Archive for December 24th, 2011

‘Fake’ Jhunjhunwala takes on real Shekhar Gupta

24 December 2011

That dead-tree journalists are cut off from the digital world is evident from the manner in which they react to blogs, tweets and status updates that don’t consider them god’s gift to journalism.

Indian Express editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta is without doubt one of the top journalists of his generation, with a magazine, newspaper and television profile that is the envy of most.

But even a man who has covered wars, tribal insurgencies, terrorism, massacres, missile attacks, jihad doesn’t have it all covered in the new age, it seems.

In his weekly column today, Gupta, 57, quotes from the Twitter feed of “Fake Jhunjhunwala”, assuming it to be from the real one, the stock broker Rakesh Jhunjhunwala.

The operative portion of Gupta’s piece reads:

“The upper caste, creamy layer of our society is the most prejudiced, and yet the most dominant minority in any democracy in the world. That is why even the person representing Mayawati on otherwise brilliant funny-man Cyrus Broacha’s show on CNN-IBN always has a blackened face (Dalits are supposed to be dark-skinned, no?) and that is why the man described by breathless anchors of our blue (business) channels as India’s Warren Buffett, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, sends out tweets like this: “Don’t think [Kapil] Sibal even understands the internet. This happens when you make a lawyer an IT Minister. Like hiring Mayawati for an item song.” Of course, Mayawati could return the compliment by gifting him a very large mirror. But can you imagine the real Warren Buffett getting away with saying something like this about Michelle Obama?

Little wonder, Jhunjhunwala has hit back with a series of tweets (here, here, here, here).

For the record, Jhunjhunwala’s Twitter’s profile reads:

“I invented Twitter. I’m humble. I’ve attained omni God mode. Aspire/ don’t envy.

Disclaimer: I’m Fake Jhunjhunwala. The real parody writer of the Secret Journal of Rakesh Jhunjhunwala

The Express slip-up comes about a month after the gossip column of the paper made the same mistake of thinking it was from the real Jhunjhunwala.

Also, for the record, Fake Jhunjhunwala has a column under the byline “Fake Jhunjhunwala” in the Hindustan Times in Bombay, and was recently quoted as “Fake Jhunjhunwala” in an Outlook* magazine story on Kapil Sibal’s attempt to “pre-screen” internet content.

ToI apology that meets Justice Katju’s standards

24 December 2011

Typically, newspaper apologies in India are buried in some far corner, regardless of the extent of the error, so that no one really notices.

Market leader The Times of India sets a precedent with a 15 cm x 15 cm, three-column apology on page 3 of its New Delhi edition for a February 2008 story that had cast aspersions on the “character and background” of two young adults involved in a road accident in the national capital.

“While we did make an attempt at clarifying the inaccuracy of details through an article dated October 3, 2008, published in the Noida Plus edition [where the story was originally published], by mentioning regrets for some comments of parents, we understand that it did not explain the situation completely as the allegations/comments of the parents were false and inaccurate…. Through this article, we sincerely regret the unwarranted pain, anguish, suffering and ill-fame caused to the departed souls, Anirudh Rawat and Sneha Kapoor, and their families, by way of our news article.”

Covering 225 square centimetres, the size of the ToI apology works out to the equivalent of approximately Rs 8 lakh of advertising calculated using its Delhi ad tariff card, where each square centimetre of black-and-white space for a display ad costs Rs 3,455.

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