NDTV group editor Barkha Dutt is the big media dropout from Indian Express‘s 2011 list of the 100 most powerful Indians. Dutt, who entered the ranking at No. 82 last year, has made way for her former colleague, Times Now editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami, who enters at No. 90.
Barring Arnab and Star India CEO Uday Shankar, who is ranked No. 85, there are no new media names in the Express list. But there are two sub-surprises.
The Hindu‘s editor-in-chief N. Ram who threatened “criminal and civil defamation proceedings” against the Indian Express last year, remains on the list at No. 73. But the Islamic tele-evangelist Zakir Naik, whose inclusion last year and whose Walk the Talk interview with Express editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta, attracted plenty of criticism after he was barred entry into Britain, is out.
As in previous years, Indian Express does not reveal how the list was arrived at or who the jury members were, although it proclaims that the jury was excluded from the list. The tabloid supplement carrying the power list—heavily advertised on NDTV—is sponsored by Earth infrastructure company, and all the boxes containing subsidiary lists are powered by IRB infastructure developers.
The list contains a one-line kink/fetish of the powerful.
# No. 38, Kalanidhi Maran, chairman and managing director, Sun group: “While in Chennai, he travels in his fleet of super luxury cars. For longer journeys, he has a private jet.”
# No. 56, Samir and Vineet Jain, VC and MD, Times of India group: “The older brother is highly spiritual and his executives often have to make a trip to Haridwar to discuss important issues with him. The younger one’s Holi bashes are considered the best in town.”
# No. 73, N. Ram, editor-in-chief, The Hindu: “He is quite active on Twitter and is prompt with his replies to questions and comments.”
# No. 77: Shobhana Bhartia, editorial director, HT Media: “She is a fitness freak, works out every day.”
# No. 79, Aveek Sarkar, chief editor, Anand Bazaar Patrika: “He is a good golfer and is captain and convenor of the Royal Calcutta Golf Club.”
# No. 82, Sanjay Gupta and M.M. Gupta, CEO and CMD, Dainik Jagran: “Sanjay loves to dance, and MM loves playing cards.”
# No. 85, Uday Shankar, CEO, Star India: “He can’t be in a room which has no TV. He watches almost all the time.”
# No. 86, Arun Shourie, columnist and author: “Shourie’s most prized possessions are his vast collection of books. He is extremely possessive about his library.”
# No. 90, Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief, Times Now: “He hates socialising and is rarely spotted at a social event.”
# No. 92, Raghav Bahl, editor, Network 18: “He is not too fond of socialising. Consequently, he ends up watching a lot of TV. At times, he watches about five or six channels simultaneously.”
There were 11 mediapersons in the 2009 list: eight of them had a presence in newspapers, three in television and only one was from the magazine sphere. Four of the 11 were from the language press. There were 12 mediapersons in the 2010 list.
Photograph: courtesy Outlook
Also read: The 11 habits of India’s most powerful media pros
A columnist more ‘powerful’ than all media pros
When even journalists start becoming “powerful” then the state of the modern society becomes truly tragic.
Power is of two kinds – power to destroy and power to create.
Now what kind of power do the journalists possess – can they help anyone create anything? Or are they capable of destroying the life and property of anyone who does not prostrate before them on a daily basis like any dictator?
A journalist is not supposed to be powerful. He is only supposed to report on what is happening around the world. He is not supposed to have a personal political agenda.
I think we as a society have become too obsessed with political power. We relish the idea of becoming a petty dictator of whichever rat-hole we have come to own. That is the reason why every magazine in India has started taking out a power-list of its own. People get some kind of vicarious pleasure by reading about how much creative or destructive power certain individuals enjoy.
I find these so-called power lists in bad taste and derogatory towards normal human values.
It is time we matured as a nation and developed the understanding that “only the worst scoundrels in history” dream about enjoying power over other human beings. The decent folks are usually content with leading their own life.
If I were Mr. Arnab Goswami or Ms. Barkha Dutt, then I would feel insulted if anyone dared to put my name in a so-called Power List.
People have the right to become rich, to become famous, to become competent, but they don’t have the right to become powerful in a civilized society.
Actually there is a third sub-surprise in the express list which is basically press club gossip from an otherwise fine newspaper: the exclusion of the historian Ramachandra Guha as one of the top 10 opinion-makers.
Could this paragraph in his recent essay be the reason:
“A certain kind of newspaper editor?”
Infact, that’s the fourth sub-surprise, that “a certain kind of newspaper editor” had the humility to keep himself out.
Govt scraps ISRO-Devas deal on S-band spectrum allocation on 17-2-2011. We the public thanks the Times group and esp Times now TV channel and Mr Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief, Times Now, in particular. Mr.Arnab Goswami, you are a real son of India and we all are proud of you. You are a model for the young generation of India. Times group is doing an yeoman service for the people of India. Its editors pick up stories, which other media and channels are afraid to take up.
I have a post grad diploma from one of the top journalism schools in India. We were always taught about ‘ideal journalism’ where we report facts, quote the sources, be unbiased, fair and just in reporting.
If Mr. Arnab Goswami has entered the so called power list I really feel worried of the times to come in India.
My teacher always quotes from the Spiderman…”With great power comes great responsibility”, here i see just power…
Dear Shri Arnab Goswamy,
Let me introduce myself as a Retd. Associated Professor in Political Science from University of Delhi. I have been watching Times Now Channel ever since Annaji was arrested even before he started the fast. Though the channel, you have courteously called upon the general public to express their views on this all important issue of growing menace of corruption, for the eradication of this menace, Annaji has initiated the crusade and every one of us in the country as well as even NRIs have been inspired and we have started thinking about it most seriously so that corruption will not further deteriorate our already hand to mouth existence.
I am enclosing a letter addressed to Madam Kiran Bedi, and I request you to kindly forward it to her because, I thought you should also know my view point and I also seek electronic media support on my suggestion. (A copy of my letter to Madam Kiran Bedi is herein enclosed for your information).
The sum and substance of my letter addressed to Madam Kiran Bedi, is that she should long with her friends persuade Annaji to give up the fast which has costed him 3 lbs. There ought not to be any more loss of physical strength and vigour so that he can continue the crusade till his objective is achieved. We assure him of our whole hearted support.
May be that might be the reson that an open letter of IM (Indian Mujahidin) threatens exclusively Arnab and Timesnow……No other channel!
Dear Arnav Sir
I one of the fan of of ur channel Times Now is regular viewer would like to drag your attention about the fraud and piracy going on in our Wardha (M.S.) by some noted institution..pls send any reporter of ur channel Times Now and find the relevant facts…This is my request to you on behalf of all victimed candidates…
Wating for ur help…