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How the press distorts the news (but sometimes writes well)

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The same news from three sources.

The Hindu had a spin on this news:

In the land swap deal inked between India and Bangladesh, Meghalaya has gained 240 acres of land that were adversely held by the neighbouring country, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma has said.

Mr. Sangma, who had accompanied Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the high-profile visit, on Thursday said that the deal was mutually important and that it was mutually acceptable.

“People will be happy…it (border dispute) was an irritant for a long time. The settlement will promote goodwill and prosperity. It will safeguard the interests of the state,” he said, adding that every decision was in consultation with the respective state governments.

In return, Meghalaya has to concede 41 acres of land to Bangladesh, Mr. Sangma said.

Assam Tribune did a googly:

Meghalaya has lost 41 acres of land as India and Bangladesh have demarcated their boundaries but the overall agreement will only bring “goodwill and prosperity” to both countries, said Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma on Friday.

Sangma was part of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s entourage to Bangladesh Sep 6-7. The two countries signed a framework agreement on cooperation for development and a protocol on demarcating their land boundary. “We would be gaining around 240 acres of land under adverse possession of Bangladesh, but would be losing around 41 acres of our land to Bangladesh,” Sangma told IANS.

News One is the only one which plays a straight bat (to change the metaphor a little):

Meghalaya gained 240 acres, but lost 41 acres as India and Bangladesh resolved their boundary row, said Chief Minister Mukul Sangma who added that it will bring ‘goodwill and prosperity’.

Sangma accompanied Manmohan Singh during the prime minister’s Sep 6-7 visit to Dhaka. The two countries signed a framework agreement on cooperation for development and a protocol on demarcating their land boundary besides inking pacts on various issues.

‘We would be gaining around 240 acres of land under adverse possession of Bangladesh, but would be losing around 41 acres of our land to Bangladesh,’ Sangma told IANS Friday.

The new India and Bangladesh land accord will safeguard the interests of Meghalaya, he said.

‘Instead of (an) irritant and disputed border, we now expect to have a border which will enable us to have goodwill and prosperity and border of conflict should be converted into border of mutual trust,’ the chief minister said.

The pact between Delhi and Dhaka is to swap 162 enclaves.

The enclaves are islands of land resulting from traditional ownership arrangements that survived both the partition of the sub-continent after the end of British rule in 1947 and Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence from Pakistan.

A joint census of 111 Indian enclaves in Bangladeshi territory and 51 Bangladeshi enclaves in Indian territory concluded July 18. The survey showed 51,000 people lived in these landlocked islands.

There are 11 such areas in Meghalaya.

While Bangladesh cites documents of 1937, the Indian side relies on land records of 1914 to support its claims.

The border issue has been an ‘irritant’, said Sangma.

He added that the northeastern states despite being surrounded by international borders have ‘no meaningful trade and commerce’.

‘Therefore, it has become very important to ensure that there is a conducive atmosphere created along the border and relations are built up for furthering our engagement of trade and commerce,’ Sangma said.

The Hindu and Assam Tribune clearly know the whole story but are spinning the news to suit their target audiences. Unfortunately, they do not give any background insight into the problem. That comes from the third item, which is a wonderful piece of journalism. I had not heard of News One before this, but the depth of the report makes sure that I will look for their news again.

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Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

September 9, 2011 at 10:12 am

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