Saturday, October 01, 2005

Chief Justice John Roberts' confirmation hearings and another set of reflections upon the Indian situation

A couple of weeks ago, after following the confirmation hearings of Judge (now Chief Justice) John Roberts before the U.S. Senate, I had commentedupon the need for assessing the legacy of Chief Justice Lahoti. I thank Promod Nair (who we hope will agree to guest blog for us soon) for sending me Harish Khare's recent piece in the Hindu. Starting from a similar point, Khare makes some insightful comments about the relationship between the judiciary and the political establishment in India, and also criticises several aspects of media reporting in India. Here is a sampling:

"The media discourse tends to be dominated by middle class professionals who are in thrall of middle class values and interests. Nothing would be more tragic than for any constitutional institution to be swayed by media coverage as a true reflector of the public interest. And, when it comes to political reporting, the media have very suspect credentials in terms of objectivity or fairness."

While I found much of his analysis fascinating, I couldn't help noticing that by comparison, Khare's analysis of the situation in the U.S. is much rosier. Surely, Khare must be aware of the problems of media coverage in the U.S. which is increasingly being viewed as having been captured by particular interests. The notion of the 'independence' of the press in the US has taken a considerable beating in recent years, with the one-sided coverage of the war in Iraq in 2003 being but one manifestation of the growing problem.
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