Power and Fear: Indian Corporate’s new media mantra

Gopinath Menon, CEO, Melon Media, Crayons Communications Group writes in his guest column ” New custodians of democracy emerge” in exchange4media.com on possible danger of corporate sector taking over the news industry:

Media houses of the past have slowly changed character and the traits now are very different. Earlier the  purpose was skewed towards a social objective, the freedom struggle, the voice of the down trodden, etc. This has given way to purely commercial and practical objectives. The social outlook of media houses has given way to the green dollars for the last two decades or so.

…..It is not the green dollars here as most media companies are bleeding and will take years before they break even. So what is the reason? The answer lies in the simple question “If you cannot be rich, can you be powerful and feared?”

With RIL investments in Network 18 and The Aditya Birla Group in TV Today, we are seeing a start of a new breed of corporate captains emerging in the fourth estate business. The significant fact to note is that all business investments have come in the news space and not in the entertainment space. So it is clear that it is not fondness for the media space but the news space that generates power and fear. This might change the media character of the written, spoken and seen words forever.

Why do we watch or read news? To be informed and enlightened. It helps us posses a viewpoint that builds our stature and standing within our peer group or society at large. The building block for this is ‘Credibility’ and ‘Truth’. I truly believe that there are no in-betweens when it comes to these traits. So you blindly rely on the information to develop a stance. What happens when this basic input is biased and misleading or planted? Everything collapses and it is tough to believe that their values will be embraced with the same intensity as before. If the same intensity prevails, its fine but is it going to be easy for a top business leader by origin to allow a huge chunk of business loss so that he comes across as principled? It is tough and maybe impractical to let it go and hence, the concern for the fourth estate.

Times have changed. We are on the threshold of a new society being weaved by the captains of industry controlling truth and credibility in the fourth estate. 

Read the full column : ” New custodians of democracy emerge” 

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‘chiyeazhs’ – Indian ‘In’glish’, a far cry from Queen’s English !!!

LEKSHMY PREETI MONEY wri(d)tesa fantabulous and a jocular piece English and its many avatars  about the pronun(z)ciation of the Queen’s language in different parts of the world and in particular in northern & southern India. Interestingly along with her piece, the readers comments are more interesting in how Indians have their own version of ‘In’glish and they are happy about it, too !!!:

The Malayali goes to the bank to get a housing ‘lawn’… and calls nurse ‘nezhs’

….Malayalis would be taught not to say ‘seiro’ for ‘zero,’ and ‘zimbly’ for ‘simply.’ They also have a penchant for substituting the sound ‘aw’ for ‘o’ and vice-versa. For instance, a popular Malayalam film star expresses the negative with a loud “gnaw” (for “No”). The Malayali also goes to the bank to get a housing “lawn” and mows his “loan.” The Malayalam letter ‘zh,’ found in the Malayalam words ‘pazham'(banana) and ‘mazha'(rain), are unique to the language. Malayalis often tend to exhibit their pride in this fact by liberally substituting it for ‘r’ in English words such as —‘nezhs’ (for ‘nurse’), ‘couzhs’ (‘course’) and finally: the quintessential Malayali toast before a round of aperitifs —‘chiyeazhs’ (cheers).

….Bengalis who are said to resemble Malayalis in physical appearance, fondness for fish and rice and political affiliations. They substitute an ‘o’ for ‘a’ and are not vhery o-polegetic o-boutthe same.

….those in Hindi belt of U.P.-Bihar, put a ‘j’ for ‘z’ (and vice-versa) and an ‘is’ before words starting with ‘s’. So a Hindi-bhai must have done dojens of prozects in his is-School.

