Mumbai police, media have failed Jyotirmoy Dey

The confessed mastermind of the murder of crime reporter Jyotirmoy Dey, whose June 2011 funeral is shown here, remains free. (AP/Rajanish Kakade)

By Madeline Earp/CPJ Senior Asia Research Associate

New Delhi-based Tehelka weekly news magazine has published a scathing indictment of the police investigation into the 2011 killing of Mumbai crime reporter Jyotirmoy Dey–and of the Indian media‘s coverage of it. Beneath the allegations and the rumors, we still don’t know exactly why he was killed, while the self-confessed mastermind is a fugitive from justice. Meanwhile, a second journalist has been indicted for the crime on apparently flimsy evidence.

The plot thickens

On the face of it, Dey’s death in June 2011 was a classic case of a veteran reporter executed for digging too deeply into the subject he had covered exhaustively for 22 years: Mumbai’s criminal underbelly. But the investigation took an unexpected turn in November when police arrested Jigna Vora, the 37-year-old deputy bureau chief of Indian daily The Asian Age, claiming they had “strong evidence” implicating her in the murder, local news reports said. She denied wrongdoing, but more than three months later, she was indicted under organized crime laws for conspiring with mafia boss Chhota Rajan to kill Dey over a professional rivalry — a charge which carries a possible death penalty, according to the reports. Local journalists reported that Dey may have been involved with a rival gang, even travelling to London to share information about Rajan’s activities with an exiled don. Suddenly, the case didn’t seem quite so straightforward.

CPJ spoke with several Indian press freedom advocates as the investigation developed, but no one knew what to make of it. Had Dey been sucked into the mob rivalry he claimed to cover objectively, as the media was widely reporting? Had Jigna Vora really exchanged 36 phone calls with the fugitive gangster Rajan in the days before Dey’s murder, as police told local media?

The mafia calling the shots

Apparently not: Chhota Rajan himself planted both stories, according to Tehelka. The fugitive, who is wanted on multiple criminal counts, admitted to masterminding the hit on Dey in calls made in person to a series of Hindi-language TV stations. These PR exercises launched rumors about the journalist’s underworld connections overseas, which were supplemented by police interviews about Dey’s “mysterious tour” abroad — whichTehelka says was a simple vacation. Yet police and reporters accepted Rajan’s analysis with very few exceptions.

Rajan also told TV channels that Jigna Vora “instigated” the killing, according to Tehelka. Again, his account was barely contested. One Hindi-language TV station refused to run Rajan’s comments on grounds they were malicious, Tehelka reports. Police commissioner Himanshu Roy, on the other hand, repeated the story almost verbatim to The Times of India as recently as last month “There are transcripts of Rajan saying that he regretted killing Dey and it happened because Jigna instigated him.”

The February 21 charge sheet against Vora ran to 1,400 pages, but did not list the 36 calls between Vora and Rajan that journalists had unquestioningly reported. Only three calls were confirmed, all in reference to an interview Rajan gave The Asian Age, according to Tehelka. The professional rivalry at the heart of the motive, meanwhile, appeared to be based solely on conflicting stories the journalists had each penned on the same topic in one week in May 2011. And the transcripts of Rajan implicating Vora? Tehelkapublished the relevant extract: “You know that Jigna Vora…Jigna Vora used to say all the time that he (Dey) was in touch with them (the rival Dawood gang).” Meanwhile Vora remains in custody with deteriorating health, according to The Indian Express.

Let’s be clear about the implications of this report: In Tehelka’s analysis, the source for Dey’s and Vora’s alleged underworld involvement is Dey’s murderer. His account was apparently unchallenged by the majority of their colleagues and the police. Rajan, who is wanted by police for two decades, admitted to the crime on television, yet his victim and a suspect he implicated became the focus of the investigation.

The real truth?

Police officials and journalists have generated thousands of pages between them, but they have all failed J Dey. Besides Jigna Vora, another 10 suspects are on trial, but the man behind it all remains at large. And police have yet to discover whether it was Dey’s reporting that put him at risk.

Tehelka believes police ignored two early leads: Dey was investigating Rajan’s personal life, and had caused the reassignment of a Mumbai police officer after alleging he had links to organized crime. 

