Tag Archives: media

Big media has become bigger – Media Diversity and Reliance’s takeover of Network 18: Smarika Kumar

Guest Post by Smarika Kumar

Big media has become bigger. The takeover of Network 18 by Reliance has consolidated news media in the country like nothing before. The Reliance-Network18 combination is, in fact, not exactly new. It was actually executed a couple of years ago in a very telling, roundabout fashion when Reliance lent money to Network18 through a trust called IMT, among other things, to buy all of its media properties. As a result of Network18’s debt, Reliance could then dictate to it the terms of repayment, which were agreed between the two entities in the form of debentures convertible to shares.

The resulting combination brings TV channels like CNBC-TV18, CNBC Awaaz, CNN-IBN, IBN7, IBN-Lokmat, ETV-Rajasthan, ETV-Bihar, ETV-Uttar Pradesh, ETV-Urdu, ETV-Marathi, ETV-Bangla, ETV-Gujarati, ETV-Kannada, ETV-Oriya, ETV-Telegu, ETV-2, Colors, MTV, VH1 and Nick; web content properties such as moneycontrol.com, ibnlive.com, and firstpost.com; as well as magazines like Forbes India under a single umbrella of ownership and control. (For a complete list of media properties held by Reliance currently, scroll to the end of this article.)

  Continue reading Big media has become bigger – Media Diversity and Reliance’s takeover of Network 18: Smarika Kumar

An Appeal for restraint to all by the family and friends of Khurshid Anwar

Guest post by The Campaign for Khurshid Anwar

We are friends, family and well-wishers of the late Dr. Khurshid Anwar.  We have come together to keep alive the memory of his signal contribution to peace, secularism and communal harmony in the subcontinent, including his pioneering work in training thousands of volunteers to uphold these ideals over a long career as a grassroots activist.

We are deeply shocked and concerned at the trial by media and social media, which he was irresponsibly subjected to in the last few months, on a matter which had never been subjected to any kind of formal scrutiny by any responsible authority.

We seek to catalyze discussions on these aspects, via blogs, social media as well as public events and in responsible sections of the mainstream press. We strongly affirm the freedom of expression of the press as well as of individuals, but insist that such freedoms place an onus upon all to act with responsibility.

In keeping with this spirit of responsibility, we strongly discourage and dissociate ourselves from any attempts to reveal the identity of, or otherwise target the lady who has leveled serious allegations against Dr Anwar. As his family, personal friends and comrades, we do find it impossible to believe such allegations against a fiercely committed feminist such as himself, but do not presume to judge the matter ourselves.

Anybody who is indulging in any irresponsible statements about the lady in question is only doing a disservice to the memory of Khurshid Anwar.

We request all those commenting on the matter to desist from any conjectures and speculation upon the matter, and let the investigation take its course.

Ali Javed
Meenakshi Sundriyal
Ritwik Agrawal

On behalf of:

The Campaign for Khurshid Anwar



Protect the Privacy of the Tehelka Journalist: Report Responsibly

To all editors, journalists, bloggers, users of social media, and the public:

Some websites and blogs are posting the Tehelka journalist’s complaint to the magazine’s management or reproducing parts of it, perhaps with intent to expose a grave act of sexual assault by a man occupying a powerful position. However, in doing so, they are violating basic ethical and legal injunctions on the way cases of sexual assault must be reported.

The journalist’s complaint to her company is a private document and not a public one. While private documents can be leaked in the ‘public interest’, this principle is applicable to the emails of Tarun Tejpal and Shoma Chaudhury sent to Tehelka staffers, not to the journalist’s emailed complaint. In cases of sexual assault, it is a well established principle that the media can name the perpetrator, but not the victim. The identity and privacy of a victim must be protected at all costs.We are distressed that many people are circulating the journalist’s emails, and other journalists, bloggers and users of social media are publishing it in parts or whole.

