Posts Tagged ‘BBC’

Can ‘Modi Sarkar’ create an Indian CNN or BBC?

10 June 2014

The point has been made before but bears repetition. If Britain can have a BBC, if America can have CNN, if Qatar can have Al Jazeera, if China can have CCTV, if Russia can have Russia Today, why cannot India?

Why do Indian broadcasters, public, private or autonomous, not have the vision or the resources or both to establish a global news brand?

The veteran journalist Saeed Naqvi addresses the issue, in Deccan Herald:

“The media’s critical faculty has been so numbed over a century of colonial experience that it cannot, on occasion, separate news from propaganda….

“Not having our own means of covering world affairs, our media ends up using stuff which is part of someone else’s agenda.  It is sometimes inimical to our interests.

“Public opinion in India gets manipulated whenever the US throws a tantrum with, say Bashar al Assad. On Egyptian or Syrian elections we have only western versions.

“We do not have a single news bureau in SAARC countries, China, Japan, anywhere. For the world’s largest democracy, this is something of a shame.

“If we had a news bureau in Kabul, we would have been much better informed about the attack on the Indian consulate in Herat or the circumstances in which Alexis Prem Kumar was kidnapped. Must we depend on western journalists to inform us about Kabul, Jaffna or Kathmandu?

“Must the world’s largest democracy be a passive recipient of images beamed from news centres controlled by CNN, BBC, Reuters and Associated Press?

“This is a disgraceful state of affairs….

“New Delhi gives away billions in assistance to SAARC neighbours. It must take a leap of faith and concurrently invest a billion dollars in its own media which must also cover world affairs as comprehensively as CNN, BBC and Al Jazeera.

“The returns in power, prestige, influence and business will be astronomical.”

Read the full article: Colonial mindset

Also read: Why hasn’t India thrown up a global media mogul?

Where was Priyanka Chopra going with Bob?*

29 August 2013

There’s many a slip between the cup and the lip in the era of fast-breaking news and even well-equipped organisations like CNN and BBC are not immune from howlers in the “supers”.

On Tuesday, when the Congress president Sonia Gandhi was rushed to hospital, look who was momentarily accompanying her son-in-law Robert Vadra to look her up, in the eyes of Times Now.

* Shameless search engine optimisation techniques at work

Photograph: courtesy Berges, via IQ.

Also read: When AB baby’s cold became hot news

The tenth life of a cat is on the ratings’ chart

Is BBC playing around with Mandela’s stature?

26 June 2013

As Nelson Mandela, the icon of South Africa, gasps for life in a Johannesburg hospital, M.S. Prabhakara, the veteran Hindu correspondent in Guwahati who served as the newspaper’s first correspondent  in South Africa, has a letter to the editor:

“It is disgusting, but not surprising, that the BBC in its online world news bulletin should consistently describe Nelson Mandela, lying critically ill in a Pretoria hospital, as “South Africa’s first black president” instead of more accurately, and more relevantly in political terms, as South Africa’s first democratically elected President. This link is the latest of such descriptions that has appeared since June 24.”

M.S. Prabhakara

Kolara

Also read: Why shouldn’t old men be mad at Bangalore?

Karan Thapar says ‘sorry’ to L.K. Advani (twice)

17 June 2013

Karan Thapar (right) with L.K. Advani in happier times at a Hindustan Times leadership summit, in 2011

It isn’t often that journalists, especially the bold-faced names, descend from their ivory towers to admit they may have hurt a politician’s feelings. It’s even rarer to hear them say ‘sorry’ for having done so. But twice in the past week, the interviewer Karan Thapar has found the inner reserves to publicly do so, and on both occasions to the same man: L.K. Advani.

In a profile published in The Hindu, Thapar spoke of the break down of his friendship with the BJP leader and former deputy prime minister, whom he has interviewed a number of times for his BBC and CNN-IBN shows.

“But after one interview, soon after his Jinnah remarks [in 2005], Advani was not happy and wanted Thapar to re-shoot the show. Thapar saw no reason to do so, and despite many requests, chose to be a ‘rigid, honourable journalist’ and telecast the footage.

