Posts Tagged ‘Nitin Gadkari’

Why Arun Jaitley is called ‘Bureau Chief’ in BJP

11 July 2013

One impossibly apocryphal story from the 2004 general election election is of a major newspaper group getting sucked in by the India Shining hype and making key editorial leadership changes on its reporting side, in anticipation of the BJP-led NDA returning to power, and falling flat on its face with the UPA’s surprise win.

An equally apocryphal story from the last few years is that most “scams” broken by the media (barring some honourable exceptions) are force-fed by political, corporate and legal interests seeking to score points against their rivals or, worse, against one of their own.

Both those pieces of gossip—and unsubstantiated gossip, they certainly are—gain fresh oxygen on the eve of the 2013 election season in the July issue of Caravan magazine.

In a cover story on the BJP putting all its eggs in the Narendra Modi basket, the journalist Poornima Joshi writes of the manner in which Nitin Gadkari was ousted as party president after it emerged in the media that his Purti group had been financed by shell companies.

“Although L.K. Advani had championed the effort to forcefully eject Gadkari from the president’s chair last year—over the fervent objections of the RSS—he was later convinced that Gadkari had been the victim of a conspiracy to tarnish him with an orchestrated campaign of planted stories in the media.

“Inside the BJP, suspicions pointed to Arun Jaitley, the Rajya Sabha opposition leader, who is known within the party as “bureau chief” for the extraordinary influence he wields at two large-selling national dailies where his favourite journalists run political bureaus.

“Although nobody knows whether Jaitley was actually responsible for the stories, most people in the BJP, including Advani, believe that he was. Jaitley and Advani, who were once seen as pupil and teacher, have been in enemy camps since last December, when Advani put forth his acolyte Sushma Swaraj, the party’s leader in the Lok Sabha and Jaitley’s bête noire, as a nominee to replace Gadkari as president.”

Read the full article: Strategems and spoils

Illustration: courtesy Rinelaff.com

Also read: Who are the journalists running and ruining BJP?

Don’t laugh: do journalists make good politicians?

RSS chief Bhagwat ‘notice’ to news TV channels

6 February 2013

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PRITAM SENGUPTA writes from New Delhi: The prickly republic has been pricked again.

Rajiv Tuli, a “citizen of Bharat” residing in west Delhi and a follower of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), has sent off a “notice” to eight national TV news channels for broadcasting “potentially defamatory content” on the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat earlier this year.

After the Delhi gangrape victim’s death, Bhagwat had first been quoted as saying that rapes took place in India, not Bharat. Then, on January 6, he was quoted by TV stations as saying that marriage was sacrosanct; not a contract which could be revoked or severed at any time.

It is on the latter, during which Bhagwat was also reported to have said “Women should be housewives, men should be breadwinners,” that Tuli, a lawyer, has accused TV news channels of “false, erroneous and malicious reporting ” as a result of which his client had to face a “hellish” situation.

It is not known if newspapers which ran Bhagwat’s quote have heard from Shri Tuli.

The operative paragraphs of Tuli’s notice reads:

Your channel was conscious of the power and impact of the audio-visual medium and the phenomenal reach of their news channels, and to cause incalculable harm your channel has reported as if the Sangh pramukh has said “Women should be housewives, men should be breadwinners”, for Bharatiya marriage, which he never said as is evident from full speech delivered on 6 January 2013, at Indore.

“RSS respects every woman as equal to other and marriage as a sacrament and a permanent bond. You have mischievously twisted the facts and the news reports are not only distorted but are highly defamatory. This is a deliberate attempt to lower the image of the Swayamsevak in public.

“By virtue of this broadcast, you have not ensured impartiality and objectivity in reporting or neutrality. It has occurred to arouse passions to endanger the national security and tranquillity. The ethics and broadcasting standards have been violated by you and the reporting has been done unfairly to tarnish the image of the swayamsevaks and RSS….

“When you comment on a person’s views you ought to project it in the totality of the entire gamut of ideas presented by the speaker. On the contrary your conduct has been one of gross irresponsibility and misuse of the freedom of the press and you have let loose an attack on Mohanji Bhagwat who is held in high esteem by crores of Bharatiyas.

“You did it with the ulterior motive to tarnish the image of the RSS and crores of swayamsevaks in and out of Bharat.

“Your conduct is intentional, motivated, and with view to scandalise and malign the person and the organisation. You mischievously and maliciously, broadcast a false, distorted version of the speech and rushed to insensible conclusions and let loose through your channel reaching the general populace of the country and the world at large.

