December, 2009 – Editor`s Page

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From the Editor`s Desk

Go not to the temple to put flowers upon the feet of god, first fill your own house with the fragrance of love…Go not to the temple to light candles before the altar of God, first remove the darkness of sin from your own heart…..Go not to the temple to bow down your head in prayer, first learn to bow down in humility before your fellowmen….Go not to the temple to pray on bended knees, first bend down to lift someone who is downtrodden ….Go not to the temple to ask for forgiveness for your sins, First forgive from your heart those who have sinned against you…………. Rabindranath Tagore

Flouting of all norms going strong, “huge scandals” in our national maritime administrations with blatant violations having relevant loopholes designed e.g. CDC scam on the rampage since the 1980`s (www.hindtoday.com), providing dumping ground for oil waste to tankers of foreign shipping companies, in Indian coastal area of the sea, approval of sub standard maritime institutions, unprofessional conduct, unfair practices with irregularities of misappropriation, neglection to correct even after exposition etc. authorities making good of their public service time for their selfish gains, betraying the public. Ground Report is committed for true reporting and freedom of expression. [GRI reaches to office of the Prime Minister of India, offices of some of the Chief Ministers of the States of India, members of the Indian Parliament, bureaucrats, editors, journalists,professors, activists, professionals, politicians, Indian people of USA, Canada, European Union Countries,Japan, Australia the fourth estate of a civilized society. Like the other three – the executive, the legislature and the judiciary – it has to be totally independent of the others if it is to do its job fairly. It has to be entirely honest, publishing the truth, irrespective of whether that hurts those responsible for shady dealings, fraud or any other crime. Its job is vital to inform everyone – from the national President and Prime Minister to the man in the street – of what is happening, what is going to happen, and what has just happened. This information is vital to everyone, as everyone bases his or her actions on what is happening and what he/she thinks is going to happen. This is as true of the Prime Minister and the Government as it is of business, trade and everyone`s daily life.

“Knowledge is power”. Knowledge consists of two elements: the wisdom and information one has learned through education and the experience of life, and the information one has of what is happening in one`s business circle, in the country and in the world. This information comes in many forms, from one`s friends and contacts, from an information network, if one is in big business, a political party or a government, but principally from the media. Every politician starts the day by glancing over the newspapers, listening to the morning news on the radio, or if he is an important politician or businessman, underlings will prepare for him a summary of that morning`s news. One has to know what`s happening and what`s likely to happen, to take the right decision, be it about governing the country, his business or for man in the street, about how to live his daily life. When there is a big earthquake miles away under the ocean and a tsunami is heading towards one`s country, those who listen to the news can get away, while those who do not get drowned and swept away. Similarly in other fields of life, if the decision makers know what is going to happen, they can take correct decisions. If they do not know, they make mistakes. They buy at the top of the market or fail to prepare to defend the country from some imminent danger.The fourth estate places big responsibility on the shoulders of the media and its journalists. They have to maintain high standards to be credible, reporting news truly and honestly. Journalists must write or speak clearly and well. They must not practice self-censorship for fear of what the authorities or others might do if they publish something, nor biased writing. “Publish and be damned” is the motto of all self-respecting newspapers, news magazines, radio and TV programmes. This is not special pleading by a journalist or by the media. The importance of free and independent publications/ Radio / TV programmes, as stressed by Britain `s Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, recently. Speaking to the Society of Editors in Stanstead England , Lord Judge argued that an independent judiciary and an independent press were “twin cornerstones and bulwarks of a free society”. Newspapers should not be beholden to public authorities.”I do not want the press to become the broadsheet of those institutions,” continued the Lord Chief Justice. “I do not want proceedings of the local council to be reported by an employee of the local council and the proceedings of court to be reported by a member of the judicial communications office. Spin is neither a cornerstone nor a bulwark of a free society.” Lord Judge added that the prospect of papers relying on handouts from council press officers “should send a shiver down all our spines”. He also pointed out the importance of the media reporting honestly and pointing out mistakes. And he opposed state funding of the news. “I remember that he who pays the piper calls the tune.” If journalists were not free to walk into court, walk into council or walk into other places where important decisions were being taken, and if they were not free to write up what they had seen and heard, “the public interest is damaged”. Knowledge is power. For that knowledge depends on the media, on the newspapers, radio, television and electronic news, being true and correct.

Some foolish street smart people tried to influence the media, by lying to them or by forcing them to write and report untrue things, as pointed out in our monthly international maritime newsletter “MARINE WAVES” of March 2009 issue, please view online www.themarinewaves.com and get convinced. Some politicians and some businessmen have information officers who spread disinformation or propaganda. In some cases, they succeeded in making the media report things that are not true. E.g.as misreported in the Times of India newspaper, Chennai Edition,Dt.22-01-2009, Page 2,but the media as a whole – whose editors and reporters are all not fools or dishonest – will soon find out. Soon after that, they will not believe a word from those politicians or businessmen. (This is not an attack on information officers, many of whom are honest and do their job well. They are a boon to society, as they help the media to collect and then report the news. We only criticize those who try to distort or manipulate the news)Some governments vote themselves special powers so they can control and censor the press. In countries like Russia,China and Zimbabwe, they arrest, imprison, torture and sometimes kill journalists for saying or writing the truth. In some countries it is the well organized criminals hired to harass journalists and sometimes kill them to prevent their crimes and wrongdoings being exposed and becoming public knowledge. Good and honest journalists do not let themselves be frightened or bribed to write lies. Some of them suffer fines and imprisonment because they publish truth, is it about official incompetence, corruption etc.It is in the public interest that there is a strong and independent media in all countries. It is also in the interest of all levels of the government. Good reporting and honest media often throw the light on errors and dishonesty, enabling wise managers, wise politicians and good government to correct and improve things that have not worked out as well as their originators had expected. Let us pray that there will always be brave and honest journalists who will see what is happening and have the courage to report it, towards society`s well-being. Why Lack of diligence, care and authenticated information be overlooked by the Governing and the Regulatory body? Who has the time to refute or sue? Is that what makes the power of the pen so unchallenged, so irresponsible by authorities concerned, for all the expositions made by the Marine Waves?

Dr. Chandran Peechulli,
Ph.D; MBA; D.Sc; FIE(India), PgDIMS(UK), PgTED; FIIPE; MSEI; MSNAME(USA),
Ex.Chief Engineer(Marine), G.M.(Tech) Crossworld Shipping.
Managing Editor & Publisher-“MARINE WAVES” International Maritime Newsletter.

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