…..The ebullient Punjabi considers it improper to pronounce the ‘sh’ sound when it occurs in the middle of certain words like ‘pressure’ and ‘treasure,’ and substitutes it with the more decent sounding ‘ya.’ Hence when he tells you that his player (pleasure) knows no mayor (measure), you must deduce what he actually means to convey. Punjabis also have the tendency to deduct syllables from certain places in a word. So when he is giving ‘sport’ to his old parents, he means “support.” This deduction is compensated for with the addition of an extra syllable where it is actually not required. Therefore cricket is a very popular “support” (sport) in Punjab. In Tamil Nadu, “Yem Wo Yet Yenether Wo Yen” just spells moon.

Readers Comments:

Peayen Mani: Waste of time energy trying to point out such funny pronunciations; it is fault of English language itself;
there is no clear logical mode e.g. C is used as soft S and also as K (cell/call)- U gives the sound of “ah” as well “oo”!(cut/put)- can go on ! why blame others; If Malayali calls college as KOLAGE, you laugh; but you accept Collate with “KO” Ha Ha!! Local lingua will sure affect a little; nothing wrong; communication achieved
is OK – Many Names in English are that of animals – Mr Fox,Tiger Woods etc ! Like it ?? Stop such comparison
Enjoy humor in your way but do not insult other languages.

Cricket is a very popular “support” (sport) in Punjab.

Ronny: a Punjabi professor of mine in college pronouncing  measure as “mayor” or rather something close to “maiyar”.

Devraj Sambasivan: I’m yet to hear a ‘thoroughbred’ Malayali comfortable with ‘z’ so as to sound ‘zzzz. . .’! I don’t think ‘that’ Malayali can go beyond a simple ‘sa’ or ‘si’ or ‘soo’!! No ‘zimbly’, that is – just ‘simbbbly’, followed by a frothy shower of saliva on the listener’s face!

Jaishri: Tamil news readers can be hilarious when they use words which they have ‘effectively’translated into Tamil..e.g Cricketing terms..and do you know what a “RACKET” is…?? Its ROCKET..

Kollengode S Venkataraman: More annoying to me is the Indian upper crust’s pretentious English, particularly when they pronounce Indian words with a pretentious English accent. Examples: Cauvery for Kaaveri, Ganges for Ganga, ADivasi for Aadivaasis, Deccan plateau for Dakshin Plateau…I can also nitpick on the way she spells her (authors’) name as “Lekshmy” and “Money,” and not “Lakshmi” and “Mani.”

Read the full piece and the readers comments  in The HinduEnglish and its many avatars

Indian scribes are compelled to pay ritual obeisance to PM’s “personal honesty and integrity”

Madhu Purnima Kishwar writes Honestly Speaking in Outlook: 

Dr Manmohan Singh cannot escape responsibility for appointing people with dubious credentials to occupy key positions of power—starting with the appointment of Pratibha Patil as the President of India.

Today, the Indian media—both print and television—is focusing on the recent corruption scandals involving the UPA Government with unusual zeal. However, I fail to understand why almost every commentator, every TV anchor, every editorial writer feels compelled to pay ritual obeisance to the “personal honesty and integrity” of Dr Manmohan Singh while dealing with the scandals emanating from his cabinet colleagues. They do so even when there is clear evidence that the Prime Minister was well aware of various shady deals, as in the case of Telecom scam, and that he did nothing to stop the brazen economic crimes indulged in by his ministerial colleagues over the last 6 years. 
…In recent weeks, some of our most respected columnists have been warning us that we should look at institutional reform rather than target individuals because it can lead to loss of faith in democratic institutions. But how do you retain faith in democratic institutions if powerful individuals use their office to systematically subvert the autonomy and credibility of institutions meant as watchdogs of democracy? The best of institutions take no time in becoming slavish instruments of partisan agendas if you plant subservient and heavily compromised individuals at their helm.

