Sexcapade: Social Media movement is a ‘satyagraha’

The CD controversy surrounding ex-Congress spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi has given rise to numerous debates in prime-time discussions in mainstream media. Most of these have pointed to the “lack of control” in online media platforms.

In one way, these debates were an ideal opportunity for some sections of the mainstream media to vent their disapproval of online commentators taking the liberty to criticize them. Amid these fiery debates, however, an attempt is unfortunately being made to tame the medium.

The crux of the criticism of social media by the mainstream media is not dissimilar to that dealt with by Gandhiji when he explained the importance of satyagraha (soul-force) in Hind Swaraj.

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In responding to a point made on how numerous instances in history show that war and violence have been more effective than soul-force in enabling nations to rise from oppressive regimes, Gandhiji said that history was the record of aberrational events which interrupted the regular course of nature rather than an accurate representation of the natural course. Because wars and violence were unnatural and soul-force was the natural course, he explained, history recorded the former.

In conveniently painting social media into labels of various kinds, the mainstream media is missing the wood for the trees. Just as history reported primarily on the blood and gore of wars and the ensuing conquests and victories, the mainstream media has ended up focusing almost entirely on the unnatural obnoxiousness and aggression of the social media and the ensuing ‘victories’ when, for example, Singhvi resigned from key posts.

It is now well-known that since many years, much of the mainstream media has been controlled by a few select groups. The “right to tell the truth”, as R Jagannathan points outhas been mortgaged because of an over dependence of television and print media on revenues from sources having an interest in controlling or shaping the dissemination of truth.

Additionally, the constraints imposed by many sections of the mainstream media upon itself in practicing ‘access journalism’ in this competitive era are fairly visible in the manner in which facts and views are presented. The race to get exclusive scoops on political developments has compromised the ability to critically evaluate significant governmental programs or serious political wrongdoings.

Viewed in this context, the Internet has been the best thing to happen to liberate journalism from such shackles. Internet has led to a real democratization of facts, thoughts and ideas and has challenged the orthodox notions that the power to have a say is the exclusive right of the mighty and the influential. The only accusation that can be validly sustained against online commentators writing without financial obligations is that of ideological rigidity.

Furthermore, this low cost model has plugged the gap created by television and print media in its coverage on critical issues facing the nation. For example, many recent debates on the Right to Education Act or previous debates on NREGA completely overlooked serious perils which were covered at length by bloggers on social media. Time and again, several nuances and the visible impact of major governmental programs neglected by mainstream media have ultimately cropped up either during the implementation of such programs or in legal challenges in courts.

More often than not, it has been found that online commentators had written on these very nuances at length on their blogs.

In situations where the mainstream media is found to have overlooked serious indiscretions by our politicians, the online commentariat is bound to exhibit its outrage and ask questions. At times, sadly, the outrage and the questioning is replaced by spitefulness and voyeurism. Equally, however, this excuse is conveniently used by many senior journalists when confronted with genuine challenges to their views or their reporting.

By engaging in sweeping criticism of social media or categorizing it into a politically motivated or ideologically homogenous unit is an act of dishonesty apart from being an act of convenience. Castigating the social media by inviting like-minded public figures can only help confine oneself further into the bubble which the New Delhi gentry is infamously known for.

Moreover, when senior figures in mainstream media attempt to rubbish online commentary because the latter’s right to tell the truth ends up offending it, the unequivocal impression sent out is that the former resents the democratization of opinions and voices brought about by the internet. It, therefore, risks being perceived as a mere extension of the intolerant State acting to strengthen its access journalism department. Conducting periodical shows on Swami Vivekananda to inspire the youth to participate in the process of nation-building has little meaning.

Just like several online commentators and observers filter out half-truths and blatantly prejudiced coverage in the mainstream media and absorb insightful and constructive discourse, it is time mainstream media did the same with social media. It is important to realize that in the age of technology, truth and opinions are no longer the monopoly of the powerful sections of the media.

