Wednesday, March 28, 2007

MSM and the hype

The press is called one of the four important pillars of democracy. In India, since independence barring a case or two the press has enjoyed unbridled freedom. Freedom of expression is an important fundamental right. But there is a caveat. With freedom comes responsibility. That responsibility has not been codified and that is where the breach of intent takes place.
The press these days tends to shift towards tabloid journalism. Yet the subject has been there since time immemorial. Whether a side subject in Citizen Kane or a manifestation of Gail Wynand's popularity in Fountainhead, the subject is an oft-repeated one. The upcoming engagement and marriage of Abhi-Ash or the intense cricket hype created by the media seems to have brought the subject to the forefront again.
Medium Purists like me may frown at the over-indulgence of press in matters that are less important for 1 billion people. Last year the coverage given to "Prince" was a glaring example. And there is a definite bias. How? The same incident may occur to another individual with somewhat tragic consequences but they are consigned to minor 4-5th page columns. Why? Because the news may not interest the public anymore. Perhaps a sensationalist like Rajdeep Sardesai summed it up best. He hinted at "What you see is what you want". News is being generated or created from thin air because the public wants it. Prince got a lot of coverage and what happened. The public got involved and started praying collectively. Praying is not a bad thing but was the news worth the hype.
Ditto with cricket. People held yajnas, prayers etc because the public wanted India to win. Regardless of the performance of the Indian team in the last six months people expected india to win. And then what happened. After the crash the opinion swung to the other extreme like a pendulum. People attacked houses, visually murdered the idols. These threw up a lot of side questions like Are we short of heroes? And important ones like what is the general attitude of the common one? Why the same thing gets repeated again?
I support Rajdeep (though I dislike his sensationalism).I support the admen and broadcasters.
"We get what we want". It is the rule of free market. Perhaps it is us who need to grow up !

Friday, March 23, 2007

MSM and investigations

was watching the frenzy about Moninder Singh Pandher's clean chit from CBI.

The man has been beaten publicly,got unconscious and faced a lot of flak..
I am not defending him.Just that the public seems to be more volatile with him than his servant.
Amit put it beautifully.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Singur and Nandigram-How politics works?

14 people were killed in a violence that was about nothing..

No work had started and CM was categorical that land won't be forcefully acquired in Nandigram..

But villagers were incited into strange rumours..

Now what ?

CPIM is very vocal in the centre and Congress finds a way to point fingers at West Bengal..
SEZ will be stopped,Industrialisation might get affected

At the end of the day development loses out..
Something which politicians are paid to bring about.
Strange !!!

Update 1: Something seriously wrong is happening over there.They put up a layer of children (first),women(2nd) and men(3rd) against police.Who is inciting them ? And how did they develop a strategy ? Is it a mini civil war ?

Update 2 : Finally I am in a position to throw my hat into the ring.The Nandigram issue.
Just after the Singur frenzy the Government decided to go for land acquisition in Nandigram.Around 30000 acres.It involved roughly 3000-4000 livelihoods.Singur was still hot.The news was that the Government is grabbing land from poor people in the name of development leaving them in the cruel clutches of 'nobody to take care of' destiny.Nandigram erupted.The very first officials who came to survey the place were lynched.Suddenly the situation turned explosive.There was an all out war.People organised themselves pretty fast and a policeman was killed.Then the police left and a status-quo situation prevailed.Meanwhile Buddhadeb categorically spoke that no land would be acquired unless the people consented.And judging from television footage the people would not part with their land at any cost.So in high probability Nandigram would be left alone and an adjacent area,much smaller, was considered.
But nobody knows what happened in the middle ? I used to frequent the newspapers and saw that at a political level the skirmishes were continuing .Women were raped and people with certain political affiliations were being driven out. The situation was not normal and the Chief Minister kept behaving arrogantly.He once again forgot the people in his rapid-industrialisation frenzy.The CM being an intellectual (as the reputation goes) must be aware that the most important thing that people love to hate is change.But how did he try to manage this problem ? By ignoring them altogether ..Bad politics and bad diplomacy.Nit everything can be told to people but the point was he should have taken people into confidence.Development can't be bereft of people ..And 3000 at the least is a big number.The Chief Minister being an elected representative and a educated soul should have behaved appropiately.Now things have started exploding on his face from his own people and virtually everyone let's see how hw manages this situation.A majority is calling for his resignation but I would personally prefer him to learn and remain a CM. Fortunately or unfortunately we have no alternative.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

user generated content-implications

Just today I came across the news that Viacom is going to sue youtube for a hefty amount because of copyright violation.I think that it highlights a bigger problem,the use and misuse of freedom.
A couple of years ago Napster got plastered because of copyright violation.Youtube is much more than that.It actually allows users to be a greater part of the internet.
Plagiarism has haunted mankind since time immemorium.On the internet P2P sites etc etc play a bigger role.But with user generated content things seem to get worse.Boils down to the fact that whose interests are being exploited.

