Archive for May 23rd, 2010

Sailing with the doves, supping with the hawks?

23 May 2010

Kanchan Gupta, associate editor of The Pioneer and a part of Atal Bihari Vajpayee‘s PMO, kicks where it hurts most in the matter of the tainted Pakistani TV journalist, Hamid Mir.

The Geo TV anchor, who has interviewed Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden thrice, now stands accused in the court of public opinion of instigating the murder of a kidnapped hostage at the hands of the Taliban.

“Geo TV belongs to Independent Media Corporation, which owns the Jang group of newspapers. And as we all know, the Jang group is the Pakistani partner of a well-known Indian group of newspapers in a joint venture called ‘Aman ki Asha’ which aims to promote cross-border harmony and peace.

“It would be perfectly in order to ask how can a media group that has die-hard Islamists with links to terrorist organisations vehemently opposed to peace with India in senior positions be a trans-border peace partner.

“It would also serve some purpose if we were to be told as to why the Jang group was selected over other newspaper groups or independent dailies like the Daily Times, which has played a leading role in exposing and outing Hamid Mir.

“Chinese whispers are not exactly reliable. But there could be some truth to the story doing the rounds that it was neither aman nor asha that prompted the partnership between the two media groups.”

Read the full article: The secret diary of Hamid Mir

Also read: When journo bites journo, it’s a ‘Super Exclusive’

Can newspapers bring peace between India, Pakistan?

‘The Lone Ranger of Loony Hindutva’ versus…

Do “anonymous people” not count for media?

23 May 2010

Death—ordinary, unglamourous, “smalltown” death—increasingly catches the glitzy, big-city English media on the wrong foot.

Unlike the “26/11″ siege of Bombay, in which almost as many people were killed as in the Mangalore air crash, you do not find TV and print journalists falling over each other to catch the “first flight” to the spot.

Or, crawling on all fours to shoot a piece to camera, or to provide what used to be known simply as copy but is now fancifully called “narrative”.

As if death by any cause other than “terror” is no death.

As if death in any city other than Bombay and Delhi is no death.

As if death outside of a five-star hotel or two is no death.

The wisecrack of the day comes from Pritish Nandy, former editor of the now-defunct The Illustrated Weekly of India, as if the media did “anonymous people” a favour by giving them airtime on a day like 22 May 2010. Otherwise, they might as well not have existed as far as the media was concerned.

As if, otherwise, the media’s mandate is to merely bring home celebrities and “people like us”? PLUs like the food writer killed in 26/11? The banking executive who had a narrow escape? The board of directors who were smuggled out of the chimney?

Is making people “famous”—manufacturing fame—the media’s sole business?

Also read: ToI food writer Sabina Sehgal Saikia is dead: RIP

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