Posts Tagged ‘George Orwell’

A “licence” for journalists is not a ‘sine qua non’

21 August 2013

B_Id_411914_Cartoon

Information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari‘s proposal for a “common examination” for journalism students, with a “licence” to practice journalism at the end, gets the full treatment (a pocket cartoon and an editorial) from the Indian Express:

“There are enough closed societies where Tewari’s suggestion would appear commonplace, where governments are unconcerned by the dilemmas and predicaments that can follow from the publishing of ostensibly objectionable material because they seek to manipulate the information that is put out in the first place, ensuring in the process that nobody may presume to speak truth to power.

“Is it his contention that India find its place among them?

“Even as Parliament makes a justified claim to keeping the internal concerns of political parties out of the purview of the right to information, given their greater import to a healthy democracy, the minister cannot be unaware of the undemocratic content in his suggestion.

“It would be pointless to allow him an evasion by accosting him with questions about the specifics, such as: In the age of mass communication, what are the activities that a journalist’s licence would control? Blogging? Tweeting? A post on YouTube? A telephone text? And such as: why and how is it an urgent task before government to keep a check on journalism schools?

“The media today are diverse in their commitment to good and responsible journalism. Suggestions like Tewari’s can be seen as attempts to meddle, and hit the slippery slope to patronage and censorship.”

On Twitter, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the Rajya Sabha member who owns two news channels, Asianet News in Malayalam and Suvarna News in Kannada, too punched holes in Tewari’s proposal:

The Biju Janata Dal Lok Sabha MP, Baijayant Jay Panda, whose family owns a cable television network and OTV, a news channel in Orissa, wrote:

Cartoon: courtesy E.P. Unny/ The Indian Express

Read the full editorial: Slipping on the slope

Also read: Poll: common exam, licences for journalists?

External reading: How licensing journalists threatens independent news media

An Editor is never too old to learn a new trick

11 June 2013

vinod

After 42 years of handwriting his columns, articles and books on scribblepads—at Debonair,The Sunday Observer, The Indian Post, The Independent, The Pioneer and Outlook*—and after hiding the vicious mouse behind his PC all his life, Outlook* editorial chairman Vinod Mehta writes his latest Diary on his new laptop, in New Delhi on Tuesday.

“I found the Google Search fantastic,” says the new convert, who has coincidentally discovered the joys of the world wide web.

“I used to ask the librarian to get me George Orwell but now I type in the window, I get more than I bargained for. Even the thesaurus, not only does it give the synonyms and antonyms, it comes up with so many other options.”

Mr Mehta would neither confirm nor deny that he will start tweeting soon.

* Disclosures apply

The best editor The Pioneer, Delhi, never had?

17 November 2009

The writer Rudyard Kipling was once on its rolls; the former British prime minister Winston Churchill served as its war correspondent.

Now, The Pioneer, New Delhi, has announced its best editor who wasn’t: Eric Arthur Blair

In a front-page story, the right-wing paper reports that the left-wing novelist and political thinker (born in Motihari, Bihar) received a letter from The Pioneer offering him a job as editor.

And on February 12, 1938, Blair wrote to the India Office in London:

“My object in going to India is, apart from the work on The Pioneer, to try and get a clearer idea of political and social conditions in India than I have at present. I shall no doubt write some book on the sub-continent and if I can arrange it, I shall probably contribute occasional articles (to English periodicals).

ps: I should have said that I usually write under the name of ‘George Orwell‘.”

Cover image: courtesy Time

Also read: How Chandan Mitra has his halwa and hogs it too

For the record: anything goes. (Conditions apply)

GEORGE ORWELL: Six steps to write better English

William Safire’s 18 steps to better writing

28 September 2009

It’s not known if William Safire, who wrote the “On Language” column in the New York Times Magazine for 30 years till earlier this month, was conversant with the ways of social media, but it is safe to presume that he would have been horrified at how his demise last night was coveyed to readers subscribing to Jim Romenesko‘s media notes via Google Reader.

“NYT ‘On Language’ columnist Safire dies at 79″

1 person liked this

Of course, Safire, the author of “the nattering nabobs of negativism” and “hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history”, would get the joke, but you get the picture?

Neatorama has a compilation of Safire’s rules for writing:

*  Remember to never split an infinitive
* The passive voice should never be used
* Do not put statements in the negative form
* Verbs have to agree with their subjects
* Proofread carefully to see if you words out
* If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be by rereading and editing.
* A writer must not shift your point of view
* And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction. (Remember, too, a preposition is a terrible word to end a sentence with.)
* Don’t overuse exclamation marks!!
* Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents
* Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided
* If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is
* Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors
* Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky
* Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing
* Always pick on the correct idiom
* The adverb always follows the verb
* Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague; seek viable alternatives

Read The New York TimesWilliam Safire obituary

Also read: George Orwell‘s six rules for better writing

Sir V.S. Naipaul‘s seven rules for writers

“Indecent? Vulgar? Repulsive? Suggestive?”

23 August 2008

The Shirdi Sai Baba may miraculously open his left eye and left eye only, mind you, just as the Neilsen meters start whirring. The mullahs may spew out hate 24×7 with spit and polish. The 9 pm women may all be vampish shrews with Botox vials in their hip pockets. And aging heroes may fish out live pomfrets from the bras of teenaged actresses who have barely started missing their school periods.

The Orwellian ministry of information and broadcasting can somehow live with the stench of obscurantism, superstition, hatred, sexist stereotype, etc, dished out to the masses on television and in the movies. What they can’t stand is sex—or anything that may make it seem like a remotely pleasurable experience.

“We have found that the advertisement of Axe ‘Dark Temptation’ deodorant is indecent, vulgar and repulsive,” the I&B ministry has stated a communique to Advertising Standards Council of India.

Admittedly the Axe commercials are designed to be deliberately provocative, much as the old Benetton ads used to be. But who are we kidding about their impact on impressionable young minds when they are exposed to far worse and far more objectionable?

For the record, Priyaranjan Dasmunsi‘s ministry has banned AXN channel for airing a show called ‘World’s Sexiest Advertisements‘ and FTV for a show called ‘Midnight Hot‘. More specifically, the (official) moral police have had their eyes transfixed on underwear advertisements proscribing the television commercials of at least three brands in recent times.

Whoever it was who said “Whenever I hear the word culture, I reach for my gun“, never typed “banned commercials” in the search window on YouTube.

Read the full story: Government brands Axe ad ‘indecent’

Also view: If sanitary pads are OK, why not…

Desh ke police kaise ho? Moral police jaise ho!

Are we becoming a nation of blithering idiots?

Just how is this dress an affront to Hindu culture?

Is all fair dinkum in love, war and football?

7 June 2008

Serious sport, George Orwell famously wrote in 1945, has nothing to do with fair play. “It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence: in other words it is war minus the shooting” where “the most savage combative instincts are aroused”.

The Polish tabloid Super Express has once again proved Orwell prophetic, ushering in Euro 2008 with a photo montage of their national team’s coach holding aloft the severed heads of Michael Ballack, the German team captain, and Germany coach Joachim Löw.

“Bring us their heads,” the paper demands, stirring a hornet’s nest.

Photograph: courtesy Der Spiegel

Read the full story: Poland’s yellow press turns blood red

Read Orwell’s landmark essay: The sporting spirit

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