Posts Tagged ‘Aditya Sinha’

‘Tarun Tejpal was trapped in a skin not his own’

25 November 2013

unnamed

Former Outlook* publisher, Maheshwar Peri, who now runs Pathfinder Media, the magazine company which publishes Careers 360, on his friend and former colleague Tarun J. Tejpal**.

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MaheshPeri

By MAHESH PERI

The stupidity of our nation gets greatly exposed with the extreme reactions to Tarun J. Tejpal—the cult following of his journalism at one end, and the lynch mobs baying for his blood, following the outing of his sexual escapades, at the other.

Tarun comes across as a sexual predator, on the prowl, in search of his next victim. He used his power and influence over young women half his age. The girl is his daughter’s friend and his friend’s daughter.

However, this should not take away some of the most seminal work that the journalists of Tehelka have done over the years.

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Tarun’ s story in itself is an alchemy of desire. He was like most of us: chirpy, fun-loving, naughty. However, post Tehelka, he donned the robe of a saint. He became preachy and started espousing causes that he never stood for and never could.

He was nothing that the nation started acknowledging him for.

He was a normal guy with all the flaws, fallacies and weaknesses.

It was a facade he had to put on for the survival of Tehelka, which was losing money, each year. Only the power exuded by Tehelka could make it viable.

He glorified himself when not due. He “owned” the company when the money came from others. He acted the hero while he was just a team member.The existence of Tehelka is not just because of Tarun.

Tehelka exists because of:

1) The financial contributions of many citizens, celebrities and most importantly [the banker] Shankar Sharma, and,
2) The work of Aniruddha Bahal and Ashish Khetan.

If Tarun’s lofty objective was to start a not-for-profit free and aggressive media enterprise, he could have made all contributors as shareholders. He crowd-funded Tehelka but did not part with ownership. The new shareholders include K.D. Singh, a Trinamul Congress MP, who bought his way into Rajya Sabha.

Any intelligent person should have cried foul then.

It is too late now.

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Sometime in 2009 when my fledgling publication wrote against an educational institution with doubtful credentials, we got into a lot of trouble.

Editors like Aditya Sinha (New Indian Express), Vir Sanghvi (Hindustan Times), Shekhar Gupta (Indian Express) personally supported us.

We were going through multiple cases and draining all our resources.

When Tehelka decided to do a story to the subject, we were too happy. Who can espouse the cause of investigative journalism better? Only till we got the questions from the journalist. We realised that it was a story being done on behalf of the institution to throw insinuations at us.

I was very upset because I knew Tarun personally but for him, it didn’t matter. We responded professionally, sticking to facts. I dared them to do a story despite the facts. It was no coincidence that the dubious institution is Tehelka‘s biggest advertiser taking all its back covers.

The story never appeared, because our response didn’t leave any gaps. And the owner of the institution was at the THINK fest in Goa, rubbing shoulders with the then HRD minister Kapil Sibal and gained access to a ministry that should have punished him.

Kapil Sibal later attended a special screening of a movie produced by this institution, and the picture was advertised/showcased all over to unsuspecting parents and students. For me, THINK became a place which conducted an orgy over social issues.

I stopped following it.

***

This is not just about Tarun.

It is about abuse of power, by a journalist, an editor and a man. A self-styled messiah. Each time, they believe they can get away with unfair demands, they push the envelope further.

People in power with no humility can destroy like nothing else. The desires, fantasies and a coterie is a very potent combination.Tarun is a victim of his own facade, fantasies and greed. He was never what he was portrayed, then and now. He was never a saint and neither can he be a rapist.

He is trapped in a skin not his own. We couldn’t stop people from hailing him as God, as much as we cannot stop them from calling him a devil.

Alas. It is too late now.

* Disclosures apply

** This comment was first posted by the author on Facebook

Photographs: courtesy Karamchand Jena, and Campaign India

Also read: Tarun J. Tejpal steps aside as editor of Tehelka

Life yourselves up, dearie, or get into my elevator

POLL: Is sexual harassment rampant in Indian media?

Online petition to protect Tehelka journalist’s privacy

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Tarun Tejpal on the five facets of his life

How Congress regime stepped in to help Tehelka

A magazine, a scam, a owner & his Goan house

NYT, WSJ weigh on Tehelka‘s Goa controversy

Tehelka promoter says he didn’t turn off FW tap

Why Aditya Sinha suddenly exited from DNA

10 December 2012

Aditya Sinha, the editor-in-chief of the Bombay newspaper DNA has resigned, within weeks of former Times of India response chief Bhaskar Das joining the Zee group, which now wholly owns the paper. (Sinha’s departure had been preceded by the exit of K.U Rao, the long-serving publisher of DNA.)

