Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Times of India: Confused as Usual

Yesterday's Times carried a prominent headline stating, "Indonesia Bans Yoga for Muslims". The body text indicated something a bit different: a religious body in Indonesia has issued an edict prohibiting its followers from chanting mantras while practising asanas. For the Times, one Muslim council directing its followers to stop saying 'Om' equals a multi-religious, multi-ethnic nation proscribing yoga entirely.
In today's international section, a headline reads "Queen escaped Oz govt's plot to assassinate her". Apparently, back in 1970, while Queen Elizabeth II was journeying in the Blue Mountains, a large log was placed in her train's path. Had the train been travelling faster when it hit the log, it would have gone off the rails, threatening the lives of the queen and Prince Philip.
The main suspects in the plot, which has only now been revealed, were members of the Irish Republican Army, but Australian republicans were also considered possible perpetrators. The Times article omits the IRA, and capitalises 'republicans'. The copy editor obviously concluded the word referred to leaders of Australia's ruling political party, rather than to anti-monarchist activists. This confusion resulted in a headline blaming the Australian government for the plot.
Those readers who merely scan headlines will come away with some twisted ideas about the Indonesian and Australian political systems.

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