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Indian Media - A Review

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hariharan1972

Guest
I want to initiate a discussion on what the forum members think about Indian media - especially on

Focus - Whether it is correctly focussed ?

Issues - Is it taking up the right issues ?

Role - What is the role that media is playing today ?

Content - Is the content offered by Indian media, particularly electronic, good ?

Quality - How does Indian media compare with the rest of the world ?

Hype - Does indian media hype issues / persons ?

Partisan - Is indian media truly non-partisan ?

Also want to discuss thoughts on

What is the ideal role of the media ?

What defines sensationalism ?

Is there a fine line that shouldn't be breached ?

Since my objective is to discuss on an industry platform, avoiding 'The Hindu' or 'Viduthalai' bashing will be good. We are not discussing 'outliers'.
 
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lotus_quartz

Guest
Good points, but are we assuming the media to be a single entity ?

We have, what is called responsible journalism, English Press, Vernacular Press, electronic media, pulp journalism, sting journalism, media sponsored by political parties, ideologically skewed media (like Hindu righ wing media, Communist media ) etc. National media, provincial media, local tabloids etc.

Each one has a character and habits of its own.
 
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hariharan1972

Guest
We can have vertical wise discussion

LQ,

Thanks.

Fair enough. I do agree that each medium has it's own characteristics. So we can have vertical specific discussions.

The reason i wanted to set the platform at an industry level is to get new perspectives. At the drop of a hat we seem to be bashing 'The Hindu' et all so wanted to steer the discussion away from it.

Anyways let me see what kind of interest such an "abrahmanic topic" generates.

Somehow i get a feeling that the discussions in the forum are too 'ostrich like' with head buried 6 feet under the ground.

I fear that as a community we are going the "Muslim way". What i mean is "cutting off from the mainstream". One of the reasons for the sufferings of the Muslims IMHO is the fact that they have cut themselves off from the mainstream & focussing only on religious issues.

Like wise we too jump into the fray on discussions relating to Gothrams & what not but maintain a stoic silence on matters of greater significance.
 
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lotus_quartz

Guest
My conclusions are not much different from yours. If not checked and corrected, the ostrich-itis may degenerate into Ghettoism, i.e., cohabiting only with other tambrams and living secluded in seperate localities the way you find some minorities living in ghettos.

I have very sadly noticed the poor participation in all secular topics and hawkish and hornet response whenever poked on brahminical issues.

I hope we realize and make amends before it is too late. There is no point in cribbing later that others make fun of us in 'reel life' and also in 'real life' on our peculiar life style, dialect and closed mind-set etc.




LQ,

Thanks.

Fair enough. I do agree that each medium has it's own characteristics. So we can have vertical specific discussions.

The reason i wanted to set the platform at an industry level is to get new perspectives. At the drop of a hat we seem to be bashing 'The Hindu' et all so wanted to steer the discussion away from it.

Anyways let me see what kind of interest such an "abrahmanic topic" generates.

Somehow i get a feeling that the discussions in the forum are too 'ostrich like' with head buried 6 feet under the ground.

I fear that as a community we are going the "Muslim way". What i mean is "cutting off from the mainstream". One of the reasons for the sufferings of the Muslims IMHO is the fact that they have cut themselves off from the mainstream & focussing only on religious issues.

Like wise we too jump into the fray on discussions relating to Gothrams & what not but maintain a stoic silence on matters of greater significance.
 
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Chintana

Active member
Dear Hari and LQ,

Points on responsibilities of media:

1. No reporting is truly objective. The best reporting achieves what is known as a "well-rounded" approach. Meaning, opinions from differing sides of the debate are presented whenever an issue is raised. Indian newspapers in general have long fallen off this track.

2. The television reporting in India is like radio reporting where people just read from a bunch of notes. They are "news readers" not journalists like the way it is in America. Meaning in America TV journalists go out into the field and get interviews and more importantly differing view points. Pronnoy Roy and team do this to some extent not the regional media for the most part, as far as I know (I am a bit rusty here as I left the country some years ago).

3. The media is the "fourth estate" in any democracy the other three being the executive (President et al), the legislature (parliament etc) and judiciary (headed by the supreme court). What this means is that media is supposed to function as a body that spearheads social change (assuming free speech is a valued right in any democracy).

4. The media is supposed to 'represent' various interest groups. In other words democracy moves forward only when different 'voices' are heard. Those different voices, to be heard, need to be grouped because media can't represent each and every individual. In other words to have a successful democracy a country must have a nimble, agile press that is quick to pick up on dissent and differences among the population and report them. The corollary to this is that citizenry is expected to organize themselves into interest groups to advocate their specific points of view so that they can be heard as a collective whole. In other words if you don't get represented in the media properly you cannot hope to play a role in shaping the country.

This is exactly how Gandhi helped win India's freedom - by organizing the entire country into one collective whole and finding representation in the BRITISH press. The British government in India were not responding to Gandhi as much as they were responding to the British press back home. Gandhi really knew how to play the media game.


