Down to Earth

Linked with Sunita Narain – India, with Time to tell the truth … , with Bt fails in China, with ECONOMYWATCH, and with Centre for Science and Environment.

In May 1992, the Society for Environmental Communications started India’s only science and environment fortnightly, Down To Earth (DTE). Over the years the magazine has informed and inspired people about environmental threats facing India and the world — a dimension underplayed in mainstream media.Circulation figures are not a true indicator of the wide reach of the magazine: DTE has become a reading habit in 400 out of about 500 districts of the country — more than any other Indian newspaper or magazine. DTE’s sphere of influence is not just limited to India. Numerous readers across the world rely on the magazine for a comprehensive view from the South on the most critical issues of human existence.The online version of DTE is an effort to reach more people and to use all the interactive elements that the new medium has to offer.

In their edition of August 15 they write: The street fight – Our world changed a little when we published the study on pesticide residues in soft drinks. In the work we do, fights go with the territory. We need to challenge institutions — government and private — in the public interest. What we had not anticipated, however, was the sheer power and the virulence of the attack. The fact is that the two companies affected — Coca-Cola and PepsiCo — were incidental to our story on pesticide contamination and the need for food standards to regulate safety. The fact that two us multinationals were involved was a mere coincidence. But not for them. The first attack was on our laboratory — they questioned the data analysis, our capabilities, our equipment and then as it got nastier, they resorted to personalised attacks on us and our integrity. Their favourite ploy was to dismiss us as a pawn in a conspiracy hatched by Europe (because we get funds from multilateral and bilateral agencies) to destroy the good name of us companies. But this was not all. (Read the whole article on Down to Earth August 15, 2006).

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