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ನೂರೆಂಟು ಸುಳ್ಳು (nUreMTu suLLu)

You may not be a "Dhrutharashtra", but we want to be the Sanjaya for you!

Friday, September 09, 2005

Journalism ... drOha chiMtanaM

Does Ravi Belagere really know what he is writing?
We at 108 Sullu HQ have no idea.
But take a look at what he has written here:
"... inta chikkapuTTa vaMchanegaLannu kaMpanigaLu, saMsthegaLU, maMtrigaLU, mAtra mADuttAre aMdukoLLabEDi. amerikadaMtha dEshagaLu atyaMta vyavasthitavAgi mADuttave. AIDS athavA HIVya bhUtagaLannu sRuShTisiddU iMta kutaMtragaLalli oMdu. adu miliyAMtara kOTi DAlarugaLa vaMchane aMta namage gottE Aguvudilla. ... [AIDS] mAtregaLannu namma sarkAra amerikada kaMpaniyoMdariMda kOTyAMtara DAlaru suridu KarIdisiruttade. ..."

("Don't think that only companies, organizations, ministers engage in such scams. Countries like US do that in a very systematic manner. The creation of AIDS or HIV spectre is one such thing. We don't even realize that it's a multi million dollar scam. ... Our government buys AIDS drugs from an American company after paying tens of millions of dollars. ...")
Is the AIDS/HIV scare just a spectre created by US in order to sell American drugs in India? No. No. No. It amazes us that a man who engages in such absolute nonsense and stupidity is one of the stars of current day Kannada news-media.

As per the estimate provided by Indian government's own agency (NACO), there were about 5.1 million people with HIV infection living in India in 2004. By any measure that's a scary number. In fact, based on that number, "India accounts for almost 13% of the global HIV prevalence and now holds the second largest absolute number of HIV infections in the world, following South Africa"

(Note: With a population of close to a billion, 5.1 million infected people is a drop in the bucket; less than 1%. However, Dr. Richard Feachem, Executive Director, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria says "The official statistics show India in second place and South Africa in first place," adding: "The official statistics are wrong. India is in first place.")

As per UN projections, "there were 2.7 million AIDS deaths in India between 1980 and 2000. During 2000-15, the UN has projected 12.3 million AIDS deaths and 49.5 million deaths during 2015-50."

With all these statistics and figures, if Mr.Belagere wants to be complacent and still think it is just a "spectre" (bhUta) created by US to sell AIDS drugs to India, we have two words for him: "Prove It".

Now about India importing AIDS drugs from an American company: The entire staff of (one!) 108 Sullu HQ searched and searched in vain for some information about Indian government paying tens of millions of dollars to an American company for buying AIDS drugs. Did it ever happen? We don't know. However, by now it is common knowledge that India is one of the major sources for cheaper AIDS drugs. In fact countries from Pakistan to Kenya to Brazil are importing AIDS drugs from India. When that's the case, wouldn't it be strange if Indian government bought the same drugs from an American company?!

Later in his article Mr.Belagere badly confuses AIDS drugs and controlling further spread of HIV. After writing about Indian government spending millions of dollars on American AIDS drugs, he writes about how the "poor-illiterate" African nation of Uganda "controlled AIDS" with "no spending" ("KarchE illade") by just three slogans: Don't engage in pre-marital sex; Say no to extra-marital sex; Always use a condom.

Again we have some words for Belagere. We will be very slow and simple, so that, even our celebrity journalists will understand: "Mr.Belagere, those slogans are for preventing further spread of HIV. The AIDS drugs are used for saving the lives of already infected." We hope he understands this. After all when a "poor-illiterate" country like Uganda can overcome HIV infection, is it too much for us to hope that a rich-educated man like Belagere would overcome his ignorance?!

Ravi Belagere ends his column with the saying: "vyApAram drOha chiMtanaM aMdare idEnA?"

We will end our post this way: "journalism drOha chiMtanaM aMdare idEnA?"

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