Publishers to debate Indian book printing at London Book Fair

A panel of leading international publishers will discuss the changing face of the Indian book printing industry at the “Indian Noon” conference at next week’s London Book Fair.The panel, which will be moderated by Redwood Publishing group editor Dominic Mills, will discuss the benefits to publishers of offshore book printing as well as looking at printing and publishing trends on the sub-continent.

Random House divisional production director Neil Bradford, HarperCollins operations director David Murray and Baker & Taylor vice president for academic/educational merchandising and digital printing David Hetherington will form the panel.

Pramod Khera, executive director of Repro India, who will kick-start the event with an overview of the Indian book print industry, said it was important to the sector for Indian book printers to focus on boosting their export sales.

“The Indian book print exports are negligible, even to the English speaking countries. This needs to change and the only way of doing this is through increasing interactions between the stake holders”, he added.

The theme for the conference, which will be held in the Old Press Centre at Earls Court from 4-6pm on 16 April, is: Discover Indian Bookonomics – Ability, Affordability, Adaptability.

A selection of leading Indian book printers, including Gopsons Papers, International Print–o–Pac, Jayant Printery, Kalajyothi Process, Lovely Offset, Manipal Technologies, MultiVista Global, Nutech Print Services, Replika Press, Repro India and Thomson Press, will also participate in the event.

The objectives for the conference are: to present the strengths of India to publishers; to reveal the changing face of the Indian book printer; to discuss the fast growing Indian book market; to examine the challenges faced by the publishers in distributing content through various media; and to enable networking between buyers and media partners.

The idea for the “Indian Noon” conference was proposed during the inaugural National Book Printer’s Conference (NBPC), which was held at Thiruvanthapuram, India in November 2011.

The London Book Fair 2012 will be held between 16-18 April at Earls Court, London.

Journalists’ fraternity appeal for Kazmi’s release

It’s been over a month since Urdu journalist Syed Mohammed Ahmad Kazmi’s, who was arrested by Delhi police special cell for allegedly facilitating the Israel embassy car blast, family and members of the journalist fraternity continue to run a campaign demanding his release.

Under the banner of Kazmi Solidarity Committee, activists and journalists held a press conference demanding his immediate release on Wednesday at the Delhi Press Club. “Kazmi was detained outside the India Islamic Centre. They searched his house. What was legal in all this? Why haven’t they filed a chargesheet yet?” asked senior journalist Seema Mustafa. “Initially, Indian government had categorically said that it does not believe Iran was responsible for the bombing. Israel is playing a geo-political game. India’s position changed and Kazmi’s arrest showed that… Kazmi is a decent human being. He’s an Urdu journalist and has written and contributed to Iranian news agencies. It is a clear conspiracy,” she added.

John Cherian, associate editor of Frontline, said that Kazmi was being victimised. “Kazmi sahab was the easiest scapegoat. A lot of us, including Syed Kazmi and Seema, went to Iraq in 2002 to cover the war… That was the first time I met him. We had met in Syria again last year,” said Cherian. He is not from the mainstream media and happens to be an Urdu journalist with strong views on Israel… Kazmi has always been proud of the work he’s done having covered wars. He is also very proud of his family. I hope he comes out unscathed. We will demand heavy reparation after his release for the wrongful arrest,” added Cherian.

Kazmi’s wife Jahan Ara made an appeal to journalists to stand up to one of their tribe. “If America and Israel are angry at whatever Kazmi has written, I apologise to them on his behalf. We have never lived on what Iran or Israel or America has provided us. Kazmisahab has always been an honest man… I just hope we he’s freed,” said a teary eyed Jahan.

Lawyer Colin Gonsalves rubbished Delhi police claims that there was a strong case. He opined that Kazmi could, in fact, seek legal action against Delhi police for his wrongful arrest. Shabnam Hashmi of ANHAD and Manisha Sethi, President of Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association (JTSA) also spoke at the conference. The committee also released an appeal signed by eminent journalists, film-makers and activists.