Another aspect seems to be authenticity.Wikipedia is the largest online encyclopedia in this world and it is unique.People can actually add and edit it.But people come with preconceived views and sometimes truth is lost in fiction.This is the main disadvantage of Wikipedia.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Billionaire's list

Such hoopla just proves that "india shining" is an oxymoron after all.
What use it ?
What about Gini coefficient ? and Human development index ?

International Women's Day

I noticed one issue with the International women's Day.That they were short of issues after all.And there was lack of initiative.People talk of gender discrimination in offices.My belief is that this thing is more or less being phased out naturally and diversity is given preference and merit rules in a highly professional work place.But then the media focussed on such aspects as well aspect of domestic violence and female foeticide.A major component was missing.The rural women and women from slums.Day in and out I see women working hard,be it walking miles and carrying water or crossing heights and carrying loads of cements for the nearby uder-construction buliding.They do build lives and they don't live happy lives.My point is how much weightage do they get.The blue collar moms !!!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Blood Diamond

Sometimes, amongst the niceties of life we tend to forget that behind some glittering and radiance lays painful history. And sometimes, conflicts and struggles tend to add brilliance to dullness. Let us take the case of Diamond. Raw diamond is dull. It is after cutting and polishing, sometimes at precise angles that diamond glitters in the way that appeals to our eyes. But then there might be some painful history attached to it. The diamond you are wearing might well be a conflict diamond.
This was the point of the movie “Blood diamond”. According to facts presented in the movie, nearly 15 % of the diamond in the market have their origin in conflicts, wars, devastations. All man-made. The movie also presents a bitter picture summed up by an African. " Thank God we have no oil”. In place of diamond it could well have been oil, gold, and platinum. Even uranium. Mao said “Power comes from the barrel of a gun”. But then power can also be bought from the object of desire. An in his quest for power man often tend to use such valuable objects as diamond. It comes as no surprise that most regions that have abundance of oil are today major points of conflicts. Nigeria,Iran,Iraq.You name it.
The movie starts with the devastation and catastrophe caused by Sierra Leonean rebels,the RUF and a poor African fisherman being at the receiving end of their wrath. People are killed and butchered like animals. The violence is so extensive that sometimes it tends to shake the audience. Yet it is unrealistic. Even though the gun blazes every 3 minutes on an average the three main actors tend to remain unscathed. The movie has made a good point though. It is good because it has cleverly woven every point of conflict which is very real in Africa into an amazing story.
The performance of Leonardo DiCaprio,Jennifer Connelly and especially Djimon Hounsou is something to watch out for.However the emotions are a bit overdone and tend to take the film to a Karan Johar like theatrics.
The conflict is very real. War still rages on in Africa and people still buy diamonds unaware of their origin. But an awareness has been created. The movie is worth a diamond. A conflict-free one!!!

The Dixie Goofup

Epilogue: I have decided to give views on both sides of the coin.It gives a wholistic perspective on things.Plus a good lawyers can side from both sides of the fence and I like lawyers :-)

In 2003 while I was at college Mr George Bush decided to attack Iraq.America was polarized with the minority criticising him.Dixie Chicks were one of them.She criticised her president on foreign soil.What happened ? They were maligned,slandered to the worst possible extent.Last year they came out with an album that was meant to be an avenging melody.I was right,Iraq is in shambles,I owe an apology and am still waiting.That was the message.Now I will be continuously crossing from one side of the fence to the other and giving opinions.

Arguement: They criticised the first man on foreign soil
Counter arguement: Britain is an ally of US and they never sided with enemy

Arguement: How could they criticise ?
Counter Arguement: Freedom of speech

Arguement: Country music is closer to the soil.They betrayed the soil.
Counter Arguement: Freedom of speech

And there were some subtle reasons too..

They are a celebrity too.They are heard and reheard and fans take them to heart.What image will America heart,if they, as celebrity,as core of the "Daughters of soil" mentality betrayed their own soil.
No answer !!! Might well have been freedom of speech !!!

I understand that most of Natalie Maine's songs come from her heart but atleast she could have been diplomatic about her opinions..
I call it a goofup
For three years they stood by that 11 worded statements and kept talking from heart.They took various firefighting measures.

And then at Grammys they won the accolades.

What would have happened had George Bush successfully managed the war ?

Conclusion: They should have been diplomatic..