Posts Tagged ‘Der Spiegel’

‘Indian media eclipses America’s and Europe’s’

12 April 2011

It is one thing to scoop the cables of American diplomats obtained by WikiLeaks, and it is quite another to project WikiLeaks’ maverick founder, Julian Assange, not merely as the facilitator of the cable-leaks but as the fount of all wisdom contained in them. But The Hindu has managed to do both inside 30 days.

First, the Madras-based behemoth published the first tranche of the 5,100 cables obtained by it, via WikiLeaks. And now, a glowing, front-page story by editor-in-chief N. Ram in today’s paper has Assange offering his view on the Indian prime minister’s disputation of the authenticity of the US embassy cables.

Inside, on the op-ed page, is the first part of a 60-minute interview by Ram and The Hindu‘s UK correspondent, Hasan Suroor, with Assange, in which the “brilliant and articulate editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks” offers his view on —pinch yourself—“a broad range of issues relating to India, the world, political economy, journalism, the goals and methods of WikiLeaks, and the threoretical framework worked out by its chief”.

Question No. 1: Mr. Assange, the publication in March-April 2011 of the India Cables accessed by The Hindu through an agreement with WikiLeaks — and thank you very much for that — has made a dramatic impact on politics and public opinion in India. As you know, it rocked Parliament and put the Manmohan Singh Government on the back foot, at the same time not sparing the Opposition. The Indian news media, newspapers as well as television, have picked up the continuing story in a big way and, I think, WikiLeaks has become a household name in India. Not that you were not known before but now it has great relevance in India, as Bofors did in the late 1980s and early 1990s. How do you think this compares with the impact Cablegate had when it first broke in November of 2010 through The Guardian and four other western newspapers?

Julian Assange: I am very encouraged by what’s happened in India – for The Hindu that’s 21 front pages and there’s a spectrum of publishing in India which I think eclipses that of The Guardian, Le Monde, Der Spiegel and The New York Times, and El Pais, which were our original partners, although some of them had also done some very fine work. This is something we have seen with some of our other regional partners in Latin America, like Peru and Costa Rica coming up before elections — that the local focus is able to really burrow into important details.

I am tempted to say, based upon my reading of The Hindu that it is in a position to report more freely than these other papers are in their respective countries. That may be, I suspect, not just as a result of the strength of The Hindu but as a result of the weakness of the Indian federal government as a structure that is able to pull together patronage networks and suppress journalism as a whole in India. While it’s certainly true that each one of the factions involved in Indian national politics is able to exert pressures, I think it is encouraging that India as a whole has not turned into one central pyramid of patronage, which is something we do see a bit in other countries like the United States.

Read the full interview: ‘WikiLeaks has provided the critical climate for political change’

Photograph: N. Ram, editor-in-chief of The Hindu (left), with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange (courtesy The Hindu)

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Also read: How The Hindu got hold of the WikiLeaks India cables

Newspapers used to bribe voters in Tamil Nadu

Could WikiLeaks strike some Indian journalists?

Mr. Assange, the publication in March-April 2011 of the India Cables accessed by The Hindu through an agreement with WikiLeaks — and thank you very much for that — has made a dramatic impact on politics and public opinion in India. As you know, it rocked Parliament and put the Manmohan Singh Government on the back foot, at the same time not sparing the Opposition. The Indian news media, newspapers as well as television, have picked up the continuing story in a big way and, I think, WikiLeaks has become a household name in India. Not that you were not known before but now it has great relevance in India, as Bofors did in the late 1980s and early 1990s. How do you think this compares with the impact Cablegate had when it first broke in November of 2010 through The Guardian and four other western newspapers?

I am very encouraged by whats happened in India – for The Hindu thats 21 front pages and theres a spectrum of publishing in India which I think eclipses that of The Guardian, Le Monde, Der Spiegel and The New York Times, and El Pais, which were our original partners, although some of them had also done some very fine work. This is something we have seen with some of our other regional partners in Latin America, like Peru and Costa Rica coming up before elections — that the local focus is able to really burrow into important details. I am tempted to say, based upon my reading of The Hindu that it is in a position to report more freely than these other papers are in their respective countries. That may be, I suspect, not just as a result of the strength of The Hindu but as a result of the weakness of the Indian federal government as a structure that is able to pull together patronage networks and suppress journalism as a whole in India. While its certainly true that each one of the factions involved in Indian national politics is able to exert pressures, I think it is encouraging that India as a whole has not turned into one central pyramid of patronage, which is something we do see a bit in other countries like the United States.

