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An Open Letter to Aakar Patel

Dear Mr Patel, This is in response to your piece published in today’s TOI under a presumptuously named column ‘AakaarVani’. I’m writing this to correct you on some factual and a lot of perceptual errors that seem to behind almost every sentence in the piece. I’m writing in the hope that you may correct these, unless of course these aren’t inadvertent, but deliberate spin that you want to give to bolster the argument you make in the title of the piece. Let me start by pointing out the irony in the title itself, since having written it yourself, you obviously didn’t spot it. That an article criticizing the army and saying a lot of things about the faujis is titled “Nothing can be said about our faujis, they’re above criticism”. If irony … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blogitorial, Media, Military

Jaane Mat Do Yaaron

Jaane Mat Do Yaaron

It wasn’t very long ago that media (or press, as it was better known as) enjoyed near universal public trust and respect as the fourth pillar of democracy (the legislature, executive and judiciary being the first three). This because of its onerous role of keeping the other three pillars honest. It was rightfully considered as people’s watchdog, representing their voice against corruption, injustice, malpractices and all other forms of exploitation that the people were otherwise … Read entire article »

Filed under: Media, Politics

Beyond the headlines

Beyond the headlines

In today’s milieu of crisp sound-bites, newsbreak a minute and short attention spans, the struggle to capture eyeballs and mind space of readers and viewers has become fiercely competitive. We, as consumers of news have become increasingly laid back and lazy, preferring our brains to be spoon-fed thoughts and ideas the anchors or journalists find fit to feed us. On the other side of the fence, newspapers and television journalists have become more and more … Read entire article »

Filed under: Media, Politics

Browbeating of service officers by defence journalists

  This is a follow up of a prior post on the issue of online intimidation by journalists, specially of serving armed forces officers. I was witness to a similar incident, where a pair of journalists ganged up upon someone, apparently a serving officer. It started when the officer objected to one of them linking recent statements of Gen VK Singh as minister to question his selection for army by the SSB. The journalist, instead of arguing the point raised, started mocking the questioner, and soon his colleague joined in taunting the officer. He even insinuated that the officer was being paid a ‘twitter allowance’ for his tweets. Undeterred, the officer persisted with his original query.   The journalist’s reply was a shocker – that just because the general had served in the army, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Media, Military

FOE- Who Will Guard The Guardians?

With volumes having been spoken about Freedom of Expression in the past few days, its difficult to write about it without a wee bit of apprehension. Has everything that’s to be said on the subject already been said? Why bother adding to the terabytes of characters jostling for cyberspace propagating different points of view on the subject. But then, a few more kilobytes won’t make a difference, and at least I would get to exercise my own FOE. Will attempt to do so without going into the issues already discussed threadbare, but restricting it to personal experience over the past few days.I will start with the conclusion I have drawn first, and then go on to explain how and why I arrived at it. And that is – people who … Read entire article »

Filed under: Media, Military

Don’t ‘Angry’ the Common Man

Don’t ‘Angry’ the Common Man

I wonder if Arnab Goswami has seen Chennai Express. If he has, he didn’t seem to have taken Shah Rukh Khan’s dialogue, “Don’t underestimate the power of an ordinary man”, seriously. Or maybe its the other way around, and he overestimated his own and his channels ability to control and direct viewers minds. That’s possibly why Times Now moved from reporting the narrative to trying to script it. With provocative hashtags scrolling tantalizingly across the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blogitorial, Media, Politics

Vox Populi

Vox Populi

The lack of any credible response from all political parties to the recent spontaneous protests against the gang rape in Delhi is not surprising. In the last 65 years our democracy has transformed into an elitocracy. Those who like to call themselves leaders have actually lost touch with those they profess to lead. To them, people are at best an unavoidable nuisance to be tolerated for the sake of garnering votes every five years. They … Read entire article »

Filed under: Common man, Media, National Issues, Politics

Muzzling the Mango

Muzzling the Mango

Six and a half decades since we got our independence. For all intents and purposes, we are citizens of an independent democratic country whose constitution guarantees freedom of speech.  But when the first son-in-law of the country calls it a ‘Banana Republic’, he definitely is speaking with the authority of an insider. And the grand old party which constitutes his sasural is hell bent on proving him right. Consider the following:- As per Google’s transparency report, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blogitorial, Common man, Corruption, Cyber, Media, National Issues, Politics

The Importance of Being Anna

Watching Anna’s agitation from the comfort of my living room I got the impression that it was a damp squib this time around. As per the news, the crowd was extremely thin, and the zing was missing. Breathless anchors on channel after channel prophesied the lingering death of the Jan Lokpal movement. Various reasons were ascribed to this, from people being disillusioned with team Anna not being above board themselves, to ‘agitational fatigue’. Print media was also quick to dismiss the latest episode of the agitation. As per one columnist, Team Anna has been ‘knocked off the pedestal’ that people had put them on. But then I went over to Jantar Mantar to take a look for myself. I found the story completely different. The crowds are very much there. Ordinary … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blogitorial, Common man, Corruption, Media, National Issues, Politics

Morale of the story

Morale of the story

Just like honour, morale is a word that has been bandied about a lot in the recent past. Specially in context of the age row that has been dominating the front pages and prime time slots for an unbearably long time. It even prompted a leading national daily to commission a survey to gauge whether the morale of the armed forces has actually been impacted by the shenanigans of the very people charged with preserving … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blogitorial, COAS, Media, Military, Values