“You are fully aware that law laid down by the hon’ble Supreme Court is binding under Article 141 of the Constitution. In the case of S. Khushboo vs Kanniammal reported in AIR 2010 SC 3196 the Hon’ble Supreme Court reflected as under…

“It is therefore not only desirable but imperative that electronic and news media should also pay a positive role in presenting to general public as to what actually transpires during the course of hearing and it should not be published in such a manner so as to get unnecessary publicity of its own paper or news channel. Such a tendency should be stopped as without knowing the reference in context of which questions were put forth by the Court, the same were misquoted which raised unnecessary hue and cry.”

The notice contends that the news channels, without due care and attention, had caused “grave injury to the reputation of my client as also the reputation of all other swayamsevaks”.

“After the dissemination of your highly false, distorted and malicious news, my client had to face a “hellish” situation”. He was put to shame and embarrassment even at the hands of his friends and persons acquainted with him….

“Therefore, you are called upon to broadcast a sincere apology on your channel several times prominently, for such mischievous, scandalous and defamatory content… and further take action against the person(s) responsible for unfair, unethical broadcasting.”

In recent months, a number of politicians have taken legal sometimes against other politicians (Nitin Gadkari vs Digvijay singh, or Smriti Irani vs Sanjay Nirupam) but mostly against media (Salman Khurshid vs Aaj Tak, Mukesh Ambani vs everybody)

Also read: Mukesh Ambani ‘sues’ TV channels on Kejriwal

Arvind Kejriwal taunts Mukesh Ambani on TV ‘sue’ threat

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

So many reporters, so little info on Sonia Gandhi?

22 September 2011

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, scooped by Indian Express photographer Anil Sharma, as she leaves her daughter's residence in New Delhi on 14 September 2011.

Nothing has exposed the hollowness of so-called “political reporting” in New Delhi, and the fragilility of editorial spines of newspapers and TV stations across the country, than the Congress president Sonia Gandhi‘s illness.

Hundreds of correspondents cover the grand old party; tens of editors claim to be on on first-name terms with its who’s who; and at least a handful of them brag and boast of unbridled “access” to 10 Janpath.

Yet none had an inkling that she was unwell.

Or, worse, the courage to report it, if they did.

Indeed, when the news was first broken by the official party spokesman in August, he chose the BBC and the French news agency AFP as the media vehicles instead of the media scrum that assembles for the daily briefing.

Sonia Gandhi has since returned home but even today the inability of the media—print, electronic or digital—to throw light on just what is wrong with the leader of India’s largest political party or to editorially question the secrecy surounding it, is palpable.

Given the hospital she is reported to have checked into, the bazaar gossip on Sonia has ranged from cervical cancer to breast cancer to pancreatic cancer but no “political editor” is willing to put his/her name to it.

About the only insight of Sonia’s present shape has come from an exclusive photograph shot by Anil Sharma of The Indian Express last week.

In a counter-intuitive sort of way, Nirupama Subramanian takes up the silence of the media in The Hindu:

“That the Congress should be secretive about Ms Gandhi’s health is not surprising. What is surprising, though, is the omertà being observed by the news media, usually described by international writers as feisty and raucous.

“On this particular issue, reverential is the more fitting description. Barring editorials in the Business Standard and Mail Today, no other media organisation has thought it fit to question the secrecy surrounding the health of the government’s de facto Number One.

“A similar deference was on display a few years ago in reporting Atal Bihari Vajpayee‘s uneven health while he was the Prime Minister. For at least some months before he underwent a knee-replacement surgery in 2001, it was clear he was in a bad way, but no news organisation touched the subject. Eventually, the government disclosed that he was to undergo the procedure, and it was covered by the media in breathless detail.

“Both before and after the surgery, there was an unwritten understanding that photographers and cameramen would not depict Vajpayee’s difficulties while walking or standing. Post-surgery, a British journalist who broke ranks to question if the Prime Minister was fit enough for his job (“Asleep at The Wheel?” Time, June 10, 2002) was vindictively hounded by the government.

“Almost a decade later, much has changed about the Indian media, which now likes to compare itself with the best in the world. But it lets itself down again and again. The media silence on Ms Gandhi is all the more glaring compared with the amount of news time that was recently devoted to Omar Abdullah‘s marital troubles. The Jammu & Kashmir chief minister’s personal life has zero public importance. Yet a television channel went so far as to station an OB van outside his Delhi home, and even questioned the maid….

“Meanwhile, the media are clearly not in the mood to extend their kid-glove treatment of Ms Gandhi’s illness to some other politicians: it has been open season with BJP president Nitin Gadkari‘s health problems arising from his weight. Clearly, it’s different strokes for different folks.”

Read the full article: The omerta on Sonia‘s illness

Also read: Why foreign media broke news of Sonia illness

How come no one spotted Satyam fraud?

How come no one saw the IPL cookie crumbling?

How come no one in the media saw the worm turn?

Aakar PatelIndian journalism is regularly second-rate

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