(courtesy: Tehelka.com)

Now, Employment news online, thanks to RTI Anonymous !!

Now, Employment news online, thanks to RTI Anonymous !!

Now, Employment news online, thanks to RTI Anonymous !!

Thanks to Two RTI Anonymous activists, the government of India will now published the Employment News/Rojgar Samachar Online . The two RTI Anonymous activists Sangh Priya Rahul and Nawal Agrawal had taken this project and had been following up with the concerned authorities.

RTI Anonymous is an online service, through which, any Indian citizen can File Right to Information (RTI) Applications Anonymously. They DO NOT HAVE TO REVEAL THEIR IDENTITY. The RTI Anonymous Community will file those RTI Applications in their name and upload the documents obtained as a reply on this website. The original requester will get an email when this happens. The original requester just has to draft the RTI Application as much as he/she can and the RTI Anonymous community will take care of the rest.

For more information on GETUP FOR CHANGE & RTI ANONYMOUS read :

RTI Anonymous: “One Stop Solution” to Fight Corruption in India !!! http://wp.me/p1TvF9-jT

“Bangla amar Mamatamoyee”: how dare you make fun of me? arrest her!

Illustration courtesy: Satish Acharya. "How Dare" !!!

“Bangladesh is Pakistan’s neighbour.. !?!”

A professor of chemistry at the Jadhavpur University was today arrested for allegedly spreading derogatory messages against “respectable people” through the internet. “Professor Ambikesh Mohapatra has been arrested for spreading derogatory messages against respectable persons via 65 emails.

The cartoon in question has been doing the rounds in West Bengal after Mamata forced Trivedi out of the rail ministry and put Roy in his place. Apparently, the cartoon is a caricature of Satyajit Ray‘s detective masterpiece on celluloid Sonar Kella.

Over the past few weeks a section of Kolkata‘s intellectuals who campaigned for Mamata before the 2011 assembly polls, have started protesting against what they call dictatorial tendencies of her government.

Manas Paul, an ex-Time Of India journalist takes Mamata to task. He says,

She is increasingly turning out to be the worst kind of fool to have ever been voted to power…the cartoon in question was actually the dumbest of all too. It was a simple cartoon and I did not find much of pun and fun in it. Virtually nothing. There were millions more caustic ones against the politicians as well as Mamata banarjee herself too. She should know we are not in China. Ours is India. And she also should know if she wants to take on social network or a virtual world like FB she will stand nowhere.

Manas Paul: Bangladesh is Pakistan's Neighbor said didi in an international conference in WB !!!

MY TWO CENTS ON CARTOONS AND MAMATA…

Cartoons are classed as NEWS…the news that exposes social, political, economic, religious maladies, and , yes of course, of Individual’s too –reflecting shades of their varied idiosyncrasies and idiocies as well.. Cartoons are essentially reflections of what was going wrong and sought to make it political satire out of it despite not actually being politically motivated and prejudiced . Cartoon is a NEWS ( refer as to how Supreme Court took cognizance of a R K Laxman’s cartoon on special exemptions of custom duties etc for the Cricket players given in Times of India). BUT… Cartoons are also part of ‘Creative arts’ and as such reflections of finer senses and also..Satire.. that bring about the subtlety and often obscured malice that beset us in our society, as imagined by the Cartoonist..There is a difference between a photograph and a cartoon. A photograph despite being again a News is different than that of the Cartoon. Photograph, and I am talking of political ones, though often satirical and poignant with message, are the moments captured , not the moment Created in Imagination by an artist. Here lies the difference…while in most of the case Cartoons do not need ‘Captions’ to tell us what it is all about… Photographs needed -mostly- a caption. And caption can be given for a twist. It so happens that because of the comments ( not caption) given with a photograph the element of satire and fun come out. ( captions meant to tell the readers what it was in reality)…. the context and perspectives could have been different…

Just recently ‘didi’ devoted goons, ran after striking employees, followed by her ban on popular newspaper in thousands of libraries ‘Poschim Bongol’ and now her same devoted goons heckled Mohapatra for defaming their ‘respectable didi’ !!