Ruhi Khan, a U.K.-based journalist who has written about the case for CPJ, believes theTehelka investigation paints a credible case that Dey was targeted for his work — or, at the very least, that the police have not done due diligence in investigating this angle. “The role of journalist Jigna Vora in Dey’s murder was always suspect,” she told CPJ by email. “This report definitely raises some serious doubts on the police theory.”

Geeta Seshu, who condemned the Indian media’s coverage of Jigna Vora back in December on the media watchdog website The Hoot, agreed. “As to whether Dey was targeted for his work, the police are simply not pursuing this course of investigation,” she told CPJ. “I’m still unclear why Dey was killed.”

CPJ has occasionally funded Tehelka reporting on press freedom issues with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Journalism is already ‘subject to the most extensive legal inhibitions, guidance and codes’

Judith Townend

There is no need for statutory media regulation because there are a whole range of statutory controls that presently exist, Lord Hunt of Wirral said at the launch of the new edition of McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists last Friday.

Additionally, judges can fill gaps through case law, said Hunt, chair of the Press Complaints Commission. “You do have in decided cases the ability to fill gaps and we’ve seen that with some of the recent judgments of Mr Justice Tugendhat and before that David Eady. Therefore, what is the need for anything more? That is where my case rests.”

Hunt used his keynote speech to reaffirm his stance against the introduction of new legislation. “This book does demonstrate that journalism, the press – online and in print – are already subject to the most extensive legal inhibitions, guidance, codes etc. and it’s all in here,” he told lawyers, journalists and academics at the seminar hosted by the NCTJ on 30 March at The Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn, London.

Hunt said that publication of the 21st edition of the text by Mike Dodd, legal advisor to the Press Association and Mark Hanna, senior lecturer at the University of Sheffield, could not be more timely.

I think McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists has deservedly become an institution in its own right. Its copies are an essential resource for everybody who works in the newsroom, anyone in the courtroom, anyone who studies this whole area…”

Hunt waved a copy of the previous edition in his evidence to Lord Justice Leveson, describing how he relied on it “to point out all the statutory provisions that apply and restrict freedom of the press“.

Hunt, a member of the Conservative Government from 1979 to 1995 and partner of DAC Beachcroft since 1969, drew on Parliamentary and regulatory experiences to illustrate his argument. Also at the launch was Michael McManus, the PCC’s recently appointed director of transition, who worked with Hunt on a review of legal services regulation for the Law Society of England and Wales in 2009. Hunt described how they had made 88 recommendations which were now being implemented.  He said

We are not people who believe that really there is any need for any more legislation unless there is some way of simplifying access to justice for those who feel they have been wronged and damaged.

Hunt described the reaction of the magic circle law firms to regulatory intervention, which took “great exception” to being treated by the regulator as if they were any other law firm. In view of practical issues over size, Hunt’s Law Society report introduced a ‘coming up for air’ approach for major law firms: “Authorised Internal Regulation“.

In other industry regulatory systems, complaints only go to ombudsmen when a particular company has failed to deal with a complaint properly, he said. But in the past, newspaper complaints had come via the PCC. If there is a complaint, Hunt said, it should be dealt with internally and an outside complaints mechanism is only necessary when it hasn’t been dealt with adequately by the publication.

While it had an effective complaints handling service, the PCC in its past form had not functioned as a regulator according to the five regulation principles that it must be “proportionate, consistent, accountable, targeted and transparent“, he said.

“When you looked at the PCC you could find nothing in the field of regulation. You could find a great deal of valuable work that was being done in complaints handling – mediation, pre-publication intervention, which is probably the closest you get to any regulatory powers but all voluntary and all subject to advocating the best way forward.

He joined the body with a blank sheet of paper for a new system, save his desire to avoid statutory regulation.

“There is no pre-existing blueprint. [On my first day] I rather threw Jeremy Paxman and various other people who were interviewing me by saying I’ve got a blank piece of paper and it was almost as if I was not allowed to have a blank piece of paper.

But Hunt feared an over-reaction, referencing the number of inspections in 12 months, two years after the 1988 Piper Alpha oil rig disaster (83) compared with the number in the same period before it happened (2). “This [over-reaction] does seem to be a tendency and where we are talking about freedom of the press it’s something we have to resist.”

He was also concerned that other countries would follow where the UK led:

“There are many countries, particularly in the Commonwealth, that base their whole system … on the British system. There are a lot of countries watching what happens here. I think if we were to introduce a bill to regulate the press that would be taken as an example to many other countries that they can do the same … don’t please let us set an example to the rest of the world that the only way to regulate the press is through statute.”

