Monthly Archives: January 2008

Just another day in the life of a TV cameraman

A television news team is targetted by Palestinian snipers but the cameraman keeps filming, capturing the fear and the uncertainty, all the while knowing that the next bullet could rip through the lenseye.

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‘Indian media in deeply murky ethical territory’

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has, in a party resolution, decried cross-media ownership and warned of the growth of monopolies in the Indian media. It has also slammed the corporatisation of the media, and demanded that the brakes be applied on foreign direct investment in the media which “has made a section of the media pro-western, anti-political and anti-communist”.

“The purveying of mindless violence, sex and obscurantism has grown exponentially with the proliferation of the electronic media,” the resolution said, adding that in the name of the freedom of media, “naked commercialisation” had become rampant, while “unethical practices” were being overlooked.

Serious charges, whichever way you look at them. You would have expected a big debate in the media on the issues thrown up the CPI(M), instead of casting aspersions on the messenger or doubting his motives. Well, keep expecting, for all that has come by way of a response from the media has been silence—deafening and unanimous.

The former Harvard don, Pratap Bhanu Mehta, who heads the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi, alone among the intellectuals has offered a response in the Indian Express:

“The blunt truth is that there is a quiet crisis of credibility facing the Indian media…. On the surface, there is a simple story about accountability in Indian media. On this view, there is competition; and competition, we assume, produces accountability. But competition alone does not work on many dimensions.

“Although related, competition for advertising revenues is not the same thing as competition for the needs of readers. Both have different logics. There is a sense in which intellectual ambition is a genuinely public good, but is under-supplied by the market.

“The Indian media cannot be accused of a lack of diversity of opinion; equally it cannot be accused of having high intellectual, professional or aesthetic ambition for its outputs….

“It is a measure of the declining credibility of the media that almost no paper is widely regarded as a journal of record. As someone once put it, there are often more subtexts than texts….

“The Indian media has crossed into deeply murky ethical territory without even minimal public debate, self-reflection and media outrage. How deep conflicts of interest run in the Indian media, who is involved, what forms of advocacy or self-censorship these impose, ought to be a matter of grave concern. But what is astonishing is how little space there is in the media to acknowledge that there are serious issues here.”

Read the full article here: People’s media

SUCHETA DALAL: Forget the news, you can’t trust the ads either

CHURUMURI POLL: No to cross-media ownership?

Due to unforeseen circumstances…

In life as in journalism, death is a grim business. The passing of a publication, any publication, is not something to make fun of. Still, this notice, which appears on the homepage of The Astrological Magazine, should bring a faint smile:

“We regret to announce that due to unforeseen circumstances beyond our control, the publication of The Astrological Magazine will cease with the December 2007 issue.”

Link via India Uncut

The media and the stock market collapse

Indian stock markets plunged by 7.4 per cent on Monday, and closed another 4.97 per cent down on Tuesday. The fall, much more precipitous than other Asian and global markets, left small investors nursing their wounds and mourning their phenomenal losses, much of it notional.

As the stock markets had soared, the Indian media had thrown all balance to the winds, painting the “India Story” as one which would never end. When the fledgling Reliance Power was making its initial public offering last week, television stations were offering advice on how to open demat accounts.

Little wonder first-time investors are blaming the media in an indirect sort of way for not cautioning them enough, for painting so rosy a picture that they thought there was no dark side.

The BBC’s Karishma Vaswani quotes one first-timer:

“I thought this (the stock market) was somewhere I could put my money safely and grow it, rather than putting in the bank like my dad did,” said Gauravi Sharma.

“My parents had never invested in Indian shares, they said it was unsafe. But I thought, after everything I heard on TV and in the news, that this was the right place to put my money. Now I’m not so sure.”

The shortest route to a journalist’s heart…

The shortest route to a journalist’s heart still continues to be through the liver, in the perception of bureaucrats and politicians.

Ajith Athrady brings glad tidings in Deccan Herald:

“The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has hiked budgetary allocation norms to entertain journalists.

“It has enhanced the quantity of wine that can be served to them on rare occasions–doubling the existing quantity. Not just that. Journalists can also expect to get premium quality spirit as the per-head monetary provision too has been hiked.

“Ministry insiders explain that the old norms were evolved long time ago when there were only a few brands available in the market. But economic reforms have changed that situation and now the market is flooded new brands. A sign of changing times?”

Entries invited for Miskloc cine festival

MEDIA RELEASE: Do you really feel that filmmaking is the most splendid activity of the world? Would you gladly meet people who have the same hobby; would you watch movies with pleasure; would you happily get new acquaintances, and would you really measure your strength in filmmaking with somebody?

Films, exhibitions, performances, discussions. Do what thousands of people did in the previous years and come to participate in the programs of Cinefest!

Come to Miskolc, where in the course of a unique event you can participate in hundreds of programs and–on the top of that–all these are free of charge!

The rules and conditions are the following: The director of the entry film must be under the age of 35 when shooting the movie, and the completed work has to be finished after 1 January 2006. We are waiting for applications from all over the world. There is no charge of application. The screening of the competition films–previously chosen and accepted by a pre-jury–will take place between 14 and 21 September 2008, in Miskolc.

The prizes of the festival will be donated by an international jury. The works will be rewarded by categories; there will also be a main prize of the festival and lots of special prizes. The total amount of the money prizes is 8,000 Euros.

You can choose from five categories when apply: long feature films, short fiction films, documentary films, animation films, experimental films. Otherwise, this year our Special Competition  Category is “Women in Picture”.

Application form on the internet and the regulations can be downloaded from: www.cinefest.hu

Can the media be as amnestic as its audience?

How much of a memory should the media have? Should it take each day eagerly and feverishly as it comes and rush into judgment regardless of what it reported/opined in the previous day? Should be it be a beacon of balance, proportion, and perspective, even at the risk of alienating its audience?

Santosh Desai, former adman and MD and CEO of Futurebrands, in Tehelka:

Sachin Tendulkar scored a century (in the Sydney cricket Test against Australia) and CNN-IBN asked its viewers if he deserves the Bharat Ratna. Barely three months ago, it was asking if Sachin should retire; Rajdeep Sardesai himself led the charge on that one.

“It is clear that journalists take the role of building monuments and then tearing them down with increasing seriousness. The absence of any tempering memory is striking—it is as if one is responsible for one’s opinions only for the day. Tomorrow, as someone has had occasion to say, is another day.”

Read the full piece: Presenting: A brand new opinion, every day