Vernacular Journalists dominated Thiruvananthapuram Press Club Awards

The Thiruvananthapuram Press Club has announced the media awards for 2009 and 2010.

The following are the winners for the awards in 2009: the M. Sivaram Award for best news series went to R. Samban of ‘Desabhimani’ for his series on the decision against appointing pregnant women in State Bank of India.

The K.C. Sebastian award for political reporting went to the feature ‘Vibhagiyathayude Varikuzhi’ which appeared in ‘Malayala Manorama‘ and was written by Sujith Nair, Sanjay Chandrasekhar, Anil Kurudath, Jayachandran Elankath, R. Krishnaraj, and D. Jayakrishnan.

The K. Madhavan Kutty award for best English feature went to Reema Narendran of ‘The New Indian Express‘ for her story on ‘Kids of silence.’

The V. Krishnamoorthy award for the best English story went to Pradeep Pillai’s story on ‘Kerala government’s war against a war hero’ published in ‘The New Indian Express.’

The Minerva Krishnankutty award for the best human interest photo went to K. Sasi of ‘Chandrika’ and the news photography award to Samir A. Hameed of ‘Malayala Manorama.’

T.K. Sujith won the cartoon award. The Swadesabhimani award for layout and designing went to the front page of the Kozhikode edition of ‘Madhyamam‘ on July 19.

For year 2010

The following are the awards for 2010: the M. Sivaram award for news feature went to the feature ‘Dourbhagyam’ on lottery published in the ‘Malayala Manorama.’ It was written by G. Vinod and Sanjay Chandrasekhar.

The K.C. Sebastian award for political reporting went to V. Jayakumar of ‘Kerala Kaumudi‘ for his story on P.J. Joseph‘s decision to leave the Left Democratic Front.

The V. Krishnamoorthy award for the best English story went to Arjun Reghunath’s story on the Chief Vigilance Commissioner‘s links in the palmolein case published in ‘The New Indian Express.’

The G. Venugopal award for adventurous reporting went to Prajesh Sen of ‘Madhyamam.’

The Minerva Krishnankutty award for best human interest photo went to C.B. Pradeep Kumar of ‘Varthamanam.’ The news photography award went to Samir A. Hameed of the ‘Malayala Manorama.’

T.K. Sujith of ‘Kerala Kaumudi’ was selected for the cartoon award.

The Swadesabhimani award for best layout and designing went to the Kozhikode edition of ‘Madhyamam’ for the way it presented stories of Communist Party of India(Marxist) leader Jyoti Basu’s death on January 18, 2010.

YOUBIHAR: Are Indian newspapers agents of the Congress Party?

Shalu Sharma, a homemaker from Patna writes in YOUBIHAR, (http://www.youbihar.com) a social networking site dedicated to Bihari viewsissues and history of Bihar.

If you read news from major news channels such as Hindustan Times, Times of India, Tehelka you will be surprised to know how they manage to cover stories of the Congress Party. We know that Bofors is in the limelight again but you never hear about that in these newspapers. This is perhaps because these newspapers are sold to the Congress Party. None of the newspapers highlighted the Singhvi Sex CD Case. Some even went to the extent of saying that it was a private affair. All of the major newspapers of India and News channel are trying to cover all bad stories relating to the Congress party. Hindustan Times and Tehelka in particular seems to be publishing paid articles for the Congress party.

They are all bukwas. They have sold themselves to the Gandhi family. They are pimps. HT has cheap crappy articles with lots of errors. The editors are pimps nothing more nothing less.

Ragini Bhatia from Delhi adds a comment on Shalu’s posting:

Most Indian TV channel and newspapers have special journalists ready to take split the hair when it comes to what to report report and how especially for the present government. They are sold newspapers and not to be trusted. A few Indian agencies try to remain honest and impartial but I believe amongst the very few most of them have paid news. 

The purpose of YouBihar is to communicate with people in and outsideBihar, to facilitate easy access to her glorious heritage; and to track Bihari issues. This site as a Bihar social network is dedicated to Bihar’s supreme past and to addresses today’s Bihari issues.

Peepli live reporter left scooped out by wily editors?

NDTV‘s anchor and one of the outspoken &  dare devil journalists Sunetra Choudhary had been chasing a UPA minister for some time. He’s never been part of a TV discussion, he rarely gives interviews and yet, he’s often the newsmaker himself. His lack of media savvy perhaps worked in Sunetra’s favour as after the millionth call to his people and haranguing them with her questionnaires, she  finally got them to convey her message. When they called her to confirm a half-hour interview slot, Sunetra couldn’t believe her luck.

