Friday, March 03, 2006

'The Pioneer' now symbolises poor journalism: India's respected English newspaper's fall from grace

Long back the famous English daily Pioneer had started losing its credibility.

I have absolutely no problem with the fact that it has stolen a march over Organiser and Panchjanya in anti-Muslim rhetoric. But the poor quality of paper on Thursday was nauseating.

On page 1 it said that the 'Muslim fundamentalists' held protest against Bush. The call was given by over two dozen organisations including communists, Samajwadi Party, RLD and many other organisations. Even this  can be tolerated to an extent.

But the wrong reporting and blatantly biased story under the headline 'Islamist wrath snarls up traffic' hit an all time low. "The Jamat participants at the rally, who were joined by the Marxist groups especially some teachers from Delhi University and Jamia Milia Islamia, equated President Bush to a dog, the mythological enemy of Prophet Mohammed." , this was what the story reported.

This absolutely absurd story reflects the absolute mental bankruptcy of the paper. Really the staff has gone mad. What mythology? Who would not feel enraged! Jab aise jaise bewaqoof akhbaar chhap rahe hon to kya kaha jaye. 

Once it was a highly respected paper. Now it has sunk below even the papers that are mouthpieces of organisations and propagate their ideology. Alas this paper had a tradition of 125 years until it came to Chandan Mitra who apparently sought financial support from BJP to run it.

But far from running a healthy right wing paper, it has plummeted to such cheap stories. Shouldn't there be any sense of propriety and objectivity? When you have a newspaper in your hands, you must feel more responsible too.

Unfortunately, 'The Pioneer' is harming its and its supporters too with such form of reporting and journalism, which even the rabid right-wing tabloids don't do as frequently. For a newspaper with a history of over 125 years, it is really a sad chapter, especially, in the 21st century.