Continue reading Protect the Privacy of the Tehelka Journalist: Report Responsibly

The buck should not stop with Meena Kumari

Let us recount some facts to understand the circumstances that led to the death of 23 children at a primary school at Gandaman, Chapra . First, some micro-facts :

  • The primary school struck by the  tragedy  is  a NAV SRJIT VIDYALAYA, a  newly created school. In fact, it is a break away from an earlier existing middle school   in the village.
  • This school, if you care to call it by this name, is a single room structure  with a floor full of potholes.
  • There is neither a kitchen nor a   facility to store the raw food-items in the school.
  • There is no source of clean drinking water in the school. There is a hand pump there but you get hard water from it.
  • Meena Kumari was NOT the headmistress of the school . She was only the teacher –in-charge of the school.
  • The school has two women teachers including Meena Kumari. The other one was on maternity leave  at the time of the incident. Meena Kumari was the only teacher left to look after more than 60 children, from class one to five who study there , a duty which includes teaching, supervising Mid-Day Meal (MDM) and other administrative duties. Continue reading The buck should not stop with Meena Kumari

Alan Rusbridger on Open Journalism and the Looming Threat of Supra-Regulation: Saurav Datta

Photo: Bhushan Koyande /Free Press Journal
Photo: Bhushan Koyande /Free Press Journal

Guest post by SAURAV DATTA

“Open” Journalism – it’s all about transparency, challenging, correction and clarification.

Marking a refreshing departure from the hackneyed “economic model” analysis of digital journalism, Alan Rusbridger, The Guardian’s Editor-in-Chief recently held forth on its effects and manifestations from the perspective of “journalistic practices”. Whether to fortify stories and content behind “gigantic (pay)walls” or not, is the wrong starting point, because one has to see if actions are “journalistically right,” he said. Continue reading Alan Rusbridger on Open Journalism and the Looming Threat of Supra-Regulation: Saurav Datta

लोकतंत्र के ईश से दूर होते नीतीश : मनीष शांडिल्य

नीतीश कुमार और मीडिया दोनों एक-दूसरे को बहुत प्रिय हैं. (यहां मीडिया से तात्पर्य मुख्यतः बिहार के मुख्यधारा के बड़े अखबारों से है.) नीतीश कुमार बतौर मुख्यमंत्री मुख्यधारा की मडिया पर बिहार का खजाना लुटाते हैं और बदले में मीडिया अपना युगधर्म भूलकर उनकी झूठी-सच्ची तारीफ में लगा रहता है, उनके पक्ष में तर्क-कुतर्क गढ़ता है, अखबार संदर्भ-बेसंदर्भ उनकी बड़ी-बड़ी तसवीरें छापते हैं. वैसे नीतीश कुमार और मीडिया के बीच के मधुर रिश्ते की और भी दूसरी बड़ी वजहें भी हैं, लेकिन उनकी चर्चा फिर कभी. फिलहाल इस रिश्ते का जिक्र इस कारण क्योंकि पिछले दिनों नीतीश अखबारों के पहले पन्नों पर दिखाई तो दे रहे थे, मगर कुछ दूसरे अंदाज में उनकी तस्वीरें छप रही थीं.

मामला कुछ यूं था. बिहार को विशेष राज्य दिलवाने की मांग (या कहें जिद) के लिए जन-समर्थन जुटाने जब इस बार नीतीश कुमार बिहार भर की ’अधिकार-यात्रा’ पर निकले तो जनता-जर्नादन को अपने अधिकारों की भी याद आ गई. (लिखत-पढ़त में यह उनकी सरकारी यात्रा नहीं थी!) मिथिलांचल इलाके से इस यात्रा के दौरान आम लोगों, खासकर नियोजित शिक्षकों ने अपने मांगों के समर्थन में नीतीश कुमार का ध्यान खींचना शुरू किया. गौरतलब है कि इस मंहगाई में नौकरी करते हुए भी मात्र छह-सात हजार मासिक पाने वाले ‘सरकारी’ शिक्षकांे को बिहार में कई महीनों से वेतन तक नहीं मिल रहा था. अब जनता का तो अपना तरीका होता है (कहीं-कहीं बहकावे में भी आ जाती है, कहीं-कहीं जनता की भीड़ में शरारती तत्व भी घुस जाते हैं), वह कहीं काला झंडा लहराने लगी तो कहीं मंच की ओर चप्पल दिखाने-उछालने लगी. उपेक्षा और परेशानियों से उपजे लोगों के आक्रोश ने खगड़िया जिले में रौद्र रूप धारण कर लिया. और खगड़िया के बाद ही नीतीश कुमार अखबारों में उस अंदाज में दिखाई देने लगे, जिस बदले रूप का ऊपर जिक्र है.

