Tag Archives: CSDS

Signature campaign against CSDS poll tracker

As the Chinese might say, the Indian media is living in strange times even before the advent of Narendra Modi.

The Aam Aadmi Party accuses TV stations of being bought over by Modi. Sting operations reveal that opinion pollsters are willing to up their estimates of Modi for a price.

News channels show unedited feeds from Modi’s own cameras as if they were their own. Editorial changes are being made in newspapers and magazines with a change in government in prospect.

Etcetera.

Now, even the Centre for Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) with its formidable reputation as a credible pollster for CNN-IBN, is facing the music.

Yogendra Yadav, for long CSDS’s face on TV during election time, is now a member of AAP, standing from Gurgaon; Madhu Kishwar is a prominent BJP votary, whose interviews with Modi are now being aired on India News and NewsX.

As CNN-IBN (now owned by Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries) airs its “Election Tracker“*, a signature campaign has been launched which scurrilously alleges that the CSDS survey is “a campaign for BJP, not research work”.

Launched by “Manjeet Singh” who claims to be from Patna, the petition on change.org headlined “CSDS poll survey for CNN-IBN will take BJP close to 272 in next 3 days. Is this Research?”, reads (uncorrected):

“It’s not news anymore that the Sanjay Kumar‘s contractors who has funding coming in to their media houses from the big corporates are forcing  Sanjay Kumar reach a figure of close to 272 in the survey.

“CSDS’s credibility is being used for this agenda. Seems that the sting operation on the survey agencies was done to enhance the credibility of CSDS’s survey just before Sanjay Kumar’s closer to 272 projections for the BJP was to appear on Television.”

For the record, CSDS’s surveys for CNN-IBN have seen the BJP numbers go up from 156-164 in July 2013 to 171-179 in November, and 192-210 in January 2014.

* The CNN-IBN election tracker is in association with Week magazine. Disclosures apply.

How Narendra Modi buys media through PR

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The request for proposal (RFP) document of the Gujarat government that sets ‘targets’ for the PR firm that wins the contract to promote Narendra Modi’s image

In the latest issue of Open magazine, its deputy political editor Jatin Gandhi lays his hand on a “Request for Proposal” (RFP) document of the Gujarat government that shows how “almost every day, the Indian media—and sometimes the foreign media too—is tricked or influenced by Narendra Modi‘s public relations machinery”.

Exempli gratia: “Modi’s Rambo act, saves 15,000” (The Times of India, 23 June 2013) .

The RFP besides setting targets for the PR firm that bags the contract (see image, above) also lists what is expected of a PR firm if it bags the contract to manage the Gujarat chief minister’s image.

# The hired PR firm should ‘arrange for national and international media to visit Gujarat and attend various events organized by the different departments of the Government of Gujarat’.

# ‘The number of media personnel for any event shall be decided by the Commissionerate of information after deliberation on the scale of the event.’

# “It is the Firm’s responsibility to arrange for the visits of journalists to Gujarat, any other part of the country or abroad. The expenses for the same will be reimbursed by the Commissionerate of Information on the submission of actual bills.’

The story quotes sources as saying the state government has already borne the expenses of scores of journalists, paying for their flights, travel within Gujarat and stay on assorted occasions (and multiple visits in some cases).

“Senior journalists are usually assured of luncheon meetings with Modi, with seating plans drawn up to boost their egos. The current Indian PR agency (Mutual PR) has so far arranged meetings between Modi and a range of newspaper and magazine editors.

“Starting this year, the government also has a budget allocation for taking journalists abroad on Modi’s foreign visits….

“At the Vibrant Gujarat summit earlier this year, a list of 20 journalists was drawn for a luncheon meeting with Modi. On this list was Madhu Kishwar, editor of Manushi and a fellow at the Delhi-based Centre for Study of Developing Societies, who has turned from being a critic to an advocate of Modi.

“Internal communication accessed by Open shows that the agency was wooing Kishwar, something she firmly denies.

She says that she is writing a book on Modi: “I am going to include a chapter, I think, on the myth and reality of Modi’s PR. There is no PR. I have written angry letters to the CM’s office asking for information for which I have been waiting several weeks now. They are so overburdened.”

“With Kishwar claiming she is oblivious to the machinery at work, the Gujarat government nevertheless gave her special attention because she was seen as one of the lone voices emerging from the ‘the Left liberal space’ favourable to Modi’s policies with ‘captive column space available to her in The Hindu, DNA and Manushi…’

Read the full article: The Modi mythology

Also read: ReutersModi interview: ‘sensational tokenism’

‘Network 18’s multimedia Modi feast: a promo’

For cash-struck TV, Modi is cost-effective TRP

Modi‘s backers, media owners have converged’

How CNN-IBN predicted the UP elections right

Exit polls have lost much of their sheen after some priceless flops. But Yogendra Yadav and his team at the centre for study of developing societies (CSDS) came closest to predicting the Uttar Pradesh elections right, for CNN-IBN, with just a sample of 7,000 in a state of nearly 15 crore people.

Image: courtesy Mail Today

Inclusive media fellowships for journalists 2011

PRESS RELEASE: Inclusive Media for Change, an initiative of the Delhi-based centre for study of developing societies (CSDS), is inviting applications from print and electronic journalists for media fellowships to explore grassroots issues in rural communities.

