Fourth Estate In Fetters
THE fourth estate must play the role of the third umpire to help the umpires (voters) on the field in a political match between the ruling and the Opposition parties in a democratic country. It will be highly unfortunate if the media take on the role of cheerleaders of the batting side. Freedom of the Press is now in great danger. Our position has gone further down to 140 among 180 countries in the 2019 World Press Freedom Index. India has continuously been sliding down from 133rd position in 2016 to 136th in 2017 (down three ranks) to 138th in 2018 (down two) to 140th in 2019 (down two ) on the World Press Freedom Ranking Index of the international free speech advocate Reporters Without Borders. This means that India has slid down seven ranks in press freedom in the last three years. The Human Development Index topper Norway has again got the first position in press freedom for three years on the trot. On the other hand, the Happiness Index topper Finland gets the second rank in the freedom of press. On India, the report says, “Violence against journalists – including police violence, attacks by Maoists fighters and reprisals by criminal groups or corrupt politicians – is one of the most striking characteristics of the current state of press freedom in India. At least six Indian journalists were killed in connection with their work in 2018.” The report found an alarming rate of “coordinated hate campaigns waged on social networks against journalists who dare to speak or write about subjects that annoy Hindutva.” Indeed, alarm bells are ringing for our democracy.
SUJIT DE, KOLKATA
The Threat Of Road Debris To Motorists
THE third Mandovi bridge was hurriedly inaugurated, but the authorities have been lax in clearing the debris lying all around. At the Panaji end of the bridge the potholes are galore endangering the lives of the commuters, who bear the brunt of a bumpy ride. With the monsoon approaching, the waste piles lying on both sides and under the bridge could prove to be a nightmare to the commuting public. It was incumbent upon the government to ensure that the bridge was complete in all respects, especially since crores of rupees have been spent. How well the works have in fact been executed? Well, we shall know after the onset of the monsoon. The PWD should also ensure that the tonne of mud piled up along the road from Guirim to Pernem and from Bambolim to Margao does not pose a nightmare to the motorists once the monsoon fury sets in. The state government may live up to the phrase ‘haste makes waste’: there was a haste to inaugurate, but now there is no haste to complete the work, which endanger the lives of innocent motorists.
AIRES RODRIGUES, RIBANDAR
Camps Mould Young Minds
THE hot and sultry summer season is here. So is the summer vacation. How children spend their holidays has gone a vast change in the last decade or so. The place for the children to spend the summer vacation could be at summer camps. The idea of organising summer camps has really picked up over the past few years. However, in the US summer camp has been a tradition for over 150 years. Over ten million American children go to camp every summer. Of late several summer camps are being organised all over the Goa. Every social club worth its salt makes it a point to organise summer camps in their respective cities. Summer camps have the potential to help children and youth improve their academic and excel in other extracurricular activities. There are obviously a wide variety of activities that are undertaken in a camp. What is necessary is for the parents to identify the latent talent of their child and accordingly choose the right summer camp. At these summer camps there are personality development courses, paper art workshop like mural, paper quilling, creativity from newspaper, hand embroidery, flower-making, paper-craft, etc. For those interested in sports there are free football camps. While for those who would like to learn a few steps there are dance classes in ballroom dancing, Salsa, jive, etc. And for those who have a take for water sports, there are always swimming classes and classes in parasailing, water scooter rides, jet skis, windsurfing and even dolphin spotting trips. Tips on cooking, gardening, proper disposal of waste, social service, creative writing, reading habit, etc. could be some of the activities that need to be included in such camps. Children have several developmental needs. They include physical activity, competence and achievement, creative self-expression, social interactions and meaningful participation. At the summer camps children spend their day being physically active. They experience success and become more confident. Children discover their hidden talent. They gain self-confidence.
ADELMO FERNANDES, VASCO