Continue reading लोकतंत्र के ईश से दूर होते नीतीश : मनीष शांडिल्य

Kudankulam: Letter from concerned activists in Chennai to Activists and Media persons

Dear friends

You must all be aware of the sustained struggle put up by the people of Idinthakarai and other neighbouring villages against the commissioning of the nuclear energy plant at Kudankulam. The struggle has been a concerted one, waged by fishers, agricultural labourers, small peasants and those in the artisanal trades. It has been a struggle for asserting people’s right to livelihood, life and liberty, all of which stand imperiled by the proposed nuclear reactor.
The struggle has now reached a crucial moment of crisis: the ministry of the ruling AIADMK government has passed a resolution asking for the plant to be reopened. This, after several months of promising support to the protesters, and offering to look into radiation effects, on human beings, the coastal environment and on the problem of nuclear waste.  Continue reading Kudankulam: Letter from concerned activists in Chennai to Activists and Media persons

Five Years of Kafila

It was this day five years ago that Kafila published its first post.

The number of people who have joined this caravan in five years has been way more than we expected. Our less than 1,500 posts have been read nearly 1.8 million times, and have received more than 13 thousand comments.

Talking about numbers…

Thank you!

What caste do you think the Financial Times is?

See update below.

So… I get a phone call yesterday. It’s a reporter from the Financial Times who wants to know what I feel about the recent ban on the movie Aarakshan in certain states, and also what do I feel about caste-based reservations in general, whether caste is still relevant in the India of today, the theory that quotas just increase inequality etc.. I tell her I haven’t seen the movie, and if she still wants to know what I feel about caste-based reservations we could talk for a bit. She says she absolutely wants to know. So I say fine, and we have a 45-minute conversation. Allow me to reproduce a very simplified version of that conversation (in Q&A forrmat):

1. Q: Do you believe movies like Aarakshan can be provocative or controversial; as in, are certain groups justified in taking offence and asking for a ban? Continue reading What caste do you think the Financial Times is?

Azadi: The Only Way – Report from a Turbulent Few Hours in Delhi

Dear Friends,

I was present and speaking a few hours ago at a meeting titled ‘Azadi: The Only Way’ on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, organized by the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners at the Little Theatre Group in Delhi yesterday (21st October). I was not present from the beginning of the meeting as I was traveling from another city, but can vouch for what occurred from around 4:30 pm till the time that the meeting wound up, well after 8:00 pm in the evening.

The meeting took place in the packed to capacity auditorium of the Little Theatre Group on Copernicus Marg at the heart of New Delhi. Several speakers, including the poet Varavara Rao, Prof. Mihir Bhattacharya, Sujato Bhadra, Gursharan Singh, Mr. Shivnandan (?) an activist from Jammu, Professor G.N.Saibaba, Professor Sheikh Showkat Hussain – Professor of Law, Srinagar University, the journalist Najeeb Mubaraki, Dr. N. Venuh of the Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights, the writer Arundhati Roy and myself spoke at the meeting. (I may be missing out some names, for which I apologize, but I was not present for a part of the meeting, at the very beginning) The climax of the meeting was a very substantive and significant speech by Syed Ali Shah Geelani of the Hurriyat Conference (G), which spelt out the vision of liberation (Azaadi) and Justice that Syed Ali Shah Geelani held out before the assembled public, of which I will write in detail later in this text.

Continue reading Azadi: The Only Way – Report from a Turbulent Few Hours in Delhi

Media Induced Morbidity Syndrome: Anant Maringanti

Or, when suicide threat becomes political strategy


I am witnessing a bizarre phenomenon in Andhra Pradesh which I can at the moment only call Media Induced Morbidity Syndrome. That this is pathological, and that this has to do with the media I am certain. But it is difficult to pin down what the pathogen is.

First, in the days and weeks following the then chief minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy’s (YSR) death on September 2nd, 2009; over 450 people were reported to have died either of heart attacks or suicides. Newspapers kept a daily tally and the numbers kept mounting. Being in Singapore at the time, several thousands of miles away from Hyderabad during those weeks, I had no first hand experience of the mood in Hyderabad. I dismissed the reportage as a silly political gimmick. It was easy to surmise that vested interests had simply been collecting daily death reports from various government hospitals in different towns and attributing them to grief over YSR’s death. The largest number of these deaths – 227 occurred on the day of the funeral and the following day. Continue reading Media Induced Morbidity Syndrome: Anant Maringanti

How ‘news’ became ‘interesting’

