Tag Archives: NDTV 24×7

When ‘Indian Express’ gave ‘The Hindu’ a story

N. Ram (left) with Shekhar Gupta at a meeting in 2011 with Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan (right)

In October 1989, when The Hindu‘s then associate editor, N. Ram, was stopped in his tracks by his uncle and editor, G. Kasturi, from publishing the third part of an investigation into the Bofors gun deal, Ram found a novel method of getting the story out.

He called a press conference and handed out the story—done in collaboration with the paper’s Geneva correspondent Chitra Subramaniam—to any newspaper interested in carrying it.

In much the same manner, Indian Express editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta has revealed how, in 2006, he found a way of getting out a story related to the elevation of a Delhi high court to the Punjab and Haryana high court, by giving the third part of the story to The Hindu.

***

In a Walk the Talk interview with Gupta on NDTV 24×7 last week, the serial letter-writer Subhash Agarwal revealed how a family dispute led to his becoming a right to information (RTI) activist.

Agarwal’s uncle, Hari Ram, had filed a case against his father in 1991.

Hari Ram’s son-in-law was, at the time, a judge in the Delhi High Court (Justice Arun Kumar). The case was heard by Justice Vijendra Jain. The two judges knew each other well enough for Justice Jain to lend his official residence to be used by the petitioner Hari Ram, for his grand-daughter’s wedding.

This was in violation of one of the elements of the Code of Conduct or “Restatement of Judicial Values”, adopted by the Full court in 1997 which said no judge shall hear and decide a case of his relative or friend.

The wedding invitation card, with the judge’s residence printed on it, became the evidence for Subash Agarwal to approach both the Supreme Court and the President of India in 2005.  The chief information commissioner’s verdict showed the power of RTI.

Justice Vijendra Jain was later made chief justice of the Punjab and Haryana high court, but his elevation to the Supreme Court as a judge was stalled, despite the then chief justice Y.K. Sabharwal reportedly overruling the recommendation of the President of India, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

Shekhar Gupta: So you discovered then the power of RTI which nobody had figured until then?

Subash Agarwal: Yes. The media made me strong. The media highlighted the CIC verdict and that shook the whole of the judiciary.

What happened to these judges then?

After the CIC verdict was published in the media, there was pressure on my uncle from his son-in-law and his associates in the higher judiciary, which also included the Chief Justice of India. And then he had to compromise though we had to pay a price much higher than the value of (the disputed) property at that time.

But the fact also is that one particular judge who later rose to be Chief Justice in a High Court could not ultimately come to the Supreme Court because of your activism.

Right. Mr Kalam held the file of promotion of that judge for elevation to the Supreme Court.

Even though the Chief Justice nearly overruled [the then President], Dr A.P.J. Kalam.

Yes.

You remember that The Indian Express was in the forefront of following that story from Rashtrapati Bhavan. It’s a story I cannot yet tell on camera but we paid gravely for that, but we were willing to pay.

Yes. Your paper has always been the pioneer in highlighting such malpractices.

I made this disclosure public that our third story on that issue, I had to then, with great respect and understanding, give to The Hindu, to Mr N Ram, who played a great editor and published it instead because circumstances were such that the Express could not have carried it…So, this was the first time that an RTI activist actually prevented a judge who had risen to the level of High Court Chief Justice from coming to the Supreme Court.

He had almost reached the Supreme Court.

Coincidentally, in November 2006, the Indian Express‘ new editorial headquarters in the Qutub institutional area was “sealed”  following a Supreme Court judgement.

Ironically, in 2011, The Indian Express and The Hindu were involved in a noisy battle, after N. Ram threatened “defamation proceedings” against the Express for reporting on the internecine war within the Hindu family.

Photograph: courtesy in.com

Read the full interview: Jan Andolan activism has failed’

Also read: Letter-writer secures win against top judge

Advertisements

‘TV is manufacturing news & consent for State’

Former NDTV and Headlines Today reporter Sandeep Bhushan, now an academic at the Jamia Millia Islamia, in the Economic & Political Weekly:

“The news studio has become the site for “manufacturing” news and consent on behalf of the beleaguered state. This is largely the product of an unprecedented financial crisis which has threatened media’s advertisement-based revenue model, forcing it to cut costs and increase dependence on the state, the financial market, and other cash-rich promoters who are jostling to move into, arguably, India’s most powerful medium.

“Taken together, these have ended up making the owners/promoters, rather than editors, the prime drivers of television news content….

“Post the economic meltdown, the most grievous blow has been suffered by two key institutions that are lynchpins of news systems anywhere in the world, the editor and the reporter. Increasingly, the locus of power in news operations has shifted to the studios – the promoters and their hand-picked editors. This has resulted in a near complete centralisation of news-gathering operations….