……..A PM who compromises national interest, as in Kashmir, just to indulge the personal fancy of the PM in waiting, a PM who looks the other way while his Cabinet colleagues brazenly loot public funds and get away with extorting thousands of crores by way of kickbacks, a PM who is widely perceived and lampooned as a “rubber stamp” does not merit being called “an honest man” or a “man of integrity” because integrity in his job demands putting national interest above partisan politics and personal loyalties. Integrity also involves taking full responsibility for all his acts of commission and omission which have earned UPA II the dubious distinction of being publicly named as the most corrupt and rudderless government in post independence India


Madhu Purnima Kishwar is Founding Editor, Manushi Journal, Founder, Manushi Sangathan–Citizens First Forum and Senior Fellow, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.

 Read the full piece Honestly Speaking in Outlook

Half of India lives without toilet, but no one is denied a TV!!

Mr. K. B. Ganapathy, Editor of Star Of Mysore (SOM) a widely read English Daily in Mysuru (Karanataka) &  also the editor of ‘Mysooru Mitra’, a Kannada Morning Daily writes his (SOM) editorial POSITIVES OF IDIOT BOX :

Idiot Box: Promises the moon to the gullible millions

During the years spanning almost seven decades since television scored a commercial success after a wait of nearly two decades following its invention by Logie Baird, the ubiquitious showpiece having earned a none-too-flattering label as the ‘idiot box’ is currently enjoying an honorable identity as the small screen. Its penetration in India with an officially declared literacy of less than two-thirds of the land’s population is within sniffing distance of 100 per cent.

It is an irony of sorts that while more than half of the country’s population lives without the toilet facility and open defecation is more the rule than exception in the more than six lakh villages across the nation, virtually no Indian is denied a chance to view the small screen. Given this predominance of the small screen across the land, both the State-owned ‘Doordarshan‘ and the multitude of private channels beaming programmes in all languages of the country have an immense responsibility and social role to telecast programmes that are high both in knowledge content and promoting people’s welfare.

While the press is functioning under the legal provisions, obliged to comply with a set of written as well as unwritten diktats of the Press Council, the small screen thus far has been enjoying unbridled freedom. It is only recently that the Centre was mulling a system in which the small screen too is subject to some order and discipline. The task is bound to be far tougher than dealing with the press for logistic reasons. For one thing, the small screen is virtually a 24×7 moving image and would need critical inputs of technology for successful monitoring, not to mention censoring.

The jazzy advertisements which (a) occupy major time space during prime time, (b) interrupt telecasts of even news features and of course, (c) bring in the only revenue in the enterprise, many of which promise the moon to the gullible millions are presently enjoying boom time. This side to the small screen is a huge negative and needs to be brought under the scanner.

Programmes that nurture the land’s culture in all its forms such as music and those which enrich knowledge even among the unlettered are great positives of the idiot box. They stand out amidst the cacophony called entertainment.

Trivendrum ‘Dosa fest’ evokes good response

The ongoing ‘Dosa Fest’ at the Keys Hotel, Thiruvanantpuram, Kerala has evoked good response.
The menu at Keys boasts a variety of dosas from the everyday ghee dosa to the exotic ‘chakkuli pitha’. The fete is on till the end of this month. Timings are from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
The Methi dosa is priced at Rs. 45 while the Mysore masala dosa is priced at Rs. 65, exclusive of tax. All dosas are accompanied by unlimited sambar, coconut chutney and a special chutney of the day. A hot favourite with children is the cheese and egg dosa.

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?

Rabiya: An iron woman who changed the history of Kerala

K.V. Rabiya lived on alphabets and words and so through the educational light which she had set for her people, she will live forever.

Vellilakkadu, Tirurangadi: “The Kerala society always looked at and the media hyped me as a literacy mission crusader but they always took care to turn a blind eye towards the inspirational role of Islam behind my activities, the role of Islam in ‘the making up’ of me was never discussed and now I need to do something desperately to convey ‘the right message’ out of my life. I feel I am nearing death, so visualising my life in a documentary – well in lines with my dreams and ideas – is an important and urgent task before me”, says KV Rabiya.