At the appointed hour, she arrived with her tiny battalion of producer, camera people and assistants to claim her date with breaking news. The Minister had just arrived, and they were setting up, when she was called in for ‘a word.’

“Let me give you the interview like this only, why the camera?” said the minister.

Surprised Sunetra told him, “Excuse me, sir, you know I’m from a TV channel?”
Finally, the minister decided to level with her. “Actually some other journalists got to know about this and they cornered me in the Central Hall,” he said, referring to the area in Parliament where senior journalists can mingle with MPs and ministers over tea. “They said you can’t talk to her. They made me promise that I won’t be seen talking to you on TV or I would have to speak to everyone which I don’t want to do.”

Astonished Sunetra again pleaded, “But, Sir, you promised me?”

“I know but what can I do? They weren’t just any old reporters, they are well-known editors,” he said apologetically, naming the heads of two other channels. He looked helpless, and the NDTV anchor heartbroken.

Now with her headline-hunting dream shattered,  She returned to office telling her colleagues this unbelievable tale of

“how big-time editors were going around ruining opportunities for small fry like me.”

“But why are you surprised?” they said. Apparently, this happens every day in pursuit of the ‘exclusive story.’

Read her full column in DNA: http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/column_sunetra-choudhury-scribe-vs-scribe_1681672

Kannada’s “Goobe” notebooks, folders, earrings and crochet products !!!

Goobe's Book Republic, Bengaluru

What prompted this post?.. my friend who doesn’t know a word of Kannada cursing her slow internet connection thus –“ hey this goobe gmail is troubling me so much” :D

This WORD deserved a post completely dedicated to it.. the word is GOOBE, which in Kannada means owl.
In our day to day life we don’t really talk much about owl’s do we? But goobe is quite often used as swear word, to express your displeasure at someone or something . Similar to calling somebody a monkey or a donkey but goobe is easier and much cuter than those words.

One of the Kannada’s  popular slang terms has even made its way to Chennai, where it is used with other Kannada words like bejaar. The usage of the word seems to be increasing with the advent of text messages and Facebook. Several bloggers dedicate entire posts to the word goobe.

In fact, the word is so popular that it even sells as a brand name. Gurpreet Kaur, who has just finished her II PU from Christ Junior College and her best friend, Varsha Ramesh, who graduated from Kumarans, (both in Banglaore)  used the word to poke fun at each other and they grew so fond of it that they decided to name their business enterprise after it. “We just love the word,” says Gurpreet, “And we love owls. “Since October 2011, the girls have been selling Goobe notebooks, folders, earrings and crochet products through the social media network.

Goobe’s Book Republic, Banglaore:  Goobe’s book republic sounds funny if kannadigas read it. For non Kannadigas, it means owl its right there very obvious in the logo. But i really like the name and the style of it.This is a small library with vast collection of books on Churchstreet, MG Road, Bangalore.

It’s interesting to note that while the English language regards the owl as a symbol of wisdom (He is as wise as an owl, we often read in English texts) probably because of its association with Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, its usage in Kannada and Hindi is quite derogatory. In Finnish culture, the owl is regarded as stupid for its dumb stare, while owls in medieval Europe were thought to be evil, stupid helpers of witches.

What’s the good word?

» ‘Goobe in Kannada actually means ‘owl’.
But in Bangalore it means:

» A fool

» A boring person

» An introvert

» An irritating guy

» A useless person

‘Goobe is casually used when:

» A friend makes everyone wait by turning up late at any place outside college

» Someone is not paying attention to what you are saying

» You are angry with someone who has failed to complete the task assigned to him/her

» A friend keeps his phone busy by chatting with his girlfriend/ boyfriend

» You bump into the lecturer you wanted to avoid

» You have to curse the traffic cop who steps forward to stop you.

» You have to curse the lappy (laptop) when it conks

In traditional Kannadiga homes, mothers warn their children against disobedience by telling them, “Goobe barathe!” (The owl will come!) Owls are looked upon as a bad omen because they haunt lonely places and are only seen at night.

Indian cyber law miles behind the realities of social media

Need to amend Information Technology Act, 2000 to put it in sync with the requirement of times

The last few months has seen a lot of hectic activity in India in the context of legal issues around social media. Last year, the statement by the Union minister Kapil Sibal pertaining to pre-moderation of social media generated a lot of flak.

