Posts Tagged ‘Ram Jethmalani’

Jessica Lal, Tehelka, Bina Ramani & the media

15 February 2014

bird-in-a-banyan-tree-bina-ramani

It was in South Delhi socialite Bina Ramani‘s Tamarind Court restaurant that Jessica Lall, a “model who worked as a celebrity barmaid”, was shot dead in 1999 by Manu Sharma, the son of Congress politician Venod Sharma.

Initially exonerated of the charges, the case turned full turtle for Sharma following a sting operation by Harinder Baweja, then with Tehelka magazine. Manu Sharma was eventually found guilty.

As the owner of the restaurant which was the scene of the crime, Bina Ramani spent nine days in jail in the case. She has an interview with Tehelka this week following the release of her book Bird in a Banyan Tree:

You have been sharply critical of the role media played in the aftermath of the Jessica Lal trial. Yet, it was a Tehelka investigation that brought out the truth. Do you think media can ensure justice?

It is not a guarantee that the media can ensure justice but it can certainly carve the path to it. Conversely, it can derail justice when it becomes over-zealous about its point of view. The media in India is extremely powerful and can wield a lot of influence—it should therefore be thorough i its investigation.

For the record, the news channel NewsX is now owned by Kartikeya Sharma, brother of Manu Sharma, through his company Information TV.

The Sharma family’s Piccadilly group also now owns M.J. Akbar-founded The Sunday Guardian, whose chairman is Ram Jethmalani, whose interview with Karan Thapar is must-watch television.

Also read: Note to directors: It was Shammy, nor Barkha

‘The most prolific journalist of our times’

11 June 2011

Khushwant Singh on his Illustrated Weekly of India protege M.J. Akbar, in The Telegraph, Calcutta, the “unputdownable” Calcutta paper founded by Akbar in 1982:

M.J. Akbar must be the most prolific journalist of our times. He heads the editorial board of India Today, edits The Sunday Guardian financed by Ram Jethmalani, and writes for many other papers including The Times of India. He frequently appears on television channels and has over a dozen books to his credit. His latest is Tinderbox: The Past and Future of Pakistan. He is tireless and highly readable.

“I take credit for some of Akbar’s achievements, like a father would of his son’s successes. Akbar started his journalistic career as a trainee picked by me. He met his wife-to-be in my office and nominated me the godfather of his daughter. Few people could be closer than he and I.

“Despite our closeness, I went woefully wrong on one important issue. I had assumed that, like me, he was an agnostic. He is a devout Muslim. He fasts throughout the month of Ramzan but celebrates Id-ul Fitr in my home. He has performed the Haj pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina.

“He has many years to go before he retires. By the time of his retirement, I expect him to have done much by which posterity will remember him.”

For the record, Akbar’s name also appears as editor of the Indian edition of the International Herald Tribune, published by Deccan Chronicle from Hyderabad, in an arrangement with the New York Times.

Photograph: courtesy The Telegraph

Also read: ‘Never let your head stoop as a journalist’

‘News is the subtlest form of advertising’

‘In fractured media, the word is the common fact’

Look, who inspired R.K. Laxman‘s common man!

Jessica Lal verdict proof that Indian media works

27 April 2010

The Supreme Court of India has upheld the life sentence awarded by the Delhi high court to Manu Sharma, the son of Congress leader and former Union minister Vinod Sharma, for killing Jessica Lal, who had declined to serve him a drink after the bar had closed in Delhi, in 1999.

Manu Sharma’s counsel, the noted criminal lawyer Ram Jethmalani, had argued that his client had been specifically targetted and maligned before and during the proceedings by the media, which proclaimed him guilty even after the acquittal by the trial court.

Rejecting this argument, the SC bench said:

“Certain articles and news items appearing in the newspapers immediately after the date of occurrence did cause certain confusion in the mind of the public as to the description and number of the actual assailants/suspects. It is unfortunate that trial by the media did, though to a very limited extent, affect the accused, but [was] not tantamount to a prejudice which should weigh with the court in taking any different view.”

The veteran editor T.J. S. George writes that in his “misplaced protestations against the media”, Jethmalani lost sight of the fact that, for once, “trial by media” achieved something good, beyond anything he could have achieved.

“The media in India today is not exactly a clean entity. It has become, generally speaking, dubious in its motivations, mischievous in its pretensions, and plainly guilty in many of its practices.

“Large sections of it are corrupt.

“Amoral ideas have been institutionalised by the biggest players with fancy labels like “private treaties” and “paid news.” The guilty in the media too should one day be brought to justice.

“It is a bit of a miracle that a media that has abdicated its responsibility is still able to do some public good. It is the nature of its work that makes this possible.

