Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Make your comments, here itself

Dear students,

I am so thrilled that you are reading my blog carefully and sending me your valued comments. However, you are sending these comments to me personally on my email comment. So your response is not reflected in the comments here.

One of the reasons for starting "Against the Tide" is to bring ALL my students, no matter who and where in this wide world they are, on to the same platform or under the same umbrella (which ever you prefer). So that you can meet and interact. So please, comment here itself, so that you can use my blog to get in touch with other like-minded journalists and vice versa.

You know I have always been candid and open about my views and opinions, even in class. And now writing here in the public domain of a blog, I do not intend to hold back. On the contrary, I am becoming upset by what is happening in the mass media, what with "Breaking News" and "Page 3" (even on TV). At the moment, I am responding to the urgent request from my students for useful material and not indulging in too much ideological stuff. Therefore, I need your questions as well as areas of concern so that "Against the Tide" becomes a lively place.

To set the tone: "I disagree with every word you say. But I shall defend to my death, your right to say it." Now who said that, when and in what context?

Warm regards,

- Joe Pinto.


Gauri Gharpure said...

Sir, in the reporting class, you had said something about over-used cliches that can be done away with. Can you repeat your views here with some examples?

Glassbeads said...

Sir, your blog is a very nice way to keep in touch as well as to discuss various issues. It is very thoughtful of you to list some books for editing. I remember you suggesting TJS George for editing which has helped me a lot.
As for the quote, it's by Voltaire but I don't know the context in which this statement was made. Thanks for taking a look at my blog too.

Joseph M. Pinto, Pune, India said...

Dear Gauri,
Coming up - a piece on cliches. Meanwhile, look up "A Dictionary of Cliches" by Eric Partridge (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 5th edition, 1978)

feddabonn said...

was it g.k chesterton?

sometimes, though, i wonder. while this is, generally, a principle i agree with, what when there are those who would use their "right" to spread hate? or lies?

Joseph M. Pinto, Pune, India said...

Dear Baruk Feddabohn,

The quote is not attributed to Chesterton, but to Voltaire. There is some doubt, though, if you refer to the wikipedia entry on Voltaire.

In any case, the quote is used to state, in a dramatic way, your position on free speech.

As an editor, I have implemented policy that censors material offensive to certain groups and individuals. That means I have not allowed certain persons to use the vehicle of my paper to spread, what I think, is hate or lies.

You are correct to raise this issue. Have a look at an interesting website for interesting discussion on this issue.

By the way, are you a student of journalism, my own student by any chance? Please keep in touch.

- Joe.

feddabonn said...

dear joe,

'fraid i wasn't a journalism student, though from gauri's descriptions of your class it looks i may have missed something good!

"I have not allowed certain persons to use the vehicle of my paper to spread, what I think, is hate or lies. " - is it subjective, then, our application of the 'freedom of speech' principle? and if we apply filters to the freedom, is it really free? would one dare, in the context of voltaire's quote, to give newspaper (for example) space to someone one completely disagreed with? can one believe in freedom of speech and censorship at the same time?

Joseph M. Pinto, Pune, India said...

Dear feddabonn,

Welcome! What does it matter that you were not in my class. We are together now in the Class of Life.

An editor looks at freedom in a practical way, just the way she looks at language. Just as the editor is not the defender of the purity of any language but more concerned with how people use words, so also an editor is not a defender of freedom in any absolute sense.

In practice, an editor has to look at how a writer uses freedom. I have allowed my newspaper space to people I completely disagree with. But if a person wants to spread "hate or lies" (that was your specific question), then that is opposed to freedom itself and hence the censorship.

For example, I will not allow a fascist to spread hate or lies about democracy, while I would certainly allow an anarchist to examine even the premises of democracy.

Censorship and freedom co-exist in a newspaper, simply because, in society, my freedom is not absolute and is always restricted by the freedom of my neighbour.

- Joe.

Smita said...

Lovely! It feels as if I never left your class. I am glad I am back in one.
Sir, I agree with you completely on what you said about changing jobs too soon.
However, lately I have been wondering about something. On the face of it, it might seem a trivial issue, but I want to initiate a discussion on this - gifts that journalists receive, whether at a press conference, or on a festival; how much do they interfere with a journalist's working style or do they interfere at all?
Would welcome house's opinion on this. Also, want to get in PR/Corp Comm guys on this one.

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