24 Letters

posted Nov 20, 2018, 6:46 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Nov 20, 2018, 6:47 AM ]

Asia Bibi gets justice

Sir, This refers to Asia Bibi of Pakistan who was condemned to death in October 2010 for alleged blasphemy. However, there was great news in the hearing on Oct. 31, 2018, when a three-member panel of Pakistan Supreme Court judges, led by the President of the same Court, declared Asia Bibi innocent and ordered her immediate release.

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Repercussions of Fake news

Sir, The cover page ‘Do we let fake news colour the Truth?’ (Examiner dated Nov 17-23) is appropriate and brings to the fore the serious repercussions of spreading false information. Fake news gained considerable attention in the 2016 United States election, with both Democrats and Republicans blaming the other for spreading false information. Many in the media and those publicly polled after the election believed the widespread proliferation of fake news helped influence the election's results. Both Facebook and Google have been criticized for playing a large role in the spread of fake news, with fake news stories typically spreading via Facebook and being boosted in Google search results, as the stories gained more attention from readers.

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More on ‘Fake News’

Sir, A small news item on page 14 (Global Times of the TOI, Friday Nov. 16, 2018) revealed that the Oxford word of the year 2018 is “toxic” – an intoxicating descriptor for the year’s most talked about topics, which people employed to describe relationships, politics and habits.

This brought to my mind “fake news”, a word-phrase which was selected by Collins Dictionary as the word of the year 2017 – a false, often sensational information, disseminated under the guise of news reporting – a type of yellow journalism or propaganda of deliberate disinformation or hoaxes.

‘Fake news’ in India has led to episodes of violence between castes and religions. It often spreads through the smartphone, instant messenger, WhatsApp which has over 200 million monthly active users as of February 2017.

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Postage Stamps

Sir, The artwork featured on the Vatican’s ‘Postage Stamps for Christmas 2018’, were painted by Marcello D’Agata who is serving a life sentence in a Milanese prison! They depict the ‘Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary’ and the ‘Nativity of Jesus Christ’ unveiled by Archbishop Mario Delpini of Milan on Nov. 9, 2018.

D’Agata was drawn to art at an early age; “It gave shape and colour to my emotions. So, when the director of the prison allowed us to take part in a drawing competition, it was a source of inspiration, and my dormant talent came alive.”

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Pope Francis - The Human Pope

Sir, I was glad to see the happy and smiling Pope Francis mixing with youth (on the cover of The Examiner, Nov 10-16, 2018). That places him squarely in the category of approachable and human leaders of which very few exist. In my life, I have seen other Popes (in the media), beginning as early as 1939, when Pope Pius XI passed away, then Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI (who inaugurated the Eucharistic Congress in India in 1964), John Paul II (John Paul I was there only for a month), Benedict XVI, and now, Pope Francis. The only other Pope who could be considered human, and someone who understood the common man, was John XXIII. The rest were saintly, but men of stern visage and remaining distant from people. This week's Examiner is on 'Church Listening to youth'. In order to get near young people, one has to speak their language and understand their problems. There are different groups - political, social, religious and ideological - striving to get their philosophies sold to students and youngsters, the youth of today.

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