First ever, all Kerala Media fest to remember father of journalism education in Kerala

Professor Maxwell Fernandez helped launch the first media course in the State.

When his single-handed effort resulted in the launch of the first university-level media education in Kerala three decades ago, Professor Maxwell Fernandez’s students could not call him anything but the ‘Father of Journalism Education’ in Kerala.

The youthful professor left the world in the prime of his life — at the age of 40, but his efforts paid off.

This year, when his colleagues and students thought about commemorating him differently, they came up with something unique — a media fest, the first one of its kind for students in the State.

The event christened ‘Take One Fest,’ organised by the Communication Club and the Alumni Association of Kerala University’s Department of Journalism, is aiming to provide a platform to appraise the skills and potential of media students across Kerala’s colleges.

Scheduled to be held on 6, 7 and 8 July, the organisers claim that this is the first ever all-Kerala media fest, which will blend the academic benefits of events that hone the communication skills of students, in the atmosphere of a students’ camp.

“Mediapersons, who are alumni of Kerala University, will interact with the participants. So far, 100 students have registered online. We’re expecting about 250 students in total,” said Gokul Prasannan, event coordinator.

The organisers have lined up about 19 competition items for the participants, who would be at the degree and PG level of their education. “However, it is more of a platform for students to interact with media persons, than compete,” Gokul added. Registration is on till July 5, and the programmes will be from 10 am to 8 pm on all days.

“We are also providing accommodation facilities for students from districts other than Thiruvananthapuram,’’ said the organisers.(courtesy: Deepa Soman, Kochi for Deccan Herald)

Shouting Indian News Anchors Trio: Arnab, Barkha & Sagarika

The I&B ministry commissioned the mother of all surveys on the media. It covered humans, whales and loan sharks. AJITH PILLAI scoops the findings……

..3. What should the government do with leaders who walk out of TV studios like Mamata Banerjee did?
 
60%: Set up a finishing school that teaches leaders to complete shows and not walk off in a huff….
4. In your view what would happen if Arnab Goswami of Times Now raises his pitch any higher/shriller?
 
60%: He will break the sound barrier and would be talking before actually speaking.
20%: He might be used as a special effect voice in heavy metal albums…
5. Who should be Arnab’s co-host?
 
60%: Barkha Dutt and Sagarika Ghose. They can shout at each other with Mani Shankar Aiyar and Cyrus Bharucha joining them to give the viewer’s a break…..
9 . Is it right for the government to allow senior editors to fight in public against each other?
 
60%: That’s better than the Big Fight on TV
20 %: If they agree who will be the aggrieved?…
Read the full article on The HootGovt poll: how is the media doing?

Lokmat Editor Raju Nayak “flexed muscle” against RTI activists

Mayabhushan Nagvenkar, Goa correspondent of The Pioneer, New Delhi reports from capital Panaji:

Editor of Marathi daily under court scanner for ‘scuttling’ graft probe

An editor of a popular multi-edition Marathi newspaper has been involved in using threats and complainants to scuttle legal proceedings in a case involving misappropriation of public funds, a Goa court has said.

The startling observations were made by special sessions judge Nutan Sardessai in her order allowing complainants Kashinath Shetye and Ketan Govekar, incidentally both Right to Information (RTI) activists, to intervene in the anticipatory bail case of an ex-committee member of an educational trust that has been accused of misappropriating Rs 21 lakh of public funds.

“The powerful and politically connected persons of the School Trust/Society and the editor of Lokmat, Raju Nayak, either flexed their muscle to instil fear in their minds or otherwise tried to entice or lure them with promises of rewards in the event they comply in order to scuttle the legal proceedings,” Sardessai said in her order, which has come as a shocker for the media fraternity here.

