Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The media's ADD

Hunt for sound bites and the next breaking news has relegated serious research and discussion on matters of national significance to an unimportant exercise. How many national news media put serious thought, carried out any research and objectively discussed matters concerning our nation? None. Instead what passes off as debate is political opponents bickering enticed by the hosts. Arun Shourie, echoing my thoughts, laments the frivolous nature of journalism in vogue today.

In an interview to Claude Apri -

[...] Previously, whatever would happen, the media would go into depth (into the issue). As you know, today the media is as superficial as the politicians. It is even more ephemeral, one day there is a big issue, the next day, it is forgotten. 'Breaking News' (sometimes) lasts a shift, not even for the day.

[...] Sometimes journalists hear that I had spoken in Parliament or a particular issue is (being debated); journalists come and insist (to have my reaction). They come with a microphone and TV crew. They tell me: 'Sir, there was an issue in the morning, what was the issue?' I tell (the subject of the debate) the chap who then says: 'Sir, our editor is sending us, please tell us what question we should ask you.' (Laughs.) It is a really a fact.

Or questions like this: 'Please, sir, tell us, are you for the Budget or against it?' What can you respond? This is the level that issues are treated.

It is true for the Budget or any other matters, 90 percent of journalists will ask you such questions. [...]

[...] not more than one correspondent who came to interview me had read the documents. And yet, apart from this correspondent and perhaps three or four politicians who had read the documents (nuclear deal), everybody had an opinion: 'We should go with America!' Or 'We should be against!' This type of opinion!

The point that I am making is that the examination (of the issue) is not at all present and yet in that particular case (the nuclear deal), it requires no more than 75 pages to read. [Link]

Yet that won't stop the editors pontificating from their studios. Apparently they seem to think, their opinion is all the matters.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sonia's "development"

Sonia in Chattisgarh -

"We have taken the country on the road to development. The growth rate under the Congress led government has been historic," [Link]

Priyanka in Rae Bareli campaigning for Sonia -

"The entire country looks at Rai Bareli and Amethi. The way you brought about change by continuing to vote for development will show the path to the entire country," [Link]

Ground reality in Rae Bareli -

"aage sadak nahin hai" (there is no road ahead) [...] "farzi udghatan hua hai" (This inauguration is fake).

The road that was supposed to run till another village, Beena Kheda, ends barely 500 metres after the highway.

"We hardly get power for 4.5 hours," says Ajay Awasthi from the village, not before adding, "and we are still better off. Our neighbouring village has no connection at all even 15 years after poles were pitched, despite its inclusion in Rajiv Gandhi Rural Electrification Project now." [There's more, read here]

The aam aadmi has become even more aam. But Sonia maintains -

"When the common man (aam aadmi) becomes prosperous, the country will automatically progress," [Link]

Priyanka says development is an election issue, the nation agrees and hopes she can convince Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

G-20 assessment of Indian measures against terrorism

Cheerleaders won't take the "communal" folk's word on Congress' laxity towards terrorism. Well, then here's the G-20's assessment. India fared poorly against these key measurement criteria -
1. Number of terrorists listed under
UNSCR 1333/1390 for which a freeze order has been issued: NIL
2. Number of other terrorists under UNSCR
1373 for which a freeze order has been issued: NIL
3. Amount of assets frozen for all
terrorists: ZERO
4. Specific risk-based measures in place to ensure that
non-profit organizations cannot be abused for the financing of terrorism?: NO
Even an Islamic country like Saudi Arabia fared better than us. For the complete listing click here. Because this report by the G-20 is inconvenient to the "secular" party and gives more fodder to the "communal forces" no mention was made of this by any news media covering the summit.
It is time the "voice of the people" media shunned its slant and start taking matters concerning our national interest seriously. Reducing the debate on terrorism to a yelling contest only takes the focus away from the grave dangers facing the nation.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Election histrionicses

