Monday, October 15, 2007

Media and Nobel Peace Prize

Spot which one of these newspaper headlines and captions are from Indian newspapers:

Gore Shares Peace Prize for Climate Change Work

PM congratulates Gore for peace prize

2007 Nobel Peace prize awarded to Pachauri's IPCC, Al Gore

Pachauri and Gore share prize for raising awareness on climate change

Gore and U.N. Panel Share Peace Prize

Chidanand Rajghatta had a fine essay in the Times of India about the desperate lengths the Indian media goes to claim an Indian success story. Indian newspapers have been gushing about Pachauri the "man who put emotion into hard science", Pachauri the "efficient administrator and enabler", and Pachauri who stood up to Gore when the two had a brief disagreement in 2002 when Pachauri was elected to head the Inter Governmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC). Strangely, not one Indian newspaper has tried to find out, even as a matter of curiosity, what Pachauri has contributed to the science of climate change. I agree that his main job was administrative but isn't the media even curious? Wasn't it the research done by hundred's of scientists that enabled the IPCC to take the strong position it did about the urgency of dealing with climate change? Or is the Indian media under the delusion that somehow it was Pachauri heroically fighting opposition who convinced everybody to start acting responsibly on this issue?

In an earlier post I had written about this peculiar mentality of claiming an Indian connection to everything. In the hoopla over Pachauri's "achievement" there was one headline that was particularly revealing about the way we seem to think and link status, success and expertise.

Rajendra Pachauri backed N-deal - Hindustan Times

Now that Pachauri has "won the nobel" let's start asking his expert opinion on just about every subject under the sun. But expertise in one field does not translate into authority in another. Our media just doesn't seem to understand that.

1 comment:

  1. What I don't get it why a Nobel Peace Prize is being awarded to someone who is working in the area of Climate change.