President of Cyberlaw.net, Advocate in Supreme Court of India and Asia’s leading cyber law authority Pavan Duggal, writes in his column in Financial Chronicle (http://www.mydigitalfc.com): 

I think there is an inherent problem if you’re going in the direction of over regulation of social media. India has to realise that the Arab Spring revolution had some learning for countries. If you try to stifle social media and stifle freedom of speech and expression therein, the chances of social media having a tremendous impact upon political and social institutions of the country cannot be ruled out. Instead, social media players need to be made clearer of what could be examples of online defamation or online harassment.

I believe Indian cyber law is miles behind the reality of social media and there is need for amending the Information Technology Act, 2000 to bring it in sync with the requirements of present times.

The approach towards more regulation of social media has to give way to more balanced realisation that first allows us put our house in order. Let’s look at our own Information Technology Act, 2000, that was last amended in 2008. There is sea of change in technology since then. The said law is not at all well equipped to deal with the several nuances pertaining to social media, social media crimes, mobile security, mobile privacy, data protection, and more importantly, cloud computing. The ball lies in the court of the Indian government.

Read the full column: http://www.mydigitalfc.com/it-enabled-services/indian-cyber-law-miles-behind-realities-social-media-549

Why Indian Mainstream Meda Wants Social Media Dead

In recent times Herman Cain, an Afro-American candidate, pulled out of the race for the Republican party’s nomination for US Presidential election in 2012. Three women from his past had alleged sexual harassment by Cain which eventually forced him to abort his campaign. In contrast, Abhishek Manu Singhvi (AMS), MP and Congress spokesman, resigned on April 23 from various posts after his alleged sexual adventures were leaked through a video on the internet. That was enough for the Mainstream Media (MSM) and even PCI Chairman, Justice Katju, to start screaming for controls over the social media. The sex CD which involves AMS and a female lawyer was reportedly made by AMS’s driver and according to AMS was “fake, doctored and morphed”. How a driver went to Darbangha (Bihar) and found enough money and support and morphed a tape will remain a technological wonder for a long time. His alleged motives are “dog-bites and low pay”. Seriously, many of us may complain about our salaries but going to the extent of morphing our bosses into sex videos is taking even revenge too far.

 The case was brought to public light not by the driver or by the MSM or by the social media. It came to prominence when AMS filed a police complaint against the driver and got an injunction from the Delhi HC against airing of the CD. On what basis the HC gave the injunction is another mystery and it almost sounds like pre-screening. Naturally, people wanted to know what was on the CD and what the facts were. This is where the MSM failed as it completely blacked-out the story. The court had stayed airing of the CD and not the reporting of the story. It was then that the story spread like wildfire on Twitter, Facebook and other social media and finally parts of the CD were uploaded by some on the internet.