Coming at a time when the Zee group is involved in a messy battle with Jindal Steel, with two of the television channel’s editors behind bars for alleged extortion and the group’s own Subhash Chandra and his son Punit Goenka being interrogated, Sinha’s exit has set tongues wagging.

On his microblog account, Sinha has tweeted that he left the paper he edited for two years to concentrate on writing novels. But in an interview with the media website MxM, he leaves little to the imagination as to why he moved on (update: an inference since denied by Sinha).

On the timing of his resignation: “It could have been done at some other time, but why should I follow other people’s timelines?”

On his replacement: “Ravi Joshi, the recently appointed Mumbai resident editor, suddenly finds himself incharge. Bhaskar Das may find an alternative if he can convince someone from his old place of employment to join.”

On DNAs upcoming redesign: “The paper is going through a slight redesign because Bhaskar Das wants to change the look-and-feel of the paper to a template that is familiar to us all. He is keen on an edit page, so I guess my departure strengthens his hands in some ways.”

On his lowpoints as editor: “The only lows were realizing that people working in the company did not even read your newspaper! It shows you that most non-journalists in the media industry have zero passion for their jobs.”

Read the full interview: Jaldi5 with Aditya Sinha

Also read: Does Swamy‘s DNA column amount to incitement?

Is UPA hitting back at TOI, India Today, DNA?

Are journalism’s best practices in your DNA?

Good morning, your paper is free of paid news

How Bombay is skewing the media worldview

How Bombay is skewing the media worldview

21 May 2012

On the day the world economy was in a tailspin and the rupee was tanking, much of the media led with a spat between Shah Rukh Khan and a security guard at the Wankhede stadium in Bombay.

Much of the blame for this warped worldview rests with the Bombay media, says DNA editor-in-chief Aditya Sinha:

“Whereas everyone moans about how Delhi runs things, it is actually Mumbai which sets the agenda, and nowhere is this more manifest than in the media…. after all, this is where the media began getting corporatized, where news became a commodity, and appeal to the lowest common denominator became a badge of honour.

“To put it in perspective, when American matinee idol George Clooney recently hosted a fund-raiser for President Barack Obama — a legitimate political event — the serious US news outlets gave it prominence, but did not make it lead….

“You could claim that the traditional media is booming in India and not in the US, but it is also true that more innovation, both in areas of content and revenue, is happening over there rather than right here.”

Read the full article: Fiddling with the stars

Also read: Aditya Sinha on the “worldview” of Delhi journos

Aditya Sinha tears into Indian Express ‘C’ report

8 April 2012

Aditya Sinha, editor-in-chief of DNA, in his weekly column:

“There was a telephone call from my father, who lives abroad, a few days ago. He wanted to know if it was true that the Army had planned to attack Delhi back in January, as reported in The Indian Express. Don’t worry, I said, no such thing. If the Army Chief had planned a coup to ensure he spent another year in office, then he wouldn’t have filed a petition on his date of birth in the Supreme Court.

“When we rang off, it seemed that there must be many ordinary Indians far and near who were scared by this story. What a shame. And the author tried to camouflage the cynical timing of the story (immediately after the government’s ugly spat with the Army Chief) by saying the story took 11 weeks to materialise.

“That would be credible if the story was loaded with data or fieldwork, like a story on child malnutrition in Maharashtra, for instance; it wasn’t. Even an RTI application gets answered in less time (though no RTI request would have generated such a cock-and-bull story).

“At the end of the day, a well-regarded journalist (he reported on the Nellie massacre in Assam nearly 30 years ago) was used by a cynical government. Guess who emerged from this looking diminished….”

“Too many editors in India (mostly the post-superannuation lot) who would never dare publish irreverence because they believe themselves to be part of the ruling class, and that it is their job to steer the country…. [Here] the editor not only values his friendship with the powerful over his devotion to his profession, but never hesitates to make himself the centre of the story.

“Compare men of letters (like Kingsley Amis and Edmund Wilson) with those in India who today have no ideology other than the service of power. Instead of the watchdog of democracy they would rather be the lapdog of crony capitalism.”

Also read: Indian Express ‘C’ report: scoop, rehash or spin?