Lord Hunt’s conclusion? It can all be dealt with through a “credible system of self-regulation” and “a regulator not only with teeth but with power“. While he has set out his draft proposal for a new system and is “pressing on” he said that he will go in “step by step“; “ultimately the future regulatory model is a matter for Parliament“, he said.

I’m certainly not going to pre-empt Lord Justice Leveson, Parliament or the Coalition government… I am just keen to play my part in bringing forward proposals so I am moving forward with constructing and leading a transition to a new body.”

A body with no name for the time being – Lord Hunt said he was steering clear of that particular decision for now.

The 21st edition of McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists by Mark Hanna and Mike Dodd is published by Oxford University Press.

Judith Townend is a freelance journalist and PhD researcher examining legal restraints on the media, who runs the Meeja Law blog. She is@jtownend on Twitter. (courtesy: Inforrm’s Blog)

Dainik Jagran- No.1 Hindi Daily of India

Dainik Jagran remains No. 1 and Dainik Bhaskar at No. 2. Patrika, which made an entry to the top 10 list last quarter, has surged past Nai Dunia to acquire the No. 9 position.

The fourth quarter results of IRS 2011 indicate that six out of top 10 Hindi dailies have registered growth this quarter. There is also a change in the pecking order with Patrika surpassing Nai Dunia to acquire the No. 9 position.

India’s No. 1 Hindi daily, Dainik Jagran, has recorded an AIR of 1,64,10,000 in IRS Q4 2011 compared with 1,64,58,000 in the previous quarter and 1,63,93,000 in IRS Q2 2011. The daily had added 65,000 readers in IRS Q3 2011 and 4.83 lakh readers in Q2 of IRS 2011.

At No. 2, Dainik Bhaskar has lost 2.74 lakh readers in the fourth quarter of IRS 2011. The decline of 1.9 per cent comes after an exceptional growth in its AIR in Q3 of IRS 2011. The daily had added 7.02 lakh readers in Q3 and 1.58 lakh readers in Q2 of IRS 2011. Its AIR now stands at 1,46,02,000 against 1,48,76,000 in the previous quarter and 1,41,74,000 in Q2 IRS 2011. Bhaskar had added 25,000 readers to its AIR in IRS Q1 2011.

The third most read Hindi daily, Hindustan, has held its position and seen a marginal growth of 12,000 readers this quarter. Its AIR stands at 1,20,45,000 in IRS Q4 2011 against 1,20,33,000 in the previous quarter and 1,19,85,000 in IRS Q2 2011. Hindustan had added 48,000 readers in IRS Q3 2011, 1.75 lakh readers in IRS Q2 2011 and 3.58 lakh readers in IRS Q1 2011.

The fourth largest Hindi daily, Amar Ujalahas been able to add a few readers this quarter. The daily has recorded an AIR of 88.42 lakh in IRS Q4 2011 compared with 88.36 in the previous quarter and 88.91 lakh in IRS Q2 2011. It had added 1.44 lakh readers in IRS Q2 2011 and 1.07 lakh readers in IRS Q1 2011.

At No. 5, Rajasthan Patrika’s losses have continued into this quarter. The daily has lost 71,000 readers recording an AIR of 68.47 lakh against 69.18 lakh in the previous quarter and 69.41 lakh in IRS Q2 2011. It had lost 23,000 readers in IRS Q3 2011 and 92,000 readers in IRS Q2 2011.

The No. 6 Hindi daily, Punjab Kesri, has been able to hold its readers and added 4,000 readers this quarter over the previous quarter. The daily has been on a decline for the last three quarters. Its current AIR stands at 33.3 lakh against 33.26 in the previous quarter and 34.14 lakh in IRS Q2 2011. It had lost 88,000 readers in the previous quarter, 65,000 in the second quarter and 80,000 readers in the first quarter of IRS 2011.

Navbharat Times has again lost a few readers this quarter after losing 69,000 readers in the previous quarter. Its AIR now stands at 25.73 lakh against 25.81 lakh in the previous quarter and 26.5 lakh in IRS Q2 2011. NBT had added 61,000 readers in its AIR in IRS Q2 2011 and 10,000 readers in IRS Q1 2011.