A documentary ‘Charitram Sakshi, Rabiya ennennum Jeevikkunnaval’ is intended at carrying out Da’wat by portraying her life, which she has tried to live according to Islamic principles, she wanted that the documentary should be directed by a non-community member, having an affinity and willingness towards Islam. She was fortunate enough to find such a director in Suresh Iringaloor, and the documentary is under way.

“I believe it is the passion to release this documentary, which still keeps me alive despite all these life threatening diseases I am subject to”, says Rabiya.

Beginning of the mission
Born handicapped to Kariveppil Moosakutty Haji and Allipara Biyyachutty Hajjumma, Rabiya had her legs weakened by Polio, but this couldn’t stop her from going to school, with immense passion, she read books aloud, thus wiping tears off her parent’s eyes. As she reached the Pre Degree level, when she was seventeen, being unable to stand sound on her weakened legs, she had to stop studies. Unlike most others who would weep over their fate, Rabiya started living a meaningful life thereafter. She was not ready to blame her destiny nor did she shed a single drop of tear. She started taking tuition classes to her neighbouring students and this indeed was the start of a big leap in her life as well as the history of Kerala. It was such efforts by Chelakodan Aishumma, Khadeeshumma and Rabiya, that initiated the complete literacy mission in Kerala.

She joined the literacy mission as a temporary instructor and took the Vellilakkadu village by her hand to the magical world of letters. Even her mother and grandmother learnt letters from her and literacy units across the state came to know about the complete literacy achievement of Vellilakkadu village. Rabiya was of the opinion that mere literacy rate won’t be sufficient enough for the development of her region, so she emphasised on the need for getting engaged through jobs.

Development of Vellilakkadu village
With complete support from the villagers who were mostly potters by profession, she set up cottage industries, a publication group called ‘Chalanam’, vocational training programmes, tuition centres, village libraries, a school for the mentally retarded and deaf students, discussion and debate rooms, inter family get together, family counselling centre, reading promotion club, blood donation team, small investment plans and pain and palliative campaigns. Along with Rabiya, Vellilakkadu village was thus entering a new phase of development. The income from ‘Chalanam’ publications made her financially self sufficient and was able to meet the needs of those dependent on her.

Awards
The awards and recognitions which she received were numerous. She even won the UN international award in 2000. The other awards and recognitions which she received were Nehru Yuva Kendra Award [1992], National Youth Award [1993], Bajaj Trust award [1995], Ramashram Award [1996], Karunakara Menon Smaraka Award [1997], Jaysees Zone Award [1998], MSS Ahmed Maulavi Smaraka Award [1998], Junior Chamber International Award [2000], The central govt’s first Kannaki Sthree Shakthi Award, Kuwait Tahira Award [2000], IMA Award [2002], Yuva Kala Sahithi Award [2003], Kerala Handicapped Social Service Organisation Award [2004], Murimattathil Bava Award [2004], Star Friends Creation Literary Award, Riyadh [2006], Nahdi Malayalam Association Award [2007], Bhaskar Foundation Award [2008], Mahila Tilakam Award of the Kerala Social Welfare Ministry [2012].

Though in wheel chair, Rabiya involved in every spheres of the village life and had thus set an example for the whole state. She married her cousin brother and Rabiya was the second wife. Fate had a few more harsh games to play with her life as she was diagnosed with cancer when she was 32 and had her left breast removed as part of the treatment. When she was 34, she accidentally slipped in bathroom and damaged a few spinal nerves which almost dumped her into an inactive phase of life for years.

During those bedridden days she wrote a book named ‘Ente Mauna Nombarangal’ [my silent grievances] and after publishing it she was feeling tensed as she feared that the world might misunderstand – this book – as her life. The book reflected her state of mind and it was full of grievances. So she later wrote an autobiography named ‘Swapnangalkku Chirakukalund’ [dreams has wings] and was published by Lipi publications. The Kerala govt has included a part of her autobiography in the fifth standard Malayalam text book.

