Posts Tagged ‘Open’

When an editor draws a cartoon, it’s news

13 September 2013

MJ

Indian print editors have done book reviews (Sham Lal, Times of India), film reviews (Vinod Mehta, Debonair), food reviews (Vir Sanghvi, Hindustan Times), music reviews (Chandan Mitra, TOI, Pioneer, The Sunday Observer; Sanjoy Narayan, Hindustan Times), elephant polo reviews (Suman Dubey, India Today) etc, but few have done cartoons.

When The Telegraph, Calcutta, was launched Pritish Nandy (who later became the editor of The Illustrated Weekly of India) would do a daily, front-page pocket cartoon, with Mukul Sharma (who later became the editor of Science Today) writing the caption, and vice-versa.

Even today, former Statesman and Indian Express editor S. Nihal Singh is a happy doodler.

In the latest issue of Open magazine, its editor Manu Joseph (who has set crossword puzzles at his previous port of calling, Outlook) puts his signature on a cartoon. Let the record show that “Pope” Joseph‘s handwriting bears a close similarity with Dr Hemant Morporia, the radiologist who draws cartoons.

Also read: If The Economist looks at Tamil News, it’s news

When a stringer beats up a reporter, it’s news

When the gang of four meets at IIC, it’s news

When a politician weds a journalist, it’s news

When a magazine editor marries a starlet, it’s news

When dog bites dog, it’s news—I

When dog bites dog, it’s news—II

‘Licensing journos: recipe for total state control’

22 August 2013

Ravi_pic_ram_leiceL1000002_croppedThe following is the full text of the statement issued by N. Ravi, president of the Editors’ Guild of India, on the proposal mooted by minister of state for information and broadcasting, Manish Tewari, on a “common examination” for student-journalists and a “licence” for journalists to perform their function:

“The suggestion of the Union minister for information and broadcasting, Manish Tewari, that journalists should be tested and licensed to practice the profession is a recipe for the total state control of the media.

“Licensing of journalists is an obviously undemocratic practice that has been condemned repeatedly by international human rights organisations including the Inter American Court of Human Rights. Requirements such as membership of a particular organisation, specific qualifications and licences issued by the government are tools used by totalitarian states to control the media.

“The right to freedom of expression is guaranteed under Article 19 (1) of the Constitution and it is open to every citizen to practise it through the media subject only to restrictions on the grounds specified in Article 19 (2).  The reporting of facts and the expression of ideas is the right of every citizen and to require the passing of a test and the possession of a licence issued by the government would be a violation of the very concept of freedom.

“People with varying qualifications, ideas and interests should be allowed unrestricted access in the exercise of their right to free speech through the media.

“Besides, the media deal with the whole gamut of issues touching on the society– from political, economic and social issues to health, religion, art, literature, cinema, music and travel– and unlike in the case of some of the professions such as law and medicine, there is no fixed or identifiable collection of works or coherent body of knowledge on which journalists could be tested.

“In this age of citizen journalists, bloggers and social media and Internet users, it would be ridiculous to introduce any restriction on who should practise journalism even if it were possible to enforce it.”

***

Business Standard has an editorial on the topic:

“Charitably, Tewari’s point could be taken as an opportunity for the media to introspect as to why there are many calls for it to improve the quality of its output. There is little doubt that, as the media space has exploded, much has been produced that is not of sufficient quality or reliability or even credibility.

“Of course, whether this requires a licence-permit Raj to be introduced for journalism is another question altogether—though a reflexive belief in the virtues of control is the hallmark of the Indira Gandhi-loving United Progressive Alliance, which is in so many fields apparently desirous of returning India to the 1980s.

“Actually, it is diversity that should be prized in an open society with free expression, not uniformity and “standardisation”. It is ridiculous to imagine that an examination, however tough, would, in any case, weed out the corrupt and the incompetent. If that were the case, India would have had the most incorruptible and most efficient bureaucracy in the known universe.”

***

Madhavankutty Pillai in Open magazine:

“The exam and licence for journalists is couched as a measure for the benefit of the profession. It comes on the back of the Press Council of India Chairman, Markandey Katju, floating a similar proposal some months ago. Both are symbolic of our great faith in question papers despite overwhelming evidence that it is possibly the worst way to create an institution.

“IAS and IPS officers, the frame that rules India, are selected on the basis of one exam and what it churns out is an effete, morally compromised, characterless group. People with high IQ and a good memory can clear these exams but it guarantees nothing in terms of either integrity, efficiency or common sense.

