Magazine article New Internationalist

Letters

Magazine article New Internationalist

Letters

Article excerpt

Praise, blame and all points in between? Give us your feedback.

The New Internationalist welcomes your letters. But please keep them short. They might be edited for purposes of space or clarity. Letters should be sent to letters@newint.org or to your local NI office. Please remember to include a town and country for your address.

A valuable resource

First I must congratulate you on the stunning success of your leap of faith [our community share offer - Ed].

I had a huge disappointment about a year ago - trying to chase down some info/ support for West Papua.

Always the reaction was the same - glazing of the eyes, and 'Where's that? '. Even the city library had nothing. I kind of ran out of steam, but sparked up again on finding, by accident, your April 2002 edition (NI 344). Totally blown away - quality (and bravery of journalism) and depth of report. As far as I can tell it made not a ripple on the sea of apathy.

Fifteen years on, I thought - 'Maybe they can be persuaded to give it another shot.' After all, the situation is really dire, and a lot of destruction can happen in that time. The Indonesian government has been so effective at covering it up, muzzling/thwarting the Papuans, and conning the world 'community'. Imagine then my amazement upon seeing 'next edition West Papua'.

I am so thrilled to be a part of it (now I'm an investor! ). This really brings home what it's about. Quality reports on things that matter... that the world neglects. As one of your investors said 'NI is a national treasure'. If we can bail out banks and all sorts of shady businesses, surely we can protect such valuable resources.

Ralph Price Houghton, England

Informing opinion

Re: your take on the current assault on factual information and informed opinion and the substitution of double-talk for literal definition (Populism rises again, NI 501).

I subscribe to the definitions employed by the late Neil Postman, journalism professor at New York University, to describe and explain the pathway to informed opinion. The pathway starts with information, then the distillation; the determination of which elements of information are fact or truth and which are false - the finding of fact, the application of knowledge; an understanding of the factual information, wisdom and experience - the application of context: ethics, values, trust; a reliance on demonstrably trustworthy input and only then, an informed opinion. An uninformed opinion is a prejudice - a pre-judged position, or 'Don't confuse me with facts, my mind is made up'.

David Owen Canmore, Canada

Surviving scrutiny

Dinyar Godrej talks about populism (NI 501) and how it is detrimental to democracy or doesn't talk about the real will of people. In the cuisine called Democracy, populism is just one ingredient, though a major one. But other ingredients like the judiciary, press, public institutions and people's desire to protect fairness are equally important. He quotes an article on Narendra Modi, but it remains a fact that this gentleman has passed through all the judicial scrutiny and survived a very negative press. …

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