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.