Archive for April 29th, 2007

In love? Married? Threat to national security?

29 April 2007

How close can a reporter get to the subject she is covering? Close enough for her to call him a “close friend” and a “very polished person”? Close enough for him to call her as “no more than a good friend”? Close enough to receive a gold ring from him? Close enough to spark rumours that she may be having a romantic liaison? Close enough for speculation that they may be already married?

That is the unlikely position the Pakistani journalist Aroosa Alam finds herself in vis-a-vis former Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh. Two years after she visited India as part of a delegation of Pakistani journalists and was honoured by Singh, the reporter has become the reported.

Punjabi newspapers are reporting juicy details of Alam’s proximity to Singh, a scion of the erstwhile Patiala kingdom. And Singh is being roasted for his “trans-border ecapades” by rival politicians who are calling her a national threat. And Alam is threatening legal action against the rumour mongrels.

Read the full story: Reports on Amarinder unfair: Pak scribe

Related links: India bans Aroosa Alam’s entry

Beyond borders: Amarinder’s ‘heart’ problems

Boot is on the other foot in ex-PM’s family

29 April 2007

In the evening of his political life, H.D. Deve Gowda has emerged as a minor terror for young reporters. Eyebrows furrowed all the time, with a scowl permanently plastered on his face, the former prime minister is alternately fretting, frowning and fuming at all and sundry, especially sundry.

“Some of my reporters, especially women, plainly refuse to cover his press meets,” says a Bangalore editor.

Part of the problem is all of the above. The real problem is his language.

The man who was once the executive head of the country slips into expletives at the drop of a dhoti. Chaste Kannada sweat words trip off the tongue of the son of the soil with scarcely any embarrassment.

In other words, Karnataka’s Political Family No. 1 has only a passing acquaintance with the nuances of the language and the demands of civility in public figures. How ironic therefore, that the following news brief should have appeared in The Hindu on Friday, April 27.

Kumaraswamy cautions media

Bijapur: Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Thursday said the Government might be forced to bring in legislation to control the “erring” media if it continued with “irresponsible reporting”. He was particularly upset about the words used by a 24-hour Kannada news channel to describe his government… Etcetera.

The reference here is to TV9, which hysterically covered the story of eight-year-old Sandeep falling into a borewell in Raichur, a la Prince, complete with SMS comments, prayers, etc. Just what precisely got the goat of Deve Gowda’s son, we don’t know but there was plenty any media watcher could have found exceptionable.

Certainly, TV9, in its eagerness to create buzz and impact, is not the exemplar of appropriate language. In the recent scandal involving BJP MLA Renukacharya and his nurse-friend Jayalakshmi, the channel has regularly referred to the people’s representative in the singular.

That Kumaraswamy should find the channel’s use of language questionable open up a debate on what is acceptable language on a mass medium, and whether the onus is only on those airing it. However the more worrying part is that Kumaraswamy feels that his personal irritation alone is sufficient for him to dangle a threat to “bring in legislation to control the media if it continued with irresponsible reporting”.

That the CM’s threat has not even created as much as a flutter shows that either Bangalore’s journalists do not take the CM seriously.

Or that they are busy with other and hopefully more important things to bother.

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