Posts Tagged ‘I&B Ministry’

Tarun Tejpal, Manish Tewari and relief at PBC

2 December 2013

From Off the Record, the Monday gossip column in Deccan Herald:

Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal‘s fall from grace has brought a sense of “divine justice” in Prasar Bharati, where the invisible presence of Tejpal—thanks to his closeness to the information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari—was one of the contributing factors behind a long-standing “difference of opinion” behind Tewari and Prasar Bharati CEO Jawhar Sircar.

“Tejpal is believed to be one of the outsider journalists, whom Tewari wanted to rope in Doordarshan in an attempt to revamp the image of the public broadcaster. Sircar opposed the move and favoured full time government employee in the DD.

“The public broadcaster’s experiment with journalists from outside like defence analysts Ajai Shukla ended in a whimper as Shukla too resigned within days. Later a Tejpal company reportedly received contracts to prepare two different programmes for the DD and there was pressure on the top brass of Prasar Bharati to air those programmes in slots with high viewership.”

For the record, Tarun Tejpal’s name was removed from the board of Prasar Bharati after the alleged sex scandal felled him, and the Indian Express reported that just before the fall, Amaraman India Pvt. Ltd, a firm owned by him, had bagged a contract for 52 shows.

Photograph: courtesy Jitender Gupta/ Outlook*

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

Tarun Tejpal was trapped in a skin not his own’

Tarun Tejpal: Fear and self-loathing in Goa

Aroon Purie and Vinod Mehta on Tarun Tejpal

***

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

POLL: Should FDI in media be enhanced?

22 July 2013

With the economic downturn threatening to turn into a full-blown recession and with the finance minister reduced to going around the world with a hat in hand, the Congress-led UPA government last week increased foreign direct investment (FDI) in telecom, defence, petroleum refining, etc, but…

But, not the media.

On the issue of enhancing FDI in media from 26% to 49% under the automatic route as proposed by a finance ministry panel, two separate ministries swung into action. First, the ministry of information and broadcasting sought the views of the telecom regulatory authority (TRAI) and the press council (PCI).

And then, the home ministry opposed the hike, favouring control of media houses by Indians. The Press Trust of India (PTI) quoted official sources as saying:

# “Opening up of current affairs TV channels, newspapers and periodicals dealing with news and current affairs may lead to meddling in India’s domestic affairs and politics.

# “Increase of FDI in broadcasting and print media may also allow foreign players to launch propaganda campaign during any national crisis as well as when interests of any particular country is harmed through any government decision.

# “Big foreign media players with vested interests may try to fuel fire during internal or external disturbances and also can encourage political instability in the country through their publications or broadcasting outlets.”

These reasons have been touted for 22 years now and will surprise nobody. Last week, The Hindu (which was initially at the forefront of the opposition to FDI hikes in media) reported that the industry was divided on the FDI issue:

“While certain big networks like Times Television Network, Network 18 and NDTV are broadly supportive, others like India TV, Sun, Eenadu and Malayala Manorama group have objected to an increase in FDI caps.”

The Centre’s decision to not go-ahead with FDI in media in an election year will not surprise anybody. After all, it wouldn’t want to rub promoters and proprietors on the wrong side, especially when powerful corporates (potential election donors) have substantial stakes in the media.

Still, the question remains whether the media can be given this preferential treatment and, if so, for how long? Will the home ministry’s fears ever vanish? Or, will the media which talks of competition and choice as the great leveller in every sphere of life, seek the protection of politicians in power to protect its turf?

Also read: India opens another door for FDI in papers, mags

Everybody loves a good FDI announcement

Sharp, sensitive, substantive (conditions apply)

3 April 2013

The Congress-led UPA’s election-eve attempt—like the BJP-led NDA’s attempt in 2004—to revive  Doordarshan News has come a cropper.

The Indian Express has an editorial:

“Less than two months after a splashy advertisement campaign championing Doordarshan’s new-look daily prime-time news bulletin, Ajai Shukla, the anchor/editor of its English-language segment, has put in his papers. The resignation follows recent circulars ordering that the content and guests for each bulletin be first run past Doordarshan officials, as clear a declaration of censorial intent as there can be.

“This unwillingness to walk even the first baby steps in allowing controlled autonomy to the national channel — in freeing it of daily interference — simply reinforces the popular distrust of any claim by Doordarsan to be neutral and free.

“The I&B ministry has a sport of choice, to keep inquiring into ways in which viewers can be attracted to Doordarshan, but its experiments will keep coming to naught till it reckons with the bottomline. It is this: when viewers fail to flock to the channel, it is not veracity of the news put out by the channel that is in question. It is their scepticism that the news is in any way whole, that what is being presented is the full picture.

“Whichever way the government may spin the current controversy from here, that scepticism has been shown to be proper caution. What an ironic end to an exercise intended to prove the very opposite.”

Read the full editorial: Very costly experiment

Also read: The poll straws, they are a-blowin’ in DD News

New health cards for PIB accreditated journos

14 January 2013

Good news for journalists with bad hearts, lungs and kidneys, from the gossip columns of the Sunday papers.

From The Telegraph diary:

Manmohan Singh has decided to extend a helping hand to journalists. The Centre has accepted a long-standing demand by scribes that new health cards be issued to accreditated journalsits.