5. But in India most of us don't seem to understand this.

6. So, when we started this forum we wanted to organize ourselves into a collective whole so that we can be meaningful representatives in the media.

Criticism of our ways and habits are all ok, and taken in good spirit. But they will not help us achieve this goal. So, Hari and LQ, if ever you found sensitive responses to Brahminical issues being questioned in this forum or one or more of the administrators expressing the importance of "collectivity", this is the reason.

As a community we definitely need reform.

But we need to come together first even for that to happen.

Some of our community members are not used to critical thinking. They immediately develop mistrust if everything they know is being questioned. To them (they probably haven't seen the rest of the world), traditions are their world. Without giving them a viable alternative we cannot collapse their world.

Hence the advocacy of tolerance in this forum.

I hope this helps clear things up.

[Note: My credentials: PhD student specializing in Media, Technology & Society; former reporter with Indian Express; a Master's Degree in Human Resources Management]
 
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hariharan1972

Guest
My pranams

[Note: My credentials: PhD student specializing in Media, Technology & Society; former reporter with Indian Express; a Master's Degree in Human Resources Management]

Chintana,

You are one hell of a boxer !!! This is a jab from which i am sure i can't recover.

This is not even a TKO but W/O to you.

Firstly accept my sincere appreciation & I am in awe. (Does your visiting card say "Refer Annexure" for your credentials ?)

My pranams.

Your post has raised few points which i wish to respond a little later when i have thought thru it a bit more.

However in this post i wish to confirm to you that i was definitely not speaking from a 'holier than thou' position. Neither do i have the intention nor the intellect to counter the forum members.

I am a bit peeved as to why not enough traffic is generated on what LQ calls "secular topics" & if my earlier post carried a different tone i regret.
 

Chintana

Active member
As usual I couldn't help smiling at what you wrote.

This is perhaps the first time I ever mentioned my credentials in this forum. This is largely because I wanted to be evaluated for "what" I said not "who" I am.

But in this posting I did have to say the things I did as I do have some experience here.

This was of course not meant to "box" you.

My views are not beyond debate. My training has made me a careful thinker, that's all.

The idea is we can generate a forceful voice if we think carefully.

I was addressing both your points and LQ's in this posting; didn't single you out.

In any case, what is a TKO and W/O?

And of course, thank you for your compliments.


Chintana,

You are one hell of a boxer !!! This is a jab from which i am sure i can't recover.

This is not even a TKO but W/O to you.

Firstly accept my sincere appreciation & I am in awe. (Does your visiting card say "Refer Annexure" for your credentials ?)

My pranams.

Your post has raised few points which i wish to respond a little later when i have thought thru it a bit more.

However in this post i wish to confirm to you that i was definitely not speaking from a 'holier than thou' position. Neither do i have the intention nor the intellect to counter the forum members.

I am a bit peeved as to why not enough traffic is generated on what LQ calls "secular topics" & if my earlier post carried a different tone i regret.
 
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hariharan1972

Guest
Response to your post

Chintana,

Your post on the Indian Media is very lucid & reflects every bit of your association with the media. Though I disagree with some of your observations.

1. I don't understand why you say "No reporting is objective". IMHO when you say "reporting", i understand it as "stating as it is or as it happened". Yes, partisan media can twist the happening to suit themselves but per se "reporting" is meant to be "objective".

2. Television reporting in India has to be bifurcated into National & Regional Channels. Regional Channels are full of bias & partisan views while Nation channels are a lot more accomodative of all round views. I do sense an undercurrent of BJP hatred in most National channels. The regional channels which totally supress the view & strain their every sinew to bad mouth their political opponents. National channels however do provide a voice to all the parties despite what their "personal ideologies" are. Herein a question for you - Should the media have an ideology leaning at all ? I wonder

3. Indian Television, especially National channels have really come of age. While they can't immediately be compared to a BBC or CNN, the fact remains that they have established themselves into an entity which the political clan has to be wary about. Love them or Loathe them but you can't ignore them.

4. Judiciary & Media are the only 2 hopes of a beleaguered nation. But for the support of the media, the RTI would have bitten the dust long ago. Not content with remaining a “watch dog” the media is also showing that it has the “sting of a scorpion”.

5. Are they overdoing the stings ? Yes. But enough is NEVER enough in India. The areas of corruption in India could easily make it’s way into “Ripley’s Believe it or Not” and hence I strongly believe that sting operations have to continue. Clearly the establishment is ruffled by such sting operations and some time back I do remember reading some proposal the Govt is considering to “control” the sting operations.

6. The National media does represent the various interest groups. The various debate & discussion programs amply represent the various interest groups. Before the National media issues of caste, gender & other forms of social discrimination were in the closet. Electronic media has played a significant role in bringing these issues into our living rooms.

7. There are few criticisms of the Indian electronic media too which I will take up in another post.

Regarding the point about “collectivity of our community”, as I said in my earlier post, I was definitely not trying to indulge in criticizing the community not even veiled criticism.

Infact I strongly agree with you that the purpose of the forum is to bring about collectivity. My point however is whether such collectivity should be limited to issues affecting us on a “personal plane” & should it not extend to issues in general ?

