The edits “The shadow of the guns” and “Hostage to black mail” (April 27) have some lessons in common. When a major catastrophe occurs, the decisions taken by the government set precedence for others. The Bofors scandal was the first case of huge corruption in the hallowed precincts of the defence forces but the long-winding process of investigation and prosecution did not result in any conviction. This has emboldened vested interests to exploit the system. Consequently, fresh incidents of corruption keep cropping up whether it is the 2G spectrum scam or Tatra trucks case. Similarly, if the then government had not bowed to the dictates of the kidnappers of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s daughter, terrorists and Maoists today would not have been so convinced of the success of employing hijacking and kidnapping as pressure tactics.
In the two cases of the Bofors deal and the Air India Kathmandu-Delhi IC-184 hijack, the media played a key role but with opposite outcomes. It was the relentless media pursuit of the Bofors scam that kept successive governments on tenterhooks. However, the media, particularly electronic, did not take a national perspective and highlight the agony of the relatives of passengers on that flight and so it led to a weak-kneed surrender by the NDA government. In fact, in such emotional situations the media needs to play a constructive and mature role.
Y G Chouksey Pune
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