“Malpractices, misdeeds and criminalities dot the activities of our governments, our politicians, our businessmen, our film stars and even our sports bodies. A great deal of this is brought to public attention only because the media, by default or otherwise, dare publish information the guilty try to suppress. We only have to recall the numerous scandals of recent times to appreciate the value of this service done by the media.

“The Jessica Lal case shows how the media, warts and all, and public spirited citizens and alert judicial authorities can work in tandem to keep at least a few of our influential criminals out of harm’s way. Justice is higher than a lawyer’s interest in his client. “

Read the full article: ‘Media is amoral, but it works’

Infographic: courtesy The Telegraph, Calcutta

View: Karan Thapar‘s award winning interview with Jethmalani

Wall Street Journal editor ‘denies’ minister’s SMS

15 March 2010

M.J. Akbar‘s Sunday Guardian dishes out the garam masala of the day, outing the mischievous minister who allegedly sent allegedly inappropriate text messages to an editor of the Wall Street Journal after her recent interview with him.

Last week, the Delhi tabloid Mail Today had mentioned the gossip in its columns, two days in a row.

The minister, at the centre of a row over India’s alleged change of stance on climate change, has been at the receiving end of sections of the media over his u-turn on allowing genetically modified foods.

Newspaper facsimile: courtesy The Sunday Guardian

allegedly Italics: courtesy The Times of India

Also read: Why Ram Jethmalani started The Sunday Guardian

Will M.J. Akbar recreate The Telegraph magic?

External reading: Editor the Great

Why Jethmalani started ‘The Sunday Guardian’

16 February 2010

The well known criminal lawyer Ram Jethmalani on his increasingly testy relationship with the media, at an interaction with journalists of the Indian Express:

Pragya Kaushika: You have criticised the media but you have invested in a new paper, The Sunday Guardian. Why this sudden interest in the media?

Ram Jethmalani: It was due to my disenchantment with the press. I am a habitual writer but nobody has been publishing my articles. So I started this paper with a sense of total frustration with the press….

Vinay Sitapati: You criticised the media, but a large part of Ram Jethmalani is a media creation. You are constantly invited to TV news channels.

Jethmalani: Media does invite me but they invite me for opinions which they like and they also invite me because they think that more people will view their channel.

Sitapati: Many of the views that you give are picked up by millions of people and surely some of it is designed to be that way?

Jethmalani: I am not finding fault with the press. Yes, it is a two-way relationship.

Illustration: courtesy Outlook

Read the full exchange: ‘The greatest milestones of law…’

Also read: Will M.J. Akbar recreate The Telegraph magic?

A bigger masthead than the previous week

Will M.J. Akbar recreate The Telegraph magic?

2 February 2010

New Delhi has a new Sunday paper, The Sunday Guardian, edited by the veteran editor, author and columnist M.J. Akbar. The 40-page weekly, priced at Rs 3, hit the stands on 31 January with the renowned lawyer Ram Jethmalani as chairman of the board of MJP Media Pvt Ltd.

This is the second weekend paper to be launched in recent weeks after the Crest edition of The Times of India, which is priced at Rs 6 and is published on Saturdays.

The 20-page main section of The Sunday Guardian has one page of city news, two pages of [covert] investigations, three pages of national news, one page of the week in review, a two-page picture essay, four pages of comment and analyses, two pages of business, one page of south Asia, one page of world news,  and one page of offbeat news.

The masthead of the 20-page supplement, Guardian20, is larger than the main masthead. The design, layout and mix of both the main paper and the supplement remind the reader of The Asian Age, the paper Akbar launched after leaving The Telegraph; some of the typography and notches have shades of The Guardian, London.

“Delhi has never had a newspaper created specifially for Sunday,” claims the inaugural editorial, forgetting the existence of The Sunday Mail (which had Sunil Sethi, Coomi Kapoor, et al on the staff) and the Delhi edition of The Sunday Observer of Vinod Mehta more than 15 years ago.

“Creating a newspaper is tricky. The Indian reader is both savvy and demanding. As the tightrope walker says, balane is essential. Sunday is a day of repose and reflection, with time to delve into matters missed in the mad rush of the six working days. Our first rule was simple: a newspaper is news printed on apper. But the horizon of news cannot be limited to the familiar, and must stretch concerns of governance, social change, business to the exciting aesthetic of the unqiue visual and many-coloured kaleidoscope of life outside politics. Lesire is too precious to be downgraded into frivolous.”

Also read: ‘Never let your head stoop as a journalist’

Editor charges prime minister of sabotage

‘Media can’t be in a state of perpetual war’

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