Bangladesh is Pakistan’s neighbour.. !?!

said didi, in an internationla trade meet in Kolkata.

First newspaper, now cartoons. Can she arrest R K Laxman if he ever draws her ? Someone should tell her if one day Sankar the great Cartoonist missed to draw Nehru, the PM would call him to ask what went wrong . West Bengal had hoped for a better governance and wanted respite from 34 years of CPM rule which became a nightmare. Unfortunately, Mamata with all her idocyncracies and stupidity already proved..she was a wrong choice. Something seriously amiss.

writes Manas Paul, a ex-Times of India journalist on Mamata Banerjee’s gimmick.

Former Indian Intelligence Bureau Chief Maloy Dhar ridicules Mamata on his facebook page:

Hitler Didi’s police arrests JU professor, Kolkata for creating & circulating a cartoon of Mamata in social media. She is shaming Hitler. Earlier Trinmool goons had beaten up the professor while he was returning home. Police booked the professor for cyber crime. Where are the intelligentsia of Bengal? Where are the voices of Indian democracy? How can they alow this dictator to rule in Bengal?

Felix Pinto reacted on facebook :

A rare specimen! What a bad luck my dear Benagali brothers! Either you have CPI/CPM morons or this cranky old lady! You certainly deserved something better.

Besides, questions are raised on where the WB police stands as far as legal issues are concerned. There seems to be a serious infringement of Privacy right of the arrested prof. and his neighbour. They snooped into their e-mails and no allegations of national security threat from them had been lodged against them prior to such surveillance on their private communications. Prima Facie the police with the help hackers ( who could be policemen too) broke their wall and scooped out the contents..which is again a crime. For investigation or for tracking someone or to find what was going on police needs to follow some strict procedures ( while Intel agencies have their own ways of secret surveillance into private citizen’s internet and all other communications if so they feel required, which they regularly do on suspects and also acting on specific information, but they donot ‘arrest’ on the basis of such evidence and they do not have to answer to the court of law). But police has to stand before the court of law. In the court of law I am curious to know how police would stand by their ‘evidence’ and process of collection of the evidence in exhibit.

Pak media constantly under threats & mental stress !

Expressing concerns over the killing of journalists in the country, media practitioners in Pakistan recently called for better security measures for their colleagues.

“(Pakistani) Journalists were working in an environment of rising intolerance and growing ethnic and sectarian extremism. Staff and leaders of the city`s newsrooms receive all kinds of threats by SMS, email and telephone calls, putting them under serious mental stress.”,

says a Media Commission Pakistan`s report entitled “Attacks on Journalists and Media Freedom” released recently at the Karachi Press Club. The 96-page report has been prepared in collaboration with the South Asia Free Media Association (Safma), Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ), ATJ and the KPC.

The report noted that journalists were not provided adequate security by their corporate managers, especially when operating in the conflict zone. It said that journalists should be provided risk and life insurance coverage by the government and the media employers besides ensuring training in conflict reporting.

Urging the state actors to follow a code of conduct that ensures respect for freedom of expression and the right to know in their relations with the media, it also stressed upon the media to observe a code of ethics in reporting conflict.

While calling for a “balance between secrecy and accountability” in the conduct of intelligence gathering, the commission emphasises that “important agencies (ISI and IB) be made more law-abiding, through a statutory framework carefully outlining their respective mandates and roles.” It also recommends that “all agencies be made more accountable through effective and suitably tailored mechanism of internal administrative review, parliamentary oversight, and judicial redressal of citizen`s grievances against them”.

The speakers supported the commission in its call to parliament and the armed forces for implementing remedial measures by intelligence agencies and parliament to help improve relations between the media persons, citizens and security agencies.

