Daily Archives: 28 August 2007

VINTON CERF: The end is near for television

The Godfather of the Internet says television, as we know it, is rapidly approaching the same kind of crunch moment that the music industry faced with the arrival of the MP3 player.

“Eighty-five per cent of all video we watch is pre-recorded, so you can set your system to download it all the time,” said Vinton Cerf. “You’re still going to need live television for certain things — like news, sporting events, and emergencies—but increasingly it is going to be almost like the iPod, where you download content to look at later.

“People would soon be watching the majority of television programmes through the Internet. And that revolution could herald the death of the traditional broadcast TV channel in favour of new interactive services.

“In Japan you can already download an hour’s worth of video in 16 seconds. And we’re starting to see ways of mixing information together… imagine if you could pause a TV programme and use your mouse to click on different items on the screen and find out more about them.”

Read the full story: Coming: Television’s iPod moment


Jaffna journo hasn’t gone home for 13 months

Murders, kidnappings, threats, censorship… It’s all in a day’s work for journalists in war-ravaged Jaffna, in northern Sri Lanka, according to a report of an international fact-finding mission, making it one of the most dangerous places to work in or report from in the world.

One newspaper (Valampuri) is down to just five correspondents, down from 75 last year.  One journalist at Uthayan has not left his office for 13 months for fear of his life. And newspapers are carrying more national and international news than local reports because their staff is afraid.

“At least seven media workers, including two journalists, have been killed there since May 2006 (when the fighting resumed). One journalist is missing and at least three media outlets have been physically attacked. Dozens of journalists have fled the area or abandoned the profession… in the last one year newspapers in the town have “lost” 90 per cent of their journalist and non-journalistic staff.”

Read the full story here: Jaffna, a ‘nightmare’ for journalists

Related report: Statement of IPI and Freedom of Expression Mission

The first pictures of the first modern genocide

“You have already been informed that the government… has decided to destroy completely all the indicated persons… Their existence must be terminated, however tragic the measures taken may be, and no regard must be paid to either age or sex, or to any scruples of conscience.”

The incomparable Robert Fisk uncovers the Armenian massacre in today’s Independent, London.

Read the full story here: The forgotten holocaust

‘We, the abominable dregs of planet earth…’

“The lowest depth to which people can sink before god is defined by the word ‘journalist.’ If I were a father and had a daughter who was seduced I should despair over her; I would hope for her salvation. But if I had a son who became a journalist and continued to be one for five years, I would give him up’.”

Soren Kierkegaard

Link via Greenslade

‘Conventional journalism serves the powerful’

PALAGUMMI SAINATH, the Magsaysay Award winning rural affairs editor of The Hindu, spoke to Sunil Sethi, the books editor of NDTV, over the weekend, on why he chose to do what he chose to do: report from India’s remotest villages on the poor and the marginalised:


“In 1983-84, we had a very large drought in India. I was a very conventionally trained reporter… news agencies, newspapers, etc. I went out to cover it.

“The power of what I experienced… I found that the kind of journalism we practiced was completely inadequate to express that power. Because we end up always giving the final word to figures of authority.

“‘The collector said’, ‘the prime minister said’, although the collector may be a bloke who came there just 15 days ago. We privilege that collector’s statement over that of a farmer who has tilled the land there for 45 years. That’s stupid, that’s bad journalism.

“That’s when I came to the conclusion that conventional journalism is about the service of power. Journalism has two streams, journalism and stenography. We (in conventional journalism) really function as stenographers to the powerful.

“Again, in 1991, hunger deaths surfaced in independent india for the first time. This was just 90 kms from the nation’s richest city. We all wrote stories, won awards, but I was thoroughly ashamed. Had we reported better, those children could have been alive.

“Indian media is very good at covering events, not processes… It is a  paradox of the Indian media that good talent has come in at a time of great bankruptcy of media leadership. The dumbing down process is also looking at how to dumb down journalists. We take out them out of school/ college but the fundamanetal feature is the disconnect between mass media and mass reality.”

Also read: India is a nation of two planets: rich and poor

Ramon Magsaysay Award for P. Sainath