Our friend, like all stringers, would send Lucknow a lot of stories but all would go waste. A story a month, at the most, just a thousand bucks. Something interesting, get something interesting, the input editor on the other side of the mobile phone would say. Continue reading How ‘news’ became ‘interesting’

Slumdog as aesthetic

The Oscars have passed us by, leaving us with moments that op-ed writers could possibly only dream up: bollywood dancers on an Oscar stage; two of the three nominees for Best Song being sung in a language nearly the entire audience couldn’t even identify let alone speak; the English-speaking of the bevy of ‘India’s children’ translating the English questions into Marathi for the ‘kid from an actual slum’ in a we’re-all-one-across-the-ocean-moment; and, of course, the most harmonious moment of India-is-England-is-India convergence since the founding of the East India Company. It’s an embarrassment of riches.

So what does any of this have to do with slums? Let me be clear: this is not a tirade against the movie in any way. It actually isn’t about the movie at all. It is though about the one thing that the movie has brought back into our attention but that, somehow, no one actually seems to be talking about – that thing called the slum. Slumdog and the debates, protests, and celebrations around it, in equal measure, seem to beg a question: how do we, as Indians who are not Danny Boyle, think about the slum? How should we? Can Slumdog teach us a trick or two about our own backyards?

Continue reading Slumdog as aesthetic

Grotesque Terror Attacks in Mumbai

Courtesy Indian Muslims Blog
Courtesy Indian Muslims Blog

In one of the most daring and yet cowardly terror attacks, Bombay/Mumbai has been attacked. In an earlier post we had discussed the question of violence – ‘revolutionary’ violence, and the utter futility of resort to such methods. Violence is not a solution to anything; it cannot be. If anything, it is part of the problem; it is the problem. For violence begets more violence. Continue reading Grotesque Terror Attacks in Mumbai

The Happy Consciousness

Watching the world tumble down around us, the holy markets especially, what has amused and angered is the way in which the media refuses to let go of its Sunny Disposition on Life, the Universe and Everything. This would be pathetic if it wasn’t so rampant. The Times of India has plumped up its Delhi Times this weekend to ten pages filled with exhortations to shop and full-page ads on shiny commodities. Its spectacularly vacuous Sunday Times is bursting with stories about celebrities valiantly keeping up the Diwali spirit, and thumbing their noses at the looming depression by buying more Louis Vuitton bags.

Continue reading The Happy Consciousness

Some Questions About the Delhi Encounter

By Shabnam Hashmi, Satya Sivaraman, Manisha Sethi, Tanweer Fazal, Arshad Alam, Pallavi Deka

First published on Countercurrents.

A team comprising activists, academicians and journalists visited the site of the police operation against alleged terrorists staying in an apartment in Jamia Nagar in the afternoon of 20.09.2008 (Saturday). Two alleged terrorists Atif and Sajid, along with Mohan Chand Sharma, an inspector of the Delhi Police’s Special Cell died in the operation while a third alleged terrorist was arrested. Continue reading Some Questions About the Delhi Encounter

Mediotics, Industrialization and the Angel of History

[Being a sequel to ‘Singur, Mediotics and an NGO Called Indian Express‘]

“There is a painting by Klee called Angelus Novus. An angel is depicted there who looks as though he were about to distance himself from something which he is staring at. His eyes are opened wide, his mouth stands open and his wings are outstretched. The Angel of History must look just so. His face is turned towards the past. Where we see the appearance of a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe, which unceasingly piles rubble on top of rubble and hurls it before his feet. He would like to pause for a moment…to awaken the dead and to piece together what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise, it has caught itself up in his wings and is so strong that the Angel can no longer close them. The storm drives him irresistibly into the future, to which his back is turned, while the rubble-heap before him grows sky-high. That which we call progress, is this storm.” Walter Benjamin, “Theses on the Philosophy of History.”

These prophetic words were written in 1920 1940, when modernity’s arrogant faith in Progress was still pretty much intact. The rubble-heap of Progress has since piled up like never before. The world is now engaged in battling the effects of modernity that threaten humanity’s very existence. We know, for instance, that global warming or climate change threatens to destroy human civilization itself. Who knows, perhaps, millions of years later, some future civilization might discover its remains submerged under the sea and wonder at the heights of the ‘Progress’ it had achieved. Little might it occur to them that it was Progress itself that took this civilization to the sea.

Continue reading Mediotics, Industrialization and the Angel of History