Archive for June 11th, 2011

J.DEY: “When eagles are silent, parrots jabber”

11 June 2011

sans serif records with regret the demise of Jyotirmoy Dey, investigations editor of the tabloid Mid-Day, in a pointblank shootout in Bombay on Saturday, 11 June 2011.

The killing in broad daylight brings into sharp focus India’s much-vaunted journalistic freedom, positing it directly against Pakistan’s, which has seen over a dozen journalists being bumped off in recent months.

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J. Dey‘s byline adorned crime stories in India’s commercial capital for nearly a quarter of a century in a number of newspapers, including the Indian Express and Hindustan Times.

According to Mid-Day editor Sachin Kalbag, Dey had exposed the Rs 10,000 crore oil mafia only last month.

Dey’s story on the Bollywood actor Salman Khan boasting of his underworld links in a conversation with Aishwarya Rai was the lead story of the launch issue of Hindustan Times‘ Bombay edition in 2005.

Besides a book on the underworld appropriately titled Khallas, Dey had authored a book on police informers titled Zero Dial in 2010. Zero Dial was released by the controversial Maharashtra politician Chhagan Bhujbal, who today said, “Dey wasn’t blackmailing anybody“.

In a 2009 story in Mid-Day, titled Bhai-cha Dhakka, Dey reported on how the underworld was creeping into the mainstream.

“The underworld today is a clear departure from what it was between the 70s and 90s. From controlling bootlegging, gambling and smuggling, the gangs have now entered businesses like real estate, cinema, sand dredging and waterfront commerce in Mumbai’s ports and even the purchase of vegetables and meat (see box). For the common man this means he unknowingly adds to the coffers of gangs…”

In an opinion piece on the silence of “encounter specialists” last July, Dey wrote:

“When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber. The eagles —encounter specialists—have been silent for far too long. The parrots, or the criminals, have not only begun jabbering but are also flying without fear.”

Former Mid-Day editor Abhijit Majumder described Dey as a softspoken man in the newsroom.

In New Delhi, the Editors Guild of India president T.N. Ninan and general secretary Coomi Kapoor deplored “the law enforcement agencies’ inability to protect the life of a journalist engaged in carrying out his professional duties at great risk to himself.

Rest in peace.

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Mid-Day: Official statementSachin KalbagHis best stories, His colleagues,

DNA: Aditya Sinha

Hindustan Times: Samar Halarnkar, Debashish Panigarhi, Abhijit Majumder

Indian Express: Obituary

Deccan Chronicle: S. Hussain Zaidi

‘The most prolific journalist of our times’

11 June 2011

Khushwant Singh on his Illustrated Weekly of India protege M.J. Akbar, in The Telegraph, Calcutta, the “unputdownable” Calcutta paper founded by Akbar in 1982:

M.J. Akbar must be the most prolific journalist of our times. He heads the editorial board of India Today, edits The Sunday Guardian financed by Ram Jethmalani, and writes for many other papers including The Times of India. He frequently appears on television channels and has over a dozen books to his credit. His latest is Tinderbox: The Past and Future of Pakistan. He is tireless and highly readable.

“I take credit for some of Akbar’s achievements, like a father would of his son’s successes. Akbar started his journalistic career as a trainee picked by me. He met his wife-to-be in my office and nominated me the godfather of his daughter. Few people could be closer than he and I.

“Despite our closeness, I went woefully wrong on one important issue. I had assumed that, like me, he was an agnostic. He is a devout Muslim. He fasts throughout the month of Ramzan but celebrates Id-ul Fitr in my home. He has performed the Haj pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina.

“He has many years to go before he retires. By the time of his retirement, I expect him to have done much by which posterity will remember him.”

For the record, Akbar’s name also appears as editor of the Indian edition of the International Herald Tribune, published by Deccan Chronicle from Hyderabad, in an arrangement with the New York Times.

Photograph: courtesy The Telegraph

Also read: ‘Never let your head stoop as a journalist’

‘News is the subtlest form of advertising’

‘In fractured media, the word is the common fact’

Look, who inspired R.K. Laxman‘s common man!

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