How many died of endosulfan?
Letter to the Hoot: The varying figures of victims in the endosulfan case show irresponsibility on the part of the media.
CHARU BOUA asks for greater sensitivity
Sunday, Jan 16 23:13:47, 2011
Recently I came across this blog from Kerala called Voice of Keralam which has done a fair bit of analysis on media reportage on the endosulfan deaths. Publications including Economic Times, DNA, The Hindu, and The Daily Pioneer have reported different numbers. The Kerala government has made an official statement (as reported in The Hindu & Pioneer) that there were 2826 victims of endusulfan of whom 500 had died. Based on this a compensation package has been announced by the state government. While Economic Times, about a month back, had reported 300 alleged deaths and 8000-9000 other victims a DNA article in December 2010 spoke of 1000 deaths and 10000 being affected.
These media reports suggest that the reporters filing stories are either dependent on vested interests who are feeding information which is taken at face value or that the reports are based on information from unreliable sources. Most of the reports are vague about the source of their numbers.
When human lives are concerned the media needs to be far more sensitive than it has been in this case. Apart from this readers rely on the media to shed independent light on a complex issue such as this one.
13 January, 2011