Jharkhand’s leading Hindi daily, Prabhat Khabar, has grown steadily quarter-on-quarter. The daily has added 1.24 lakh readers in IRS Q4 2011 to take its AIR at 21.87 lakh compared with 20.63 lakh in the previous quarter and 18.93 lakh in IRS Q 2011. It had added 1.7 lakh readers in IRS Q3 2011, 81,000 readers in Q2 2011 and 1,33,000 readers in Q1 2011.

After making an entry at No. 10 in the last quarter, Patrika has climbed up to No. 9 position. The daily has recorded a growth of 25 per cent and an AIR of 17.87 lakh in IRS Q4 2011 compared with 14.3 lakh in the previous quarter and 12.51 lakh readers in IRS Q2 2011.

Despite of a marginal growth, Nai Dunia has been pushed to No. 10 in IRS Q4 2011. The newspaper has registered an AIR of 16.49 lakh in IRS Q4 2011 compared with 16.30 in the previous quarter and 17.14 lakh in IRS Q2 2011.

India Today- No.1 English Magazine Of India

Except India’s most-read English magazine,India Todayall other magazines in the top 10 list have registered growth in the fourth quarter of Indian Readership Survey 2011. While Pratiyogita Darpan, an English magazine, has made an entry to the top 10 list at No. 7, Femina and Filmfare are out of the top 10 list this time.

India Today has again registered a decline of 1.5 per cent and lost 25,000 readers in IRS Q4 2011. The weekly had lost 88,000 readers in IRS Q3 2011 while it had added 74,000 readers in IRS Q2 2011. The weekly’s current AIR stands at 16.11 lakh compared with 16.36 lakh in the previous quarter, 17.24 lakh in IRS Q2 2011 and 16.50 lakh in IRS Q1 2011.

General Knowledge Today, which made a comeback at the 2nd spot in Q3 2011, has been able to hold on to its readers and the No. 2 position in this round. The magazine has recorded an AIR of 10.92 lakh this quarter compared with 10.87 in the previous quarter, 9.77 lakh in IRS Q2 2011 and 10.02 lakh in IRS Q1 2011.

Reader’s Digest has grown by 5.5 per cent in the fourth quarter of IRS 2011. With the addition of 60,000 readers this quarter, RD has an AIR of 10.58 lakh against 9.98 lakh in Q3 and Q2 rounds. The magazine had added 28,000 readers in IRS Q2 2011.

At No. 4, Educational English monthly, Competition Success Review,has also registered a growth of 6 per cent this quarter. The monthly had an AIR of 6.97 lakh in IRS Q4 2011 against 6.57 lakh in the previous quarter. It had recorded an AIR of 6.54 lakh in IRS Q2 2011 and 6.84 lakh in IRS Q1 2011.

Weekly magazine Outlook has grown by 10 per cent in IRS Q4 2011. Its AIR now stands at 4.87 lakh compared with 4.44 lakh in the last survey, 4.56 lakh in IRS Q2 2011 and 4.38 lakh in IRS Q1 2011.

The Week has strengthened its position at No. 6 and grown by 13 per cent in IRS Q4 2011. By adding 51,000 readers, its current AIR stands at 4.38 lakh compared with 3.87 lakh in the previous quarter and 3.96 lakh in IRS Q2 2011. The magazine had recorded more than 22 per cent growth to acquire the 6th rank in IRS Q2 2011.

There is a new magazine at No. 7 – English monthly Pratiyogita Darpan. It has recorded an AIR of 4.04 lakh in IRS Q4 2011.

At No. 8 is the magazine for B-town, Stardust, which has added 18,000 readers in IRS Q4 2011. It had added 43,000 readers in the previous quarter too. Its current AIR stands at 4.03 lakh against 3.85 lakh in the previous quarter and 3.42 lakh in IRS Q2 2011.

Business Today has recorded an AIR of 3.57 lakh compared with 3.45 lakh in the previous quarter, 3.33 lakh in IRS Q2 2011 and 3.09 lakh in IRS Q1 2011.

Wisdom is at No. 10 with an AIR of 3.27 lakh in IRS Q4 2011 compared with 3.18 lakh in the previous quarter.

Malayala Manorama: No. 1 language daily of India

Malayala Manorama remains the No. 1 language daily of the country. The newspaper has added 25,000 readers in IRS Q4 2011 after having lost 50,000 readers in the previous quarter. Its current AIR stands at 99.37 lakh compared with 99.12 in the last quarter and 99.62 lakh in IRS Q2 2011. It had added 24,000 readers in the second quarter of IRS 2011 and 8,000 readers in IRS Q1 2011.

