Archive for September 12th, 2009

Speak out. Sign the petition. Free Maziar Bahari.

12 September 2009

Newsweek contributor Maziar Bahari, a 42-year-old awaiting the birth of his first child, has just spent his 81st night in solitary confinement in Iran.

Ahead of Iranian President Ahmadinejad‘s visit to the United States, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham makes a plea for Bahari’s freedom in The New York Times:

“If Iran wants to be taken seriously on the world stage, it needs to adhere to international standards. Journalists need to be free to report within the legal framework of the country. Foreign governments need to be granted consular access to their citizens. Prisoners need to be granted access to their lawyers, and either charged or released quickly.”

Sign the petition to free Maziar Bahari

The difference between 386 and 23 is 363 words

12 September 2009

How does the mainstream English media in India report the alleged transgressions of one of its own?

S.N.M. Abdi, the Calcutta-based journalist who broke the “Bhagalpur Blindings” story in 1979-80 (in which police blinded 31 undertrials by pouring acid into their eyes) for M.J. Akbar‘s Sunday magazine, and now works for the Rupert Murdoch-owned Hong Kong daily South China Morning Post, was arrested on Thursday on rape charges.

The incident got the most coverage in the Calcutta edition of The Times of India, and barely merited a paragraph in the eastern city’s older English dailies, The Telegraph and The Statesman.

Abdi, incidentally, was Calcutta bureau chief of  the now-defunct The Illustrated Weekly of India, the features magazine owned by The Times group, and was at the centre of the infamous J.B. Patnaik case in 1986 under the editorship of Pritish Nandy. “Shocking: The strange escapades of J.B. Patnaik,” the Weekly‘s cover story dealt with the deviant sexual life of the then Orissa chief minister. After a protracted legal battle, the Weekly apologised.

The Telegraph, Calcutta: 23 words; headline: “Rape arrest”

Deccan Herald, Bangalore: 49 words; “Journo held on rape charge”

The Hindu, Madras: 61 words; “Journalist held”

The Statesman, Calcutta: 67 words; “Journalist held”

The Hindustan Times, Delhi: 97 words; “Journalist arrested on rape charges”

DNA, Bombay: 231 words; “Senior journalist held for rape”

Indian Express, New Delhi: 346 words; “Senior scribe held for rape”

The Times of India, Calcutta: 386 words; headline: “Housewife lured with railway job, raped”

Newspaper facsimile: courtesy The Indian Express

Pranay Gupte on S.N.M. Abdi: ‘Marvelous young journalist’

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