Monthly Archives: May 2008

Does death not count if it ain’t due to terrorism?

A grand total of 80 people died in the serial blasts in Jaipur last Tuesday. A grand total of 134 people have died (so far) in the hooch tragedy in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over the weekend. If you take Bangalore and Kolar together, the toll stands at 75.

How do we react to both, as human beings and as media persons, notwithstanding the fact that the former walked into death and the latter bought it, willy-nilly?

A terror attack sends the nation into a furious spell of breast-beating and finger-pointing. Sketches of the culprits, debates on POTA. Pakistan or Bangladesh? OB vans roll in, correspondents file tear-jerkers. NRIs and other pseudo-patriots break into a sweat over “minority appeasement”. Vasundhara Raje finds the time to Walk the Talk with Shekhar Gupta. Compensation of Rs 5 lakh.

Get ready for a candle-light vigil.

A hooch tragedy is just the bad news before the break at dinner time. The hospitals are only slightly better than the slums the victims live/d in. No stories of kids cruelly orphaned by the killer brew. Politicians and officials play a game they have played before—hide and “speak”—with alacrity. Sonia Gandhi won’t be making a visit. Rs 10,000 in compensation.

Is there a preferred way to die, post-9/11?

Does death not count if it isn’t due to terrorism?

If we can’t stop a homegrown hooch tragedy, you bet we will stop international terrorism.

Photograph: A panoramic shot of pristine D.G. Halli, where most of the victims, hailed from (Karnataka Photo News)

Also read: Does not count if it isn’t due to terrorism-Part I?

All terrorism can be traced to injustice, inequality


Old habits die hard for a ‘new’ newspaper?

Sakaal Times, the English newspaper owned by Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar‘s nephew Abhijit Pawar, designed by Mario Garcia with former Times of India editor Dileep Padgaonkar playing a key editorial role, has run into trouble less than a fortnight after its launch in Poona.

The blog Pen Pricks has detected plagiarisation of content in an editorial published yesterday, 19 May 2008 on healthcare. The piece has allegedly lifted a huge chunk (highlighted above) from an article by Leena V. Gangolli, Ravi Duggal and Abhya Shukla published at

Read the full article here: Mottled dawn: Sakaal Times plagiarises editorial

Editorial image: courtesy Pen Pricks

Line, length, swing in the air, nip off the pitch

Writers Shashi Deshpande and Girish Karnad at the inauguration of an exhibition of cartoons of the late Maya Kamath, cartoonist of the Asian Age and Deccan Herald before her demise, at the Indian Cartoon Gallery in Bangalore, on Monday.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

‘American media misleading the American public’

A journalist’s twin points of references should be the real and the important. But, for months, the focus of the coverage of the presidential elections in the United States has been on trivia, writes Gabor Steingart in Der Spiegel, thus misleading the American public.

Instead of addressing important issues of war and peace, health and globalisation that stares Americans in the eye, the American media, writes Steingart, has been dishing up the dirt on Barack Obama‘s lapel pins and pastor, John McCain‘s mistress, Hillary Clinton‘s Bosnia trip goofup.

“One cannot blame the journalists alone for the decline of journalism. Their importance has diminished more than in any other previous election. They now share newspaper pages and TV broadcasting time with people who call themselves strategists or consultants and who are either in the pay of a party now, or have been in the past….

“Style triumphs over substance, which in the end reflects back on the journalists themselves. Reporters who claim that the decisive criterion of an election is whether the candidate is able to “inspire the American people” should not be surprised if similarly stiff demands are placed on them. That may not be nice, but it’s fair.”

Read the full article: The media’s mini-truths

Even Al Qaida can’t stand frivolous journalism

Al Qaida No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri has kindly “answered” web questions in The New Yorker through the good offices of Andy Borowitz.

A magazine journalist in Manhattan is among those who get lucky.

Stacy in Manhattan asks: I am a journalist for the US publication Tiger Beat. When I heard you would be taking Web questions, I was like OMG, I have totes to write to him!!! Here are three questions we’re asking celebrities this month:

    1. If you could be any character on “Gossip Girl,” who would you be?
    2. Who would be a better friend, Lauren on “The Hills” or Ashley Tisdale in “High School Musical”?
    3. Who is hotter, Zac Efron or Joe Jonas? (LOL)

      Ayman al-Zawahiri writes: “May you and everyone at your magazine burn in Hell.”

      Read the other questions and answers: Ask the Jihadist

      NBA workshop on media and development

      PRESS RELEASE: Sarvodaya Press Service, Indore, Vikas Samwad, Bhopal, and the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) have jointly organised the “Sanjay Sangvai Memorial Consultation on Media and Development” at Badwani, Madhya Pradesh, from May 21-23.

      The tentative outline of the programme includes:

      1) Current Paradigm of Development: Issues relating to big dams and water management; land acquisition and displacement.

      2) Media and People’s Movements: Political role and space.

      3) Media and Development: In the context of neo-liberal policies.

      The workshop, which will be followed by a visit to the Narmada valley, will bring together veteran and eminent journalists of the print and electronic media from all over the country.

      Further details from

      When the OB vans came rolling in

      At the shootout at Virginia Tech last year, there were 130 satellite vans on campus, roughly translating to one van for each of the 33 students killed.

      It wasn’t as bad in Bellary in Karnataka today, but outside broadcasting vans lined up by the horde for the elections to the Karnataka legislative assembly. Polling in the iron-ore rich constituency was expected to be violent given the high stakes but turned out to be largely peaceful.

      Photograph: Karnataka Photo News