“The problem of misappropriation of public funds in Goa is on the rise, a threat of immeasurable gravity, threatening the future of the Government and the society and much more so when an educational establishment, teachers and officials of the police of the State are inextricably entangled in corruption to protect them and to facilitate their functioning. The interveners are receiving threats periodically on phone to withdraw the application. Even the editor of Lokmat, Raju Nayak is involved,” Sardessai further said.

The order also states that two complainants had not only been threatened and induced, but also harassed, put “under private surveillance” and were “constantly followed”.

“The authorities concerned for extraneous reasons and/or for illegal benefit/gratification from the proceeds are turning a blind eye to the illegalities and also to their complaint. The police are pressurized into inaction which is apparent from their refusal to act since 2009 and hesitating to arrest powerful politicians who are in fact the primary accused in the matter,” the court further said.

Sawant, an ex-committee member of the trust running the Shri Durga English School of Pernem, 30 kms from here, had filed for anticipatory bail after a criminal complaint accused trust officials of misappropriating Rs 21 lakh from a Rs 36 lakh Government loan.

Lokmat is a popular Marathi daily which runs several editions in Maharashtra, including one in Goa.

When asked for comment on the court order, Lokmat’s group editor Dinkar Raikar did not respond.

Hunger strike of Aseem Trivedi and Alok Dixit from Save Your Voice

On 11th April 2011 Government of India notified the new Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 in order to have a significant monitor and control over the vicarious web world. The act will allow government agencies to have access to each and every activity of ours on the internet. Let it be your facebook profiles, twitter accounts, blogs, YouTube, gtalk, Skype calls and even data stored via cloud computing, they can trace them all. If the government finds something obscene on the ministers or disagree on few issues, they can shut down site or blog on its own. Basically the IT Act 2011 will lead to;-

1. Lead to a clamp down on the freedom of speech and expression enshrined in the Constitution of India by providing for a system of censorship/self-censorship by private parties;

2. Adversely affect the right to privacy of citizens by allowing Government agencies to access their information;

3. Will severely hamper the growth of internet penetration in India, and consequently lead to a slowdown of economic growth;

4. Limit the growth of various IT related industries and services (in particular cyber cafes, search engines and bloggers). Courtesy (Save your Voice).

The Protest

On 2nd May Cartoonist Aseem Trivedi and Journalist Alok Dixit from ‘Save Your Voice‘ started open- ended hunger strike at Jantar Mantar to support the ANNULMENT MOTION against IT Rules-2011 in the Rajya Sabha.

It started with the Anna Hazare agitation against corruption; he went on “fast” from 27th December, and cartoonist Aseem went all the way to Mumbai from Kanpur to attend. He made few cartoons which were later on published in Hindustan Times and Prahar a leading Marathi newspaper. And the next day his sitecartoonsagainstcorruption.com where he uploaded the same poster was shut down by Mumbai police on a complaint being filed by the local Congress leader. After checking up with the lawyers he found that the action taken by the police official is not covered in the IT Act.

So, Aseem and Alok decided to take an action and started protesting against the various loopholes and freedom of speech held by IT Act 2011 in the gandhian or Anna way by fasting. The protest was started quite peacefully and they gathered support from a Rajya Sabha MP, Sh. P. Rajeev., and theatre personality Arvind Gaur, Director of Asmita Theatre (New Delhi) and other associates.

The protest was gaining momentum and on 6th may the duo decided to quit water as well. But later in the evening Delhi Police came on spot and on their persuasion, Aseem and Alok were admitted in Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. However, they are adamant to continue the protest.

Recently Mamta Banerjee got Professor Ambikesh Mahapatra behind the bars for making cartoons on her! Most of us were shocked on this lame news, but if the IT Act 2011 gets approved than people like Ambikesh will lose their voice and there can be a monarchy similar to Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s regime where only a government run channel was allowed to show what PM wants to show.

