Posts Tagged ‘Indian media’

India’s media boom – The worm inside the apple

One assumes that media know media and propaganda better! We are wrong ... (Cartoonist -  Matt Wuerker).

One assumes that media knows media and propaganda better! We are wrong ... (Cartoonist - Matt Wuerker).

Money alone is not enough

Indian media is seen as a sunshine sector. Foreign investors have invested a few US$ billion for minority stakes in various media companies. TV viewership is exploding. Newspaper circulation, advertising is climbing. Internet media is getting sophisticated.

Therefore, one would assume that better funding would remove all existential reasons for unethical behaviour. Given this, it is  disturbing to see media companies, resort to unethical behaviour.

Are we over-reacting

As a recent report suggests,

While talking about newspapers publishing paid news, either for politicians or for corporate entities, is one thing, proving it is quite another. Many have suspected, for instance, that the “private treaties” publishers like the Times of India group have are nothing but paid news — the newspaper gets equity in your company in return for free ad space; but since the value of the newspapers’ investment goes up only when your company does well, the allegation is various newspapers tend to publish only good news about their “private treaty” companies. But how do you prove it?

It’s much the same in the case of politicians. Saying they’re all corrupt is easy. (via Sunil Jain: No one published paid news).

Slanted news … anyone?

A year ago, during a Chief Minister’s conference on terrorism, there were blatant efforts to ‘take down’ BJP Chief Ministers with unflattering photographs. We now have another example.

I wonder why Outlook, a respected magazine and Vinod Mehta, a respected editor, carried this not-so-humourous post on the CWG-Corruption scandal and the BJP President Nitin Gadkari? Was this another piece of ‘paid journalism’. This was supposed to be part of humour series where ‘even’ Manmohan Singh was targeted.

What would people do in a pig’s heaven?

I wonder why this kind of journalism reminds me of people in a pig’s heaven!

Advertiser-paid media seems to be the same everywhere (Cartoonist -  Berkeley Breathed).

Advertiser-paid media seems to be the same everywhere (Cartoonist - Berkeley Breathed). Click for larger image in another window

The road from Copenhagen | Ed Miliband | Comment is free | The Guardian

December 26, 2009 Leave a comment
Stop this scaremongering! We got enough problems of our own to worry about yours!

Stop this scaremongering! We got enough problems of our own to worry about yours!

We did not get an agreement on 50% reductions in global emissions by 2050 or on 80% reductions by developed countries. Both were vetoed by China, despite the support of a coalition of developed and the vast majority of developing countries. Indeed, this is one of the straws in the wind for the future: the old order of developed versus developing has been replaced by more interesting alliances. (via The road from Copenhagen | Ed Miliband | Comment is free | The Guardian).

Old bulldog … old tricks

President Bharrat Jagdeo. *Photo credit:

President Bharrat Jagdeo. *Photo credit:

Gordon Brown, The British Prime Minister declared, “today, together with Norway and Australia, the UK is taking a further step to a Copenhagen agreement: publishing a framework for the long-term transfer of resources to meet the mitigation and adaptation needs of developing countries.” (Paris Hilton note, who the PM of Britain is!)

More interesting was when Europe went ahead and committed funds and disbursed carbon credits. Small amounts – but nevertheless a significant step! So, what gives! How come Europe was disbursing – not serious money, but more than pocket money, without using IMF, World Bank, et al. No UN! How come?

Anglo-Euro efforts

The joint trojan operation (Norway, Australia and UK + EU) against China (or was it India?) was immaculately pursued. Bernarditas de Castro Muller, former lead coordinator and negotiator for the G77 and China in Copenhagen, writing in the Guardian of UK, reported,

The UK financed workshops in selected vulnerable countries and deployed climate envoys. One of its envoys told intransigent negotiators that the UK would mobilise a group of vulnerable countries to pressure the major developing countries – such as China, Brazil and India – into committing to emissions reductions, contrary to their obligations under the climate treaty.

The EU for example made sustained attempts to influence and pressure developing nations – something that only served to increase their cohesion. They bribed where they could, promising the same recycled financing and maybe more to come if countries bent to their demands. And they bullied when they could not bribe.

India’s neighbours, like Maldives, Bangladesh were co-opted – as were countries, led people of Indian extract like Caribbean island of Guyana, Mauritius. The strategy was to isolate China and pair India with the ‘vulnerble 14’ – like Maldives, Guyana, Bangldesh, etc. For instance, alongwith Mohammed Nasheed, Bharrat Jagdeo in Guyana, was faultlessly pursued. Long ignored and isolated, countries like Guyana suddenly found themselves in the spotlight.