Marathi dailyLokmat is back as India’s second most read language daily. Lokmat was dislodged from the No. 2 position by Tamil newspaper Daily Thanthi in the previous quarter. Similarly, Bengali daily Ananda Bazar Patrika has regained the No. 5 position in IRS Q4 2011. It was dislodged from the No. 5 rank by Telugu daily Eenadu in the previous quarter. One more change is at No. 7 where Telugu daily Sakshi has overtaken Tamil daily Dinakaran.

Marathi daily Lokmat, which is back at the No.2 position, has recorded a growth of 1.66 per cent by adding 1.24 lakh readers this quarter. Its current AIR stands at 75.62 lakh against 74.38 lakh in the previous quarter and 75.95 lakh in IRS Q2 2011. It had added 1.09 lakh readers in IRS Q2 2011.

Tamil newspaper Daily Thanthi has slipped to No. 3 despite adding 56,000 readers in Q4 of IRS 2011. It had added 1.57 lakh readers in the previous quarter to take the No. 2 position. Daily Thanthi has recorded an AIR of 75.03 lakh against 74.47 lakh in the previous quarter and 72.90 lakh in IRS Q2 2011. It had also added 1.03 lakh readers in Q2 and 1.73 lakh readers in Q1.

At No. 4 is Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi, which has registered a marginal growth in its AIR. By adding 36,000 readers in IRS Q4 2011, the daily has recorded an AIR of 66.66 lakh compared with 66.30 in the previous quarter and 66.90 lakh in IRS Q2 2011. Mathrubhumi had lost 1.1 lakh readers in IRS Q2 2011 but added 1.63 lakh readers in IRS Q1 2011.

Bengali daily Ananda Bazar Patrika has made a comeback at No. 5 despite losing a few readers. It has lost 49,000 readers in IRS Q4 2011 while it had added 35,000 readers in the previous quarter. Its current AIR stands at 60.49 lakh compared with 60.98 lakh in the previous quarter and 60.63 in IRS Q2 2011. It had lost 55,000 readers in IRS Q2 2011 and 54,000 readers in Q1 2011.

By losing 1,10,000 readers in IRS Q4 2011, Eenadu has lost its No.5 position. Now at No. 6, it has recorded an AIR of 59.91 lakh against 61.01 lakh in the last survey and 60.32 lakh in IRS Q2 2011. Eenadu had added 69,000 readers in IRS Q3 2011 and 41,000 readers in IRS Q2 2011 but lost 50,000 readers in IRS Q1 2011.

Telugu daily Sakshi has climbed up the rankings for the second quarter in a row to acquire the No. 7 position. After adding 1.13 lakh readers in the last survey, Sakshi has added 84,000 readers in IRS Q4 2011. Its current AIR stands at 53.03 lakh against 52.19 lakh in the previous quarter and 51.06 lakh in IRS Q2 2011. It had added 64,000 readers in IRS Q2 2011 and 88,000 readers in the first quarter of IRS 2011.

Tamil daily Dinakaran, which was growing on quarter-on-quarter basis, has seen a marginal decline this quarter and lost its 7th position. Now at No. 8, the daily has recorded an AIR of 52.27 lakh against 52.53 lakh in the previous quarter, 51.67 lakh in IRS Q2 2011 and 51.23 lakh in IRS Q1 2011. Dinakaran had added 86,000 readers in IRS Q3 2011, 44,000 readers in the second quarter of IRS 2011 and 1.46 lakh readers in Q1.

Gujarat Samachar has again registered a marginal loss. It had slipped down to No. 7 position from No. 9 in the last survey. The daily has recorded an AIR of 51.69 lakh compared with 51.86 lakh in the previous quarter and 52.2 lakh in IRS Q2 2011. The paper had lost 56,000 readers in IRS Q2 2011 but added 99,000 readers in IRS Q1 2011.

Marathi paper Daily Sakal continues at No. 10. It has registered an AIR of 44 lakh compared with 42.73 lakh in the previous quarter and 44.48 lakh in IRS Q2 2011. The daily had lost 1.73 lakh readers in IRS Q3 2011, 1.2 lakh readers in IRS Q2 2011 and 84,000 readers in IRS Q1 2011.

