Posts Tagged ‘Abhijit Majumder’

J.DEY: “When eagles are silent, parrots jabber”

11 June 2011

sans serif records with regret the demise of Jyotirmoy Dey, investigations editor of the tabloid Mid-Day, in a pointblank shootout in Bombay on Saturday, 11 June 2011.

The killing in broad daylight brings into sharp focus India’s much-vaunted journalistic freedom, positing it directly against Pakistan’s, which has seen over a dozen journalists being bumped off in recent months.

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J. Dey‘s byline adorned crime stories in India’s commercial capital for nearly a quarter of a century in a number of newspapers, including the Indian Express and Hindustan Times.

According to Mid-Day editor Sachin Kalbag, Dey had exposed the Rs 10,000 crore oil mafia only last month.

Dey’s story on the Bollywood actor Salman Khan boasting of his underworld links in a conversation with Aishwarya Rai was the lead story of the launch issue of Hindustan Times‘ Bombay edition in 2005.

Besides a book on the underworld appropriately titled Khallas, Dey had authored a book on police informers titled Zero Dial in 2010. Zero Dial was released by the controversial Maharashtra politician Chhagan Bhujbal, who today said, “Dey wasn’t blackmailing anybody“.

In a 2009 story in Mid-Day, titled Bhai-cha Dhakka, Dey reported on how the underworld was creeping into the mainstream.

“The underworld today is a clear departure from what it was between the 70s and 90s. From controlling bootlegging, gambling and smuggling, the gangs have now entered businesses like real estate, cinema, sand dredging and waterfront commerce in Mumbai’s ports and even the purchase of vegetables and meat (see box). For the common man this means he unknowingly adds to the coffers of gangs…”

In an opinion piece on the silence of “encounter specialists” last July, Dey wrote:

“When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber. The eagles —encounter specialists—have been silent for far too long. The parrots, or the criminals, have not only begun jabbering but are also flying without fear.”

Former Mid-Day editor Abhijit Majumder described Dey as a softspoken man in the newsroom.

In New Delhi, the Editors Guild of India president T.N. Ninan and general secretary Coomi Kapoor deplored “the law enforcement agencies’ inability to protect the life of a journalist engaged in carrying out his professional duties at great risk to himself.

Rest in peace.

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Mid-Day: Official statementSachin KalbagHis best stories, His colleagues,

DNA: Aditya Sinha

Hindustan Times: Samar Halarnkar, Debashish Panigarhi, Abhijit Majumder

Indian Express: Obituary

Deccan Chronicle: S. Hussain Zaidi

Sting camera that Amitabh Bachchan didn’t see

17 October 2009

bachhancamera

The BBC’s “star of the millennium”, Amitabh Bachchan, has always had a hate-hate relationship with the media, except when he has had to love it to push a product or push himself, which is usually the same thing.

In the first week of his 67th year in the solar system (birthday: October 11),  Mr Bachchan has got his long legs entangled in a classic multimedia landmine.

This time with the Bombay tabloid MiD-DaY.

The paper’s executive editor Abhijit Majumder had sought an interview with the actor to mark his birthday, his 40 years in Bollywood, and the launch of BiggBoss 3. Bachchan, says he was initially willing to do an interview only by email, but relented to give a face-to-face interview.

The interview was published and, not surprisingly, as is usual with celebrities who think an interview is an advertisement, Bachchan complains on his blog that “it did not do justice to the responses I had given”.

What was surprising, says Bachchan, is that a video clip of the interview appeared on MiD-DaY’s website.

Writes he:

“I had never expected either the paper or any one else to have posted something which I would be unaware of. [And] now realize why Mr Majumdar wanted a personal meeting. He had placed a small “sting” camera on the table in front of me, without informing me that the interview was being video taped as well. He never told me that they had a video net facility in operation and that the recorded interview would find a place there.”

Bachchan accuses the editor of dishonesty and says the reason he had sought a one-on-one interview was with the “mala fide intent of recording the interview to be used as a live input on a video electronic facility medium that your paper runs.”

Video electronic facility medium, indeed.

But Majumder has hit back in the paper, printing a photograph of the actor sitting comfortably in front of the “sting” camera, and charging the actor of introducing a new word into journalism: a “sting of one’s own legitimate interview“.

Majumder says he had mentioned to Bachchan in the presence of the paper’s photographer and two unknown gentlemen who also seemed to be videotaping it, that the interview would be recorded on audio and video; that he had asked the actor’s secretary if he could bring along a photographer and somebody to video-record the interview.

“Either you are lying or I am. I would like to believe it is neither; it’s just your memory playing tricks at twilight.”

Of course, it is possible for a 67-year-old to have not spotted the device in front of him. Maybe he thought it was a simple tape-recorder like in the good ol’ days.

But an actor who fails to see a camera lens?

Photograph: courtesy Pradeep Dhivar/ MiD-Day

Link via Anamika Sengupta

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