If we believe that we have a viewpoint on say how inflation should be managed and what “our” view is on current levels of inflation, I am only trying to lend a voice to it. On the contrary if we believe that we have nothing to do with “such issues” and all that we are concerned is about “Gothrams & Vegetarianism” I have to say that our “collectivity” will yield “less than desired results”.,

IMHO, to drive home our “collectivity” we should first establish the fact that our voice MATTERS on issues of national significance.

If you say that our members are NOT USED to critical thinking, it should perhaps be one of the stated objectives of the forum that we should INCULCATE critical thinking among our members. Like you wrote elsewhere, we shouldn’t shy away from trying something just because it is difficult or uncommon.

I definitely don’t want to collapse anyone’s world but only urging the fact that there IS a world beyond “our own world”.

TKO – Technical Knock Out, opposing boxer loses on technical grounds or points
W/O or more appropriately RSC- Walk over or Refree Stopped Contest.
(From my limited knowledge of boxing)

I thoroughly enjoyed your analysis of how Gandhi used the media effectively. It is a refreshingly different pov, one i haven't come across before.
 
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NARAS

Well-known member
sirs- Hari & L.Q.- in a new thread called 'BOOKS" i have registered my views on indian media. so i am not repeating here again in this thread.
 

Chintana

Active member
Bear with me, Hari. I mean to get back to you. I need to take care of a few things at my end before doing that.
 

Chintana

Active member
Hari, the maroon italics...

Chintana,

Your post on the Indian Media is very lucid & reflects every bit of your association with the media. Though I disagree with some of your observations.

1. I don't understand why you say "No reporting is objective". IMHO when you say "reporting", i understand it as "stating as it is or as it happened". Yes, partisan media can twist the happening to suit themselves but per se "reporting" is meant to be "objective".

The 'truth' is only as you see it, or only what anybody else sees it for that matter. Whenever one gets a report of any event it is only a REPRESENTATION of the actual event. This is the reason media is capable of being biased. If there is an absolute way of writing the truth the media would have done it by now. And it would have been easier for us to judge it.

Every report is based on what SOURCES are AVAILABLE and what IDEOLOGIES are favored. So except for God there is no such thing called absolute truth. It is always truth as one sees it.

What CAN be achieved in every report is a REPRESENTATION of all parties concerned by covering all of the dissenting voices (or at least as many of them as possible). In other words reporting can be FAIR but not OBJECTIVE. We are all human beings with our own views and biases and they will come into play in whatever we do. In fact in the industry FAIRNESS is the goal (in America), not OBJECTIVITY.


2. Television reporting in India has to be bifurcated into National & Regional Channels. Regional Channels are full of bias & partisan views while Nation channels are a lot more accomodative of all round views. I do sense an undercurrent of BJP hatred in most National channels. The regional channels which totally supress the view & strain their every sinew to bad mouth their political opponents. National channels however do provide a voice to all the parties despite what their "personal ideologies" are. Herein a question for you - Should the media have an ideology leaning at all ? I wonder


My answer is that media cannot help having an ideology. It goes back to my previous point. If all papers were saying the 'truth' how is it that we have so many different versions? Bottomline, every media tries to write about what it believes in. The corollary is that it ignores what it does not want to see. (Therefore TN Brahmins do not get represented in TN media).



3. Indian Television, especially National channels have really come of age. While they can't immediately be compared to a BBC or CNN, the fact remains that they have established themselves into an entity which the political clan has to be wary about. Love them or Loathe them but you can't ignore them.


National channels have more at stake because they represent a larger whole and will be called to question if they falter. The regional media, well how many people really know the language, to start with? So the stakes are not that high.



4. Judiciary & Media are the only 2 hopes of a beleaguered nation. But for the support of the media, the RTI would have bitten the dust long ago. Not content with remaining a “watch dog” the media is also showing that it has the “sting of a scorpion”.


Sometimes, yes. But LOT remains to be done. I am surprised even this much happens (perhaps I am a skeptic after having had an inside look). I can only say that it takes a lot of courage on the part of a few to do a good job.

Like the way Suresh Krishna, chief of Sundram Fastners said, "When mediocrity is so common, good is rare and excellence becomes the idiosyncracy of a few".


5. Are they overdoing the stings ? Yes. But enough is NEVER enough in India. The areas of corruption in India could easily make it’s way into “Ripley’s Believe it or Not” and hence I strongly believe that sting operations have to continue. Clearly the establishment is ruffled by such sting operations and some time back I do remember reading some proposal the Govt is considering to “control” the sting operations.

Please explain what you mean by "sting operations".

6. The National media does represent the various interest groups. The various debate & discussion programs amply represent the various interest groups. Before the National media issues of caste, gender & other forms of social discrimination were in the closet. Electronic media has played a significant role in bringing these issues into our living rooms.

The role of electronic media you mention is interesting. Please elaborate.

If national media does truly represent various interest groups how come the eastern part of India always feels left out? (Separatism arises only in the absence of a unified identity/opportunity for inclusion).