However, there has been an increasing need for an IT regulation, as Cyber crimes are increasing at an alarming rate, Pornography is highly accessible, Piracy has been adding new channels and the worst part is Terrorism is make a full use of social networking sites leading to high risk for the country. But the current Act is of severe loopholes, which can lead to an adverse effect on the freedom of speech and expression provided by the World Wide Web.

Courtesy:  Madhav Gupta & Youth Ki Awaaz

Torrent Blackout:Hackers down Reliance “Big” Time, and counting !!!

Online hacker group Anonymous pulled down the Reliance Big Entertainment (RBE) website today  after targeting websites of the Supreme Court of India and the All India Congress Committee on Thursday to protest Internet censorship. With a few hours the followers of the @opindia(opindia_revenge) shot up to around 1000 where followers comenting:

Anish Jain ‏@Anish9500: @sreyo @opindia_revenge the govt. will lose. Egypt lost,Libya lost. The present Sonia Gandhi govt. will too.
Chirag Advani ‏@ChiragAdvani: @opindia_revenge You’ve got 1000 followers(and increasing) in few hours. This shows how tired we are from this Govt.
Shreyo ‏@sreyo: there’s a war going on between @opindia_revenge and those who r behind banning websites and services. dis day had 2 come sometime & its now.
Vidyut ‏@Vidyut: Reliance should partner with #TPB instead of blocking. They have too many fans to manage distribution on their own. :p@opindia_revenge
TomJerry ‏@TomJerrTJ: @opindia_revenge http://rbe.co.in is down again, the root cause of censorship of my torrent sites. I wish you keep attacking 24hours :P

Anonymous launched Operation India with a tweet that said, “Namaste #India, your time has come to trash the current government and install a new one. Good luck.”

A YouTube video uploaded on May 15 by user Sen0nymous, titled ‘Operation India Engaged’, issued a call to action for fellow hackers. The video stated, “It has been known that the Government of India and its ministers are committing aristocracy. The idea of democracy remains an idea only.”

“We were and are watching closely all activities of the Government and its ministers. Many ministers were and are charged with severe cases of corruption. They do not care. They do not care for the injustice happening. They do not care for the freedom being snatched.”

“The Government has been covering up its activities and hiding the facts from its citizens. It has imposed the IT Act which allows it to censor the internet as it seems fit. None other than the Department of Telecommunications needs to be blamed. One cannot block on purview of security concerns.”

On Thursday afternoon, the websites of the Supreme Court (supremecourtofindia.nic.in) and the All India Congress Committee (aicc.org.in) were attacked and taken down. The Supreme Court’s portal was back after a few hours, but the hackers said AICC will remain down the whole day.

The Twitter account for Operation India, @opindia_revenge, claimed it had also targeted the website of the Department of Telecommunications (dot.gov.in), but it was quickly back.

Similarly, Sen0nymous reported that the Delhi government’s portal (delhi.gov.in) had been targeted , but it was back soon after.

The attacks come after the government asked Internet Service Providers to block websites such as The Pirate Bay, a file-sharing site, as well as video-sharing service Vimeo among others.

Anonymous is a disbanded group of unknown hackers spread across the globe. The international ‘hacktivist’ group has previously attacked the US Department of Justice, US Copyrights Office, Sony Playstation Network, FBI and Egyptian government websites, among others.

Jaya’s Rs. 25 crore anniversary gift to newspapers

Giant cut outs of politicians are a rage in south India for long. Now Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa took her publicity campaign further by splashing the front pages of all major Indian newspapers with her government’s first anniversary year ads featuring her in the trademark brown sari.

“One Year of Achievements, Hundred Years Leap Forward” goes the headline of the “Power Jacket” ad which also quotes Jayalalithaa saying that the “vision for Tamil Nadu 2023 is to become by , India’s most prosperous and progressive state with no poverty and where its people enjoy all the basic services of a modern society.”

The ad claims that Jayalalithaa has rejuvenated and restored the glory of the state.

It goes on to say how her government has provided rice at no extra cost, mixies, grinders and electric fans for women at no cost and livestock was distributed for the poor gratis.