“Studios have increasingly become a metaphor for “state”. A studio is the site where “consent” is manufactured on behalf of the existing power relations. Herman and Chomsky term this the “propaganda model”, though their context is different. The model has inbuilt filters that ensure marginalisation of “dissent” and allows the “government and dominant private interests to get their messages across to the public”. They enumerate five filters, the most relevant for us include wealth and profit orientation of the dominant media, advertising revenues as their incomes, and reliance on government, corporate sector and sundry “experts” for information.”

Read the full article: Manufacturing news

Also read: How promoters killed the TV news reporter

Now, NewsX says it is the ‘No.1 English channel’

If our TV stations cannot even put out numbers of their viewership which have a faint whiff of credibility, can they real put out news and views that news consumers can trust and believe?

NewsX, the news channel which has already seen three sets of owners since its launch, is running crawlers on its screens and advertisements on websites, claiming that it was the “most watched English channel” on May 8, when the Karnataka election results came out.

By splicing and dicing TAM data, NewsX manages to show that Times Now was the least watched of the five major English news channel.

On the other hand, Times Now too is running print advertisements of its viewership on results day. Not surprisingly, this shows that Times Now was the most watched, with NewsX not even in the frame.

timesnow

Also read: The most-watched TV news show at 9 pm is…

Lots of people watch Lok Sabha TV. Surprised?

Headlines Today claims it has overtaken Times Now

Headlines Today claims it’s overtaken Times Now

In a non-stop season of scams, you would expect television watchers to switch on private TV stations to get the plain, unvarnished truth?

Well, think again.

Hindustan Times once again reports that the most-watched news shows between 8 pm and 10 pm are those on the state-owned Doordarshan News.

The paper reports that the 8 pm Hindi show on the free-to-air channel had a gross rating point of 1.22 for the week ending April 27—and the 9 pm English show Newsnight had a GRP of 1.14, ahead of Times Now, CNN-IBN, NDTV 24×7 and Headlines Today.

The HT report also quotes the information and broadcasting minister Manish Tiwari, who says:

“What these ratings indicate is the rapidly changing perception of viewers about the kind of television they like to watch and is perhaps an occasion to introspect for those who have made sensationalism their staple.”

Interesting if true.

And, if true, the numbers below, which also use TAM ratings, become interesting.

Images: courtesy Hindustan Times, Mail Today

***

Also read: The most-watched TV news show at 9 pm is…

Lots of people watch Lok Sabha TV. Surprised?

Sharp, sensitive, substantive (conditions apply)

The poll straws. They are a-blowing at DD News

India’s most-watched TV news show at 9 pm is…

India’s most-watched TV news show at 9 pm is, pinch yourself, DD News!

Hindustan Times reports in its gossip columns that News Night:

“the primetime news show [on DD News] between 9 pm and 10 pm topped the TAM ratings last week with 66% market share, four times the channel which comes next.”

Interesting, if true.

And if true, the numbers below, which also use TAM ratings, become interesting.

tn

Also read: Lots of people watch Lok Sabha TV. Surprised?

Sharp, sensitive, substantive (conditions apply)

The poll straws. They are a-blowing at DD News

‘Arnab Goswami is corrective to babalog media’

arnab

Bangalore, the home of City Tab, India’s original weekly tabloid, now has a new weekly: Talk.

Edited by former Indian Express and Yahoo! staffer S.R. Ramakrishna, Talk also features a weekly satire page called Ayyotoons, illustrated by Satish Acharya.

The latest issue features Times Now* editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami.

***

At the turn of 2012, the columnist Swapan Dasgupta nominated Goswami as his man of the year gone by:

“Arnab’s foremost contribution to the public discourse (at least the English language discourse which still sets the tone for others) is his unending search for what “the nation” wants to know.

“The definition of his imagined community is important. Hitherto, the media was reasonably modest in its inquisitiveness. Its rationale for demanding answers was invariably couched in terms of either ‘viewer interest’ or, at best, ‘the public interest’.

“In projection the ‘nation’ as the inquisitor — and I notice that even in rival channels ‘nation’ is fast becoming a substitute to the more passive use of the ‘country’ — Arnab has succeeded in doing something quite remarkable: he has successfully made ‘nationalism’ the core attribute for assessing public life.   This is a remarkable feat….

“In an environment where others were highlighting the values of cosmopolitanism, internationalism, liberalisation and oozing concern for the human rights of every extremist who sought the vivisection of India, Arnab re-popularised the validity of proud nationalism.

“For helping India recover this eroding inheritance, ‘the nation’ must be thankful to him. He has been the best corrective to the babalog media.”

* Disclosures apply

External reading: Arnab wins Bharat as ‘nation wants to know’

Lots of people watch Lok Sabha TV. Surprised?

It doesn’t look pretty when a free-to-air public service broadcaster gets into the TRP race.

Lok Sabha TV, the channel of the lower house of Parliament, has issued newspaper advertisements through the audio-visual publicity department (DAVP) of the government, of the viewership commanded by it in Delhi during the first week of March—when the results for the assembly elections to five States came out—and except for Times Now*, the news isn’t too good for the rest.

* Disclosures apply

Also read: Every channel is a winner in great poll race