“Both Katju and Tewari were lawyers and it is probably the Bar Council exam that they have as a model. Which makes what they propose even more ridiculous if you consider the state of the legal profession in India. The standardisation it has created is in the art of perpetually delaying a case, bribery as a legal strategy and the fleecing of clients.

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

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

External reading: How licensing journalists threatens independent news media

Vir Sanghvi, Modi, 1984 and Hindustan Times

26 July 2013

In the latest issue of Open magazine, its political editor Hartosh Singh Bal writes on the re-appearance of former Hindustan Times editor Vir Sanghvi on the pages of the newspaper, to underline the the media’s janus-faced approach to the anti-Sikh pogrom of 1984 under Congress watch and the 2002 Gujarat riots under BJP rule:

Narendra Modi is not just unfit for the post of Prime Minister; he is unfit for any public office. But the shamelessness of such a man is best questioned by a media that is immune to questions about its own motives.

“Just this week, Delhi woke up to an article on the edit page of one of India’s leading newspapers, the Hindustan Times, by none other than Vir Sanghvi.

“Writing in the paper on politics for the first time since his misuse of the same space was rather dramatically highlighted in the Radia Tapes, he commented on the Modi campaign: ‘No matter which party wins, India is certain to lose.’

“It seems even shame has its limits.

“It is no surprise that almost a decade earlier Sanghvi had written about the 1984 massacres: ‘On the more substantive issue of whether the administration allowed Delhi to burn, all the commissions have been unanimous: yes, it did, but this was because of incompetence and negligence, not because of any sinister design. If there is a parallel, it is with the 1993 Bombay riots rather than with Gujarat.’

“Somehow, he always manages to say exactly what the Congress wants to hear. To me it seems that no matter who wins, with his piece being published, journalism in some measure has already lost.”

Read the full column: The end of shame

Also read: Vir Sanghvi and Barkha Dutt: “We were targetted”

HT strips Vir Sanghvi of his editorial advisory role

Vir Sanghvi suspends Hindustan Times column

Vir Sanghvi says his HT column will resume soon

Why we didn’t hear Niira Radia tapes: 2 examples

86% feel let down by CD baat of journalists

After Athreya and Kautilya, enter Chanakya

How Narendra Modi buys media through PR

19 July 2013
cover-story-in

The request for proposal (RFP) document of the Gujarat government that sets ‘targets’ for the PR firm that wins the contract to promote Narendra Modi’s image

In the latest issue of Open magazine, its deputy political editor Jatin Gandhi lays his hand on a “Request for Proposal” (RFP) document of the Gujarat government that shows how “almost every day, the Indian media—and sometimes the foreign media too—is tricked or influenced by Narendra Modi‘s public relations machinery”.

Exempli gratia: “Modi’s Rambo act, saves 15,000” (The Times of India, 23 June 2013) .

The RFP besides setting targets for the PR firm that bags the contract (see image, above) also lists what is expected of a PR firm if it bags the contract to manage the Gujarat chief minister’s image.

# The hired PR firm should ‘arrange for national and international media to visit Gujarat and attend various events organized by the different departments of the Government of Gujarat’.

# ‘The number of media personnel for any event shall be decided by the Commissionerate of information after deliberation on the scale of the event.’

# “It is the Firm’s responsibility to arrange for the visits of journalists to Gujarat, any other part of the country or abroad. The expenses for the same will be reimbursed by the Commissionerate of Information on the submission of actual bills.’

The story quotes sources as saying the state government has already borne the expenses of scores of journalists, paying for their flights, travel within Gujarat and stay on assorted occasions (and multiple visits in some cases).

“Senior journalists are usually assured of luncheon meetings with Modi, with seating plans drawn up to boost their egos. The current Indian PR agency (Mutual PR) has so far arranged meetings between Modi and a range of newspaper and magazine editors.

“Starting this year, the government also has a budget allocation for taking journalists abroad on Modi’s foreign visits….

“At the Vibrant Gujarat summit earlier this year, a list of 20 journalists was drawn for a luncheon meeting with Modi. On this list was Madhu Kishwar, editor of Manushi and a fellow at the Delhi-based Centre for Study of Developing Societies, who has turned from being a critic to an advocate of Modi.

“Internal communication accessed by Open shows that the agency was wooing Kishwar, something she firmly denies.