IPL 5: “The gentleman’s game of cricket got murdered “

COMMENTARY: Kalyan Kar, Editor-in-Chief, Best Media Info

Minus Lalti Modi, IPL 5 gala opening was a contrived effort 

This is not to hold a brief for the much discredited Lalit Modi. But the truth is that the Gala Opening of IPL 5 was a big letdown. A sporting spectacle is not the same as a wedding ceremony or a TV channel ‘parivaar’ award show

Can’t believe Rajeev Shukla said “If the beginning is like this you can understand how the tournament will go”. God, I hope he’s wrong – Omar Abdullah, CM, Jammu & Kashmir

If the opening ceremony is any indication IPL5 is going to be disappointing – Marketing honcho Lloyd Mathias

Must say, I am enjoying the tweets on the IPL 5 opening ceremony more than the event. – Dhunji Wadia, CEO, Everest Brand Solutions

The gentleman’s game of cricket just got murdered tonight. I sleep with teary eyes and a heavy heart as I look at my old college flannels – Pratap Bose, COO, DDB Mudra

Watching the IPL opening ceremony, I know what my old man would have said. Can we please start the cricket now?! – Rajdeep Sardesai, Editor-in-Chief, CNN-IBN

If the quality of cricket on #IPL5 is anything like the opening ceremony, then god save the sponsors – Naresh Gupta, Chief Strategy Officer, iYogi

Amitabh Bachchan reciting a poem on cricket written by Prasoon Joshi during the opening ceremony.

Amitabh Bachchan reciting a poem on cricket written by Prasoon Joshi during the opening ceremony.

After weeks of sustained marketing build-up for the tournament of tournaments, it was all over in two hours on a balmy evening in Chennai, with egg on everybody’s face – everybody as in those involved in conceptualising and executing the Gala Opening for IPL Season 5. The storm on Twitter – by fans and, more importantly, those who matter in the communication space in forming opinions – says it all. It was a lame duck affair, crassly put up, lacking in finesse. Above all, unlike in previous seasons, it was held on the YMCA College of Physical Education Ground, in Nandanam, Chennai. It seems the idea of using a stadium eluded the otherwise fertile minds of the power-packed BCCI management. Somebody missed the point that this is the opening ceremony of a global level cricket competition, not a Bollywood event per se. Imagine holding an Olympic opening ceremony or an ICC Cricket World Cup or FIFA World Cup open ceremony on a college ground!

Not that I am holding a candle for the discredited former Czar of IPL Lalit Modi (I have a pathological dislike for those given to dishonesty, impropriety and self-aggrandisement, such as Suresh Kalmadi and Lalit Modi), but the choice of venue was rightly criticised by Modi on Twitter.

Coming to the show itself, viewers have witnessed much better gala events done by the likes of Star Plus and Colors with their endless list of “parivar” awards. Filmfare has invariably and successfully mounted awards nights with much greater finesse and style, with vastly more sophisticated stages and laser and psychedelic lighting. Or did BCCI plan this as a shaadi ka baraat in the first place? May be that was keeping in style with the new IPL Commissioner! And oh, he did admit that he is a politician! Was that to ensure failures and criticisms don’t matter?

The show kicked off with the best-known Indian walking. Amitabh Bachchan recited a poem written by Prasoon Joshi in very shudh Hindi. The baritone voice was very much audible, but often one struggled to figure out the last part of a sentence in a long poem. Wonder how Prasoon felt! Again, the BCCI brass missed the point: Big B is any day the best choice for a Gujarat Tourism TVC or a grand-uncle advising youngsters on the benefits of Chyavanprash. T20 is wham-bam stuff, it is all about a new genre of cricket which is raging like a storm. Let’s look at it like this: Cliff Richards is still alive, spending his late years somewhere in England. Would he be the right choice to sing at the opening of the London Olympics later this year? It is like asking Elton John, who sang the beautiful ‘Candle in the Wind’ on BBC after Princess Di met a horrific end in a Paris tunnel, to sing the opening notes at the next FIFA World Cup!

