Fight over non-existent biscuits

  • 14/09/2009

Fight over non-existent biscuits Civil society and the media are unfairly blaming a government nutrition programme

I have been a political journalist for over three decades. Only recently have I become familiar with the nitty gritty of development reporting. The manner in which malnutrition is covered by a section of the media has come as an eye opener. It appears those who report on the subject generally confine themselves to presenting opinions of people with a similar viewpoint.

Take the controversy over the kind of food to be served under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (icds). If we are to go by some newspaper reports, the debate about the scheme has been reduced to whether you serve hot cooked meals or biscuits. Terms are loosely thrown around so that the public is misled. Precooked food for under-three-year-olds is projected as a kind of biscuit. Attempts to propagate use of internationally-proven strategies for combating malnutrition, such as fortification, are dubbed a conspiracy to push commercial interests.

Newspaper and magazine reports about the ministry of women and child development