Agreeably surprised, they wondered how Guyana “received a disproportionate amount of coverage and access given its size for its progressive and leading stance on climate change.” Time magazine nominated Guyanese president Bharrat Jagdeo, as one of Heroes of the Environment 2008. This year Time magazine included Mohammed Nasheed in its Heroes of the Environment 2009. It was also announced,

Stabroek News in Guyana has confirmed that President Bharrat Jagdeo has been nominated for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to combat climate  change. He was nominated by Professor David Dabydeen, Director of the Centre for Caribbean Studies at the University of Warwick.

US actor Harrison Ford and Guyana's President Bharrat Jagdeo at a news conference about forest protection on September 21, 2009 in New York. Photograph: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

US actor Harrison Ford and Guyana's President Bharrat Jagdeo at a news conference about forest protection on September 21, 2009 in New York. Photograph: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

The Commonhealth Heads meeting a few weeks before Copenhagen was supposed to seal this ‘alliance.’ Intriguingly, the French President Sarkozy joined the Commonwealth Summit, with Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen and UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon – and proposed a US$10 billion fund for climate change. Just imagine the French joining in a Commonwealth meet (a first, I would think).

Possibly it was the US efforts which made China and India stand together at Copenhagen.

Why the US did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol?

The political undertones of climate control talks are unravelling. The first major smoke signal was when the USA refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol – while talking about global warming and climate change at the same time. Sometimes puzzling and wholly beyond understanding! The lip service paid by the US to climate change can be best summarized by a Hindi idom हाथी के दांत, खाने के एक, दिखाने के एक. Meaning, elephants have two sets of teeth – one for actual use and another for show.

Cynical subversion of media, honours and public opinion

Cynical subversion of media, honours and public opinion

The third element in the multilateral equations set was the efforts made by Bush /Obama to get India and China to ‘get on the climate change band wagon’ with the US. The Chinese ‘unilateral’ announcement of ‘voluntary’ carbon intensity cut after Obama’s trip to China a few days before Copenhagen was a signpost of this unusual ‘alliance’. India followed soon thereafter with its own ‘voluntary’ carbon intensity cuts. One of the justifications of Bush’s nuclear deal with India was climate change.

This US master-stroke of Obama+BASIC meeting, ensured that the “only breakthrough was the political coup for China and India in concluding the anodyne communiqué with the United States behind closed doors, with Brazil and South Africa allowed in the room and Europe left to languish in the cold outside.”

In hindsight, US covert resistance to climate change was actually resistance to the monopolisation by the EU on the climate change agenda and campaign. Under the garb of climate change, EU was trying to do what US did to the world, under the garb of poverty elimination, population control, Bretton Woods in the aftermath of WW2.

What were the BASIC countries resisting

Writing from a Western standpoint, John Lee, in the Guardian, of the UK, faults China for not allowing,

“Teams of international economists, scientists, inspectors and statisticians roaming China to gather information on carbon emissions and reduction initiatives … reporting to political masters in America and Europe … (on) the further problem of cheating in current and future carbon reduction schemes.” (ellipsis and linking text in brackets mine).

The Climate Change Agreement would have delivered us - hog tied and helpless!

The Climate Change Agreement would have delivered us - hog tied and helpless!

Ed Milliband, Britain’s Energy Minister, younger brother of British foreign secretary, David Miliband, writing for the Guardian,

“We cannot again allow negotiations … to be hijacked in this way. We will need to have major reform of the UN body overseeing the negotiations and of the way the negotiations are conducted (for this) global campaign, co-ordinated by green NGOs, backed by business … we must keep this campaign going and build on it. It needs to be more of a genuinely global mobilisation, taking in all countries …this year has proved what can be done, as well as the scale of the challenge we face. (ellipsis and emphasis mine).

Indeed much has been done.

Face behind the mask

Faceless NGOs, without accountability to anyone, were able to bring global political leadership, to the very brink of an agreement. Like Milliband’s boss, Gordon Brown remarked, “the political will to secure the ambitious agreement … comprehensive and global agreement that is then converted to an internationally legally binding treaty in no more than six months.was very much there. The same 25,000 people (25 countries x 1000 powerful people) who rule over the G8-/OECD wanted the poor to invite these 25,000 to have undue and illegitimate oversight over our ‘poor’ lives – in the name of climate change.

The message I got ... loud and clear

The message I got ... loud and clear

To deliver more than 600 crore (6 billion) of humanity to an agreement that would have allowed the likes of the Milliband Brothers (and their NGO ‘partners-in-crime’) to pry into our lives, our affairs and dictate our very existence – with our own consent. Without recourse, with no checks and balances. With large amounts of unaccounted money at their disposal. To decide how we live our lives. Under a system, that would have re-invented colonialism, in a way wholly unknown to us earlier.