There is huge potential of nurturing a symbiotic relationship between social media and mainstream media to elevate the overall standards of journalism and reporting. In a way, the symbiosis has already begun with various shows and news reports basing their discussions on the views of the online commentariat. This synergy must be strengthened further in a manner that the two mediums supplement, rather than isolate, each other.

Cut beneath the clutter and the abuses, and one can find a wealth of intellect out in the World Wide Web. And that too, free of cost. (courtesy: Kartikeya Tanna  & Firstpost.com)

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Lahore (Lavpuri) named after its founder Prince Lav

Lahore is one of the oldest city in the subcontinent. Till this date we don’t know when it was founded. Some historians says it’s almost 4000 years old but proved evidence suggests that lahore is at least 2000 years old. Hieun tsang famous Chinese pilgrim visited lahore in 700 A.D. and wrote about city in his journals.
Oldest authentic surviving document was an anonymous document written in 982 and translated in 1927 by Vladimir Fedorovich Minorsky. The document is called HUDUD I ALAM which means regions of world. This document described lahore as a shehr or town with. Marvelous temples, huge markets and spacious orchards. This document is now present in British Museum.

Lav Temple In Lahore Fort

Ptolemy, 2nd century famous Egyptian astronomer and geographer mentioned a city between river Indus and patna that might be Lahore.
According to oral legends, In ancient times Lahore is know as Lavpuri means city of Lav in Sanskrit because it was founded by Prince Lav or Loh, the son of Ram, hindu deity, while Kasur was founded by his twin brother Prince Kush. To this day Lahore Fort has a vacant temple dedicated to Lav or Loh, hence Loh-awar or Fort of Lahore. Hence the name Lahore came into existence. courtesy: Dr Owais Karni‘s blog

Hindu has better business sense than Times !

Two different newspapers, and two contrasting views on how to deal with giving brands unpaid publicity.

This morning, The Times of India carries a story on a survey which has found Bangalore as scoring the lowest among seven cities in motorist behaviour. This is what The Times of Indiareports:

That the motorists in Bangalore don’t seem to care for pedestrians has been a subject of intense debate for long. The debate has been set to rest by a New Delhi-based green group’s report that statistically shows Bangalore’s deficiency in this category.

What is the name of the ‘New Delhi-based green group’? We’ve tried to find out; we’ve googled it and have come up with a blank.

The Times of India’s reticence to name the company stems from their misplaced principle of not giving ‘brands’ free publicity. They go to great lengths to avoid naming brands, even to the extent of not calling IPL teams by their actual names, but referring to them as Team Kolkata, Team Mumbai, etc.

When they take a position as they have, they stand to lose out on popular culture – and brands play an increasingly significant role in popular culture.

So The Hindu saw no conflict between editorial and commerce when they carried the cartoon on the left on its editorial page.

The cartoon rides on a recent (Ramesh and Suresh) commercial for Cadbury 5 Star chocolate, which is currently dominating TV channels.

Readers who have seen the commercial immediately make the connection — and there is no doubt, that Cadbury is a big gainer.

And what is the gain for The Hindu? Visit the Cadbury 5 Star facebook page and you see thatThe Hindu cartoon is reproduced.

“Ramesh and Suresh are being an inspiration for the entire nation. Don’t believe it? See this cartoon that appeared in The Hindu yesterday,” says the update.

How many would have seen the cartoon on the Cadbury 5 Star page? Well, they have over 1,000,000 likes and over 15,000 people talking about the page as this is being written.

The Hindu wins big – because they chose to plug a brand. That’s editorial sense – and business sense. Courtesy: Anant Rangaswami  & Firstpost.com

Indian buys two US newspaper!

Krishna P. Singh, co-founder, president and CEO of Marlton, N.J.-based technology company Holtec International, is part of a business consortium paying about $55 million to acquire major two daily newspapers — the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News — and Web site philly.com.

