From Koodankulam, an open letter to the Indian media

koodankulam

Press release issued by the PEOPLE’S MOVEMENT AGAINST NUCLEAR ENERGY (PMANE), based in Idinthakarai in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu.

Dear friends,

Greetings!

Please allow us to bring the following to your kind attention in the larger interests of our country, people and most importantly, our democracy and freedom.

As the Fourth Pillar of our democracy, the media in India plays an important role in the smooth running of our country and the perpetuation of our democratic heritage.

We are sure that you have noticed the postponement of the commissioning of the Koodankulam nuclear power project (KKNPP) to July 2013 without giving any reasons or explanations. Continue reading “From Koodankulam, an open letter to the Indian media”

Chit-funded media

With the Sarandha chit fun scam in West Bengal, a side-effect has been the going bust of its media investments. Seema Guha, Delhi bureau chief of the recently shut down Bengal Post writes in The Hoot:

The executive editor Ranabir Roychowdhury and several of the core journalist team were known to us, but none of us had ever heard the name of Sudipta Sen, the owner. We in Delhi were far away, but our colleagues in Kolkata too did not know anything about him, except that he was a real estate tycoon with a land bank of 100 acres or more. He was also into chit funds. It was much later that we came to know that this was his main business, our money was basically derived from the collections Saradha made from the poorest people in Bengal and other eastern states. He had business in the north east as well as in Odisha. [Read the full article]

Ashis Nandy, Media and the Work of Acceleration: Anirban Gupta Nigam

Guest post by ANIRBAN GUPTA NIGAM

The hornet’s nest stirred by Ashis Nandy’s comments at the Jaipur Literature Festival might – hopefully – be dying down, but certain questions raised by the occurrences on the 26th probably require a little reflection on everyone’s part.

In the corporate and social media blitz, a lot of the details have been forgotten, excised and overlooked. Till yesterday it was not clear what his entire speech consisted of. The most quoted line from his talk at the festival is: “it is a fact that most of the corrupt come from the OBC, the Scheduled Castes and now increasingly the STs and as long as it is the case, the Indian republic will survive.” None of those attacking Nandy for being casteist or spewing hate-speech have in fact even attempted to explain the latter part of the quote: “as long as it is the case, the Indian republic will survive.” How is that a casteist statement? More importantly, media reproductions of his statement have excised a crucial disclaimer he himself gives at the beginning: “It will be an undignified, even vulgar statement, but it is a fact that most of the corrupt come from the OBC, the Scheduled Castes and now increasingly the STs and as long as it is the case, the Indian republic will survive.” Continue reading “Ashis Nandy, Media and the Work of Acceleration: Anirban Gupta Nigam”

How not to think about violence against women: Noopur Tiwari

Guest post by NOOPUR TIWARI

Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

I woke up in Paris last weekend to the news of the Delhi protests. I felt relieved. People are not just watching or suffering quietly anymore, I thought to myself. I wanted to be there too, out in the streets of Delhi. For all those times I had to suffer sexual harassment in Delhi, I want to be part of this churning for change now.

My Parisian friends asked me what was going on. And I told them about the new “national outrage” and the stories that had been stoking the anger. That’s when I realised I needed to make a list. What was informing my idea of what’s going on? These stories making it to the headlines, do they have something in common?

Yes, they do have one very obvious thing in common. They are all “sensational” news items. They are either:

Continue reading “How not to think about violence against women: Noopur Tiwari”

Why is the Indian media building a case for internet censorship rather than against it?

Hundreds of webpages now stand blocked in India, the government has openly been appealing to internet companies to pre- or post-screen content and remove what the government wants it to remove. One Google Transparency Report after another has been revealing how the number one target of the government is criticism of politicians and government. Just imagine what would the Indian media’s response to such censorship have been like had it been hundreds of books or articles we were talking about? Instead of asking Facebook to ‘pre-screen’ our posts, had Kapil Sibal been asking for someone to pre-screen articles in the newspapers, would it not be like the Emergency?

Okay, point taken. Let us not trivialise the Emergency, which entailed jailing of dissidents and forced sterilisation and so on. But still, there’s so much internet censorship in India now that it is surprising that instead of outrage you find the Indian media actually building the case for censorship. What about hate speech, they ask. What about the trolls, Why is there so much abuse on the internet? Continue reading “Why is the Indian media building a case for internet censorship rather than against it?”

An Unrecorded Festival – Pictures from Parliament Street: Siddhi Bhandari

April 14 was Ambedkar’s birth anniversary. There is no single pan-India political icon, certainly not Gandhi, whose birth and death anniversaries are celebrated as public festivals, by the public, in the way the Ambedkar’s is. Some newspapers on 15 April typically had photos of the top leaders of the country paying homage to Ambedkar but that’s about all. When historians turn these pages they will not find, in the first drafts of history, any reports about how people celebrated Ambedkar’s birthday like a festival. They will not find a record of the singing and dancing, of drums and plays, of Dalit housing socities and employees’ unions holding celebrations bang under the nose of the Indian Parliament at Parliament Street as much as in Dalit bastis is villages across India. Such is the public ignorance of this celebration at Parliament Street in Delhi that most Delhites enjoying a free holiday don’t even know about it. Parliament street is where SIDDHI BHANDARI took these photos in 2010.

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