About reports of multiple threats to journalists` security in Sindh, particularly in Karachi, the report chronicled the murder of Wali Babar, Altaf Chandio and several other incidents.

It has noted that a TV anchor hosting a programme on extortion was axed by his employer, and sadly enough, the journalist is not prepared to disclose the political party which robbed him of his job and access to information to the general public, because of fear. It has noted that gunmen open fire on media vehicles while reporters and cameramen are attacked and beaten up in the city.

 

N.Ram:Bofors was a game-changer, both for Indian politics and journalism

An interview with N. Ram, former Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu

How difficult or challenging was the Bofors story?

Challenging, obviously, but in an energising, ‘in-the-zone’ way most of the time after the first year of investigation, 1987.

The investigation went on for more than two years and we published our Bofors stories in several instalments. The ruling party, the Congress, smelt a conspiracy, a plot, and many of its senior functionaries often reacted in a jumpy and highly insecure, if not paranoid, fashion. For us, it was decidedly a team effort, with many people, notably Chitra Subramaniam, Manoj Joshi, Malini Parthasarathy, and V.K. Ramachandran, making good, solid contributions that helped put various pieces of the puzzle together. Swedish Public Radio fired the opening shot in April 1987, alleging kickbacks and hinting at names before switching off; other newspapers, notably The Indian Express, were competing actively to get at the truth. Arun Shourie, a formidable journalist, and Ram Jethmalani, the ace criminal lawyer with his many interrogative questions hurled at Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, were in hot pursuit.

 

I think what worked for us at The Hindu was a methodical approach, an investigative discipline, a way of journalism that was factual, persistent, patient — and fair and just. We relied almost exclusively on documents, more documents, hundreds of documents, in fact, all of them laid out across pages and published in facsimile form in The Hindu (in the pre-digital age). We played the devil’s advocate on key story angles, verifying every detail.

I remember one occasion when we had made a significant factual error, misconstruing something Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had said in a closed meeting. We immediately published a correction, with an apology, on the front page and some people outside our newspaper believed the prominence given to the correction and apology was quite unnecessary. But we highly valued our credibility, our reputation, the trust readers placed in us. We believed in fairness and justice and scrupulously avoided throwing dirt on people against whom there was nothing like evidence (Amitabh Bachchan, famously). We did not practise anything that would be recognised as deceit in this era of hidden mikes and spy cameras. We had our own data security methods, which, surprisingly, worked. We got lucky, repeatedly, with our sources.

Our team was bold and confident in linking pieces of evidence, in establishing factual ‘concordances’, in making inferences from sensitive and complex data. Thus, we were able to offer this assessment in a prominent story in The Hindu of October 9, 1989, which the Columbia J-School has chosen to highlight in its centennial ‘50 Great Stories’ site (http://centennial.journalism.columbia.edu/1989-scandal-in-india/):

“If the whole interaction from June 1987 between Bofors and the Government of India can be understood by the public in terms of a ‘fixed’ football match in which all the goals scored against India have been ‘own’ or ‘self’ goals (scored into the Indian goal by Indian boots or heads), it is now established that the Swedish official referee, Mr. Ingvar Carlsson, has been an accomplice in the ‘fixing’ of the game.”

At times, it seemed to be an unsolvable puzzle. After a full year’s slog, we made a breakthrough in April 1988 when Chitra Subramaniam struck gold with a privileged, authoritative source (whom I met and checked out) and who never let us down. And then we were on a roll, you might say.

I did most of the writing through our Bofors investigation, many thousands of words, but others contributed handsomely as well. We had our internal differences, which did turn dramatic in 1989, but what stands out today for me is how well everyone on our team, from the Editor down, pulled together to shape an unforgettable experience. And it was not as though this was the first or last investigative effort by our 133-year-old newspaper!

Analytically, I have proposed in several articles, the Bofors-India kickback affair can be understood in terms of five modes of action.