Indian Express stands by its ‘C’ report

How the media viewed the Indian Express ‘C’ report

Aditya Sinha on the world-view of Delhi journalists

Read the full article: When the watchdog turns lapdog

It’s a mad, ad, mad, ad, mad world in Bombay

6 April 2012

A full-page advertisement on the back page of the Bombay newspaper, DNA, hitting out at you-know-who:

From luring the brands with incentives to no-escape clauses in their advertising contracts, the industry is stooping to newer lows for gaining advertising revenue. However, at DNA, we still hold a torch to some old-fashioned traditional values. Our principles guide us.

# We have no qualms if you choose to advertise in other publications along with DNA.

# You are free to decide how much of your communication budget you want to spend with us.

# With whom do you want to advertise first is absolutely your call.

# There is no clause to lock-in ads with us for any particular duration of time.

# The ownership pattern of your company is exclusively your domain and is most sacrosanct to us. We are not going to barter the ad space in DNA for stakes in your company’s ownership.

Link via M.V.J. Kar

Also read: Good morning, your paper is free of paid news!

Are journalism’s best practices in your DNA?

“Only the weather section is not ‘sold’ these days!”

Are journalism’s best practices in your DNA?

25 January 2012

On the eve of the nation’s 63rd Republic Day, the Bombay newspaper DNA, from the Dainik Bhaskar and Zee groups, devotes its front page to publicising its code of ethics.

Before laying out its key principles—responsibility, freedom, independence, truth and accuracy, impartiality, fair play—the code reads:

“Our Constitution, protecting freedom of expression, guarantees to the people through our press a constitutional right, and places on journalists, like us, a particular responsibility. Journalism demands of its practictioners not only industry knowledge but also the pursuit of a standard of integrity proportionate to the journalist’s singular obligation.”

Link via M.V. J. Kar

Image: courtesy DNA

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Also read: Good morning, your paper is free of paid news

ET: It’s never too late to get yourself a code of ethics

IRS sparks TOI-Mumbai vs DNA-HT battle

Is it all over for DNA in the Mumbai market?

External reading: The Mint code of ethics

Swamy and his media friends (and enemies)

25 December 2011

In the latest issue of Tehelka magazine, Ashok Malik has a profile of the “irrepressible” Subramanian Swamy, the maverick economist-politician behind the 2G spectrum allocation scam.

The profile is occasioned by Harvard University’s recent decision to not renew Swamy’s teaching contract for a venomous column in DNA in July on “How to wipe out Islamic terror“:

“There’s an old story about Subramanian Swamy that even if apocryphal and probably untrue still merits retelling simply because it’s part of urban folklore in Lutyens’ Delhi.

“One day, a powerful editor with a blackmailing tendency walked into Swamy’s basement office in his south Delhi residence, and threw a sheaf of papers on the table.

“‘Dr Swamy,’ he thundered, ‘I have a file on you.’

“Unperturbed, Swamy reached out for a folder in his bottom drawer, placed them on the desk and said, calmly, with the chilling certitude so typical of his voice, ‘Mr Editor, I have a file on you’.”

Swamy, who is currently seeking to re-enter Parliament through the BJP, brought down the Atal Behari Vajpayee government in 1998 by getting arch-rivals Sonia Gandhi and Jayalalitha to drink tea together; another matter of course that Sonia is now a prime target of Swamy and Jayalalitha’s recent court appearances are based on a Swamy plea.

“At the end of the day, Swamy is trusted by few but ignored by even fewer. He can plug into extremely diverse social groups — serious economists, the loony right, the Janata parivar, the TamBrahm fraternity. He can hold both Ram Setu and N. Ram [the Marxist editor-in-chief of The Hindu] close to his heart (or profess to).

“For all his right-wing politics, the Hindu has been a loyal platform and publisher. His dogs have come from N. Ram’s litter, as indeed have Sonia Gandhi’s dogs — but that’s another contradiction, for Swamy to spin another day.”

Elsewhere, Swamy becoming persona non grata for Harvard thanks to his newspaper columns provides occasion for James Fallows, the national correspondent of The Atlantic Monthly, to recount the role played by Swamy in his getting into journalism:

“In the late 1960s, I had been a freshman at Harvard, ready to study around the clock in preparation for medical school. To earn extra money I had signed up as an ad salesman for the Crimson, and during the unbelievably bleak and frigid January “reading period” of my sophomore year, I was in the newspaper’s office one night, laying out an ad dummy for the next day’s paper.

“All the regular writers and editors were gone, cramming before final exams to make up for the courses they had skipped through the semester. So when a variety of fire alarms and sirens started going off, for what proved to be a big fire at the Economics Department building, I was the one on hand to run out after grabbing a camera and a reporter’s notebook.

