Editorial 1: Awarning shot for committing the ‘crime’ of journalism


  • Recently, the central government has been criticised for taking steps to ‘muzzle the media’, from the raids on the BBC offices in Delhi and Mumbai following the broadcast of a documentary critical of the prime minister to the recent lodging of cases under UAPA law against newsclick portal.

A warning shot

  • If a global giant could be so brazenly smothered by the ‘Mother of Democracy’ strutting around in her G20 baubles, the fate that has befallen tiny NewsClick should not surprise too many.
  • “Show me the man and I’ll show you the crime,” was the boast attributed to Joseph Stalin’s ruthless secret police chief, i.e., he could fabricate a case against anyone, even the innocent. Taking a leaf from the Bolshevik’s book, Indian government in recent years has conducted raids and/or arrests on journalists/ establishments on the grounds of-
  1. money laundering (NewsClick, NDTV)
  2. income tax evasion (BBC, Dainik Bhaskar)
  3. national security (MediaOne)
  4. glorifying terrorism (Fahad Shah)
  5. disrupting peace/ public order (Siddique Kappan) etc.

L’affaire NewsClick

  • It is a particularly egregious case — the police landing up without a copy of the FIR or a list of the offences committed. Seizing the phones and laptops of the “suspects” against the instructions of the judiciary. A case of economic offence turning into a conspiracy to undermine the republic.
  • So many questions can be asked, but just one is enough: exactly whose activity is “unlawful” here, the second estate’s, or the fourth? It reveals a perverse mindset which is so used to unfiltered propaganda that it sees ear to the ground journalism not as a public service, but as an avoidable hindrance. And it ticks all the boxes of media capture — harassment, intimidation, vendetta, vilification.
  • “In furtherance of this conspiracy to disrupt the sovereignty of India and to cause disaffection against India, large amount of funds were routed from China in a camouflaged manner and paid news were intentionally peddled criticising domestic policies, development projects of India and promoting, projecting and defending policies and programmes of the Chinese government,” reads the FIR, with scant understanding of what “paid news” is, oblivious of the Reserve Bank of India- mandated 26% limit on foreign funding of digital platforms, and mocking the ₹49 crore that Chinese companies donated after COVID19, including to the PM CARES fund.

Contempt bordering on hatred

  • During Emergency, censorship was so stringent that nothing could be published without approval.” The bottomless thirst for approval and approbation — and the limitless allergy for scrutiny and criticism — that the retrofitted witch hunt against NewsClick highlights, offers a useful chance for a hypnotised citizenry to pause and ponder: why is a government, which spends thousands of crores to promote itself through the media, so intent to crush the outliers, bringing disrepute in the eyes of the world?
  • And why is a government which periodically issues self attested certificates of India’s growing prowess so uninterested in improving its ranking on the World Press Freedom index, where it now stands below Taliban-run Afghanistan, at 161 out of 180 countries? (In 2014, it was at 140; in 2022, it was at 150.)


  • The government must strike a balance between concerns on national security, money laundering etc on one hand and free speech of the press on the other hand.

Editorial 2: Aligning higher education with the United Nations SDGs


  • United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 goals with 169 targets that all 193 UN member states have agreed to try to achieve by 2030.

SDGs and their progress::

  • SDGs are a matter of urgency, and actions by all countries, both developed and developing, to end poverty and other socioeconomic and environmental problems should align with strategies that improve the standard of life and education, reduce inequality, and harness economic growth.
  • Though it has been eight years since the inception of these goals, the SDGs Report 2023 flagged slow progress and painted a grim picture due to the prolonged effects of COVID19, impacts of the climate crisis, the Russia- Ukraine conflict, and a weak global economy. The lack of progress towards the goals is a universal experience, but it has been more pronounced in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

Case of India:

  • India, despite having managed the crises of the global economy and relatively succeeded in overcoming the challenges posed by the pandemic, has suffered a setback in achieving these goals. NEP 2020 and SDGs Yet, recent actions and policies indicate that India is committed towards realising SDGs.
  • Sustainable development goal number 4 (SDG 4) pertains to access to quality education. It is a prerequisite for the achievement of other goals. India, with a longstanding history of equitable and inclusive education, has accelerated efforts to ensure the achievement of SDGs through various reforms. Among them, the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 should be given credit to a great extent.

Importance of higher education:

  • NEP 2020 has been prepared in tune with most of the SDGs. Though NEP 2020 calls for changes at all levels of education, priority should be accorded to higher education as it accelerates social mobility, empowers people through creativity and critical thinking, and grants them employment skills.
According to data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), people with a higher education degree are more employable and earn an average of 54% more than those who only have completed senior secondary education.

Key role of SDG 4:

  • An inclusive and quality education better protects people against poverty (SDG1), prevents them from hunger (SDG2), supports them for good health and wellbeing (SDG3), promotes gender equality (SDG5), provides them decent work, which in turn drives economic growth (SDG 8), and reduces inequalities (SDG10).
  • Universities should strengthen the research -teaching nexus in university education. Multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary systems of education produce multitalented people who can pursue research, and find innovative solutions to global challenges such as affordable and clean energy (SDG7), sustainable cities and communities (SDG11), climate change and global warming (SDG13), as well as studying their impact on an economy and the earth.
  • Sustainable development is possible only if we radically change the way we produce and consume (SDG12). Innovative solutions and startups (SDG 9) must be developed in collaboration with private companies.
  • Introducing Value- Based Education (VBE) will help citizens become responsible towards self, society, and the planet and help our nation achieve “Life on Land” (SDG15).


  • NEP 2020 demands that Indian higher education be committed to mapping its daytoday operations with SDGs. Ranking universities according to the achievement of SDGs is a welcome move, but is still inadequate to meet the SDG deadline.
  • Universities should come out reinvigorated and play a part in the education, innovation, culture, and civic life of their local communities. Community health, energy saving measures, efficient resource allocation, waste reduction, development of local skills, as well as the sharing of services, infrastructure, and facilities with other universities or external partners should become a culture in universities.


  • It has been realised that higher education cannot work in isolation; rather it must be directly integrated with socioeconomic development where each activity and transaction has meaningful and multiple impacts on SDGs. Every citizen must feel that the universities contribute directly to their well being and nation building.