“‘Since then,’ Thapar says, ‘the trust has gone. We did an interview in 2009 too, but after eight minutes he said he did not want to do it.’

“Looking back, Thapar wistfully says, ‘I saw it purely as a journalist, but the fact is that there was another relationship with him and his family, which I had used for my journalism. I had called his daughter to fix me an interview with him as soon as he took over as home minister. She did it.’

“It was in that backdrop, of past intimacy and informality, that Advani may have made the request. Almost seven years after the incident, Thapar is not sure if he made the right call in hurting a person he respected otherwise, bringing home the dilemmas journalists covering the powerful often face.”

In his weekly column in the Hindustan Times, Thapar went a step further:

“Over the years that followed Mr Advani gave me more interviews than perhaps anyone else. I got his first as home minister and several as deputy prime minister. More than that, I was always welcome when I called. Mrs Advani and [daughter] Pratibha made me feel special.

“Alas, it all unravelled in 2006 when I did an interview Mr Advani didn’t like. He asked if I would re-do it. I refused. I thought journalistic integrity required a firm stand forgetting I’d only got the interview because I was considered a ‘friend’.

“Thereafter our relationship was never the same. Mr Advani continued to take my phone calls and was always courteous but the old link had snapped.

“Today I realise I was wrong. Maybe even arrogant, which is worse. And so it’s my turn to apologise. It’s taken me seven years but the memory of Mr Advani’s phone call, made 22 years ago, has given me the strength to say sorry.

“Alas, I’m aware it’s now too late. This time, however, I’d really like to be wrong.”

With Advani now in the eye of the BJP storm following the elevation of Narendra Modi as the chairman of the BJP’s election campaign committee, the apology couldn’t have come a day too soon.

Photograph: courtesy Hindustan Times

What listening to the radio teaches that TV can’t

17 November 2012

Former BBC radio disc jockey Dave Lee Travis greets Aung San Suu Kyi during her visit to the BBC studios in London in June 2012

As her four-day visit to India, the first in 25 years, winds down, Aung San Suu Kyi has a series of interviews in magazines and on TV stations.

In an interview with Pranay Sharma in Outlook* magazine, the Burmese leader whose only window to the world in the long years of house arrest was the radio, talks of her love affair with the medium.

Radio used to be your only link with the outside world during your detention. But now that you are out in the open and find other options like the internet, TV, mobile, etc, does radio still have a special place?

Yes, I think it is special. Because the thing about the radio is that you listen very carefully. And years of listening to the radio has been a good training for me. You learn to recognise nuances that otherwise you wouldn’t.

Would you recommend that to the younger generation?

I think so. Listening is a very good thing. I have found that very few people really listen.

On the first day of her visit to Britain in June 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi visited the BBC studios and met the staff of the BBC Burmese service:

“Because of the BBC I never lost touch with my people, with the movement for democracy in Burma and with the rest of the world…. I feel that the BBC World Service is not as versatile as it used to be – or perhaps I’m not listening at the right times. There used to be so many different programmes, and every time I listen to it now, it’s news and commentaries. I miss the other old programmes… Bookshelf, Just a Minute, and so many others which I don’t seem to hear now…”

Former BBC RJ Dave Lee Travis (in picture), whom Aung San Suu Kyi met, was recently arrested in the Jim Savile sexual abuse investigation .

* Disclosures apply

Also read: What Aung San Suu Kyi learnt from a ‘Hindu‘ man

Another (woman) journalist bites the stardust*

2 July 2012

Is it just our eyes—or are more women journalists catching the fancy of bold-faced names with a far higher hit-rate than their bearded, bespectacled counterparts?

Prarthna Gahilote, a senior special correspondent with Outlook* magazine (and formerly with CNN-IBN), has tied the knot with the Bollywood singer Mohit Chauhan.

Images: courtesy Hindustan Times, Mail Today

* Disclosures apply

***

Also read: BBC’s Supriya Menon weds filmstar Prithviraj

CNN-IBN’s Neha Seth weds minister Jitin Prasada

At 7, Race Course Road, this is Pankaj Pachauri

19 January 2012

In what is perhaps the first acknowledgement of the fact that the UPA government could do with slightly better media schmoozing, Pankaj Pachauri, the host of NDTV Profit’s magazine show, Money Mantra, has been roped in as communications advisor at the prime minister’s office.

