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Supreme Court Rafale ruling: Bias is threat to press freedom




The Supreme Court has said it has noticed a growing trend of bias in sections of the media.

Justice K.M. Joseph made the observation on Wednesday while delivering a ruling related to the Rafale deal case.

Judge Joseph underlined the need for a free and unbiased press.

The court said: “If freedom is enjoyed by the press without a deep sense of responsibility, it can weaken the democracy. In some sections, there appears to be a disturbing trend of bias.

“Controlling business interests and political allegiances appear to erode the duty of dispassionate and impartial purveying of information.”

The court observed that the press played a crucial role in strengthening and maintaining a vibrant democracy.

“The visual media, in particular, wields power… Its reach appears to be limitless and no segment of the population is impervious to its influence,” said Justice Joseph.

Therefore, he said, information that outflows from the media should remain unbiased and nothing should be considered other than the truth.

Delving further into the aspect of free press, the court observed that journalists should be fearless, free and unbiased.

“Bias comes in many forms. Bias, if it is established as per the principles which are applicable, is sufficient to vitiate the decisions of public authorities.”

He said that transmitting biased information was contrary to true freedom. “In fact, the right of the press in India is no higher than the right of the citizens under Article 19(1)(a).”

The article of the Indian Constitution says that all citizens have the right to freedom of speech and expression which is the bedrock of many other rights of citizens under the Constitution, observed the court.

Justice Joseph said: “The ability of truth to be recognised by a discerning public in the supposedly free market place of ideas forms much of the basis for the grant of the unquestionable freedom to the press including the media houses.”


Will comply with India ban, not sharing users’ data with China: TikTok




Chinese short-video making app TikTok on Tuesday said it is in the process of complying with the Indian government order to ban 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok, and is not sharing any data of Indian users with the Chinese government.

The Indian government on Monday banned apps like TikTok, WeChat, UC Browser and Xiaomi’s Mi Community over national security concerns as India-China bilateral relations remain strained after the death of 20 Indian soldiers in the Galwan Valley clash with Chinese PLA troops in eastern Ladakh.

“The government of India has issued an interim order for the blocking of 59 apps, including TikTok and we are in the process of complying with it,” Nikhil Gandhi, Head of TikTok India, said in a statement, adding that the company has been invited to meet with concerned government stakeholders for an opportunity to respond and submit clarifications.

“TikTok continues to comply with all data privacy and security requirements under Indian law and have not shared any information of our users in India with any foreign government, including the Chinese Government,” Gandhi explained.

The app disappeared from both Google Play Store and Apple App Store on Tuesday. There was no official communication from Google or Apple on its removal from their respective stores.

ByteDance-owned TikTok said that it places the highest importance on user privacy and integrity.

“TikTok has democratized the internet by making it available in 14 Indian languages, with hundreds of millions of users, artists, story-tellers, educators and performers depending on it for their livelihood, many of whom are first-time internet users,” said Gandhi.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) on Monday issued a list of 59 Chinese apps that are now banned in the country.

“These measures have been undertaken since there is credible information that these apps are engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order,” said a MeitY statement.

The ministry received complaints from various sources including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorised manner to servers which have locations outside India.

The MeitY said the move will safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile users.

Other Chinese apps in the banned list are Club Factory, SHAREit, Likee, Mi Video Call (Xiaomi), Weibo, Baidu, Bigo Live and others.

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7.97 lakh students fail in Hindi in UP Board Exams



Nearly 7.97 lakh students in the Uttar Pradesh – known as the Hindi heartland – have failed in Hindi in the UP Secondary Board examinations for class 10 and 12, the results of which were announced on Saturday.

According to the Board officials, around 2.70 lakh students failed to secure passing marks in Hindi in Intermediate, while 5.28 lakh students in High School failed in their Hindi paper.

Around 2.39 lakh students of High School and Intermediate of the Board had skipped their Hindi papers.

A high school teacher who evaluated Hindi copies for class 12, said on condition of anonymity, “Many of the children did not know simple words like ‘atmavishwas’ and wrote ‘confidence’, albeit with a wrong spelling. Some of them wrote ‘suffer’ for ‘yatra’. This reflects their level of the knowledge of the language,” she said.

She further said that majority of the students tend to ignore Hindi because they feel there is no need to study the language which does not offer future prospects.

Board officials, meanwhile, said that the number of students failing in Hindi was around 10 lakh last year. Around 56 lakh students had appeared in the Board examinations of the UP Board this year.

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Mumbai US consulate to help feed ‘Dabbawalas’, TV workers



David J. Ranz.(File Photo: IANS)

A In an unique initiative, the US Consulate in Mumbai will collaborate with celebrity Chef Vikas Khanna’s #FeedIndia to serve foodstuffs and other help to the city’s world-famous tribe of ‘Dabbawalas’ and television industry workers, an official said here on Tuesday.

The US Consul-General in Mumbai David J. Ranz will help in handing over food and other support items to around 2,000 Dabbawalas and 3,000 television industry workers through the CINTAA.

The total food donations would be around 100,000 kg at a special function to be held at Hotel Hyatt Regency on Friday (June 26).

Besides Dabbawalas, CINTAA office-bearers will attend the event organized by Maximus Collabs, who has been associated with Chef Khanna for major initiatives under the #FeedIndia campaign.

“I am proud to be part of such a wonderful campaign which has brought food and other basic supplies to so many people during this tough time. Chef Khanna’s initiative is providing vital support to thousands of families in need,” remarked Ranz.

Chef Khanna said he launched the initiative two months ago but with the help of the US Consulate, hopes to reach out to more people and lauded Ranz for his support to help the Dabbawalas and the TV industry staff in these critical times.

Launched in April 2020 at the height of lockdown, #FeedIndia initiative has so far distributed more than 14 million meals plus food kits to the needy in 135 cities including Bengaluru, Kolkata, Mangalore, Mumbai, Varanasi and others.

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