The first was the decision-making on the choice of howitzer. The second comprised the arrangements for the payoffs. The third was the prolonged cover-up and crisis management. The fourth was the journalistic investigation and expose. The fifth was the CBI’s criminal investigation, assisted by the Swiss Federal Police and the Swiss courts, and prosecution before a Special Court for CBI cases.

What came of it all?

This is a legitimate question we have been asked. Some of the key accused died before the matter came up in court. Others, including Ottavio Quattrocchi, got away from the law. There was also the challenge of reconciling, or rather bridging the gap between, standards of evidence in journalism and under the Indian Evidence Act. But Bofors became a byword for top-level, political corruption, even entering the vocabulary of some Indian languages as a synonym for sleaze and skulduggery. Bofors, I believe, was a game-changer, politically and for Indian journalism. I won’t say more, except that it was eminently worth it.

IPL 5’s TRP show consistent decline!

Arguably, brand IPL has all the ingredients to be a blockbuster, and has proved to be a superhit formula to encash sports entertainment both by BCCI and broadcaster Max. But is the high-octane IPL glitz and glamour on the wane? Comparing the average TRPs of the first 6 matches of all five IPL seasons, one sees a consistent declining trend. However, one must also keep in mind that being a cricket event the tournament can always attain its peak towards the end when the excitement level goes up.

But is there a saturation point? Hariharan Vishwanath, National Trading Director, MEC India, who is in-charge of the study on IPL viewership undertaken by MEC every year, does not see IPL 5 beating the IPL4 ratings. According to him, it should stabilise at an Average TVR of 3.4 – 3.8, which is good.

Commenting on the declining viewership trend, Naveen Khemka, Senior Vice-President, ZenithOptimedia India, said,

“The initial euphoria of the IPL has stabilised. We cannot expect ratings to increase every year. Brands have become cautious. Just because it is IPL is not reason enough for them to be willing to pay a premium. They want it at the right price as every marketing rupee spent is under pressure due to margins. As a result some brands have taken a wait-and-watch policy. They will get in only if they are sure the ROI is effective.”

courtesy: BestMediaInfo Bureau

Infosys ‘whistle-blower’ on visa fraud by Indians, victimised by colleagues !!!

It has been 17 months since Jack B. Palmer first made a quiet complaint through internal channels at Infosys, the giant Indian outsourcing company he works for, saying he suspected some managers were committing visa fraud. Since then, Mr. Palmer says, he has been harassed by superiors and co-workers, sidelined with no work assignment, shut out of the company’s computers, denied bonuses and hounded by death threats.

But what has driven him nearly crazy, with bouts of depression alternating with rage, Mr. Palmer said, is the silence. Since last April, Mr. Palmer has been stewing day after day in his home near Montgomery, Ala., contemplating a blank Infosys screen on his computer and agonizing over whether his whistle-blowing was worth it.

Mr. Palmer said

“They did the worst thing they could do to someone who is used to working 80 hours a week.They sit me at home and cut me off from everything. My life is floating in Infosys purgatory.”

Mr. Palmer’s experience since he filed his first report in October 2010 alleging misuse of business visitor visas for Indian workers is a cautionary tale about the perils of confronting a big corporation. Mr. Palmer’s travails have been compounded because he is in a small minority of Americans employed by the huge company, which has $6.8 billion in annual revenues and about 15,000 employees in the United States alone, most from India.

lawsuit Mr. Palmer filed against Infosys in February 2011 prompted federal prosecutors in Plano, Tex., where the company has offices, to open a criminal investigation that is still expanding. Federal investigators are looking into whether the company used workers from India for certain kinds of jobs here that were not allowed under their temporary visas, known as B-1. They are also examining numerous irregularities in the company’s hiring practices and documents, federal officials said.

Infosys, a fast-growing global business that has carefully built a reputation for integrity, vigorously denies Mr. Palmer’s accusations and is fighting his lawsuit in federal court in Montgomery.

