Posts Tagged ‘Information and Broadcasting Ministry’

POLL: Common exam, licences for journalists?

20 August 2013

As if the “idiots” in the media didn’t have enough problems to deal with—paid news, corruption, wage board, 12-minute-per-hour ad caps, cross-media controls, job losses, recession etc—the Union information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari has now floated the kite of a “common examination” for journalists as a precursor to giving them “licenses” to operate, a la doctors and lawyers.

Bearing an eerie resemblance to press council chairman Markandey Katju‘s “order” advocating “some legal qualification” before one can enter the profession, Tewari’s proposal has the stamp of the control-freakery which has convinced the Congress-led UPA that the media is its chief problem—not the scams, scandals and shenanigans that have pockmarked its second term.

“I think a good starting point (for media education) would be that rather than prescribing a curricula which is then standardised across institutions, possibly the media industry could think about at least having a common exam. Like you have a Bar exam, like you have a medical exam or exams which are conducted by other professional bodies, which then issue a licence, which enables you to pursue your profession,” Tewari has said.

Tewari’s proposal for a “common examination” for journalists comes less than a month after the Supreme Court of India threw out the UPA’s move for a national eligibility and entrance test for life-saving medical colleges.So, does a national eligibility and entrance test for journalists stand a chance? Is it required? Will it necessarily produce good journalists or good journalism?

Even more dangerous is the thought of “licensing” journalists? Who will do that? The government of the day? A press council appointed by the government of the day? The local journalists union? Can this license be revoked or rewarded depending on favours rendered? Will a licence in one language, one state be valid in another? Etcetera.

Above all, could an examination and licence impact the freedom of the news media?

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External reading: How licensing journalists threatens independent news media

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Raju Narisetti: ‘Good journalists, poor journalism, zero standards’

Aakar Patel: Indian journalism is regularly second-rate

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Narendra Modi‘s disgraceful assault on media freedom

An Emergency-style witchhunt of the media

‘Darkest hour for the media since Emergency’

POLL: Should media corruption come under Lok Pal?

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

“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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