Any deal was a bad deal

Last time around, India was called the deal breaker at Doha. This time around, it is China. Who gets called, what by whom, may seems unimportant! But as my grandfather reminded me many times, बद हो जाओ, लेकिन बदनाम नहीं (Beware of getting a bad reputation).

The Guardian, goes onto say, “Only China is mentioned specifically in Miliband’s article but aides tonight made it clear that he included Sudan, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Cuba, which also tried to resist a deal being signed.” Sadly India is not included in this list of ‘deniers’ who are, as Gordon Brown puts it, “anti-science and anti-change environmental Luddites who seek to stand in the way of progress.”

Climate control noise is just drowning out all debate

Climate control noise is just drowning out all debate

How I wish India was blamed for the failure of Copenhagen!

De-construction of climate change by 2ndlook

The future of news – Indians as the largest consumers /producers of news?

August 30, 2009 1 comment

A take-off on the reality show - Sach Kaa Saamna

A take-off on the reality show - Sach Kaa Saamna

Indians are a news-crazy lot. By all reckoning we have the largest number of news channels and are the second-largest newspaper market in the world. If you add up the average across newspapers, news on TV and news online, in 2008, Indians spent an average of 50 minutes a day consuming news.

During the same period, advertisers spent Rs 12,000-odd crore to reach news audiences in those 50 minutes, according to data put together by Starcom MediaVest, a media buying agency. Add in subscription revenues and news is a roughly Rs 16,000 crore market. That makes it the second-largest media business in India after entertainment — in audience share, topline and (arguably) investor-interest too. (via Vanita Kohli-Khandekar: The future of news).

Interesting bit of analysis. This should make Indian media hopefully less of a Western clone! India as a softpower? The dark cloud on the horizon – the over-important position of English language!

Targetting Yeddyurappa

August 19, 2009 3 comments
At least the Times of India is targetting Yeddyryappa

At least the Times of India is targetting Yeddyurappa

Addressing a press conference after a day-long meeting of the chief ministers convened by the government, Home Minister P Chidambaram said the central government is considering establishment of regional intelligence centres (RICs) to train personnel in intelligence gathering and analysis in view of the grossly inadequate training facilities at present.

He said the states also proposed central procurement of weapons, continuation of the modernisation of police forces (MPF) scheme and a more effective instrument to expedite the road building programme in border as well as Naxal affected areas.

Noting there were 230,000 job vacancies in the constabulary when the last meeting of the CMs was held in January, Chidambaram said the situation had improved and now the number had dropped by almost two-thirds to 150,000. Efforts were also under way to recruit some 84,000 personnel, he added. (via The Tribune, Chandigarh, India – Nation).

Targetting Yedduryappa?

Targetting Yeddyurappa?

While the nation is worried

So, while the nation’s chief ministers were in conference on the terrorism issue, the media was fed with such photographs. On two consecutive days, the Times Of India carried these two photographs. These photographs are no accident.

I am sure all Chief Ministers must have had their forty winks. As anyone can imagine, in public life, sleep is a luxury.  ‘Someone’ had to instruct the photographer(s) to target Yeddyurappa – and ‘catch’ him, when he is catching his forty winks.

The media is playing games

The media, (at least some sections) are targetting the ‘new star’ in the BJP firmament. After all who would have imagined even two years ago, that BJP will single-handedly capture a Southern state. And I am sure the BJP national leaders had little role to play in the BJP win in Karnataka. These attempts to ‘take down’ a new star’ in the BJP firmament, points to media’s complicity in these political games.

Shame on you Times of India.

China is now an empire in denial – Gideon Rachman / / Columnists /

August 10, 2009 11 comments

The Soviet Union ultimately fell apart because of pressure from its different nationalities. In 1991, the USSR split up into its constituent republics.

Of course, the parallels are not exact. Ethnic Russians made up just over half the population of the USSR. The Han Chinese are over 92 per cent of the population of China. Yet Tibet and Xinjiang are exceptions. Some 90 per cent of the population of Tibet are still ethnic Tibetans. The Uighurs make up just under half the population of Xinjiang. Neither area is comfortably integrated into the rest of the country – to put it mildly. Last week’s riots in Xinjiang led to the deaths of more than 180 people, the bloodiest known civil disturbance in China since Tiananmen Square in 1989. There were also serious disturbances in Tibet just before last year’s Olympics.

In a country of more than 1.3bn people, the 2.6m in Tibet and the 20m in Xinjiang sound insignificant. But together they account for about a third of China’s land mass – and for a large proportion of its inadequate reserves of oil and gas. Just as the Russians fear Chinese influence over Siberia, so the Chinese fear that Muslim Xinjiang could drift off into Central Asia. (via / Columnists / Gideon Rachman – China is now an empire in denial).

