Thu, 06 Mar 2003

Why so many inaccuracies?

The Jakarta Post, usually known for its accuracy in reporting, misled the readers, at least on two occasions, particularly, on its Sports section, recently.

On Feb. 28, 2003, in your Sports page, a headline stated: Nehra gives England six of the best in W. Cup. This gives an impression that Nehra is an England player and that he was instrumental in England winning the match in the World Cricket Cup. The fact is that Nehra is an Indian bowler who, with his impeccable bowling, captured six of England's wickets and bagged the win for India on that day.

Again, on March 3, 2003, another headline in the Post mentioned, We are shattered, Waqar admits after India defeat. Here, it is not clear who won against whom. Actually, India won handsomely against Pakistan and it ensured India's emphatic entry into the Super Sixes.

We could observe that you are only publishing such sports news from syndicated agencies, in this instance, from Agence France- Presse (AFP), Johannesburg. I was wondering how come AFP could come up with such distorted headlines, and so, I checked into the internet, as regards your news item on March 3, 2003. Excepting for a few paragraphs here and there, you had in fact reproduced the AFP report verbatim.

However, while the AFP headline was, We are shattered, says Waqar, the Post came up with a different version, confusing the readers. There wasn't any need for the Post to change the title when quoting from syndicated agencies.

I don't mean to say that India should be shown in a better light. Just ensure that due care is taken before assigning headlines to sports news.