Mr. Palmer, 44, a software project manager for Infosys since August 2008, said he decided to sue the company, claiming he was punished for reporting corporate misdeeds, after executives pressured him to drop his complaints. But even as the months have crawled by, Mr. Palmer has not quit his Infosys job, fearing he will not get another one now that he is known as the guy who went up against the Indian company.

“The mental and physical challenge one takes on after blowing the whistle is excruciating,” Mr. Palmer, who is known as Jay, wrote in a recent e-mail. After what he has seen, he said, “It will be hard for me to advise anyone to blow the whistle. You’re around people every day, and then all of a sudden you are staring at four walls.No one will hire me and I can’t quit, so they just torture me. I have become numb and cumbersome to this world.”.

In Senate testimony and court documents, Mr. Palmer charged that Infosys brought Indian workers on short-term visitor visas, known as B-1, instead of longer-term temporary visas, known as H-1B, which are more costly and time-consuming to obtain. Infosys and other Indian technology outsourcing companies are consistently among the top users of H-1B visas, but in recent years intensified scrutiny by the State Department has made those visas more difficult to get.

The B-1 is for foreigners coming for conferences or to conduct training, consulting or contract negotiations who continue as employees of the company abroad. They are paid at the generally lower wage rates of the home country.

Mr. Palmer is still on the Infosys payroll, but with no work and little communication from the company, and his moods swing erratically, he said. He has struggled with drinking, gained and lost 20 pounds and taken medication for anger and depression.

Mr. Palmer said his troubles started soon after he filed his first report through an internal whistle-blower channel designated by Jeffrey Friedel, a senior Infosys lawyer. Within days of his report, Mr. Palmer said, it leaked within the company. One manager threatened to fire him, he said, and he received angry calls from co-workers. In November 2010, according to court documents, he found a death threat, neatly printed, on the chair in his office.

End of advertisement-free viewing for HD viewers !

Broadcasters are trying to recover investments in setting up HD feeds, say media experts

Television audiences in India may soon find themselves at the receiving end of the battle brewing between broadcasters and advertisers over selling inventory on the high-definition (HD) feeds of their existing channels, bringing to an end the almost ad-free viewing experience they currently enjoy.

Broadcasters are to soon begin showing commercials on HD channels, according to ISA. ISA regards the HD feed as another distribution channel similar to direct-to-home (DTH) or cable without any difference in programming or show timings.

“An advertiser is already buying commercial time on the same programme at the same time on standard definition. Besides, in most developed markets, broadcasters do not book ads separately for standard and high definition feeds.”

said Bharat Patel, chairman of ISA, which has 200 advertisers as members.

Although broadcasters agree that most of them carry the same content on two feeds, they say that the channels are distributed separately and hence need to be treated thus.

The dispute isn’t bringing much comfort to consumers who are already complaining that ads are not restricted just to the free-to-air standard-definition channels and also carried by those that are pay. HD subscribers are further irked by the prospect of commercials because they currently pay twice the normal rate for the privilege of watching higher-resolution pictures. The HD set-top box costs double the SD box and subscriptions are costlier as well.

“If HD channels start airing commercials, then I want a reduction in my channel subscription,”

said Ashish Tiwari, a Mumbai resident.

Ankul Barar, who lives in Delhi, said,

“If broadcasters are going to air ads then, since we pay a premium on these channels, we may as well have just one ad break in one hour —like when we go to watch a film in a cinema hall.”

Shailaja Bajpai in Bangalore is angry at the thought of ads interrupting her viewing on channels she pays more for. Still, she spends most of her time on Discovery HD, which plans to remain ad free.

“Discovery HD content is entirely different from programming on Discovery in standard definition. The HD feed is not meant to carry ads,”

said Rajiv Bakshi, vice-president, marketing, Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific.

Other channels aren’t planning to keep ads away from HD.

Media experts said broadcasters are also trying to recover their investments in setting up HD feeds, which cost more to transmit as they occupy greater bandwidth. Besides that, HD programming is also more costly to make.

(courtesy: Aminah Sheikh & Mint)