Have been observing media with a very keen interest for over a decade, though began
actively voicing my concerns and writing critical articles post 26th November 2008,
which I would consider as the personal inflection point.
Since then have also been very active on Twitter with over 1,25,000tweets to my credit, primarily focused on Media, News and the Political events on a daily basis.
Have met many interesting people, have networked with some very well informed and
articulate individuals, unfortunately interaction with Media celebrities has been rather
limited and forgettable barring a few exceptions.
Thanks to Mr. A.S. Raghunath who arranged for me to be part of an event on media on
the 4th and 5th of Oct 2012 called TV.NXT 2012 organized by afaqs. Must confess it has helped me understand the industry some what better and the challenges that it faces in near, medium and long term.
Some of the segments of this event have been etched in my memory which would be
hard to erase, the well informed and well moderated debates/discussion unlike our daily fare on Television. As a consumer of media we are not privy to much of the information,
trials and tribulation the industry faces as a whole and across specific segments.
Let me now indulge in placing in a chronological order the highlight which have left an
indelible mark with me personally.
"darr ke aage jeet hai" tag line is for a soft drink.
True claimant for this is Mr. Subhash Chandra the man who took the initial risk
and has survived to tell his story 2decades down the line. His humility is evident
and clarity of thought is remarkable. His keynote address will easily rate as one of the
finest that I have ever heard. TV.NXT 2012: A few profitable media companies do not reflect the health of the entire industry:
The next most riveting session was with Mr. Anurag Kashyap, not because he is a
celebrity or from the film land. The clarity of thought and the creativity that seems to be
straining to explode, really wish this man gets the space to produce what he wants,
sans restrictions. Would be treat for all to experience what he can churn out.
After this there was a session of discussion hosted by Ms.Vinita Kohli Khandekar Shabir Momin, of ZengaTV ,Hiren Gada of Shemaroo Entertainment Ltd. and Sandeep Dahiya of Viacom 18. This opened a new horizon for me as a consumer, the possibilities that
exist and can be exploited.
As we approached the end of the event, there were two items of maximum interest to
me as a consumer both related to News.
Mr. Shekhar Gupta of Indian Express to speak on "An editor's view of news on television"
In the course of the talk that Mr. Gupta as the senior most editor delivered, he was
critical of the Electronic media and all the existing channels with the sole exception of
one. This he reiterated not once but twice. He also referred to the word "Conscience"
twice. He alluded to "Paid News" in electronic and print, surfeit of scams in the TV news,need for editors in control of the content on TV channels, lamented the fact that the
current trend of editors in all channel were star anchors of those. He spoke on cash for
vote and was pleasantly surprised that he believed wrong people had been arrested as
the channel had exposed their source. Now that is news for me, have not read any
article or editorial to this effect from Mr. Shekhar Gupta
Mr. Gupta also touched briefly upon the story that he did on Troop Movement and how it had spooked the government. Could not pose question to him on this since there was
no time slot kept. How a Journalist had tweeted adversely about the story, without
checking on the facts with Mr. Shekhar Gupta himself.
He also alluded to the fact how politicians were getting into the business of media and
the recent sale of one News channels. Here again why cast aspersion on the politician
alone, he must have had some expert guidance from one of the media insiders and the close relationships that are being maintained by media personnel.
Lastly he touched upon the recent Hon Supreme Court observations/ judgment and wasvisibly unhappy about the possibility of curbs being imposed or an external regulator
being appointed. Here I wish to ask the gentleman why was he and his publication silent when the government of India without verifying and providing evidence blocked accounts on Twitter, where was his zeal for Freedom of speech and Expression? Why is it what he demands for himself and Media, does not wish the ordinary citizen of India to enjoy?
Finally we reached the last item of the event this was a discussion session moderated
by Mr. Paritosh Joshi and the participants were Sam Balsara, Madison World, Avinash
Kaul, Times Television Network, Preet Dhupar, BBC, Vikramaditya Chandra,
NDTV Group G Krishnan TV Today Network, Arun Poddar Media Network & Distribution (INDIA) Limited.
Post the opening remarks Mr. Vikramaditya Chandra was the first participant to speak he was most definitely agitated that his channel was not getting the kind of advrt revenue
that in his opinion should be theirs by right, TRPs was flawed parameter to follow, he
claimed his channel had registered 2billion minutes on the internet.
The CEO is welcome to monetize it on the platform which was generating that quantum of traffic, extrapolation on to the other platform would not be possible. Mr CEO will also have to understand that the entire industry is being judged by the same agency
and this grouse does not wash.
Without going into what other panel member said during the course of the discussion I
shall not mention here but get straight to the point. I then posed a question to Mr.
Vikramaditya Chandra post Nira Radiia Tapes ethics of the organization had also come
into play. Instantly a defensive posture was obtained. Response "the person concerned was not present to defend and also this was not the forum for this question."
However the identical twin in the form of Mr. Shekhar Gupta said he would like to
address the issue and answer the question. My point was simple if ethics of content and business practice come into play viewership would suffer.
This is the precise reaction that makes most of us wonder if News media is a Mafia in
operation, where Omerta is the unwritten operative code. Things can only change the day "Crows start to feast on crow meat until then it's all in a Hamam. "
Mr. Gupta on his part tried to explain there was no ethical impropriety committed by the
staffer of that channel. However in my opinion the question remains as per me the
impropriety was committed and not been dealt with in an appropriate manner.
Inconclusion, this indeed was an experience to cherish, and also must compliment the
organizers for a job well done, complete professional conduct barely a glitch to cause
any embarrassment. Though would wish to see consumers of the media also being
invited to participate in this event in future could add value, after all the target of all the
participants is that passive consumer, would it not make it more meaningful if his views were also incorporated. Do not know if this would be considered for future events by the organizers.
Examples of the Tweets about NDTV and it's staffer.
Credit: Photo sourced from Afaqs article.
Updated on 13th Oct 2012
As a journalist you train yourself to treat both accolades and abuse with the same level of levity; you tell yourself over and over again to not take yourself seriously and you even learn, eventually, to laugh at yourself. You understand that being in the public gaze inevitably comes with being viewed through a coloured prism — whether rose-tinted or jaundiced. And you develop the ability to lightly shrug off the distortions of a persona foisted on you by others.
Updated on 10th Oct 2012
This tweet is an befitting response to Mr. Shekhar Gupta who claims journalists speak to many people.
There was nothing inappropriate about the conversation between Nira Radia & B.Dutt of NDTV.