ONCE GLORIFIED AS THE FOURTH ESTATE, the Press is facing a crisis of identity and a struggle for existence today. The electronic media with their greater impact, have changed the context, threaten newspapers’ existence and force the printed word to compete. with images.
The issue was brought into focus again when the Daily Mail, a popular British tabloid putting on the front page a report on the March 27 meeting between UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, reducing it to a comparison of their bodies. Continue reading Sexist View of The ‘Daily Male’
When I joined a newspaper in 1957 after a few contributions were published, it was under a notion that journalism, in a way, was meant for the betterment of society and therefore was social work, the field I was associated from the age of 14.
It took me decades to realise that I was wrong. The Press of the freedom struggle days has become extinct. Print medium is overwhelmed by the TRP-driven electronic media with its sensationalism and hype. Both, therefore, have no time and space for anything not sensational or ‘hot’ news.
India, many feel, is an oasis in the desert of failed democracies.
The world has too many dictatorships, starving nations where the ‘ruler’ spends millions on his birthday, ‘elected’ leaders who refuse to step down as their term ends, countries with fake elections controlled by army and religious hatred for neighbour or contestants who declare they would accept an electoral verdict only if they win!
Is it really an oasis or just a mirage where most parties are ruled by dynasties? A party whose members wag their tails at dynastic bosses calls others ‘dogs’ and thinks one family won the freedom for the country all others who died for it were fools. And that too just because it took on the name of the group of people who fought for Independence and Continue reading An Oasis Without Water
The printed word, my profession for the last 58 years, has lost its credibility. No one believes in newspapers anymore.
The first informant to the people in general, in most cases, is not a newspaper but the electronic media. Of them TV has fallen to the lure of TRPs, which earn them the moolah.Continue reading Great News, Is It True?
A petition was filed in the Supreme Court last Tuesday January 3, by an eminent journalist, Hari Jaisingh, asking for the
constitution of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) for a court-monitored probe against some journalists who wrote in favour of the AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter deal of the earlier Congress government,
Jaisingh alleged that journalists were paid Rs. 50 crores to support the scandalous deal in connection with which the former Indian Air Force chief, S. P. Tyagi and some others were arrested. The scandal was unearthed by foreign newspapers.
Aircraft purchase and journalists looks like an unlikely connection. Hari Jaisingh is not one of those so-called journalists editing sensational rags. He was editor of mainstream dailies including those of The Tribune group and author of several books Continue reading When Scribes Turn Dalals
Mass molestation of women on Bengaluru’s most important streets -MG Road and Brigade Road-during New Year revelry, is a week-old story. Even as the public outrage is still on, come reports of a 24-year-old woman molested in Baghpat (UP) by four men who also chopped off her ears for resisting rape and of molestations heralding 2017 even in Delhi and many cities..
The Times group, especially its news channel Times Now has started a campaign to ‘Stop the Perverts’. Karnataka Home Minister G.Parameswara’s first reaction was that it was no Continue reading Fight to Stop Perverts
Last night, just before Zero Hour, I sat down to wonder on the blog whether there was any sense in ‘celebrating’ a New Year with all the fanfare usually associated with it.
Just then my WiFi wailed and put a stop to the attempt. Today it came on as mysteriously as it had gone – making me wonder, again for the umpteenth time, whether all the fuss was being made over it when there is nothing in our hands. Did the New Year meant anything more than just changing the calendar?
For decades I wondered about this – sometimes in noisy parties to which friends had dragged me, sitting lonely in the crowd making all the noise and attempting to drown senses in booz, waiting for the
America’s historic moment is just days away. As the sun sets on November 8, it would be clear who would be the next President of the United State of America – the most powerful person in the world.Unlike in India where there may be scores in the run, it is Democratic Party’s Hillary Clinton, the first-ever woman candidate, or Donald Trump of the Republican Party.
Theodore White’s ‘Making of the President’ series, starting with the Kennedy vs. Nixon contest, showed how the world’s greatest democracy voted. Kennedy won because he was well shaved and better dressed, because his wife was more glamorous and because she was expecting. From that day on every cartoonist in the world showed Nixon with a day-old stubble on his face.
Three nationally televised debates took place between the Trump and Hillary and almost everyone said Hillary won – except Trump and Fox News. Trump’s opinion poll ratings have been falling. Many celebrities, including many from his own party, are opposing Trump and said nasty things about him.
This election campaign has been the dirtiest ever and most vicious in American history. Just a week before the polling, the pro-Republican FBI, which had already probed the ‘scandal’ of Hillary using a private server during her tern as Secretary of State, got a warrant from the Republican-controlled Congress to reopen the probe saying that some of the deleted e-mails were still found on two computers and MAY have violated rules about secrecy of the Secretary’s mails. The probe would certainly be not completed before the polling and might swing the voters against the Democratic candidate even if nothing incriminating was found. And Trump calls this “offence” worse than Nixon’s Watergate scandal of tapping the rival party’s telephones. But don’t dump Trump yet. He had declared he would accept the electoral verdict only if he wins. And he might.