Singh has M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania. The Indian American entrepreneur donated $20 million to the university to establish a Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology, which broke ground in February 2011.
Holtec’s customers include more than 150 U.S. power generation stations and over 80 commercial nuclear power plants.

Remove all partisan propaganda from Doordarshan: Madhu Trehan

5 things on TV that must be washed out quick

By Madhu Trehan

1. Remove all partisan propaganda placed by party in power from Doordarshan

This is a television channel funded by tax payers’ money. It is used as a private channel by all parties in power, promoting themselves and their self serving “news”. It has the largest reach and must be used for public benefit, not for any political party’s propaganda.

2. Remove soap operas that promote women who are subservient to in-laws and husband.

Kill the demure, sly intrigue and show strong women who stand up for themselves and call the shots.

3. Remove ads that show speeding cars and motorcycles as cool.

Make it hip to drive slow and carefully.

4 .Remove ads that require “Don’t try this at home”.

Warning is flashed so fast that you can’t read it and many are too young to read. Too many incidents where kids have tried stunts at home and died.

5. Remove ads which show you can buy affection by giving gifts of diamonds, cars, etc.

It inculcates a distorted image of what relationships require and degenerates into propaganda that promotes crass materialism. Creates shallow values instantly.

Veteran journalist Madhu Trehan is now Director, Newslaundry (www.newslaundry.com)

(courtesy: mxmindia.com)

TV distorts the reality of ordinary people and lifestyles: Dr.Nirmala Lakshman

Dr Nirmala Lakshman, director of Kasturi and Sons, publishers of the Hindu Group:

“The question is whether it is a good news, operator and the media needs to introspect on its role in society. Media has fallen prey to corruption, as evident from the current debacle in News Corporation with the phone hacking scandal failing the entire mechanism in the United Kingdom and raising question on ethics and media practice.”

Speaking on recent media trends she said,

“Television distorts the reality of ordinary people and lifestyles. Media coverage of politics and society should be fair and balanced, and that forced correction was important.”

“The media must create a balance in society while disseminating information,” said Dr Srividya Raghavan at an international symposium on ‘Regulating the Media’ hosted by the Young Journalists’ Association School of Media Studies and School of Government and International Affairs of the faculty of Science and Humanities, SRM University. “India is extremely popular in terms of print and broadcast media,” she said, “but the media must meet the expectations of consumers, define journalists’ agenda and, more importantly, strike a balance between freedom of speech and expression in a democracy.” She added that news distortion, bias and dissemination to the masses must be regulated.

With regard to freedom of the press Jennifer McIntyre, Consul General of the United States, said, “The press freedom is directly addressed in the Constitution and as one of the oldest democracies we give prominence to protecting it.” Speaking on the regulations she said, “May 3� is observed as World Press Freedom Day, celebrating the fundamental principles and evaluation of press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on its independence, and to pay tribute to journalists who lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.”

Ravi Panchamoothoo, chairman of SRM University, contributed to the discussion. He said, “The media should look into good and not bad content while disseminating information to the public, and playing down sensationalism will help.”

Artdaily.org:The First Art Newspaper on the Net

“Valuable resource for current information on the art world. Features a series of timely stories covering a variety of art-related news and events internationally. Special sections offer a list of exhibitions sorted by museum, country, and opening and ending dates; coverage of major art events and festivals; informative pages on major art museums worldwide (without links to their websites); reviews of exhibits and stories of special interest; and information on famous events in history for each day of the year plus a daily art quiz.”

During several years the Encyclopedia Britannica together with Newsweek Magazine classified and graded what they considered was the best of the web. Britannica made a rigurous selection, to our satisfaction, and for example, in our category of Organizations / Publications, nobody reached the greatest distinction of five stars, reserved for “The Best of the Web”. Nevertheless, they gave Artdaily. org, the first art newspaper on net,  4 stars in what they called “Superior”. Established in 1996, here is the Artdaily, during several years, in this distinguished rank, together with other six websites in the category of Organizations and Publications. That venture of Britannica and Newsweek lasted several years.

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