The fellowships are open to fulltime and freelance English and Hindi journalists. The fellowship duration is 3-6 weeks, and the amount on offer is Rs 150,000.

The topics and projects chosen must be about rural livelihoods, agrarian crises, rural environment, distress migration, hunger, malnutrition, public health and primary education.

Applications must be accompanied by a 500-word synopsis of the project proposal, a break-up of five story ideas, two samples of published work, a rough break-up of travel/boarding requirements, and a supporting letter from the editor assuring leave for four weeks and publication of the fellowship output.

Completed applications can be mailed to im4change.csds@gmail.com

The last date for submission of applications is 30 September 2011.

Also read: Top-6 dailies devote 2% coverage on rural issues

Top-6 dailies devote 2% coverage on rural issues

“India lives in its villages.” “Agriculture accounts for 60% of the Indian economy.” “Two out of every three Indians live in the rural areas.” The cliches abound about Bharat id est India.

Yet, a study of India’s top-three English and Hindi newspapers shows that they devote only a minuscule porportion of their total coverage to rural India’s issues, crises and anxieties.

The journalist Vipul Mudgal, who is currently with the Delhi-based centre for study of developing socieites (CSDS), selected 48 issues of The Times of India, Hindustan Times and The Hindu, and Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhaskar and Amar Ujala from 2009, for the study.

An analysis of the news items in the six top-circulation dailies found that, on average, the papers devoted 2% editorial space for their flagship editions to the issues and concerns of two-thirds of India.

Out of between 100 and 200 items a day, just over three items had a rural theme.

The biggest portion (36%) of even this meagre news coverage was to non-agrarian issues such as crime, general or political (Naxalite-related) violence, accidents and disasters.

There is also little difference in the coverage of rural issues between the English and Hindi dailies, despite the latter being presumed to have their nose to the ground.

“One reason for their lack of interest could be explained by the fact that their readers, advertisers and journalists, particularly in the metropolitan editions, come from urban backgrounds.

“The dailies tend to be more consumer-focused and try to fulfil the needs and aspirations of educated and upwardly mobile urban consumers whose universe often has limited space for issues of poverty and underdevelopment,” writes Mudgal.

Read the fulll article: Rural coverage in Hindi and English dailies

Infographic: courtesy Economic & Political Weekly

Also read: ‘Middle-class media doesn’t speak for the poor’

‘Indian media doesn’t cover 70% of India’s population’

Which is why ‘Times Now’ didn’t do an exit poll?

The verdict in the assembly elections to the five States has been signed, sealed and delivered, but the battle is still on between the English TV news channels, with both Times Now and CNN-IBN making contrasting claims of their leadership on E-day and the accuracy of their exit poll and survey predictions.

As the former Times Now CEO Chintamani Rao wrote some months ago:

“These are not conflicting statements. But when you see the ads from which these claims are quoted, notice the asterisk: *conditions apply. It seems that at every news channel there is someone whose job is to slice and dice TAM data until they find a combination of audience, markets, and dayparts in which that channel is No. 1. The most prolific of these data analysts seems to work at CNN-IBN.”

Nevertheless, Times Now‘s potshot at CNN-IBN’s post-poll survey—“get the right picture, not the wrong figures”—is interesting because, for all its heft, Times Now was happy doing a a cheap “poll of polls” debate in the studio, while CNN-IBN was spending good money to feel the pulse of the nation through Yogendra Yadav‘s CSDS.

CSDS got many things wrong, but at least it is better to have spent and failed than not to have spent at all?

Also read: It’s their opinion that they have done an exit poll

With so many polls, somebody had to get it right?

Never let facts come in the way of a good story

‘Editors and senior journos must declare assets’

Indian Express editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta attacked environmentalists in a recent column.

“Drive out… don’t fly,” he wrote, and you will find bounteous fields in Punjab and Haryana, and not the caked, cracked and dried mud-flats with withered saplings that characterise drought that afflicts half the districts in India today.

Reason: the foresight of regional leaders and some central governments, which invested heavily in irrigation in the 1950s and ’60s. This, said Gupta, had happened because:

“…most of this was done in decades when the most retrograde and jholawala movements in the history of mankind had not yet arrived on the scene.”

The labelling and stereotyping has provoked a ferocious reply from the political scientist, Aditya Nigam, a fellow at the Centre for Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), on the website Kafila, whose tagline screams “Run from Big Media”.

Nigam writes:

“…It is equally common knowledge that increasingly opinion makers in the media—editors and senior journalists in particular—are known to be making huge amounts of extra income (and other forms of assets like free shares, houses and so on) from sources other than those provided by their employment.

“This self important and self-righteous tribe of people in contemporary India who think they are above every body else and cannot open their mouths without a claiming a moral high ground, also needs to be made accountable.

“We are not suggesting that any particular person is in the pay of anybody else—even though the grapevine has innumerable stories to that effect—of the ultimate moral corruption of most mediapersons. But surely when opinions are expressed as ‘disinterested’ and ‘objective’, the public must have the right to know whether these opinions are actually disinterested. And what better way can there be when politicians have to disclose their incomes, and we are calling upon judges as well to follow suit, that we also demand the same of editors and mediapersons.”

Candidates in elections have to declare their assets and liabilities before the elections. Bureaucrats do too. And now judges have joined the ranks.

Should journalists follow suit?

Read the full article: ‘Editors and journalists must declare their assets’