Death of a Foreign Correspondent Foretold

22 May 2010

Death scribbled an ugly autograph today, but the book of life is really about life.

Tens of men and women who shackled their seatbelts in Dubai after dinner last night, with their children in tow, hoping to have breakfast with their near and dear ones in Mangalore, didn’t get to see them although they were waiting just a few minutes away; although they whizzed past where they were waiting.

So, who is to say what tomorrow holds when we don’t know what the next minute does?

***

Tiziano Terzani was an Italian foreign correspondent based in New Delhi for several decades. In 1976, a Chinese fortune teller, whom he had come across by sheer chance in Hong Kong, warned Terzani against flying.

Not in 1976 or 1977, but precisely in the year of the lord, 1993.

Beware! You run a grave risk of dying in 1993. You mustn’t fly that year. Don’t fly, not even once.”

Terzani, a correspondent for the German weekly Der Spiegel, was a un-believer. He admitted he was momentarily taken aback by the fortune-teller’s prediction but not deeply disturbed. But by 1992, he had grown tired of his job and was beginning to question the value of his work.

He saw the 1993 prophesy as a chance to see the world through new eyes.

So, when the fateful year dawned, Terzani submitted to the warning despite the nature of his job. All that year and a month more, he travelled, sometimes with wife Angela Staude in tow, by ship, car, bus and train through 11 countries, including Burma, Laos, Cambodia and Mongolia.

The result was a 13,000 miles of journeys, and a book called A fortune-teller told me.

“The prophecy lent me a sort of a third eye with which I saw things, people and places I would not have otherwise seen. It gave me an unforgettable year.

“It also saved my life.

“On March 20, 1993, a UN helicopter in Cambodia went down, with 15 journalists on board. Among them was the German colleague who had taken my place.”

Terzani passed away in 2004.

Image: courtesy Amazon.com

Read The Guardian obituary: Tiziano Terzani

Crash coverage: BASTARDS WHO HAVE BLOOD ON THEIR HANDS

And the VIPs said: ‘Issue a condolence message’

Harshi wasn’t done becoming Harshi yet, won’t

Mangalore air crash: pictures that tell the tale

CHURUMURI POLL: Plane trouble or human error?

‘American media misleading the American public’

18 May 2008

A journalist’s twin points of references should be the real and the important. But, for months, the focus of the coverage of the presidential elections in the United States has been on trivia, writes Gabor Steingart in Der Spiegel, thus misleading the American public.

Instead of addressing important issues of war and peace, health and globalisation that stares Americans in the eye, the American media, writes Steingart, has been dishing up the dirt on Barack Obama‘s lapel pins and pastor, John McCain‘s mistress, Hillary Clinton‘s Bosnia trip goofup.

“One cannot blame the journalists alone for the decline of journalism. Their importance has diminished more than in any other previous election. They now share newspaper pages and TV broadcasting time with people who call themselves strategists or consultants and who are either in the pay of a party now, or have been in the past….

“Style triumphs over substance, which in the end reflects back on the journalists themselves. Reporters who claim that the decisive criterion of an election is whether the candidate is able to “inspire the American people” should not be surprised if similarly stiff demands are placed on them. That may not be nice, but it’s fair.”

Read the full article: The media’s mini-truths

‘Horse carriage makers didn’t make the cars’

23 February 2008

Netscape founder Marc Andreessen in an interview with Frank Hornig of Der Spiegel:

“The Internet is becoming real now in a way it has never been before. It’s becoming the main medium in which consumers engage to get information and to communicate. You can see this happening in advertising, you can see it happening in telecom, video with YouTube, with music, with newspapers and magazines. It is all shifting en masse, and all consumers are basically moving over to the Internet. We all talked about it in the 1990s, but it didn’t happen then. Those were just experiments. But now it is really happening….

“TV and the press have always functioned according to the same sets of rules and technical standards. But the Internet is based on software. And anybody can write a new piece of software on the Internet that years later a billion people are using. My theory is: Every year there is a new killer app. One year it’s eBay, the next year it’s Craigslist, then it’s Napster, then Paypal, YouTube, Facebook, MySpace and so on.”

Read the full interview: The Marc Andreesen interview

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