Pachauri, 48, has previously worked at The Sunday Observer, India Today and the BBC Hindi service in London. He will report to the PM’s principal secretary Pulok Chatterji.

An official press release reads:

“Pachauri, who will report to the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, will advise on communicating the Governments programmes, policies and achievements to the media and the public at large, particularly using the electronic, print and new and social media.”

Pachauri’s first two tweets to his nearly 26,500 followers since taking over reads:

# “Prime minister starts discussions on skill development with a dozen cabinet colleagues. Most important issue for this decade.”

# “Adviser to PM on skill development S. Ramadorai presenting roadmap to train and skill millions of youth in India.”

The PM’s media advisor Harish Khare, who has resigned in the wake of Pachauri’s appointment, has been quoted by PTI as saying: “I want to rediscover the joys of being a reporter.”

Image: courtesy Mail Today

Also read: Why the PM is hopelessly wrong about the media

How well is the PM’s media advisor advising him?

Because when dog bites dog, it’s news—I

Because when dog bites dog, it’s news—II

Never believe anything until it’s officially denied

Why foreign media broke news of Sonia illness

6 August 2011

Few things have exposed the state of political reporting in India than the news that Sonia Gandhi is unwell.

Dozens of reporters, most of whom claim more “access” to 10, Janpath than all the rest, cover the Congress party.

Yet, in a throwback to the Cold War days, none knew or none told the world what was wrong, although there had been strong whispers for nearly a year.

****

Neelam Deo and Manjeet Kripalani of the Bombay-based Indian council of global relations, Gateway House:

As TV channels fell over each other [on August 4] to cover in minute detail, the unseemly succession drama of the chief minister of Karnataka, and the CAG’s naming of Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit in the graft and corruption surrounding CWG, by 2.30 pm foreign TV agencies, the BBC and Agence France-Presse reported that Sonia Gandhi, had undergone surgery in the United States.

The foreign news reports named Gandhi’s spokesperson, Janardhan Dwivedi, as the source of the information….

The news of Sonia Gandhi’s undisclosed illness and secret departure came as a shock to Indians… Democratic institutions like the media and the Parliament, which should have disclosed Gandhi’s condition as a matter of public knowledge, had kept silent.

The Congress Party carried no notice of its leader’s illness on its website, and it is significant that its spokesperson confirmed the news first to the foreign press.

If it felt it could not trust the Indian media with responsible reportage, the Indian media as a collective, has given it good reason. It is, increasingly part of the cozy nexus of politicians and bureaucrats in Delhi, and is often partisan in its coverage, scoffing at the public’s right to know important events.

For the record, Manjeet Kripalani is former India bureau chief of BusinessWeek magazine.

Illustration: courtesy Thomas Antony

Read the full articleGandhi dynasty, politics as usual

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Femina has a short message for men: tidy up

29 July 2011

Femina, India’s oldest women’s magazine, has a new television commercial to mark its relaunch. The TVC stars the actor Kalki Koechlin and is directed by the filmmaker Anurag Kashyap.

Originally published by The Times of India group, Femina now comes out of the World Wide Media stable, a Times group joint venture with BBC.

Also read: Barkha Dutt gets a letter from her sister, Bahar

When Femina ed Vimla Patil interviewed Indira Gandhi

BBC Hindi Service gets a fresh lease of life

22 June 2011

The protests and signature campaigns have borne fruit: BBC’s Hindi Service has been saved from closure.

British foreign secretary William Hague has announced an additional 2.2 million pounds for the BBC World Service over the next three years, which will enable continuation of the Hindi and Arabic services.

Hague’s statement confirms chairman of BBC Trust Lord Chris Patten‘s efforts to ensure the continuation of the Hindi Service, which, he told PTI last week, was a “very important service”, reports Prasun Sonwalkar.

In January this year, BBC had announced the closure of the Hindi service by March, but after much criticism it was given a year’s reprieve to explore an alternate model of funding to ensure its continued functioning.

Also read: ‘The poor in rural India need BBC Hindi service’

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