She says that she is writing a book on Modi: “I am going to include a chapter, I think, on the myth and reality of Modi’s PR. There is no PR. I have written angry letters to the CM’s office asking for information for which I have been waiting several weeks now. They are so overburdened.”

“With Kishwar claiming she is oblivious to the machinery at work, the Gujarat government nevertheless gave her special attention because she was seen as one of the lone voices emerging from the ‘the Left liberal space’ favourable to Modi’s policies with ‘captive column space available to her in The Hindu, DNA and Manushi…’

Read the full article: The Modi mythology

Also read: ReutersModi interview: ‘sensational tokenism’

‘Network 18′s multimedia Modi feast: a promo’

For cash-struck TV, Modi is cost-effective TRP

Modi‘s backers, media owners have converged’

Poems on news anchors: this week, Barkha Dutt

21 June 2013

In Open magazine this week, Madhavankutty Pillai continues his occasional series of poems on news anchors. This week, the face of NDTV 24×7: Barkha Dutt, the host of We the People and The Buck Stops Here.

Ye destitute widow, acid attack victim

Forgotten spy, despairing cripple

Who was once trapped in rubble

And ye burnt in a stock-market bubble

This comforting hand I lay on your shoulder

Time to the pan of the camera’s girdle

Give me your grief just for a moment

Let us spread it before We The People.

 

Some would say why I would say

Some would say for what I say

But know me You The People

Not by my late tribulations

But by my fine emulations

A career of honed expressions

My hysterics have drowned howitzers

My voice can be louder than bombs

I have a naughty glint to start

The motors of the Bollywood mouth

A furrowed brow for the minister

For every novelist two paras by heart.

 

I am the tallest poppy

Mistress of every beat

Battler of troll and twit

Editor, intellectual, analyst

Anchor, correspondent, critic

And and and and and

Some would say that’s a lot of me

But all ye upstarts

Why don’t you just let me be

Photograph: courtesy Verve

Also read: A poem for Karan Thapar

A poem for Sagarika Ghose

 

The journalist who suddenly forgot everything

5 April 2013

assisi_1364832829_37

In the fourth anniversary issue of Open, Forbes India managing editor Charles Assisi recounts  what every journalist dreads—losing the one thing that counts most in our profession:

“To cut a long story short, a little over two years ago, some neurons misfired in my head. I was in my office when this happened. I won’t gt into the sordid details and drama that accompanied the episode—except that my colleagues were witnesses to my falling down in a heap, frothing and convulsing. A couple of them bundled me into a car and drove like maniacs where I was admitted into the intensive care unit.

“A month after I was discharged, my family and friends were told a virus had invaded my immune system, permeated the blood-brain barrier, damaged some parts of my brain, and triggered a bout of viral encephalitis—a rare disorder with high mortality rates in some conditions.

“I was among those who survived.

“The only problem is, survivors have to deal with various kinds of complications, In my case, I had lost my memory. I had no idea who I was, where I was, and save a few people close to me, who everybody around was. For all practical purposes, I was dead, But I was breathing, most of my other faculties were still intact, and I hadn’t forgotten the language….

“Between my wife, brother, parents and a few close friends, they took turns to tell me who I was. But I’d get in a few minutes and get back to being a body of nuisance to pretty much everybody around by repeating the same sets of questions.

“No, how do I know all of this happened? Because my wife Anna began compiling a notebook that outlined I detail answers to my questions. My brother Kolya tried to explain what was happening in my head. And my cousin Niffy wrote me long notes of events, places and things from our younger days when were growing up.

“My colleageues at work—IG [ Forbes editor Indrajit Gupta], [director of photography] Dinesh [Krishnan], and special features editor Peter [Griffin]—pitched in by trying to help put in place the pieces of my day job as a journalist.”

Photograph: courtesy Charles Assisi

External reading: Charles Assisi on Ankit Fadia

‘Business journalists are PR mouthpieces’: Bahal

22 March 2013

Last week, Cobra Post, the website run by the investigative journalist Aniruddha Bahal made public “Operation Red Spider”, its sting operation into alleged money-laundering by HDFC, Axis and ICICI banks.

This week, in Open magazine, Bahal answers a couple of questions on the media treatment of the story.

The story is significant, but failed to create a furore, don’t you think?

We can’t say that. Most news channels took it live. There were live debates on every channel. However, the conduct of business papers and channels was disappointing. For them, this story should have been of overwhelming importance, which was apparently not the case. We need to examine the reasons for it.