7. There are few criticisms of the Indian electronic media too which I will take up in another post.

Regarding the point about “collectivity of our community”, as I said in my earlier post, I was definitely not trying to indulge in criticizing the community not even veiled criticism.

Infact I strongly agree with you that the purpose of the forum is to bring about collectivity. My point however is whether such collectivity should be limited to issues affecting us on a “personal plane” & should it not extend to issues in general ?

I don't know if there can be such a separation. Partly the reason we are so all over the place in this forum.

It boils down to the question of priority.

Changing the world, talking about issues - personal and general - these are never ending endeavors.

But what are we here for? The answer to that question is the reason this forum is here.

That said, the answer to this question is always a moving target.

If we are building a collectivity then some of the personal issues may have to be taken up to foster a sense of inclusion and having an opportunity to just be heard. Just that could be healing to so many people.


If we believe that we have a viewpoint on say how inflation should be managed and what “our” view is on current levels of inflation, I am only trying to lend a voice to it. On the contrary if we believe that we have nothing to do with “such issues” and all that we are concerned is about “Gothrams & Vegetarianism” I have to say that our “collectivity” will yield “less than desired results”.,

Hope I addressed this above.

IMHO, to drive home our “collectivity” we should first establish the fact that our voice MATTERS on issues of national significance.

Good, please draw up an agenda and propose your views.

If you say that our members are NOT USED to critical thinking, it should perhaps be one of the stated objectives of the forum that we should INCULCATE critical thinking among our members. Like you wrote elsewhere, we shouldn’t shy away from trying something just because it is difficult or uncommon.

Point taken. Will bring it up with the rest.

I definitely don’t want to collapse anyone’s world but only urging the fact that there IS a world beyond “our own world”.

Sure. By the looks of it some of us will have to get there kicking and screaming. Let's hope we can be as gentle about it as possible.

TKO – Technical Knock Out, opposing boxer loses on technical grounds or points
W/O or more appropriately RSC- Walk over or Refree Stopped Contest.
(From my limited knowledge of boxing)

Thank you.


I thoroughly enjoyed your analysis of how Gandhi used the media effectively. It is a refreshingly different pov, one i haven't come across before.

Yes. I made this connection up. Didn't read it anywhere. That's not to say another person may not have thought the same thing. In any case glad it fired your imagination.
 
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hariharan1972

Guest
Shades of Truth

So except for God there is no such thing called absolute truth. It is always truth as one sees it.


I take all your points.

Perhaps i didn't explain myself clearly on "reporting". What i meant to say that "the reporting of an incident" can only be objective but the interpretations, causation & effect etc.. are subjective or ideology driven.

However i do concede that the "segregation of reporting & commentary" is virtually impossible in the current context & yes, there is no such thing as absolute truth.

In a lighter vein I remember this whenever "absolute truth" is discussed. First heard in a "pattimandram"

There are 3 types of truth - Half Truth, Truth & Absolute Truth.

To say that earth comprises fully of water is Half Truth

To say that earth is covered by xx.xxxx% of water is saying the Truth

To say that earth is 100% land & xx.xxxx% is low lying would be the Absolute Truth !!!!!!

I will cover about sting operations & the NE issue in another post.
 

Chintana

Active member
Good one!


About the "reporting" part - haven't you heard of the saying, 'lies, damned lies and statistics"?. Reporting is much like that. It really calls upon the values and the conscience of the person doing the reporting.



I take all your points.

Perhaps i didn't explain myself clearly on "reporting". What i meant to say that "the reporting of an incident" can only be objective but the interpretations, causation & effect etc.. are subjective or ideology driven.

However i do concede that the "segregation of reporting & commentary" is virtually impossible in the current context & yes, there is no such thing as absolute truth.

In a lighter vein I remember this whenever "absolute truth" is discussed. First heard in a "pattimandram"

There are 3 types of truth - Half Truth, Truth & Absolute Truth.

To say that earth comprises fully of water is Half Truth

To say that earth is covered by xx.xxxx% of water is saying the Truth

To say that earth is 100% land & xx.xxxx% is low lying would be the Absolute Truth !!!!!!

I will cover about sting operations & the NE issue in another post.
 

rxrajamo

Active member
Hari/Chintana & LQ

Interesting discussion and excellent postings, especially from Chintana and Hari. I really like the way this debate is progressing.

Hari I have heard that pattimandram quote. It is a very good one. But I think the first statement about Half Truth should read as

"To say that earth is all land is Half Truth".

Chintana, probably the only truth is "Aham Brahmasmi".

Reg your comment on North Eastern part of India feeling left out, I agree that it is the general case. But should it give rise to separatism ? For that matter we dont hear much about Andaman or Lakshadweep in the national media. So why arent those people fighting for separation ? IMHO, the reasons for separatism flourishing in North East are basically some wrong priorities at the Centre especially by the Congress party which has promoted separatist elements to win elections and also the support given by neighboring countries for these separatists.

On Media trying to be FAIR , Come On, We all know that what drives the media is economics. It is their business and like every business they are more motivated by money than objectivity or fairness. So I dont subscribe to the view that the media tries to play FAIR. Rather, the media tries to sensationalize or downplay things to suit their business needs.

