|MET Museum,New York City|
|Lord Nataraja ,MET Museum,New York|
The Media is also to be blamed for keeping a blind eye on this issue and publish articles which in no way can prevent the thefts. On the contrary their presentation seems to be anchored on sensational news for describing the theft in detail. When we raise a point to the editor of the newspaper, we seldom get any reply. It is same in the case of New York times also when the paper reported the theft of Indian idols. We give below the copy of the letter sent to the editor:
The New York Times,
New York City.
Sub: Investigative Journalism
Journalism in true sense is all about presenting News as it should be. It includes aggregating, writing, editing and presenting facts or events with an attempt to minimize analysis or interpretation. We have no doubt that you work on this principle with a mission of printing " All the News That's fit to print". For a Newspaper, holding such a noble mission to inform the facts to the readers, it so happens sometimes that some correspondents act over smart , forgetting the mission for which their Newspaper stands for. The attempt to present in a sensational way maligns the credibility of the paper whatever its intentions may be. Its social responsibility is thus eroded by this act and leaves a poor shadow on the editor.
My observation as NYT's failure to edit the correspondent's 'sensational' report that appeared in your paper dated 23rd July,2015 explains the above point. While reporting on the smuggling racket that involved numerous antiques from India, he has given a caption that appears to invite/educate more people towards the crime. Thinking that he has put on efforts to investigate the crime fully, he has given step wise process of how the crime was carried out by giving a ' flow diagram'. Moreover, the heading, ' How to smuggle a Saint out of India ' itself is irking. ( " How the Saint was stolen out of India" could have been the caption for his article.) For what purpose the common man is informed about the modalities adopted to smuggle out the icon from the temple? What is the need for the reader to know about the price for which it is sold? Assuming that the fraud was exposed, it has taken more than nine years to come to limelight. Who is responsible for the failure to identify the culprits and punish them according to the law of the land? Giving such a long rope merely encourages more criminals in this field. The ideal investigative journalism should look for answers instead of just pointing fingers based on Police report. When the journalism takes such a diversion, the entire story need not be narrated in order to make it sensational. The Press can simply report about the theft and leave the rest for investigation under the guidance of Law to avoid new entrants in the illegal Trade.
With the advent of Social sites on the Net, people have started sharing the photos of ancient temples. While doing so, some of them upload as many as 200 photos of each temple which includes the pictures of the Murthis. Our appeal against this practice has fallen into deaf ears! They still defend their action by saying that they enjoy the art involved and want others also to enjoy. The problem arises only when it reaches the wrong/ anti social hands. The anti social elements even damage the idols and carvings .
The latest capture of many stolen idols in Chennai should be a pointer to them. As long as there is no fool proof security to the sites, sharing the pictures will only help to accelerate the process. While the Police is doing a good job in capturing the culprits, it should be noted that such captures are negligible when compared to the number of stolen items