The ad says laptops were provide to students free.

According to media reports, the ads of one year of the Jaya regime placed by the Tamilnadu government’s Department of Information and Public Relations, could have cost at least Rs 25 crore.

courtesy: IBNS & India Today

Congress in throes of terminal illness in Hyderabad

Mobashar Jawed “M.J.” Akbar, the Editor of The Sunday Guardian and editorial director, India Today and Headlines Today writes about media greed, conscience and coercive instruments used by Congress to suppress media in his column titled Cats, whiskers and mice in The Dawn (Pakistan):

Every victor in a democracy now knows that defeat is only a matter of time; the age of permanent re-election is so last century.

But as long as that dismal horizon seems only a distant possibility, the powerful remain serene if not smug.

When possibility metamorphoses into probability, good judgment begins to disappear. The mood gets brittle. The prospect of life outside the pomp and perquisites of office makes ministers frantic, and sends chief ministers (as well as their mentors) into a frenzy.

What other explanation can there be for the crude decision in Andhra Pradesh to freeze the bank accounts of the Sakshi media group in the expectation that its print and audio-visual properties would collapse?

It is obvious that the Congress government in Hyderabad is in the throes of a terminal illness. The party is being taken apart by a nutcracker: Telengana is one handle, and the rising popularity of Jagan Reddy the other. The Congress is loath to acknowledge that both these handles are self-created.

….It is time its sympathisers told Congress that quasi-censorship does not work, for two reasons. Media has more resilience than governments imagine. It is also counterproductive, for in popular assessment it only exaggerates the impact of bad news. If you have something to hide, then it must truly be terrible. An odour turns into a stink, precisely because you are not allowed to gauge its level. The best recipe for media is to leave it alone. Some politicians cannot resist feeding it occasionally, and if this
feed is just information, no harm and perhaps some good done. The fate of governments is not determined by media. When governments die, it is always suicide, never murder.

Read the full column in the Dawn: Cats, whiskers and mice

Fine Print: Rajya Sabha to vote on Indian Media Censorship!

The Rajya Sabha is expected to vote on a motion on Friday that seeks to annul rules enabling individuals to demand removal of any content they deem offensive, on the grounds that these guidelines restrict freedom of expression. (courtesy: Bhuvaneshwari Joshi)

India’s 70 year old “Guinness Rishi (monk)”

Guinness Rishi epitomizes India‘s obsession with breaking Guinness records. Officially, he has seven nods — and unofficially, many more, he says.

As a candidate in last month’s Delhi municipal elections, Guinness Rishi didn’t do any campaigning. In fact, he thinks the 30 votes he got were 30 too many. He suspects his wife voted for him out of spite.

Rishi’s real goal was to garner zero votes and become the world’s most-losing politician, complementing the seven Guinness World Records certificates on his wall. There should be 22, the self-described record maniac grumbles, but Guinness has it in for him.

Few epitomize the stretch for stardom in India more than the 70-year-old Rishi, who changed his name from Har Prakash to Guinness in case anyone had doubts about his obsession.

Up a steep flight of narrow, paint-splattered stairs, past a hairball of exposed wires and a groaning clothesline, his “election center” bedroom is jammed with old newspapers, dusty trophies and a flat-screen television blaring news in Hindi. A small bit of peach fuzz partially obscures the flag tattoos covering his skull.

Rishi caught the bug while traversing India as a salesman in the 1980s, he said, eventually clocking so many miles on his moped that local reporters picked up the story. Elevated above the humdrum by the attention, he became addicted to the bright lights — he offers up his own klieg light if you want to photograph him — and set out on his records quest.

“I’m not tall enough, I’m not the best dressed, I don’t wear the biggest turban to stand out in a crowd of millions,” he said. “To be different and get recognized, I have little choice but to keep trying to break records, or else I’ll be forgotten.”