 In response to the public clamour for the story Rajdeep Sardesai even responded by calling them “EternalVoyeurs”. Such is his disdain for ordinary people. Rajdeep also asked why the Opposition was silent over the issue, as if they, or any political voice, should determine what the press or media should be reporting and discussing. A dead give-away.
Even so, when the cookie finally crumbled, the MSM wasn’t discussing the AMS sex incident, they were busy debating whether ‘Internet is above the courts’ (For uploading the CD against the court injunction) and some like Justice Katju andSagarika Ghose were discussing ways and means to ‘check’ the social media.
Nothing would please our MSM (and some politicians) more than to see the death of social media. It has come to challenge their monopoly, their bias, their spins, their lies, and their selective reporting. In the US the Internet media has seen the death of many newspapers and quite a few TV channels. Some 300 newspapers have died in a small country like UK. Unlike print and TV, social media requires the regular MSM and public figures to be interacting with people sensibly which is where they have failed in India. Public opinions can be suppressed in newspapers and TV but not on the social media. So while raging against the people on the social network and wanting to desperately ‘check’ them the Indian media really needs to understand the way social media works and harness it productively and profitably. Comments under the post “Media as cover-up artist for Seedy Singhvi” will reveal how even keen news-watchers were totally unaware of the AMS incident. That is how successfully the MSM blacked-out the story.
The Internet wasn’t created in India. The Internet didn’t evolve in India. None of the major social media engines were created in India. For all its other problems the US still remains a country with absolute freedom of speech. President, Pope and even religion are no exceptions to such freedoms. Books are not banned and books can be burned. Nazi group marches through Jewish localities to offend them is allowed. Protests at funerals against dead ‘gay’ soldiers, in bad taste, are allowed.Bad taste is not a crime. Therefore, for Internet and social media to thrive in the US environment wasn’t as big a challenge as it is in India. Mind you, the same laws that punish defamation or illegal activities otherwise also apply to social media in the US. It does in India too. It is just that in India free-speech is largely reserved for the powerful and the MSM. Now that the situation is changing it’s causing unease among many in the media and politics. US citizens over many years have grown used to and cherished their freedom of speech. Most of them know what to believe and what to ignore. The Indian govt and media simply doesn’t trust ordinary people to have the good judgement over issues.
Courtesy: Ravinar & Media Crooks (http://www.mediacrooks.com)
If the AMS CD was uploaded on the net it was because the media didn’t discuss it. It got uploaded because people generally believed that this level of gagging by a court and black-out by MSM can only mean there is truth in the story. That a prominent lawyer like AMS would seek an injunction and instead of continuing the FIR against the alleged conspirator reach a settlement with him further reinforces the belief that the CD is neither morphed nor doctored. Apart from the frivolous discussion; “Is Internet above courts” on CNN-IBN (who else but Sagarika Ghose?) and other channels, NDTV even discussed if ‘India is going the US way’ on the media issue. Among participants on NDTV was Shoma Chaudhury, editor of Tehelka, a near-gossip tabloid, and the same tabloid that famously used call girls to do their jobs. That is enough said for morality in media.
If there is evil in the social media, it is prevalent elsewhere too, particularly in the MSM and politics. It is how we respond to it that counts. It is not easy for someone to survive in the social network by constantly peddling lies and misleading information. In Indian media it is definitely possible and sometimes it even seems they are paid for it. For those screaming about morals so much in the MSM there is an example of a prominent journalist Keith Olberman who was suspended from his channel, MSNBC, for a small but undeclared donation he made to politicians. In contrast people like Barkha Dutt are celebrated in our media despite established wrong-doings. In the US Barkha Dutt would have been permanently trashed and out of the media for good. So people like Rajdeep Sardesai would do well not to sermonise on morality, which he often does. The likes of Shoma Chaudhary, Sonia Singh (NDTV), Sagarika Ghose should also be frequently reminded of the sordid NOTW affair in UK. That tabloid is what much of Indian MSM should be compared to and not values of ‘Freedom of speech’.
In the last US presidential election Youtube was successfully used by CNN to allow ordinary people to put questions to the candidates and have them debate the issues. Many other clips from Youtube are also used by US news channels in their reports. Why Indian media cannot find productive use for social media other than promoting egos of individual journalists is simply the fear of sharing their turf. Forget harnessing social media productively, the frequency with which our news channels twist and manipulate tweets to suit their agenda actually amounts to abuse of social media by them.
The MSM perceives a loss to the social media on the issue of AMS, his sexcapade and his final resignation. This is hardly the truth. Social media did not bring AMS down. In the final scene of the movie ‘All the President’s men’ WaPo editor Ben Bradley chides Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein thus: “You know the results of the latest Gallup Poll? Half the country never even heard of the word Watergate. Nobody gives a shit”. That’s right half the US didn’t know and didn’t give a shit till Nixon finally resigned. That was despite tremendous coverage by the Washington Post and a few more newspapers. Here we are, an entire MSM blacking out the AMS story and they want the world to believe it is the evil of social media that has to be ‘checked.
Social media didn’t bring AMS down. He brought himself down with his dirty deeds, social media just showed the courage that MSM did not just as Woodward and Bernstein didn’t bring down Nixon on their own. MSM, and Justice Katju, would do well to partner social media rather than try to check it. If ever ‘Power to the people’ made sense in a democracy it is Social Media. Celebrate it!

Modi-1st Indian OBC leader in TIME

Soon after Narendra Modi was featured on the cover of Time magazine last month, his media managers went into overdrive saying the Gujarat chief minister was the firstIndian OBC leader to get this distinction.

Surprising this from a former poster-boy of Hindutva who has shunned the caste tag for wider acceptance in the majority community.

But as he faces assembly polls later this year – and aspires for a larger national role later – Modi is clearly positioning himself as an OBC leader for two reasons. First, he is wooing the OBCs to offset a deviant Patel vote-bank. At another level, he is pitching himself against two possible NDA contenders for prime ministership – Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan – both OBC leaders. The strategy makes sense. OBCs constitute about 30% and Patels around 20 % of the population in Gujarat.