Daily Archives: 15 September 2009

On India’s TV anniversary, no monkeying around

The 50th anniversary of the inception of terrestrial television in India provided the occasion for one of Doordarshan’s most famous faces, Salma Sultan, to enter the studios of the satellite whipper-snappers.

Talking to Barkha Dutt on NDTV 24×7, Ms Sultan recounted the harrowing experience of having to read from the teleprompter and the challenge of having to correct the script even while reading from it.

“Once the prompter was supposed to read: Purane zamane mein auraton ko band kar rakhthe the (in the olden days, the women used to be held in purdah).

“But some letters were transposed and there was a spelling mistake. The prompter read: Purane zamane mein auraton ko bandar khathe the (in the olden days, monkeys used to eat up women).

“We had to correct and edit ourselves on our fly. But there was great energy and bonding, and I cherish those memories even today.”

Photograph: courtesy The Hindu

Also read: Pratima Puri: India’s first TV news reader passes away

Tejeshwar Singh: A baritone falls silent watching the cacophony


‘If the reader is second to advertiser, you’ve lost’

At the Toronto international film festival, documentary film maker Michael Moore drops some pearls on the state of newspapers:

“In Europe, Japan and other countries, for many—most—of their newspapers, the primary source of funding is circulation, advertising second. In our country [the United States] advertising is the primary source of funding, circulation second.

“Any time you say the people who read your paper are secondary to the business community, you have lost and eventually you are not going to survive. In Europe, they know that in order to keep circulation up, they have to put out a damn good newspaper, something that people read, and they better not cut too many reporters because people are not going to read.”

Also read: How not to ask the right questions (an ongoing series)

Michael Moore takes on CNN (and Sanjay Gupta)

Six questions for Stephen Farrell and NY Times

Tunku Varadarajan, the former foreign correspondent of The Times, London, currently a professor at NYU’s Stern Business School, asks some excellent questions on the abduction and rescue of Stephen Farrell, the “seemingly reckless” New York Times journalist, by the Taliban in Afghanistan, at Forbes.com.

1) Did not Farrell assume the risk of some harm befalling him? Should he have been allowed to suffer the effects of his own recklessness?

2) Does not the enterprise of democracy and informed consent depend on people like Farrell to ferret out information of public value?

3) Can Farrell be held “morally” responsible for the death of the soldier in the course of his rescue? Or were the Brits entitled not to seek to rescue him since he had disregarded specific advice?

4) Should the New York Times reimburse the British government for the cost of the mission to save Farrell (even if it means taking another loan from Carlos Sim)?

5) Should NYT also compensate the families of the dead soldier and Farrell’s “fixer, the Afghan interpreter who too met his end in theĀ  course of the rescue?

6) Should journalists give half the royalties from any books they write to the military, in the event of a costly rescue?

Farrell, according to The Guardian, had been kidnapped twice before “in the line of duty” had earned the enviable tag of “Robohack” from competitors.

Read the full article: The price of a scoop: two dead