My 2 cents.

Ramki
 

kspv

Member
Reg your comment on North Eastern part of India feeling left out, I agree that it is the general case. But should it give rise to separatism ? For that matter we dont hear much about Andaman or Lakshadweep in the national media. So why arent those people fighting for separation ? IMHO, the reasons for separatism flourishing in North East are basically some wrong priorities at the Centre especially by the Congress party which has promoted separatist elements to win elections and also the support given by neighboring countries for these separatists.
Reasons that add fire to separatism in the north-east:

1.) Geographical location, flanked by Nepal, Bhutan, China, Myanmar, and Bangladesh where shelter from the Indian security forces is easily available to the separatists.

2.) Very distinct ethnicity of many of the tribes in these areas. Extension of the inter and intra tribal warfare (i.e., Khasi versus Garo, Naga versus Manipuri, Thangkul versus Ao etc.,) which has always existed, now with modern arms. These tribes have always been war-like, and it is part of their tradition to train for war.

3.) The area getting flooded with cheap-arms. Weapons like AK-47, Universal Machine Guns etc., were initially supplied second-hand in the north-eastern Indian market from the disbanded Khmer Rouge of Cambodia. Now Chinese arms take their place. A 9 m.m. Chinese pistol is available for Rs.4000/-, and an A.K. for Rs.17,000/-. Ill-demarcated borders make smuggling of arms is easy. Can you believe RDX and fake currency notes arrive into India by rickshaws in Karimganj District of Assam? The BSF fellows charge Rs.2/- per every rickshaw that crosses the checkpost!

4.) Complicity on part of the Indian Government, and even tacit encouragement. When Fakruddin Ali Ahmed was the President, and Anwara Taimur was the C.M. of Assam, Congress Party encouraged floods of Bangladeshi muslims to enter Assam for the sake of votes. That changed the entire demography of the state, and resulted in Assamese separatist movement (ULFA etc.).

5.) Involvement of church : Churches are an important part of extremist movements of the Naga (Protestant Church), Hmar, Mizo, Kuki, Dimasa, and Bodo separatist movements.

Andaman & Nicobar, while having hostile tribes like the Jheravas and Sentinellies, does not border foreign nations, and is under a much tighter administrative control than the north-east. Also, the hostile tribes shun anything modern, including clothes and firearms. More importantly, the majority ethnic groups of Andaman & Nicobar are all from the main-land, i.e., Tamilians, Bengalis, Keralites, Telugus etc., and share their cultures with the main-land where separatist feelings are not that much in vogue.

So I dont subscribe to the view that the media tries to play FAIR. Rather, the media tries to sensationalize or downplay things to suit their business needs.
Things I observed with the Television news channels:

1.) Trying to influence Government decisions to the extent of blackmailing. Remember the Kandahar plane hijack? The then Star News (whick later became NDTV 24 x 7 when Rupert Murdoch recruited a different set of crew for Star News) had a major role in the dubious Government decision to handover the militants in exchange for the passengers. For all their news analysing skills, I am sorry to say, that Prannoy Roy and company had a "Progrom" to discredit the NDA government. It made the Government feel very shaky, and encouraged the relatives of the passengers to jump barricades infront of the prime-minister's house demanding the handing over of terrorists (=disgusting behaviour!). While I think the handing over of terrorists itself was not right (=opinions differ), if such a thing was necessary, it could have been done more calmly and gracefully but for the backmailing by Prannoy Roy and company.

2.) Trial by media : Even before they get a fair trial by courts, people get crucified by the television media, which I feel is not right.

3.) Lack of prioritization of news : If you watch five different news channels, say, Times Now (formerly TVI), Headlines Today, CNN-IBN, NDTV 24 x 7, and Star News, the first five headline news items would all be different on, say, four of the seven days of a week! Many times, news items which do not deserve to be headlines, are made headlines by overhyping (such as Aish-Abhishek wedding). Of course, which one to hype is the channel's choice!

4.) Use of idiomatic cliches where plain language would present the situation more objectively : This phenomenon particularly infests vernacular news channels such as Aaj Tak, TV-9 etc., where even ordinary news is presented in a highly sensationalized and coloured way by way of making use of proverbs, idioms, phrases and cliches. Emphasis on the crux of the news goes, and is replaced by emphasis on flowery language.

As for the print media:

Consider that in any State there are about three to four vernacular news dailies with bigger circulation apart from the print media in english. These popular vernacular news dailies would have their correspondents right upto the Taluka level. Add to this the local and district level news dailies and tabloids with limited circulation. The number of correspondents of all these news dailies put together at, say, Taluka level would be any where between 20-30. Most of the correspondents would be barely graduates without any intellectual capacity, and would be in need of money. In worst cases, they are not even class-X pass!

Many of them are nothing more than blackmailers and touts. A good number of them are into transfers and postings of Government officials, and are in the pay-rolls of one political leader or the other. Many frequently seek "Chandas" from business men, officials, and political leaders. They are ready to write anything in return for sops such as housing-plots, foreign-trips, money, liquor, or a good chicken-meal. Many amongst them also have caste-agendas.