Prabhdeva. I am given to understand that he enjoys the reputation of being able to dance as though he has no bones in his plastic/elastic body, and more smoothly than the late Michael Jackson! Wow. But then, after a Google search, I discovered that he is almost 40. Little wonder then that viewers were treated to a lame, stiff, meaningless dance number. So, was he brought in to please the few thousand Chennai fans sitting at the YMCA ground and not for the millions of foolish TV viewers across this geographically huge, cricket-crazy country? Somebody got it wrong again. May be Chris Gayle would have been a better choice with a Calypso number!

Then there was the parade of the nine brilliant Captains of the IPL teams. Why were they looking so uncomfortable? Did somebody tell them to show their mettle in ramp walking? Were the two girls accompanying each of them meant to add glamour? If so, didn’t viewers deserve a better deal to indulge is some voyeurism, say, with the sexy cheerleaders that IPL is synonymous with, accompanying the Captains?

Coming to Bollywood’s stud, Salman Khan, where was the much expected ‘dabaangg’? His pink-orange trouser reminded one of a bygone era when Rajesh Khanna and, somewhat later on, Rishi Kapoor, who strutted around in colourful trousers, something that most fans would dread to wear out on the street! As for his dance gig, give us a break, haven’t we seen Salman perform much, much better at other events?

At the end, it was left to Priyanka Chopra and Katy Perry to lift the evening. Priyanka tried hard, and successfully. But then, she had a fixed time on the stage. So did singer Katy, who was brought all the way from California. She sang reasonably well, but it is her outfit that caught more eyeballs. But then, she was nowhere near the flame-haired Shakira, whose dance number ‘Waka waka’ had the world dancing after her FIFA World Cup performance.

I agree with Pratap Bose. The gentleman’s game of cricket just got murdered last night.

Videos: Female Gendercide and Infanticide in India and China

Between India and China, 200 million girls have gone “missing” as parents abort female fetuses or kill and abandon baby girls. Several documentaries and reports cover this phenomenon, trying to explain the causes for this deadly gender discrimination and figure out what can be done about it.

With the tagline of “The three deadliest words in the world”, the “It’s a Girl” documentary is one which through interviews and on-location filming is figuring out why 200 million girls are “missing” in India and China, and why there has been no effective actions to this problem.

Born to Die is another film investigating the rise in female feticide and infanticide in modern India.

Poh Si Teng for Global Post also has a video on the relationship between ultrasound devices, gender screening and female feticide, and whether the laws banning portable ultrasound will help stop the selective abortions in India:

The BBC’s 2007 investigatory documentary on India’s Missing Girls and people who are trying to turn the tide on a cultural phenomenon that affects all of India’s socio-economic levels: the cult of boys, and the belief that girls are not worth the trouble to raise them. The documentary, split in 3 parts can be found online (123).

One of the organizations trying to make the difference is the Aarti Home in Kadapa, who take in abandoned children, most of whom are girls abandoned because they are girls, and also talking to expectant mothers of female children to encourage them to have and cherish them.

Aarti House hopes to be a home for girls who were already rejected once for being girls and make sure they have a safe haven. At the very beginning of this next video, a young girl talks about the disadvantages and hardships she went through just because she was a female:

World renowned Chinese-American novelist Anchee Min, who writes strong female characters admits in this next video how she didn’t want to have a daughter, and all through her pregnancy, secretly hoped that it would turn out to be a boy, despite ultrasounds and tests because “Who wants to be a girl in China?”

Taiwanese Next Media Animation explores the consequences of the gender imbalance in China brought on by the One Child Policy and a society which values males more than females with the video and song No Girls Born (In China Anymore)

Beginning of December, a program aired on ABC 20/20 about India’s deadly secret. It was about 40 million girls who have vanished. All aborted before they could take their first breath. Their crime was that they were girls. As you know the gender ratios is India are terribly skewed about 914 girls per 1,000 boys.
In Punjab it is about 833 girls per1,000 boys. Unfortunately this happens amongst the privileged and the educated also. The only woman who has brought cases against her in-laws and husband is Dr Mitu Khurana. Please watch her story and sign her petition for justice. Please give those 40 million girls silenced forever, a voice.
Please forward this to as many friends as possible.
and here is the link to her website-
After you sign the petition, there will be a request from the site for a donation. This donation is totally discretionary and does not in any way or form affect or benefit Dr Mitu Khurana. All she is asking for is your support (signing this petition) so that pressure can be put on the Indian authorities that the whole world is watching them in total disbelief as they make a young mother run around in vain for four years in search of justice
Sign the following petition to end the GENDERCIDE in India