The United States is a country of paradoxes , a nation of immigrants who do not want other immigrants to settle in their country — like passengers in an unreserved compartment of Continue reading Don’t Dump Trump Yet
Journalism, like politics, continues to be a career where no educational qualifications are laid down. As all that matters is the end-product: journalists are expected to be good communicators proficient in writing; or in the case of TV and radio, effective speakers. (Some may add that both are the last resort of scoundrels).
With many fake newspapers coming up to take advantage of sops given to journalists, or use the clout to blackmail or make money, even communication skills are not needed to become an ‘editor’; those who write can always be hired if you have the money.
In Gujarat the name of the newspaper owner usually appears as editor (‘Tantri’) in the imprint line, with an anonymous de facto editor bringing out the publication. Legendary owners like R.N. Goenka and G.D. Birla, who wielded immense power in their newspapers, never posed as editors.Their name never Continue reading MABF – Sethji Editors
Writing on politics in India is a scavenger’s job; you can write only about dirty deeds of unprincipled people. The very word ‘politics’ has lost its original meaning to acquire a bad connotation. When one conspires or manipulates, one is supposed to be “playing politics”. Journalists think only ‘politics’ – who is stabbing whom in the back, who is pulling whose legs – is news. Even those who are disgusted with it and choose fields like sports or science have to cover politics there; ‘politics’ has become all-pervasive.
All political reporting is about parties which have sacrificed all values, principles and ideologies and have the single-point goal of coming to power and retaining it, about palace coups within parties, about people called ‘leaders’ who only follow — doing what the mob wants, even if wrong. Populism and evils like casteism, parochialism and use of money and muscle power are accepted as “electoral compulsions”, even by parties which once swore by principles. What can a political analyst write about today?
On how a loyal good man, frustrated and grumbling about being always ignored in favour of dynasty members has been ‘kicked up’ into the Rahstrapati Bhavan as he cannot be kicked out?
On how one becomes a President or Governor not for any merit or erudition, but as reward for loyalty to ruling family or for nuisance value and ability to needle the rulers if not ‘rehabilitated’?
On how goondas posing as leaders work up mob emotions on issues which should be sorted out across the table and in the interests of the majority, irrespective of their language. religion or caste? On how these ‘leaders’ remain unscathed, grow rich and live comfortably in palacial properties even as the people whom they incite to violence lose lives or limbs or get locked up?
On how “people’s representatives” waste time in Parliament and legislatures on dharnas, freebies for themselves and trivial issues like a decades-old cartoon, naming of universities/projects or even more frivolous matters, but have no time to pass the Lokpal or Women’s Reservation Bills or laws to benefit children, dalits (who they swear by) and disabled?
On how ‘leaders’ of a party which criticisie rivals for corruption or illegal activities and “foreign jaunts”, themselves face corruption charges, get arrested or go on pleasure trips abroad with hangers on? On how they spend hundreds of crores of tax-payers’ money on ads to promote temselves while basic services suffer?
On how a CM spends crores on helicopter-hopping, poojas, homas and prostrating before pontiffs, ignoring draught and more urgent issues?
On how a leader with prime ministerial dreams prefers to be a puppet Chief Minister controlled by a disqualified politician and allows a wanted criminal ‘welcome’ a muder accused on bail, giving him a VIP treatment?
On how Union Carbide’s Andersons, Bofors’ Quattarochis and the corrupt with secret Swiss bank accounts are protected by leaders who then demand a probe into an anti-corruption crusaders’ money but refuse to reveal where their own party’s millions came from?
On how those responsible for a deplorable massacre of members of one community charge rivals –just to get a community’s votes– with (equally deplorable) genocide, but use their own power to escape prosecution while the rivals faced scores of cases and tet their own members go to jail?
On how politicians, film stars and gold-and-diamond merchants – all of them contributing little to the society — have become millionaires with political patronage while farmers who produce the food we live on are driven to suicide?
On how a ‘son of the soil’ who could spend crores on world tours for his extended family despite being a ‘poor farmer’, found only three billionaires of the state to choose a Rajya Sabha candidate from?
On how a company can lend money to the close kin of the ruling dynasty to buy land and then buy the same land from him at many times the price just a few days later or on how a government-allotted land worth hundreds of crores is ‘sold’ by politician-trustees to themselves for a paltry sum?
The list can be unending. The pen may be mightier than the sword, or the (key)board stronger than the bomber, but a journalist has to use it as a toilet brush to clean up the dirt spread by politicians.
Journalists who want to stop writing on politics and turn to human issues are, however, condemned to be considered “useless” non-entities.