So much for objective reporting!
 
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NARAS

Well-known member
sirs - as far as indian journalism is concerned, Dr. arun shourie should be called father of sting operations. it was his sting operation which exposed the corrupt congressman, A.R. ANTULAY. whereas sting operations by present day 'secular' media like Tehelka & CNN-IBN tempt even honest persons to indulge in corruption, Dr. arun shourie only exposed persons who were already corrupt by his sting operations. so there is qualitative difference between Dr. shourie & other 'secular' journalists.
 

Chintana

Active member
Thank you, Rxrajamo.

As to Aham Brahmasmi - I agree. And it's not very far from my point - God (including the realization of Him/Her) is the absolute truth. The rest are fallible.

I've read the very useful points in kspv's post.

From a sociology/social theory point of view, whenever people don't feel a strong sense of belonging they will want to break away and try to move toward something that helps them achieve that sense of belonging.

All of kspv's points flourish in Northeastern states because they have not been reached out to by the Indian Government.

FAIRNESS in media is a technical term. It means ensuring that as many opposing voices to the main idea in any report is covered.

Like I mentioned in my earlier posting it is quite natural for every media to have allegiance to an ideology. It is upto us to be aware that such leanings exist so that we can be informed consumers of news.

Hari/Chintana & LQ

Interesting discussion and excellent postings, especially from Chintana and Hari. I really like the way this debate is progressing.

Hari I have heard that pattimandram quote. It is a very good one. But I think the first statement about Half Truth should read as

"To say that earth is all land is Half Truth".

Chintana, probably the only truth is "Aham Brahmasmi".

Reg your comment on North Eastern part of India feeling left out, I agree that it is the general case. But should it give rise to separatism ? For that matter we dont hear much about Andaman or Lakshadweep in the national media. So why arent those people fighting for separation ? IMHO, the reasons for separatism flourishing in North East are basically some wrong priorities at the Centre especially by the Congress party which has promoted separatist elements to win elections and also the support given by neighboring countries for these separatists.

On Media trying to be FAIR , Come On, We all know that what drives the media is economics. It is their business and like every business they are more motivated by money than objectivity or fairness. So I dont subscribe to the view that the media tries to play FAIR. Rather, the media tries to sensationalize or downplay things to suit their business needs.

My 2 cents.

Ramki
 

Chintana

Active member
All of your points reflect your thoughtfulness on this issue. Thank you.

It actually made me think about how to represent ourselves in the media - which media, for what reason, who should we be reaching, what can we expect and how to move forward even if there are setbacks.

Reasons that add fire to separatism in the north-east:

1.) Geographical location, flanked by Nepal, Bhutan, China, Myanmar, and Bangladesh where shelter from the Indian security forces is easily available to the separatists.

2.) Very distinct ethnicity of many of the tribes in these areas. Extension of the inter and intra tribal warfare (i.e., Khasi versus Garo, Naga versus Manipuri, Thangkul versus Ao etc.,) which has always existed, now with modern arms. These tribes have always been war-like, and it is part of their tradition to train for war.

3.) The area getting flooded with cheap-arms. Weapons like AK-47, Universal Machine Guns etc., were initially supplied second-hand in the north-eastern Indian market from the disbanded Khmer Rouge of Cambodia. Now Chinese arms take their place. A 9 m.m. Chinese pistol is available for Rs.4000/-, and an A.K. for Rs.17,000/-. Ill-demarcated borders make smuggling of arms is easy. Can you believe RDX and fake currency notes arrive into India by rickshaws in Karimganj District of Assam? The BSF fellows charge Rs.2/- per every rickshaw that crosses the checkpost!

4.) Complicity on part of the Indian Government, and even tacit encouragement. When Fakruddin Ali Ahmed was the President, and Anwara Taimur was the C.M. of Assam, Congress Party encouraged floods of Bangladeshi muslims to enter Assam for the sake of votes. That changed the entire demography of the state, and resulted in Assamese separatist movement (ULFA etc.).

5.) Involvement of church : Churches are an important part of extremist movements of the Naga (Protestant Church), Hmar, Mizo, Kuki, Dimasa, and Bodo separatist movements.

Andaman & Nicobar, while having hostile tribes like the Jheravas and Sentinellies, does not border foreign nations, and is under a much tighter administrative control than the north-east. Also, the hostile tribes shun anything modern, including clothes and firearms. More importantly, the majority ethnic groups of Andaman & Nicobar are all from the main-land, i.e., Tamilians, Bengalis, Keralites, Telugus etc., and share their cultures with the main-land where separatist feelings are not that much in vogue.