His records include most continuous time riding a motor scooter (1,001 hours with two accomplices); producer of the world’s smallest Koran, even though he’s Hindu; fastest consumption of ketchup, though he said, “I hate ketchup”; and most flag tattoos on his body (officially 220, although he’s added 146 since then), including several across his forehead, cheeks, chin.

That last record has created a few issues at home.

“My son and wife are very angry, embarrassed walking with me on the road,” he said. “People call me a joker, a cartoon, mad.”

Those looking to break a record or create one can submit, without charge, a request and documentation on Guinness’ website, where processing can sometimes take several months. Alternatively, applicants can get a fast-track decision in a few days for $750, or for $6,500 have an official Guinness judge to witness the effort.

Rishi alleges that in several cases Guinness ended a category after he submitted information, or declined to issue a certificate while he held a record. “That’s incorrect information,” said Nikhil Shukla, the new Guinness representative in India. “Absolutely no.”

Having lost his candidacy, but not by enough, Rishi is considering running an even less effective campaign next time. One problem, he said, was that neighbors started threatening to vote for him if he didn’t give them whiskey. “I couldn’t afford all those bottles,” he said.

As he prepares to say goodbye, Rishi outlines his latest idea: to persuade Ripley’s Believe It or Not to embalm his body after his death, Chairman Mao-style, allowing people from around the world to see his tattoos, bringing great happiness to children.

“He’s crazy,” his wife, Bimla, says from the next room, near a pile of dusty magazines. “I would never vote for him; look at all this garbage in here. Why don’t you take some of this stuff with you?”

Although every country has its share of glory seekers, India has really taken to this particular form of chest thumping. Guinness says applications from India are up 178% over the last five years, making it the world’s third-most active nation of wannabes, after the U.S. and Britain, with actual records up almost fourfold. Guinness has just appointed a Mumbai-based representative to manage the crowds of record seekers, with plans to open a full office next year.

Among recent Indian records: most consecutive yoga positions on a motorcycle (23), most Mohandas Gandhi look-alikes photographed (485), most earthworms swallowed (200), longest ear hair (7 inches).

“Everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame,” said Tharaileth Koshy Oommen, a sociologist at New Delhi’s Schumacher Center for Development, a civic group. “People feel once they have world-level recognition, they’ll get more recognition back home. It’s a kind of anxiety.” (courtesy: Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times & Tanvi Sharma in The Times’ New Delhi bureau.)

‘National’ govt & media sinks into obsolescence

This sentence has no meaning: “Tea to be declared Indian national drink.”

But that was the headline this week in several newspapers that reported on a proposal of the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission of India, a government body that plans things. What will happen after tea is declared the national drink? Nothing much, of course. But once word got out, an influential cooperative society of milk producers said that milk, and not tea, should be declared the Indian national drink.

Manu Joseph, Editor of  Open and author of the novel “Serious Men” writes in The New York Times: 

‘National’ Loses Power as an Idea in India

It is odd that this fuss has arrived at a time when the very idea of “national” is becoming irrelevant in India, especially in matters far more serious than tribute to tea. The political supremacy of New Delhi and the central government is being challenged by state governments and other regional forces.

..It is not just in politics that the power of the national has diminished. The news media are increasingly forced to become regional. Most of India’s English-language newspapers consider themselves national publications. But they are not so in spirit. They have multiple editions, and on most days local reports overshadow national news…

..Accustomed to decades of concentration of power, Delhi’s elite is a well-run confederation of cozy cartels containing politicians, bureaucrats, merchants, middlemen, journalists, novelists and people whose day jobs cannot be easily described. They take care of their own. That is how they guard their mediocrity…

..As the idea of “national” sinks into obsolescence, it will one day liberate the rest of India from the hold of Delhi. In a way, that has already begun to happen…

(Read full column : http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/26/world/asia/26iht-letter26.html?_r=1