Monday, November 21, 2011

The Interview that set a million tongues wagging.

The Interview that set a million tongues wagging.

Media deliberately dividing people: PCI Chief  “Speaking to Karan Thapar, the new Chairman of the Press Council of India Markandey Katju slammed the media saying that he is very disappointed with the way in which the Indian media works. Katju also said that the media is not working for the interest of the people and sometimes divide the people of the country.” 

As is their wont no sooner had the interview of Justice Katju concluded all vantage points were occupied, an incessant chatter of self-righteous indignation and outrage  was unleashed; the irony is that everyone is speaking, but the victims of Media Yes! We are the victims of media for what they publish, broadcast and equally what the media does not publish and broadcast.

In all these years never has the role of the media been scrutinized in detail, is it politically incorrect to inspect the role of the media, or is it a mine field, which deters these so called experts from delving into its role, a potent tool, when employed strategically can inflict immense damage on the victims. Has our media been reporting factually, without bias for one or the other protagonist? 

Plenty has been said yet no cogent case has been made out why Self Regulation should be permitted for electronic media in particular? This central point is missing.

Has the self regulation so far by this section been a roaring success? If yes! Where is the evidence to back the claim? 

What has self regulation yielded to inspire confidence for continuance? Is it their case what transpired in the aftermath of Radia Tapes expose omerta observed by all concerned, and followed by a Court being convened in the studio of a channel where the alleged accused is also the presiding officer, the defendant, who pronounced self to be innocent by way of “Error of Judgment?” Should we be encouraged by the apology of an apology issued by another channel in the wake of 9th Nov 2011 fake live interview! If this is their basis then conversely there is a mountain of evidence in public domain for appointing an Independent Regulator for Media.

Society exists, functions and thrives by a given set of rules and regulation. No component or part is permitted an exception from this. Why should the media then demand that they be exempt from what the rest have to adhere by? 

Can a citizen or a group of citizens demand that they be exempt from IPC & CrPc since they shall setup a self regulation?

Other relevant articles and programs that appeared as a consequence of this interview  

Quick of the blocks is CNN IBN with its Face The Nation on 02nd Nov 2011

FTN: Should Justice Katju apologise to journalists?

Not breaking news Namita Bhandare, Hindustan Times  November 11, 2011
“The problem begins when the former Supreme Court judge reaches sweeping conclusions, perhaps oblivious to the fact that many issues that make him queasy (sensationalism, celebrity journalism and paid news) make most journalists queasy too. Perhaps he needs to meet more journalists.” { Link }

When journalists turn brokers By KULDIP NAYAR
“Credibility is like virginity. It either exists or does not. Unfortunately, some top names in Indian journalism have lost their credibility. In the few cases that are in the public domain, they have been found lobbying for the scam-ridden A. Raja. Transcripts of tapped telephone talks by the income-tax department have revealed the manner in which these journalists were throwing their weight around, trying to get the "right" minister from the "right" party. They behaved like powerbrokers and crossed the Lakshmanrekha between legitimate news gathering and lobbying. It is like the fence eating the crop.” { Link }

Justice Markandey Katju clarifies
“By criticizing the media I wanted to persuade the media to change its manner of functioning and not that I wanted to destroy it. The Indian media has a historical role to play in the age of transition, and I wanted to remind the media persons of their historical duty to the nation. Instead of taking my criticism in the correct spirit, a veritable diatribe was launched against me by a section of the media, which painted me as some kind of dictatorial monster.” { Link }

Media self-regulation has failed: Ansari
Mr. Ansari questioned whether such freedoms were being manipulated by media companies for their own purposes. “Can the constitutional safeguards on freedom of speech be used to evade regulation of the commercial persona of media corporates and groups? Where does public interest end and private interest begin?” he asked. “Collective self-regulation has yet to succeed in substantive measure because it is neither universal nor enforceable. Individual self-regulation has also failed due to personal predilection and the prevailing of personal interest over public interest,”  { Link }

‘The media industry needs an independent regulating authority with teeth’
“Control over media is a dangerous proposition, but there needs to be an independent authority which can force corrective action on publishers without interfering with their freedom,” said veteran journalist and former Press Council member Mr Paranjoy Guha Thakurta. His comment summed up the lively interactive panel discussion that followed a screening of the movie ‘Brokering News’ by Moneylife Foundation and vCitizens Action Network and MxM India. 

Control freakery Hindustan Times November 15, 2011 By Arun Jaitley
“The chairman of the Press Council of India, Justice Markandey Katju, lost little time after his appointment to make known his contemptuous views about the Indian media. The obvious danger of talking out of turn in order to sound crusading is that one ceases to be objective. You only have to tabulate the weak points of the target institution and emerge a reformist yourself.” 

Switching off from news By: Vanita Kohli-Khandekar  2011-11-18    Mumbai
“If credibility is the currency a news brand trades in, most are running low these days. And having star anchors will not improve it. It is only when news channels can harness, educate and train young people to gather facts, research and apply rigour to their work will you see good stories on your TV screen. That is when India will see really strong, profitable news broadcasters emerge out the mess the industry has become today.”  { Link }

Who owns media? BY Vaidehi Sachin  afternoonvoice news  Mumbai
“First we have to look that who is running the media. Let us see the ownership of different media agencies.  NDTV: A very popular TV news channel is funded by Gospels of Charity based in Spain and supports communism. Recently, it has developed a soft corner towards Pakistan because the Pakistani President has allowed only this channel to be aired in Pakistan. CNN-IBN: This news channel is 100 per cent funded by the Southern Baptist Church with its branches in all over the world and HQ in US.” { Link }

MHADA will allot a total of 230 flats at Pratiksha Nagar, Sion for journalist members/nominees of the Press Club. This will include 168 High Income Group (HIG) and 62 Middle Income Group (MIG) flats. This will include a reservation of 13 percent for SC applicants and 6 percent for ST applicants.” { Link }

Updated on 25th Nov 2011

Can a reporter make a comment of his own?
The report was illustrated with a photograph. The photograph showed an empty, throne-like chair between one seating Advani and the other seating Modi and the report said: “The reported dissent between Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and veteran Bharatiya Janata Party leader L.K. Advani… came to the fore… with the two keeping a distance while sharing the dais.”  The report added: “Despite lauding Advani’s fight against corruption, Modi preferred not to take the throne-like seat next to him… throwing enough hints at their continuing cold war”.  It also reported, wrongly, that Modi “sat two chairs away from Advani”. The headline said: “Modi-Advani Cold Vibes Continue”.  { Link }

I welcome a debate and discussion on this…As always, please keep your tone civil, your language polite…no sweeping generalisations please and no personal abuse.  Thank you.