Monthly Archives: December 2007

The perfect New Year resolution for all of us

To all the editors, producers, ideators, anchors, writers, reporters, correspondents, columnists, photographers, camerapersons, designers, artists, visualisers, infographists, and assorted backroom boys and girls across the world, Bart Simpson serves up a New year resolution that we can break at our own peril. Happy New Year. Illustration: courtesy The Simpsons Advertisements

Al Jazeera: The 15 top media stories of 2007

Al Jazeera English, the global news channel launched by the Qatar-based Arabic channel, continues to be unavailable in the land of the free, but in the age of Web 2.0 what is beyond anybody’s reach if you want it badly enough? The best of the channel’s critically acclaimed output is there for those who make…

A tale of two pictures: signs of the times

Fifty-six Thirty-five years ago, an Associated Press photographer called Huyng Cong Ut, then 21, shot a picture of Phan Thi Kim Phuc (above), a nine-year-old Vietnamese girl running naked towards the camera shouting “Nong qua, nong qua (Too hot!, Too hot)!” during the Vietnam War. The picture, originally rejected by AP editors because it showed…

‘Media became a prisoner of its own fabrications’

Swapan Dasgupta in The Telegraph, Calcutta: “In Gujarat, the media were neither disinterested observers nor merely biased against Narendra Modi; they were an active participant. From disseminating ridiculous stories about lack of crowds in Modi’s meetings and overplaying the Patel revolt in Saurashtra to Yogendra Yadav’s self-confessed doctoring of the exit polls, the media took…

Did this man stand a chance with a future PM?

Death is a pretty grim business in Asian media. Unlike in Britain, where obituaries have been turned into a juicy art form, Asian tributes generally play it safe, spiking all the spice out of a false sense of deference. Last night, however, Karan Thapar, India’s premier television interviewer, who cut his teeth on Channel 4,…

‘Don’t you have anything serious to write about?’

Former Punjab chief minister Capt. Amarinder Singh‘s “friendship” with the Pakistani journalist Aroosa Alam has quickly and smoothly moved from the gossip columns to the front pages, with the kind lady trying to explain how a Rawalpindi-based newspaper carried a report about her reported marriage with Captain Singh prompting a fatwa from the Imam of…

KISS, as in Keep It Simple, Stupid

The obese feline reclined on the linoleum = The fat cat sat on the mat. According to Dave Barry, “Methodological observation of the sociometrical behavior tendencies of prematurated isolates indicates that a causal relationship exists between groundward tropism and lachrimatory, or ‘crying,’ behaviour forms” =  It is noticed that kids cry when they fall down.…

‘The English media is being pigeon-holed’

The branding of the “English media” in India as “elitist, pseudo-secular, left-wing, liberal, disconnected, rootless, pro-Muslim, anti-Hindu, pro-Congress, anti-BJP”—as if the English media is one animal; as if all of us receive our assignments and paycheques from Prakash Karat if not the Pope himself—would have gone down as one of the most successful campaigns undertaken…

Is the BJP still just a ‘Hindu nationalist party’?

The phrase “Hindu nationalist” has almost always prefaced western media reports of the BJP, and it is no different despite Narendra Modi‘s sensational, conversation-stopping hat-trick. But it is not just fair-skinned whites who feel dutybound to slap the appellation. # “Hindu Radical re-elected in India,” screams The New York Times. “On Sunday, voters re-elected the…

‘Modi has punctured vanity of corporate media’

Sheela Bhatt, managing editor (national affairs), rediff.com, and one of the few journalists who predicted the Gujarat elections accurately, on the strange symbiosis between the media and chief minister Narendra Modi: “In Gujarat, many people wondered: “Look, how powerful is Modi. He can even defeat the media.” “Today, the common belief is that the corporate…

‘Credibility is like virginity. You lose it only once’

The following is the full text of the speech delivered by Vinod Mehta, editor-in-chief, Outlook, on receiving the International Press Institute Award 2007 in New Delhi: *** It is an honour and a privilege for me accept this coveted award on behalf of the Outlook Group. I would like to especially congratulate Saikat Datta, the…

For Modi, like Bush, either you’re with us, or…

Sagarika Ghose writes that in the “opposition-free environment” of Gujarat, it is the media that is the only opposition to the alpha-male of Gujarati asmita, Narendra Modi. And like the masses he lords over, he has ensured that there is a sharp polarisation among the messages carrying his word to them. Those who sing in…

Television is sinful and un-Islamic, says new fatwa

A radical Islamic seminary in India has issued a fatwa against Muslims watching television, calling the device “haram (sinful)”. The fatwa was issued by the Dar-ul Uloom in Deoband, near Muzaffarnagar, in response to a madarsa teacher’s plea to clarify whether watching Islamic channels and televised debates on religious issues was right. The teacher, a…

If you thought Michael Jackson was mad, then…

When Michael Jackson dangled his youngest baby upside down over a Berlin hotel lobby five years ago, it resulted in an international uproar, followed by the pop star’s apology. A German newspaper called the act “foolish”, a British tabloid called it “lunatic”, and yet another labelled him the “mad bad dad”. What will the world…

The UNICEF photo of the year award goes to…

Each year, UNICEF, the United National Children’s Emergency Fund, recognises photographers who portray the hardships faced by children around the world. This year’s winner is Stephanie Sinclair. During her stay in Afghanistan, the American photographer was struck by how many young girls are married to much older men. This is a 40-year-old bridegroom and his…

A letter-writer asks the Indian media a question

A powerful politician murderously gunned down by a younger brother one early morning. The son of the deceased caught in a drug overdose with the secretary of the deceased less than a month later. A hurried marriage for the son of the deceased with a childhood sweetheart. A hurried arangetram into the youth wing of…

‘Lots of bylined stories ahead for print journos’

Khushwant Singh, narrates an interesting incident that took place during his tenure as editor of The Illustrated Weekly of India in the 1970s. The weekly forecast (probably by Bejan Daruwalla) hadn’t arrived in time. With very little time to go for the issue to be put to bed, the self-advertised “dirty old man of Indian…