Things I observed with the Television news channels:

1.) Trying to influence Government decisions to the extent of blackmailing. Remember the Kandahar plane hijack? The then Star News (whick later became NDTV 24 x 7 when Rupert Murdoch recruited a different set of crew for Star News) had a major role in the dubious Government decision to handover the militants in exchange for the passengers. For all their news analysing skills, I am sorry to say, that Prannoy Roy and company had a "Progrom" to discredit the NDA government. It made the Government feel very shaky, and encouraged the relatives of the passengers to jump barricades infront of the prime-minister's house demanding the handing over of terrorists (=disgusting behaviour!). While I think the handing over of terrorists itself was not right (=opinions differ), if such a thing was necessary, it could have been done more calmly and gracefully but for the backmailing by Prannoy Roy and company.

2.) Trial by media : Even before they get a fair trial by courts, people get crucified by the television media, which I feel is not right.

3.) Lack of prioritization of news : If you watch five different news channels, say, Times Now (formerly TVI), Headlines Today, CNN-IBN, NDTV 24 x 7, and Star News, the first five headline news items would all be different on, say, four of the seven days of a week! Many times, news items which do not deserve to be headlines, are made headlines by overhyping (such as Aish-Abhishek wedding). Of course, which one to hype is the channel's choice!

4.) Use of idiomatic cliches where plain language would present the situation more objectively : This phenomenon particularly infests vernacular news channels such as Aaj Tak, TV-9 etc., where even ordinary news is presented in a highly sensationalized and coloured way by way of making use of proverbs, idioms, phrases and cliches. Emphasis on the crux of the news goes, and is replaced by emphasis on flowery language.

As for the print media:

Consider that in any State there are about three to four vernacular news dailies with bigger circulation apart from the print media in english. These popular vernacular news dailies would have their correspondents right upto the Taluka level. Add to this the local and district level news dailies and tabloids with limited circulation. The number of correspondents of all these news dailies put together at, say, Taluka level would be any where between 20-30. Most of the correspondents would be barely graduates without any intellectual capacity, and would be in need of money. In worst cases, they are not even class-X pass!

Many of them are nothing more than blackmailers and touts. A good number of them are into transfers and postings of Government officials, and are in the pay-rolls of one political leader or the other. Many frequently seek "Chandas" from business men, officials, and political leaders. They are ready to write anything in return for sops such as housing-plots, foreign-trips, money, liquor, or a good chicken-meal. Many amongst them also have caste-agendas.

So much for objective reporting!
 

NARAS

Well-known member
1.) Trying to influence Government decisions to the extent of blackmailing. Remember the Kandahar plane hijack? The then Star News (whick later became NDTV 24 x 7 when Rupert Murdoch recruited a different set of crew for Star News) had a major role in the dubious Government decision to handover the militants in exchange for the passengers. For all their news analysing skills, I am sorry to say, that Prannoy Roy and company had a "Progrom" to discredit the NDA government. It made the Government feel very shaky, and encouraged the relatives of the passengers to jump barricades infront of the prime-minister's house demanding the handing over of terrorists (=disgusting behaviour!). While I think the handing over of terrorists itself was not right (=opinions differ), if such a thing was necessary, it could have been done more calmly and gracefully but for the backmailing by Prannoy Roy and company.

So much for objective reporting!


sirs - it will not be out of place here to mention that, prannoy roy's wife, radhika roy is the sister of Barka dutt, communist leader! so prannoy roy is actually a discredited communist masquareding as an impartial journalist. he represents the ugly face of indian journalism in all ways. you cannot expect impartiality or objective reporting from a channel owned by a fellow with such a shady background.
 
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OP
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hariharan1972

Guest
Sting Operations

Sting operation is the essence of "Investigative Journalism". There is no definitive way of carrying out one, each channel has it's own way of going about it.

It requires lot of thoughtfulness, careful planning & virtually puts the life of those involved on the line.

The print media is the pioneer of the Stings. To the best of my knowledge it was Indian Express Journalist who first broke the lid off the Bofors Scam - a Ms Vidya ........... (who was pregnant at that time). I remember seeing series of articles in IE on Bofors.

Presumably due to lack of financial strength, print slowly dropped off from Stings. Print Media in India today are less of opinion makers, a job which has been taken over by Electronic Media. So if a "Nixon Watergate" (was it the Post ?)has to happen in India, it should be possible only thru the Electronic Media.

The first sting which was the defining moment in Indian Investigative Journalism was the "Tehelka Sting" on Defence purchases. Posing as representatives of a fictitious company, tehelka virtually exposed the levels of corruption that was prevalent among the men who matter in defence deals.

The next important sting which almost finished the political career of Bangaru Laxman, videotaped accepting bribe. Most recently was the one on "People trafficiking".

It has been demonstrated many times that if Electronic media gets behind an issue, more often than not, it gets the desired result. Be it a Prince rescued from a deep pit, or Adobe India CEO's son rescual, or Jessical Lal trial media has played a key role in ensuring the desired result.

However the media has displayed a penchant only to back high profile cases & ignoring the masses. It cares only for the "classes" one might argue. While it is virtually impossible to lend its weight to every single case, the channels could change the "mix" of urban-rural cases to be more genuine.

Despite being an English channel, the power of the channels in making a difference to the lives of the rural masses is immense. I remember how one of the channels carried the news of how a rural farmer was forced to become the "beast of burden" & carry the plough along with his only other bull. It sure moved many & help was on his way within couple of days.