Now Rabiya is 46, her liver and kidneys are not functioning well, her words are not that crispy and continuous because of memory loss but her unending passion to serve others has now forced her to make a Documentary on her life and her village.

Documentary on her life and village
The documentary ‘Charitram Sakshi, Rabiya ennennum Jeevikkunnaval’ is intended at giving a message to the victims of fate so that they could stay bold despite physical challenges. “Since times everybody focused on portraying me as a literacy worker, so my other works and things which I had to convey to my society went unnoticed. My literacy works were just another part of my social service efforts. Every similar ventures which accompanied the literacy alleviation attempts, too was out of the ideal set by my prophet Muhammed [SAW]” says Rabiya

Talking on the relevance of her documentary she told TCN, “The inspiration indeed was Islamic values and the reward from the Almighty; so portraying my life by making use of the possibilities of visual media, I believe is a far more efficient form of Da’wath [invitation to Islam]. So by my life, the educational and social services I undertook, I have tried to practically live as a Muslim and now I feel this should stay as a source of inspiration for the world even after my death. Besides I would like to introduce my villagers and lot other good hearted comrades before the world, so that their lives could make more people interested in undertaking educational and social causes”.

“I am not sure whether I would live until its completion and not sure whether I could pay out the debt of around 15 lakhs spent on the documentary film before my death, as I have produced the film on my own. Another 10 lakh rupees is required to complete the rest visualisation, dubbing, editing, brochures and advertising. My Director Suresh Iringalloor has done justice to my dreams and ideas regarding this documentary, and we hope to telecast it in the Samasta EK Sunni owned channel, Darsana TV as episodes, within a few weeks” said Rabiya.

Married life
The feminists, intellectuals and writers favouring west have always attacked Islam over topics like Polygamy. I was married as the second wife to my cousin brother. By portraying my married life, the documentary has a role to prove regarding the purity of Polygamy; even in the present day world. The first wife was indeed possessive over him but what else would make a wife happy than the husband’s words like “Rabiya is the greatest asset in my life”, asks Rabiya. He was kind enough to give a life and wipe tears of a weakened, marginalised lady by accepting me as his wife. Polygamy in his life, Rabiya believes was not different from what is said in the religion. Understanding the emotions of first wife and husband, their married life, she believes if portrayed could be an ideal justification for Polygamy in Islam.

She always tried to hold intact family relations and her husband’s first wife too was not different and this she says as how said in the Holy Quran will bring Allah’s blessings and thus prosperity in to one’s life. She believes this was the only reason why she is able to meet the needs of her family members dependent on her, even in this bed ridden state.

She hopes that her documentary with its English subtitles would travel across the world and would take a blow at writers like Taslima Nasreen, keen on attacking Islam baselessly.

“It is a fact that people within the community are misusing such provisions within Islam, but that doesn’t mean such rules within the religion are to be discouraged and writers like Taslima should have the least sense to distinguish what is said in Islam and what it is now being practised by the vested interests within the community”, said Rabiya.

She will live forever
The profit from the documentary if any, after paying out the debts will be used for setting up a trust called Rabiya Foundation Trust. The trust is intended at supporting the sidelined and victimised lives of the society by continuing those educational and palliative services, she hopes.

Rabiya is proud as she quotes the recently demised, Kerala’s most eminent intellectual and literature giant Sukumar Azheekode who once said that, “The Pope of Catholic Church, Vatican might have easily stepped on to the procedures of canonizing and proclaiming Rabiya as Saint, if she was born a Christian”.

She considers her people’s affection, encouragements, criticisms and their respect for being the teacher who made them learn letters, as the biggest achievements in her life. Thus she is able to forget her physical pains on being loved and respected by her dear ones.

Rabiya lived on alphabets and words and so through the educational light which she had set for her people, she will live forever. (courtesy: Abdul Basith MA, TwoCircles.net)