It poses a question on the credibility of business journalism in India.

Not one journalist from a business paper or news channel contacted me for a detailed briefing on the scam. This tells you where their hearts and minds are. They are PR mouthpieces of establishment.

Photograph: courtesy The Hindu

***

Aakar Patel: ‘Indian journalism is regularly second-rate’

SEBI chief: Business journalism or business of journalism?

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

New York Times: Why Indian media doesn’t take on Ambanis

How come none in the Indian media spotted Satyam fraud

Poems on anchors: this week, Sagarika Ghose

8 March 2013

In Open magazine, Madhavankutty Pillai continues his occassional poems on news anchors. This week, his ode is directed at Sagarika Ghose, the host of Face the Nation on CNN-IBN:

Salutations, mistress of the echo

Blest with the force

Of eyes widening

until they greet the other

Of eyebrows leaping

like trampoline artists together

Reveal to us thy secret

How do you make

An answer’s last line

The next question

In the exact same words

Without a moment’s break

Goddess of ceaseless blinks

Queen-consort

Of the nightly misgivings

Anguished liberal voice

—notched up somewhat—

Guiding us from the rink

Loudest of the loud

We offer thee our ear drums

Partake it as oblation

Be generous with thy mercies

Rain down quiet on us

Shanti (blink) Shanti (blink) Shanti (blink)

Also read: Poems on anchors: this week Karan Thapar

Sagarika Ghose: 21st century media is an amoral being

Don’t ask me, ask her. Don’t ask me, ask him!

Indian journalist ‘applies’ to be the next Pope

15 February 2013

In the latest issue of Open magazine, its editor Manu Joseph sends in an application to be the 112th Pope, now that the 111th has put in his papers.

To

The Roman Curia, The Holy See, Rome

Reverends,

In the aftermath of the sudden resignation of Pope Benedict XVI due to his advanced age and fear of delirium, which is reasonable taking into account the fact that when he was believed to be mentally fit he had said that condoms spread AIDS, as you seek a Supreme Pontiff of sound mind from an eminent pool of sixty-to-seventy-year-old virgins, kindly consider this application for the job of Pope from me, Manu Joseph I, a member of the laity.

I am aware that you do not seek applications, but I apply because the Church is in a precarious state and it has to consider extraordinary solutions.

My CV, which is enclosed, may appear unremarkable at first glance, even pointless when the marital status is noted, but if observed carefully the applicant has merit.

For instance, the Church is surely wise enough to know that men in long faithful tropical marriages are indeed somewhat acquainted with celibacy. Also, I am a young male, though not so young that I will lead cardinals to sin; and, once on Indian national television I was accused of misogyny; and, through my writings and one Facebook post, I believe I have relentlessly advertised the Son of God though in the form of an endearing sub-culture, actually to be honest, in the form of a liquor found in Kerala, which is named Jesus Christ because after you drink it, you will rise only on the third day. But more important than all this is that I am a novelist, which none of the former Popes have been, even though Christianity has emerged from the Great Story.

If his application is accepted, Pope Manohar could be the last to oversee the exercise of the Petrine ministry.

The 12th century clairvoyant St Malachy said there would be only 112 Popes and that during the tenure of the 112th, Rome—and the Church—would be wiped out.

In St Malachy’s own words:

“The City of Seven Hills shall be destroyed and the dreadful Judge shall judge the people.”

Read the full application: I am the man

Poems on News Anchors: this week, Karan Thapar

11 January 2013

In the latest issue of Open magazine, Madhavankutty Pillai continues his series of poems on news anchors. This time, the TV anchor Karan Thapar gets his attention:

O, obstreperous weasel

Unregenerate blight

Cowering from the shock

Of my hair’s white

Prise your eyes

From my neon necktie

Prepare your deceits

Get ready to fight

 

This is how we will go

I shall ask and you shall lie

I shall tell you not to lie

I shall tell you what to tell

The how and when and why

I shall put it to you thus—

‘Let me put it to you thus’

And you shall put it to me thus

 

This index finger that I stab

Two inches from your face

Is the line I draw for you

Turn neither left nor right

Nor sputter nor stall

Allow me to make you crawl

To that overwhelming question:

What made you come here at all?

Also read: Why Karan Thapar stopped haggling with God

Did Karan Thapar stand a chance with Benazir?

Separated at birth: Karan Thapar and Keith Olbermann

Karan Thapar‘s new year resolution

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