While freedom of speech and expression in India is under attack from all sides, have you noticed how the rich and the powerful can say what they like without getting arrested, facing FIRs and courts, hiring lawyers and so on?
While an innocuous tweet or Facebook status update can land you in police lock-up on a Saturday night or Sunday morning 5 am, a Digvijaya Singh can say sexist crap against Rakhi Sawant and get away with it.
Here’s another example from Twitter recently. Lalit Modi of IPL infamy, who wants us to believe his coming to India and facing the law is a security threat to him, tweeted that the BJP’s Arun Jaitley would lose his deposit if he contested the Lok Sabha seat from Jaipur. (Lalit Modi thinks he’s the Maharaja of Rajasthan.) In response to that, one Ankush Jain replied… Continue reading Freedom of speech in India is for the rich and the powerful
On the of latest edition, (telecast a few hours ago, on the evening of the 15th of January, 2013) of ‘The Buck Stops Here’, (a flagship news show on NDTV anchored by Barkha Dutt) – ‘India-Pakistan:Another Tipping Point‘, Admiral (Retd.) Ramdas, former chief of the Indian Navy said he knew that Indian forces have beheaded Pakistani soldiers in the past. Gen. (Retd.) V.P. Malik, former chief of the Indian Army contradicted him, and said this had never happened. Barkha Dutt was silent on this matter.
Below is a summary of some highlights of the discussion. Continue reading Dear Barkha Dutt: The Buck Stops Where?
Guest post by KARTIK NAIR
Why does No One Killed Jessica open with the execution of Jessica Lal but rush so quickly to the windswept altitudes of Kargil? And why, when she first blasts on to the screen as embedded journalist Meera reporting on the war, does Rani Mukerji look more like she’s embedded inside an SNL skit on Barkha Dutt? I let out a little laugh then, but the laughs only got bigger from there. Here is a film that knows nothing about how the media works; worse, it fails to pass off its version of the media as believable. Here are a few lessons I learned watching the film:
1. Aspiring reporters will be glad to note that though journalists generally fight tooth-and-nail at press conferences to get their questions heard, a helpful “Yaar, please, mujhe poochne do!” will elicit total co-operation and rapt attention.
Continue reading Ab Bhi Dilli Dur Hain: On ‘No One Killed Jessica’: Kartik Nair
Guest post by VINITHA MOKKIL
The good news first. On the morning of November 26, the Foundation for Media Professionals (an independent, not-for-profit organization) decided it was time to break the polite silence and hold a panel discussion on the topic, ‘Editors as Powerbrokers’ at the India International Centre (IIC), Delhi. The Nira Radia tapes, whose transcripts were first published by Open magazine a week ago, was the trigger for the discussion. The panelists included editors from prominent print and electronic media houses.
The auditorium was packed. Clearly, the nexus between the media, politicians and PR honchos, as revealed by the transcripts, had shocked people enough to bring them out of the comfort of their homes to the venue.
Continue reading ‘Editors as Powerbrokers’?: Vinitha Mokkil
It’s always better to begin with a caveat. Sets the tone, and prepares readers for what not to expect. I am one of those self-obsessed people who seldom see beyond their existence. I google my name twice a week, and inevitably find other people getting enriched when conversing with me. It’s an achievement if I could rescue their names from these conversations for my memory. So, you can imagine now my level of awareness.
But once in a while something gets my goat and then I start reading about it. One of those things has been the Nira Radia tapes recently. I first saw a mail from a friend in my inbox with the transcripts and links to the audio versions. I read the scripts and followed the audio links. It led me to more links. And soon I found it was all over the virtual world. First it was Nira Radia and Barkha Dutt, then Nira Radia and Vir Sanghvi, then Nira Radia and Ratan Tata, then Nira Radia and A. Raja, then… I don’t know what else is there. I was like what the f*#@? They just kept stumbling out. I thought Amar Singh was the most tapped guy but then I stopped following politics long back. I am told now that these days he doesn’t even make it to the 7th page. Continue reading Before We Tape Our Mouths Forever…
This is explosive – you’ve heard of Niira Radia’s role in the 2G spectrum scam for months, and also that of two high profile journalists. Now, Open magazine has put out the phone transcripts, and even the audio, for all of us to listen in and know, as they put it, “how this country is run”. Many must have had the tapes with them for some time now, and god knows how many hundreds of hard disks have the CBI papers that made these allegations to begin with. But it takes courage to put this out.
For context, also read this profile of lobbyist Niira Radia, also in Open. Also see this April 2010 post from a media blog.
(I had written this article after the Supreme Court’s refusal to quash a defamation case in a Thane court against a student-blogger in Kerala, Ajith D. A shorter version was offered to a newspaper which refused to publish it. So finally I’m posting it here. For a better context, please see Lawrence Liang‘s posts on the subject. Whatever is written below is without prejudice against any of the parties named. For the history of the Shiv Sena encounter with Orkut, I am graetful to Gaurav Mishra for this excellent article.)
If you search “Shiv Sena” on just the communities section of the social networking site Orkut, you get 244 results. There are love-Shiv Sena and hate-Shiva Sena communities (essentially discussion boards), but my favourite is one called “Shiv Sena v/s Anti SS” which seeks to sort out differences between “sainiks and anti-sainkis”. It further states, “If anyone posts hurting a fellow member, that post will be deleted. There must be some amount of respect towards fellow members. The owner being Anti shiv sena will debate for Anti SS.” The community was started by “Madhushree It takes courage to be true.” and has 111 members at the time of writing. Continue reading In the Supreme Court of the Indian Blogosphere