With the growing number if television news channels, in addition to the print media, this election season seems to have got a lot of exposure. The quality, though, is sub par. However the exposure has brought on record things we already knew happened.
Hours before the elections, police on
Wednesday seized more than Rs 15 lakh cash including Rs 2.80 lakh from an MIM
leader who was distributing money to voters in his house at Toli Chowki. A Praja
Rajyam Party candidate was also arrested for violation of the model code of
[...] Police arrested Moinuddin and
recovered Rs 2.80 lakh cash from the house.
In another instance, Cyberabad police
recovered Rs 1.80 lakh from a former TDP Councillor who made a vain attempt to
avoid being caught by fleeing in an RTC bus.
[...] Police recovered Rs 1.80 lakh with
him. [
more here]
If only these cashlords had dispensed half their duties, they wouldn't need to be doing this. Now, they lost their money and their face. Besides, voters have gotten smarter. They realise most have failed them, so they'd rather take the money when it's raining and vote whoever they deem fit.
[...] Voters often take money from many parties and finally vote
for the one they support. [
Even as the media scrutiny has helped expose malpractices, the debate leaves a lot to be desired. The primary debate during elections ought be on the incumbent government's performance. None of the prominent media houses cared for an audit on the UPA's governance. Instead we had them parroting the same talking points presented by the various UPA members. What we have witnessed on TVs these last few weeks is the same old "secularism" vs "communalism" debate.
Every such debate is futile because it is an diversion from real issues and more importantly, neither "secularism" nor "communalism" is clearly defined. Even before it's proved, it is readily accepted "communalism" is evil and "secularism" is noble. And the media has made it more than clear, BJP is communal and Congress is secular. That tilts the scales heavily in favour of the "secular" parties even before any debate.
The television debates are also ineffectual for another reason. Participants almost never stay on issues being discussed. Instead any question or issue raised is sought to be diverted so opponent bashing can be carried out rather than answer one's own performance. So, for instance, when faced with a question on terrorism, we have the Congress slamming the BJP by questioning attacks during the NDA regime rather than explain it's own failure. The BJP too is incapable of articulating its criticism of the UPA effectively and demolishing canards about its record. Similar is the case for every other issue. No party can see its mistakes. Every debate is reduced to faulting the other than staying on message.
Another quite intriguing aspect of the media is the slant and bias in its reporting. If you were to scan the election coverage news, you'll notice the favourable, indeed fan like, coverage given to the Gandhi dynasty. It seems the dynasty is beyond scrutiny and the Nehru-Gandhi progeny can never do any wrong and the divine powers have ordained them to rule our nation. The favour is also extended to the Congress party. Contrast that with the unfavourable coverage given to the "communal" parties and anyone who's opposed to the "secular forces".
The "voice of the people" media has failed miserably in holding the UPA accountable. While the UPA goes about faulting the NDA's record, it never cares to explain it's own failure in correcting them. After all it has been in power for the past 5 years, enough opportunity to correct the alleged mistakes.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Teesta's falsehoods exposed

The NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace, headed by Teesta Setalvad, has been doing exactly the opposite of what its name suggests. It has made every attempt to deny justice and derail peace in Gujarat with its concocted theories of "Hindu atrocity" on "Muslim minority". It is now clear that facts are contrary to Teesta's claims. The SIT investigating the Gujarat riots 2002 case has this observation -
The Special Investigation Team
responsible for the arrests of those accused in Gujarat riots has severely
censured NGOs and social activist Teesta Setalvad who campaigned for the riot
victims. [
Here's the SIT noting Teesta's fabrications -
Many incidents of killings and violence
were cooked up, false charges were levelled against then police chief P C Pandey
and false witnesses were tutored to give evidence about imaginary incidents, the
SIT said in a report submitted before a Bench comprising Justices Arijit
Pasayat, P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam. [
And here are a few stories cooked by an imaginative Teesta to guarantee maximum publicity -
The SIT also found no truth in the
following incidents widely publicised by the NGOs:
* A pregnant Muslim woman Kausar Banu was
gangraped by a mob, who then gouged out the foetus with sharp weapons
* Dumping of dead bodies into a well by
rioteers at Naroda Patiya
* Police botching up investigation into
the killing of British nationals, who were on a visit to Gujarat and
unfortunately got caught in the riots Rohtagi said: "On a reading of the report,
it is clear that horrendous allegations made by the NGOs were false. Stereotyped
affidavits were supplied by a social activist and the allegations made in them
were found untrue." [
Teesta Setalvad and her "secular" cohorts have made a career out of their false stories on the Gujarat riots. The SIT's findings will now leave Teesta and her ilk jobless.
Next to Teesta, the media shares the most responsibility for spreading the canards by her and making them part of the popular folklore. The time and publicity given to the false cases from a cahoot media and repeated falsehoods have prejudiced a great number for minds against the BJP and Narendra Modi in particular. The eagerness shown by every "secular" champion to pass an judgement even before the legal proceedings reached their conclusions betrayed their prejudices.
The myopic "secular" eyes fail to see that the Muslims are probably the most prosperous in Gujarat than anywhere else in the country. Various reports indicate that the per capita income amongst Muslims is the highest in Gujarat. Besides various Muslim individuals and organisations have come out in support of Narendra Modi in appreciation of his governance and progress brought about in the state. Such facts are blacked out precisely because they are inconvenient to the "secular" belief.
The alacrity shown by the media to ignore facts, jump the gun, pass judgements and prejudice the people's minds is appalling. It is time that the "secular" cheerleaders stop perpetuating these myths about Gujarat. The various awards granted to Teesta must be revoked and every media house that aligned with her must come clean.
You can read more about Teestas falsehoods here, here, here, here and here.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Look who's friends

