Monthly Archives: October 2009

Will India’s greatest questioner raise his hand?

Stephen J. Dubner, the journalist who co-authored Freakonomics with the economist Steven D. Levitt, writes on his blog that the most interesting question thrown in the run-up to their new book, SuperFreakonomics, has come from an (unnamed) Indian journalist.

In fact, the blog post is titled: “The greatest question ever asked?”

The question:

“You state that your book is based on one fundamental assumption about human nature: people respond to incentives. Which is another way of saying that people are basically selfish. Take someone like Jesus Christ. What was his “incentive” to go on the cross?”

Read the full post here: The greatest question ever asked?


Sanskriti Awards for Teresa Rehman, Bahar Dutt

Teresa Rehman Bahar Dutt

Two young journalists, Teresa Rehman (left) of Tehelka and Bahar Dutt of CNN-IBN, are among five winners of the Sanskriti Awards for 2009.

Now in its 30th year, the Sanskriti Awards are given to young talents between 25 and 35 years of age, and will be presented in New Delhi on Novemebr 20, according to a press release. Each award carries Rs 50,000 in cash and a citation.

# An alumnus of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), Teresa Rehman is Tehelka‘s principal correspondent in the Northeast. Her photo-story on an alleged fake encounter in Manipur in June 2009, won global acclaim and was picked up by newspapers and magazines worldwide.

# Bahar Dutt, a trained wildlife conservationist, has worked for the last ten years on key wildlife issues in India and abroad. She played a key role in working with and rehabilitating the Bahelias, a community of snake charmers in Rajasthan and Haryana.

Photographs: courtesy Sanskriti Pratishtan

‘Indian media better than overseas media’


Biting the hand that feeds the oxygen of publicity is a bloodsport among celebrities.

Kabir Bedi, who found his niche in the American TV series Sandokan and later starred in the James Bond film Octopussy, thankfully bucks the trend, in an interview in The Pioneer, Delhi:

Question: Being an ardent follower of news, how do you view media in today’s times?

Kabir Bedi: Media is the fourth pillar of our society. I have great respect for journalists. I myself want to become a journalist but as destiny would have it, I got busy with films, theatre and television and never had time for journalism. In fact, I believe that the content disseminated through print and electronic media in India is far better than what is shown on foreign channels. I am appreciative of the work they do and the important role they play in society.

Photograph: Kabir Bedi as the black corsair in Sergio Solima‘s Il corsaro nero (courtesy rohpress)

Also read: ‘Good journalists, poor journalism, zero standards’

A house for Mr & Mrs Roy for Rs 270,000,000


From The Insider column in the Indian edition of Forbes:

“We hear that that grand old titan [of Indian steel], Russi Mody, is selling his two-storied bungalow on Calcutta’s tony Belvedere Road. Apparently he has a lifetime interest in the property, and it will change hands only after he passes on.

“One of our avian friends tells us that the Roys of NDTV are close to finalising a deal, for around Rs 27 crore.

Prannoy Roy doesn’t have much of a connection with the City aside from his Bengaliness, but Radhika Roy grew up there. Perhaps that will be their retirement home? Not that we’re expecting them to be putting up their feet anytime soon. After all Mr. Mody, despite the legendary 16-egg breakfasts, is in robust health. Prannoyda, we’re sure you’ll join us in wishing you a long wait!”

For the record, Forbes India is published by Raghav Bahl‘s Network 18 which competes with NDTV’s news, business and lifestyle channels.

Photograph: courtesy Queen Mary University of London

Also read: 26% of India’s most powerful are media barons

The 11 habits of India’s most powerful media pros

‘The endgame is near for both NDTV and TV18’

An ‘A List’ most A-listers don’t want to be a part of

India’s best editors, wiser than rest together?


Via Twitter, CNN-IBN editor-in-chief Rajdeep Sardesai, names the “most outstanding election analysts across channels” on counting day, October 22. His verdict: Kumar Ketkar, editor of the Marathi daily Loksatta, and Palagummi Sainath, rural affairs editor of The Hindu, both of whom were on CNN-IBN.

“Wiser than all Delhi editors put together,” says Sardesai, whose own election show had the usual sprinkling of said “Delhi editors”, who also appeared on CNN-IBN.


Also read: Don’t ask me, ask her. Don’t ask me, ask him

… may please treat this as a personal invitation


The names of the key engineers who demolished the great wall in Indian journalism—the proprietors, the publishers, the brand managers, the spineless editors and journalists who refused to stand up to the advertiesrs and space sellers—are missing from the gabfest of the Foundation for Media Professionals.

Were they not invited?

Or did they decline to come?

Also read: Pyramid Saimira, Tatva & Times Private Treaties

Times Private Treaties gets a very public airing

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

Does he who pays the piper call the tune?

SALIL TRIPATHI: The first casualty of a cosy deal is credibility

Selling the soul? Or sustaining the business?

PAUL BECKETT: Indian media holding Indian democracy ransom

Does he who pays the piper call the tune?

PRATAP BHANU MEHTA: ‘Indian media in deeply murky ethical territory’

The scoreline: Different strokes for different folks

A package deal that’s well worth a second look