These health cards will help ailing journos get treatment at leading hospitals in the Delhi and national capital region at heavily subsidised rates.

Congressmen must be hoping that the noble gesture would help tame the torrent of scathing comments about the government’s performance.

Nora Chopra in The Sunday Guardian:

The Manmohan Singh government has accepted the demand of accreditated journalists for health cards. The cards will ensure that they get heavy discounts at leading hospitals such as Fortis, Medanta and Escorts in Delhi and the national capital region.

Whether this ensures good press to the government remains to be seen.

Applications invited for Community Radio stations

7 January 2013

radio

The information and broadcasting ministry is inviting applications from NGOs and non-for-profit organisations for the setting up of community radio stations.

Visit the website: Community Radio Stations

I&B ministry “advisory” on TV protest coverage

25 December 2012

pti

In the cold war era, it used to be said that the first target of wannabe-dictators was government-controlled radio stations—take control of it and you control the message going out.

In the post-liberalised era, the first target of the government seems to be private television stations.

Below is the full text of the “advisory” issued by the information and broadcasting ministry headed by Manish Tiwari to news and current affairs satellite TV channels on Sunday as coverage of the protests in Delhi brought the “people to the gate” (in the memorable words of The Times of India).

Interestingly, the chairman of the national broadcasting standards authority, the former chief justice of the Supreme Court, J.S. Verma, has been simultaneously named as the chairman of the three-member committee to review the laws for “speedier justice and enhanced punishment in cases of aggravated sexual assault”.

***

To
All News and Current Affairs  satellite Television Channels

From
Ministry of Information & Broadcasting
“A” Wing Shastri Bhawan
New Delhi-110001

23rd December, 2012

ADVISORY

Whereas a number of private satellite news TV channels have been showing programmes covering round-the-clock direct telecast of the events relating to public demonstration being held in New Delhi in the wake of the unfortunate and tragic incident of gang rape of a young girl on 16th December, 2012 in a moving bus.

The  channels have been covering the agitation  and the efforts of the law enforcing authorities to maintain law & order, as well as the commentaries of the channel reporters to portray the incidents from their own perspectives.

Whereas this incident and the  public outcry in its aftermath are a very sensitive issue and any inappropriate media reportage thereon is likely to vitiate the law and order situation.

It has been observed that some private satellite news TV channels in their 24X7 coverage have not been showing due responsibility and maturity in telecasting the events relating the said demonstration and such a telecast is likely to cause deterioration in the law & order situation, hindering the efforts of the law enforcing authorities. (emphasis added)

Whereas Rule 6(1)(e)  of the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994, which contains the Programme Code to be strictly adhered to by all private satellite television channels, provides that no programme should be carried in the cable service which is likely to encourage or incite violence or contains anything against maintenance of law and order or which promotes anti-national attitude.

Now, therefore, all private satellite television channels are advised to scrupulously follow the Progarmme Code laid down in the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994 and to ensure to telecast the matter in a responsible manner with due care, maturity and restraint.

Any violation of the Programme Code will invite such action as provided for in the Cable Television(Regulation)  Act, 1995 and the Rules framed thereunder as well as the terms & conditions stipulated in Uplinking & Downlinking Guidelines.

Supriya Sahu
Joint Secretary to the Government of India

Photograph: courtesy Press Trust of India

Crossposted on churumuri

Also read: The New York Times calls Kapil Sibal‘s bluff

What brainwave has struck our netas tonight?

CHURUMURI POLL: should Facebook be censored?

Say ‘No’ to India’s blogger control Act

Censorship in the name of ‘national interest’

Is UPA hitting back for Anna Hazare coverage?

How did Robert Vadra vanish off the front pages?

29 October 2012

A week is a long time for the media in Scamistan. The ripples caused by Sonia Gandhi‘s son-in-law Robert Vadra‘s real-estate dealings have given way to the hera-pheri of BJP president Nitin Gadkari‘s.

The veteran editor and columnist Virendra Kapoor writes in The Sunday Guardian:

You can be forgiven if you believe that Nitin Gadkari‘s is the only scam in town. Saturation coverage by television channels in the past couple of days should have ordinarily left no one in doubt that he is at the centre of the biggest scam of our times.

Even newspapers which have virtually become an extension of the ruling establishment seemed to have suddenly discovered merit in Gadkari’s financial shenanigans, splashing as front-page lead the alleged wrongdoing by his companies while being completely oblivious to the humongous misdeeds of the leading lights of UPA.

Admittedly, it is hard to take on the incumbent powers. Editors simultaneously charged with the responsibility of keeping a close watch on the bottom-line, theirs and the paper’s, have to necessarily suck up to the corporate and political bosses — never mind the pretence in social and professional gatherings. But what of the cash-rich media houses straddling huge print and television empires?

Apparently, a strong word was conveyed that they should leave Sonia Gandhi‘s son-in-law well alone. Ministers, including I&B boss Ambika Soni, are said to have reached out to the media houses, gently suggesting that further interest in the doings of Robert Vadra and his multifarious business activities would be most unwelcome.

Now, when you treat journalism at par with selling soap cakes it is not hard to fall in line with the political establishment, is it?

So, the switch, instead, to Nitin Gadkari’s private companies.

Read the full column: Hammer Gadkari to save Vadra and other scamsters

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?

“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?

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