So the media can make a difference, only they have to be more empathetic to the issues of the poor masses rather than only worry about the passenger delays in Airlines.
 
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Chintana

Active member
Ah! You mean investigative journalism. I was a little confused because the term sting operation is usually used with regard to law enforcement agencies when they try to bait a criminal through deception.

And yes, the famous (or infamous, should we say?) Bofors deal - the big names involved were N. Ram (who, if I remember right, has done nothing close it ever since) and Chitra Subramaniam.

Very useful points in the rest of your posting. You also seem to strengthen my view that media in India is really not functioning as the "fourth estate" that it should.



Sting operation is the essence of "Investigative Journalism". There is no definitive way of carrying out one, each channel has it's own way of going about it.

It requires lot of thoughtfulness, careful planning & virtually puts the life of those involved on the line.

The print media is the pioneer of the Stings. To the best of my knowledge it was Indian Express Journalist who first broke the lid off the Bofors Scam - a Ms Vidya ........... (who was pregnant at that time). I remember seeing series of articles in IE on Bofors.

Presumably due to lack of financial strength, print slowly dropped off from Stings. Print Media in India today are less of opinion makers, a job which has been taken over by Electronic Media. So if a "Nixon Watergate" (was it the Post ?)has to happen in India, it should be possible only thru the Electronic Media.

The first sting which was the defining moment in Indian Investigative Journalism was the "Tehelka Sting" on Defence purchases. Posing as representatives of a fictitious company, tehelka virtually exposed the levels of corruption that was prevalent among the men who matter in defence deals.

The next important sting which almost finished the political career of Bangaru Laxman, videotaped accepting bribe. Most recently was the one on "People trafficiking".

It has been demonstrated many times that if Electronic media gets behind an issue, more often than not, it gets the desired result. Be it a Prince rescued from a deep pit, or Adobe India CEO's son rescual, or Jessical Lal trial media has played a key role in ensuring the desired result.

However the media has displayed a penchant only to back high profile cases & ignoring the masses. It cares only for the "classes" one might argue. While it is virtually impossible to lend its weight to every single case, the channels could change the "mix" of urban-rural cases to be more genuine.

Despite being an English channel, the power of the channels in making a difference to the lives of the rural masses is immense. I remember how one of the channels carried the news of how a rural farmer was forced to become the "beast of burden" & carry the plough along with his only other bull. It sure moved many & help was on his way within couple of days.

So the media can make a difference, only they have to be more empathetic to the issues of the poor masses rather than only worry about the passenger delays in Airlines.
 
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lotus_quartz

Guest
Chintana, Hari, kspv, rxrajamo,

The views and analysis on this thread are clearly top class stuff !

This thread can be the best exhibit of brahminical intellectual prowess !

Hats off to all of you.
 
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lotus_quartz

Guest
Reminds me of an interesting session at IIMC.

Our Prof. of Economics (a very respected figure in his discipline) was telling that once he took a lecture in some middle east country.

There many people jokingly said that India should hire only those economists who have only one hand.

Because, they keep preaching "...on one hand if such and such thing is done then ....." and continue in the same breath saying "....on the other hand if such and such thing is done then ......"

To have a clear cut advice, why not engage single handed Economists !


I take all your points.

There are 3 types of truth - Half Truth, Truth & Absolute Truth.

To say that earth comprises fully of water is Half Truth

To say that earth is covered by xx.xxxx% of water is saying the Truth

To say that earth is 100% land & xx.xxxx% is low lying would be the Absolute Truth !!!!!!
 
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hariharan1972

Guest
Great

Reminds me of an interesting session at IIMC.

Our Prof. of Economics (a very respected figure in his discipline) was telling that once he took a lecture in some middle east country.

There many people jokingly said that India should hire only those economists who have only one hand.

Because, they keep preaching "...on one hand if such and such thing is done then ....." and continue in the same breath saying "....on the other hand if such and such thing is done then ......"

To have a clear cut advice, why not engage single handed Economists !

LQ,

Was it Prof Shyamal Roy ? I heard this recently in my IIM class from Prof Roy.

Single handed or Double handed you can never wish away Economists !!!!!

They are the ones who taught the world the perfect answer to very complicated questions of making choices one way or other - If you don't want to side with any of the choices just say - "In the long run it might"..........& then just trail off
 
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lotus_quartz

Guest
Possibly Prof. Shyamal K. Ghosh or Prof Shyamal Roy (my memory is fading....it has been many years . All I remember of him is that he used to wear extremely thick lenses and was extremely popular in student community due to his wonderful teaching style. He has co-authored books on economics and accounting etc with nobel laureates.).

Taught us Management Accounting and Activity Based Costing etc.


LQ,

Was it Prof Shyamal Roy ? I heard this recently in my IIM class from Prof Roy.

Single handed or Double handed you can never wish away Economists !!!!!

They are the ones who taught the world the perfect answer to very complicated questions of making choices one way or other - If you don't want to side with any of the choices just say - "In the long run it might"..........& then just trail off
 
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