The Taliban has friends in the ISI (not that no one had an idea).
Baitullah Mehsud, the brazen Taliban
chief based in Waziristan, has been able to escape several attempts to kill and
capture him because he has friends in Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence
(ISI) agency, according to a Newsweek report. [
And this is how Mehsud gives officials the slip -
An unnamed Pakistani official told
Newsweek that senior US officials had even shared with their counterparts in
Islamabad “some intelligence indicating that renegade ISI elements helped
Mehsud's group train for the December 2007 assassination of Pakistan's former
prime minister Benazir Bhutto”. But despite that and Pakistan's purported
knowledge of his whereabouts, “it's a puzzle why they're ignoring and avoiding
any strike against him,” one tribal elder in the region told the magazine. “On
several occasions over the past couple of years, security forces in Pakistan
have launched operations to kill or capture him, and each time he has vanished
without incident,” the magazine writes citing unnamed officials in Islamabad and
Washington. “Mehsud's contacts, the theory goes, are tipping him off before
Pakistani troops can pounce.” [
Now, with reports of some Talibani terrorists entering India, Mehsud's friend circle seems to be wider than expected.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The 100 day plan that Singh forgot

Manmohan Singh is to visit Assam tomorrow and today this happened -
Terror struck Assam on the eve of Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh's visit when the state was rocked by three blasts and a
grenade attack in the space of five hours on Monday killing seven persons - all
in the Maligaon area here - and injuring 63. [
This in a state represented by Singh himself in the upper house and on the eve of his visit there. Speaks volumes of his complete laxity on terrorism. Assam has been experiencing blasts and terrorists activities have only increased in the past 5 years under Singh's leadership. Yet Manmohan Singh fails to realise the danger posed by terrorism to our nation.
When he visits Assam tomorrow, the people should remind him of this -
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday
suggested setting up of a task force to initiate a 100-day plan to address
"emerging challenges" in the areas of terrorism, Naxalism and insurgency.
"I suggest establishment of a task force
which would initiate a 100-day plan to develop an integrated capability to
address emerging challenges in areas such as left wing extremism, terrorism and
insurgency," Singh said addressing the conference of the country's top police
officers. [
Singh delivered that sermon on 23 Nov 2008. It is now well past the 100 day mark and yet bombs continue to rip our cities apart. Much like everything else, nothing came of this promise.