“I had seen snow only once in my life before going to college; and in my high school jobs, manning smudge pots in the local Southern California orange groves on “cold” nights, we would trade tales about whether human beings could actually survive exposure to temperatures that dipped below 32F. But at the Economics Department, it was so cold — well below 0 F back in those pre-warming days — that the Cambridge Fire Department had trouble putting out the fire: water from the hoses would freeze in the air.

“I saw an upset-looking gentleman alongside me watching the fire. I asked why he was there. He said that all the notes and research for his current book, inside that building, was literally going up in smoke. That was Subramanian Swamy, then a young economics instructor. I wrote up his story in the paper — my first story for the Crimson, and the beginning of my shift from the ad staff (and pre-med) to the news staff.”

Let the record show that Swamy’s daughter Suhasini Haidar is a journalist with CNN-IBN; his sister-in-law Coomi Kapoor is a consulting editor with the Indian Express as is her husband Virendra Kapoor, a former editor of the Free Press Journal.

Let the record also show that James Fallows had narrated this story in 1996 at a commencement address at the Meddill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Chicago.

Photograph: courtesy Shailendra Pandey/ Tehelka

Also read: Does Swamy‘s DNA column amount to incitement?

Is UPA hitting back at TOI, India Today, DNA?

Swamy & friends: a very, very short story

Is UPA hitting back at ToI, India Today, DNA?

19 September 2011

There has been plenty of buzz in recent days that the Congress-led UPA government has quietly begun hitting back at the media for the manner in which it has exposed the scams and scandals, and for the proactive manner in which it backed the middle-class led “Arnab Spring”.

There have been rumours, for instance, of the Union information and broadcasting ministry actually proposing a ceiling on the number of minutes a news channel can show a specific news event and so on. Now, as if to show that the messenger is indeed being wilfully targetted, these two stories have emerged in the last two days.

Exhibit A: Nora Chopra‘s item in The Sunday Guardian (above), which talks of the government making things difficult for cross-media groups like The Times of India and India Today.

Exhibit B: DNA editor Aditya Sinha‘s column, in which he links a 10-day stoppage of government advertisements to his “mass-circulating” paper to the paper’s stand in the Anna Hazare episode.

“We advised ad-sales to seek an appointment with I&B minister Ambika Soni. It was a pleasant surprise when the ad-sales executives immediately got a slot to meet the minister.

“Soni was pleasant enough. She told our guys she was unaware of any DAVP action; but in any case the government was rationalizing the flow of ads to English and language newspapers.

“Her body language, according to the ad-sales team, suggested otherwise. And then, during a general chat about the newspaper, she came to the point: she said that DNA ought to look at its coverage over the past few weeks and introspect….

Soni’s statement led us to infer that our Anna Hazare coverage was being punished by a suspension of government ads, and that Soni met our ad executives just to ensure the point was driven home.”

For the record, a point Sinha artfully sidesteps, DNA has been in the government’s crosshairs for an incendiary and imbecilic column written by the Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy after the July 13 bomb blasts in Bombay.

For the record, DNA is part-owned by Subhash Chandra‘s Zee group, some of whose journalists (present and past) played a key role in the media management of Hazare’s fast.

And, also for the record, Ambika Soni traces her Congress origins to Sanjay Gandhi, whose role in ushering in press censorship during the Emergency in 1975, has been long documented.

Image: courtesy The Sunday Guardian

Read the full piece: Ambika Soni‘s arm-twisting

External reading: DAVP wants balance sheets

Also read: How The Times of India pumped up Team Anna

Is the Indian Express now a pro-establishment newspaper?

The ex-Zee News journalist behind Anna Hazare show

Ex-Star News, ToI journos behind ‘Arnab Spring’

Is the media manufacturing middle-class dissent?

Should media corruption come under Lok Pal?

Does DNA terror column amount to ‘incitement’?

19 July 2011

Janata Party maverick Dr Subramaniam Swamy‘s DNA article on “How to wipe out Islamic terror” after the 13 July Bombay blasts has stirred up the T-cup.

Twitter has been abuzz, and the paper’s readers have reacted in droves calling the article “irresponsible and Islamophobic”.

On the other hand, Swamy—whose Twitter profile reads “I give as good as I get”—has thanked readers for the “tsunami of support” to his “reasoned article” while discounting the “stupid, moronic abuse hurled by those who stand to lose“.

Shivam Vij of the website Kafila has exhorted readers to send a note of protest to the editor of the paper, Aditya Sinha, for publishing such “bigoted views“. Now, Hindustan Times cheerfully reports that efforts are on to bring DNA to book, in much the same manner as the Shiv Sena daily Saamna was after the 1993 bomb blasts.

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.

***

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

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