Cheap thrills

The Western media takes great and vicarious delight in predicting such break ups. It feeds their innate (though false) sense of superiority. With Scotland wanting to breakaway, Belgium on the verge of splitting into two, Czechoslovakia split into two, Europe itself on the brink of reverting to internecine squabbles.


That said, a break up of China should be no surprise.

Much like USSR’s break-up, the Chinese monolith is more fragile than apparent. Apart from the usual suspects of democracy, economic disparities, social upheavals, etc, there are 3 factors, which most Chinese analysts miss.

One, the Tibetan’s are held together by force – and no one imagines that this holding them together by force, can be in perpetuity. The Muslim provinces of Xinjiang (another one-third of China) is usually ignored. These issues are usually minimized by the current strength with which China holds these provinces together.

But possibly, the biggest issue is the share of revenues of the Chinese central governments.

Secondly, the Chinese Central Government commands less than 25% of the total tax revenues – and the 75% goes to provinces. This, possibly is why the Chinese Government cannot reduce cigarette usage in China. Most expenditures on health, education, pension, unemployment, housing etc. are borne by the local government – and hence there is patchwork of systems which run across China. Most of executions and imprisonments of bureaucrats (including the Mao’s Cultural Revolution) is to demonstrate central authority. The PLA is the only factor that keeps China together. A Chinese Lech Walesa or a Nelson Mandela could unwind China very quickly.

Significantly, and thirdly, the Chinese diaspora and Western MNCs are biggest investors in China – and also the main beneficiaries. This currently keeps resentments of the local Chinese under control – as the neighbour is not getting much richer. But at one stage the domestic Chinese will want to greater say and control over the Chinese economy. He may not be happy with just a well paying job and abundant, low quality goods.

Fences and neighbours

Modern nationalism (of the political variety) is a European construct. National boundaries have historically been ephemeral. The value of national boundaries is the ability to wage war – and disturb the boundaries of other countries.

Good fences create bad neighbours!

Sighted – the first intelligent comment on Mumbai 26/11

December 6, 2008 3 comments

in the aftermath of the 26/11 attacks I am beginning to hear … middle-class murmurs and whines about the ineffectual … democracy and the need for authoritarian government.

The first part of the argument is … India’s politicians are greedy sods, incompetent buffoons who have let the country down … The real heroes of 26/11 were the men in uniform, the navy commandos, the Army, the Mumbai police and the ATS. Therefore, we should put our faith in these people not in politicians … Some talk openly about a benign dictator (a commodity on par with virgin prostitutes) and some demand an abridgement of the universal franchise that, they say, has led us to this mess. Many (and I’m sure you’ve got the text messages too) demand that we refuse to cast our votes as a gesture of protest: “We should refuse to cooperate with these bloody politicians.” … Not only does it demonstrate that we have forgotten the lessons of the Emergency but it also shames the Indian middle class and shows up the cowards that are some of its most vocal members. (via Let’s recall the lessons from the Emergency – Lounge –

All is forgiven Vir Sanghvi …

The first intelligent comment on the Mumbai 26/11.

All your superior sounding down articles, your snooty takes on food, wine and other inane stuff … This one article allows you to continue with your mindless wanderings for the next few weeks at least. At least, I will not complain, about how you contribute to global warming by usage of newsprint for mindless pursuits …

Covered in glory

The Indian media (especially English) and the India’s Westernized elite has been hounding for blood ever since the terrorist attacks on Mumbai’s upper class business centres for the first time. After the 26/11 attack on Mumbai prime centres, they have been able to force the resignation of Shivraj Patil, India’s Home Minister. Maharashtra’s Home Minister, RR Patil has also resigned. Maharashtra’s Cheif Minister is expected to be replaced also – soon.

While, busy going up the grease pole of ratings and rankings, the Indian media has not covered itself with glory on the analysis Mumbai 26/11 terror strike. They have stoked a feeding frenzy against the politicians – who are are accountable and should pay a price.

Glaring Omissions

They have NOT pointed any fingers against any bureaucrat(s) who have slept on the job. While they have extensively covered the visits, careers, deaths, heroics, funerals of Salasker, Kamte, Karkare and Maj Unnikrishnan, they have completely ignored the funerals of the foot soldiers and police constables – like Gajendar Singh. No politician has seen it fit to go the houses of the foot soldiers and police constables.

When the poor died, they were praised for the ‘spirit of Mumbai’ and asked to get back to work – as the rich would other wise suffer. Now that that rich are suffering they no longer want to talk about  the spirit of Mumbai, but instead are questioning ‘how long’?

Shame on you, Indian media, Indian middle class, Indian elite. Is it a co-incidence that they happen to be English speaking and Westernized?

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