Daily Archives: 8 May 2007

Why banks don’t issue credit cards to journos

Like lawyers and policemen, software professionals and self-employed businessmen, (most not all) Indian journalists are denied credit cards by banks. Because, says rediff.com founder Ajit Balakrishnan, “They believe they have heard of enough cases of delinquent journalists who have written negative articles about his “harrowing experience” in an attempt to evade the bill collector.”

“Perfectly credit worthy people are denied credit cards merely because they are ‘profiled’ as belonging to a category. And bill collection is governed sometimes using the laws of the jungle…

“The consequence of all this is India has just ten million active unique credit card uses where this by any account should have been closer to fifty million.”

Read the full blog here: If you are Sikh, Muslim or a journalist


Working in your shorts, the dog by your side

Indonesia is in many ways like India. The internet is slow and expensive. Proficiency in the English language isn’t quite at its optimum. Working full time at a desk in an office is seen to be the honourable thing to do. But none of those hurdles have stopped Budi Putra,  34, from quitting his job at the Tempo Group and plunging full time into blogging as a profession.

I have always asked myself: “What do people expect when visiting a blog?”

My answer is: current news, worthy content, valuable information, and at the same time also a space for writers to highlight their personal perspectives…

“My family is really happy because I have lots of time with them now while doing my jobs from home. I have more time to go to the movies, play with my kid, and it’s all good…”

Click here to visit Budi Putra’s blog

Read the full article on Oh My News: Indonesia’s first full-time blogger

93 seconds to knock 93 years of a hero’s life

At a time when of much of what the media dishes out is what its subjects want to put in the public realm, a scoop  Q&A interview has become a prized trophy in journalism. Undiluted and straight from the horse’s mouth, it is a direct dialogue between the interviewee and the audience.

But can the interviewee make use of the situation and peddle scurriolous, malicious bazaar gossip to sell a book? Does the interviewer have no role to put the accuser to greater scrutiny other than acting as a stenographer? And is it OK for the media to air whatever charges an interviewee makes as long as it seems to be doing the correct thing of getting a couple of talking heads to defend the “victim”?

These are the questions that arise from Karan Thapar‘s interview with the former Pakistan foreign minister Gohar Ayub Khan, son of dictator General Ayub Khan, in which Gohar Khan indicates that India’s first Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw was a Pakistani spy, who sold India’s 1965 war plan to the enemy.

Journalistically, of course, the interview is an explosive scoop. However, merely because a loose-mouthed Pakistani says it on air and on camera, does it necessarily make it credible? And can it be repeated ad nauseam without giving  a chance for the “accused” and ailing soldier to respond?

CNN-IBN, the channel which aired the interview, has tried to back-pedal by getting military officers and politicians to defend Manekshaw. The interviewer himself—who had recently conducted an interview with Lieutenant General J.F.R. Jacob who suggested that Manekshaw didn’t know how to fight—has sought to convey that he isn’t doing a hatchet job on behalf of the military establishment miffed at Manekshaw getting Rs 1.6 crore in back wages.

But can a 93-year-old man’s pride and prestige as the icon of Indian heroism, for liberating Bangladesh, be demolished in 93 seconds flat by a media seeking sensational headlines?

Cross-posted on churumuri

If you’ve been feeling nice about yourself…

If you’ve been nice and warm about being a journalist, relax, calm down, and take a couple of deep breaths. Because you—we—are in the exalted company of the Al-Qaeda, drug cartels, and war lords. Whether that is better than being ranked alongside lawyers and prostitutes, is for you to judge. But yes, the US military lists the media as a “non-traditional threat”. Roger.

Read the full article: Military identifies media as non-traditional threat