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Pulitzer prize-winner journalist who exposed the lies of Vietnam and broke the pentagon papers

To understand ground reality, journalism has to be as high as the sky. That was Neil Shihan's journalism

Pulitzer prize-winner journalist who exposed the lies of Vietnam and broke the pentagon papers

In the seventies and eighties, teenagers automatically fascinated by the United States, the Vietnam War, Che Guevara, the Beatles, and so on. From a political point of view, the Vietnam War, the incursion of the then US President Richard Nixon, and the greatness of the American media, became a permanent attraction in the lives of many. Among them are Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, and his immortal work, All the Presidents Man, and Katherine Graham, a patient of The Washington Post. However, Neil Shihan, whose 'Paramvir Chakra' quality of heroism was based on journalism, remained relatively unknown. However, anyone who has read Neil's book, A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul von and America in Vietnam, at the right age, will have only immense respect and admiration for Shihan. It is not just a story of journalism that will appeal to media professionals. It is a charter. Be it an individual or a country; It's an amazing story of how once he got unlimited power, how he became a monster. But she made history. Journalism in America today stands on the same heroic history. The importance of this journalism, which has challenged Donald Trump and his shameless business from the first day of his presidency, has been underlined by Trump himself in the last few days. That confirmed Trump's ambush. Trump may have shaken American democracy. But the local media assured that it would not be too messy. Seeing that, Neil Shihan must have given up his life with satisfaction.

Neil Sheehan

John Paul Vaughan is an American colonel in the book mentioned above. He was stationed in Vietnam during the war. At the same time, Shihan had the opportunity to cover the country. Shihan was seeing with his own eyes how much his father-in-law government was lying about what was going on in Vietnam, and was getting more and more information. Some Buddhist monks from that country set themselves on fire. The US government's claim is a testament to the superpower's superiority. But it was because of Shihan's journalism that the world came to know about it. Earlier, while Shihan was in Vietnam on behalf of a relatively small news agency, UPI, three representatives of a news organization like AP were working in the same country. However, Shihan of UPI is literally suppressing other powerful news outlets with his reporting. Many journalists in the news world cannot grow big just because of a small or neglected news organization or newspaper. Fortunately, this did not happen to Shihan. He had the opportunity to cover The New York Times, first from New York and then from Vietnam. They made her gold. From that, the steadfast peak of the bravery of the news world stood.

That's what happened. The US Department of Defense began documenting how much soil it ate in the Vietnam War. This is an honest compilation of how the Vietnam policies of all the presidents, from Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson to Nixon, were consistently misguided during the post-World War II Cold War. This work, which took place in the utmost secrecy, was expected to remain secret as well. But Daniel Elsberg, who works in the same department, secretly withdrew a copy. He was upset to see the mistakes of his government and the excesses he had committed. He wants all this to come out sometime later in life, because he wants his countrymen to know their mistakes. On the one hand, Elsberg was upset to see the atrocities committed by his own people in the Vietnam War while living in the United States. The two corners - Shihan and Ellsberg - came together by commercial coincidence. As soon as Shihan experiences the evils of his country. But seeing his simple collection, the reporter among them went everywhere. He persuaded Elsberg to see the report. Elsberg was ready. The condition is the same. Just want to see this report. Do not copy. Shihan nodded. He then handed Shihan the key to the house where Elsberg had kept the report. Eilsberg was to stay away from the house at that time as it was inappropriate for the two to be together there. What happened next was unprecedented.

Shihan shuddered at the report. It needed to be printed as it was. But the question is what and how to remember in this staggering seven thousand-page report. That is, a copy of it came out. But he had promised not to copy. The question of what to do next was solved by his equally talented writer /journalist wife, Sujan Shihan (readers of The New Yorker must have known him). Following his advice that such a sensational report would be published without a copy in hand, Shihan decided to remove it. Then, with the help of his wife, a Xerox machine in an acquaintance's office, and a single taxi, the duo filmed the 7,000 pages. He reported three seats on the plane after the last paper was copied. Two for myself and one for the other. The subject was so sensitive that they did not want to ignore the bag for a moment. Arrangements were made to take them directly to the office upon landing in New York. The Times' lawyer was also present. He was going to see if it was legally objectionable. His abstract was prepared by Shihan. Reading it, the lawyers' legs literally swayed. He advised: Don't print this. Will come with limbs.

The New York Times printed it as it is. Based on the series itself. As expected, President Nixon sued. All charges of treason were leveled at the Times. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of President Nixon and all the objections of the government and gave a historic verdict that no government can stop newspapers from publishing anything. It was on this basis that a very important amendment was made in that country lifting all restrictions on media freedom. Today it is considered the global standard of media freedom.

And Shihan is the standard of journalism. He received, of course, several awards, including a Pulitzer Prize. He quit his job to write a book. But first the accident and then the disorder prevented him from writing anything. The amount is taken in advance for that also ran out. It was a time of trials and tribulations. He made a living by giving speeches and teaching journalism. During that time, his wife, Sujan, helped him. Sujan later received a Pulitzer Prize for writing. Neil also had tremors during that time. But considering the value of his work, other writers and editors helped him in his writing. However, it took him 16 years to write the aforementioned book, Shining Lay, which he experienced. "As I write this, I can see the faces of the thousands of American soldiers killed in this unnecessary war," he writes. Later his other books became equally popular.

This is how Shihan passed away at the age of 84. How the Pentagon Papers were looted was revealed after his death. "That truth will be revealed only after my death," he told Elsberg. Today, the American media is reaping the benefits of the First Amendment. To understand the ground, journalism has to be as high as the sky. That was Neil Shihan's journalism.

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Yogesh Sawant
See all posts by Yogesh Sawant