fashion. A death in a reputed college is the perfect masala needed to make things spicy...its shocking, but true all the same. Which is what makes me rethink about my line of career... anyway, take care.

thedq said...

How can the MSM even come up with false reports like that!

Nikhil said...

[mirage] I think with a conscience like that,you would do just fine :)

[thedq] Coming to think of it,I have realised that it happens all the time.I just happened to see it closely now.