Returning the favour

Not for nothing did the nation's prominent mainstream news editors win the various padma... titles. Their fierce protection of the warped secularism practiced in our nation has impressed their far from secular political masters. This favour meted out by the Congress lead government is more than being returned by the news hounds in this election (not that any other election is any different). Integrity has become redundant in editorial ethics.
Measurement criteria differ when it comes to the "communal" or "saffron" folks. While a doctored video (which took about 10 days to produce) is passed off as evidence of hate speech, actual hate speeches by patron parties do not have to pass the "secular" test. It simply is enough to belong to a convenient political party. National editors turn a blind eye over all that is inconvenient. Here are instances that will not make prime time debate or proportional to "communalism" coverage -
RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Monday said he
would have ‘crushed’ BJP candidate Varun Gandhi under a roller for his
anti-Muslim speeches if he had been the country's Home Minister. [
The Congress had organised a rally near
the Jama Masjid ground, supported by 23 Muslim organisations. While addressing
the largely Muslim gathering, Kidwai had allegedly said, “Main mufti nahin hoon
iska mujhe afsos hai, kyunki Mufti log hamare yahan fatwa de sakte hain. Aur
agar main mufti hota to sirk ek fatwa deta ki musalmaan ka BJP ke sath jana kufr
ke barabar hai. (I regret not being a cleric as only clerics can issue a fatwa.
If I were a cleric I would have issued only one fatwa that for Muslims to vote
for the BJP is a sin.)” [
Senior Congress leader and former
minister Kagodu Thimmappa, who had stirred the hornet's nest by allegedly
instigating partymen to 'chop-off the hands of Hindu chauvinists' in an election
campaign meeting recently, today charged that some vested interests had twisted
his statement. [
Mines Minister Sis Ram Ola has winked at the court judgement, transferred department Secretary Shantanu Consul, ignored suggestion of the nation’s Cabinet Secretary, paid no heed to his Cabinet colleague Ram Vilas Paswan’s claim that the national mineral company NMDC should have the mining right at Ramandurg and bulldozed his way through in granting mining right to the PSU trading company, MMTC, which has set up JV with a private company, India Bulls, with the steel czar LN Mittal as the ultimate beneficiary. And all these have been done when the model code of conduct has been in force and the Government led by Manmohan Singh is just a caretaker one. [Link]
A 45-year-old rickshaw puller was beaten
to death allegedly by an acquaintance and his accomplices when he objected
them passing lewd remarks at his daughter at Bawana in Outer Delhi on
Three of the accused have been arrested.
The tragic incident took place around 10
p.m. when Harpal went to meet his neighbour Rasool and warned him against
passing vulgar comments at his daughter. This led to an altercation between
them, following which Rasool and his friends allegedly beat up Harpal.
Police today imposed prohibitory orders
under section 144 at Kayathamaranhalli extension here, after a clash between two
groups last night, in which, many vehicles and houses were damaged.
said today they resorted to tear-gas to disperse the warring groups. Two
Assistant Sub Inspectors and four constables, were among others, who were
injured in the incident.
Four temples were damaged. The miscreants also
attacked the house of the former Mayor H N Srikantiah and ransacked furnitures.
This blog chronicles the molestation and
abduction of Hindu
girls my Muslims in Bengal. [
I just returned from a month in India
during which time an incredible number of significant events were occurring. My
primary mission in going was to document and raise awareness of the ethnic
cleansing of Bangladeshi Hindus. I found plenty, including evidence of ongoing
attacks on them both in Bangladesh and in West Bengal, India. The border between
the two is so porous that terrorists and contraband move freely with and without
the help of India's Border Security Force or West Bengal police. But I also
witnessed the tragic beginning of the end for Pakistan's Hindus. Once one in
five Pakistanis, they have been reduced to one percent of the population.
In connection with indulging in rampage
in a banana plantation belonging to Babbukatte Nityadhar Church and trying to
disrupt peace in the region, Ullal policemen arrested seven persons on Wednesday
March 18.
They are Jayson Verghese (23), Vijit
Sunny Rozario (21), Araki Alfred (20), Roshan Cutinho (26), all from Nityadhar
Nagar and Ronald Roshan (22), a resident of Kuttar Prakash Nagar. They were
produced in the court on Wednesday.
On Monday morning, the banana plantation was found to have
been damaged heavily to look as if people belonging to a particular community
had barged into the plantation, and a saffron flag had been planted there,
signifying that Hindu outfits had been involved with the destruction. The
incident took place at a time when Hindu Samajotsav was being organized in the
city. [
The internet is replete with scores more of such incidents. Yet only the convenient ones get reported and debated.
One by one most of the Vadra family members have dropped dead. Mysteriously all of them died either in an accident or committed suicide. Something is clearly not right. But the CBI will not investigate them. Political masters will rein it in. And we will also not see national editors debating this. The media, we are told, only expresses public opinion. However, a majority seems to be excluded from the "public".