21 political cartoons will be deleted from Indian school text books, new cartoons to be ‘tested’ first on students

Most cartoons used in political science textbooks now have been borrowed from R K Laxman and Shankar’s work in newspapers.

The Thorat committee that reviewed NCERT textbooks has not only recommended the deletion of 21 cartoons but also laid out criteria for what kind of cartoons the textbooks should have. It has suggested among various things that the cartoons should largely stick to conveying a positive message to students, focus on themes rather than personalities, and be first “tested” on students for their reactions to ensure they are not insensitive.

The committee has said that instead of borrowing cartoons from newspapers and other secondary sources, original ones must be created strictly for educational purposes. Most cartoons used in political science textbooks now have been borrowed from R K Laxman and Shankar’s work in newspapers.

Anubhuti Vishnoi  writes in a special story in The Indian Express:

Stressing the need for a positive message, the panel has recommended that if a cartoon with a negative implication has to be necessarily used, it must be balanced with a positive-message cartoon on the same subject.

The recommendation against focus on personalities follows the offence taken by MPs at cartoons on Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and a range of other political leaders from A B Vajpayee to Lal Bahadur Shastri and B R Ambedkar. The committee has recommended that the cartoons instead look at broad themes and issues.

Sources in the NCERT said the report suggests cartoons in textbooks must first be “tested” on students and their reactions assessed to ensure that there are no “unintended consequences”. Sensitivities must especially be kept in mind as responses to cartoons may differ depending on a student’s profile, his background, religion, class, caste and habitation, it has said. The committee has also advised against “overuse” of cartoons.

Read the full report in Indian Express : ‘Unfit’ cartoons out, here’s what is ‘fit’

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Indian Media has lost their conscience: No talk about Indian Emergency of 1975

On 25 the June 1975  was the unfortunate day when President Fakhrudin Ali Ahmed  declared a state of emergency under article 352 of constitution of India upon the advise of prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Election’s and Civil liberties were suspended and suspension of article 352 effectively bestowed on President to rule by decree. In the history of Indian Independence Indian democracy was derailed for the first time.In 1977 democracy was restored and since then we are fortunate enough that our democracy has evolved and following the right path so that it could evolve.

 

I am not writing this post to glorify the resistance against government in emergency and they established democracy again in 1977. I am writing this article to convey the current status of one of the most important pillar of Democracy of the present era. This pillar is know as “MEDIA”. After visiting almost all the websites of Major Digital Channel and print newspaper in English and Hindi one point has astonished me no one is talking about Emergency of 1975.

One of my observation about Media is one part of their content strategy depends on what is trending on Twitter. All the English and Hindi website of Print media will write when Google will honor any one through a Google Doodle but their editorial framework don’t think that they should talk about “DARKEST PERIOD OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY” today as a significance to tell the story of history to the current generation. Why Indian Media don’t think that the current generation need to know the importance of the hard earned democracy in which they are living? Media is avoiding looking towards history and asking many question’s which is needed to answer is a dangerous trend for India and Indian democracy.

There is a Saying  when we start avoiding or telling lies about history history never forgives us. We are not telling lies but we are seriously avoiding our history. Since morning Emergency 75 is trending on Twitter India but not a single conventional media has come up with a story. On Twitter all the famous Editor of major digital news channel always present their views but today no one showed up with their enlightening views.

Two important characters of Indian emergency which is Emergency itself and Indira Gandhi were trending on Twitter for a long time. #Emergency75 is still trending on twitter India.

Rajdeep Sardesai who tweeted in defense . This is the sate in which Indian Media has reached when Editor in chief of a national news channel has to defend themselves. I have no right and knowledge to say anything about Rajdeep Sardesai and I prefer to believe what ever he is saying is true. on a personal level I believe people. There is one question I want to personally put in-front of him and all the editor in chief why people perspective towards media is not right.

 

What I have observed on Twitter is general public of India is surprised as emergency in 1975 didn’t get any importance or coverage from conventional media. I think the main reason behind this issue can be central Government which belongs to Congress didn’t want people to remember emergency which was imposed by Congress Party only. The story ahead you can easily guess. (This post was published by Rai, in http://videathink.com on June 25, 2012)

Indian food regulator’s Rs 1000 crore media blitzkrieg to improve ‘food safety’ !!!

The meek justification being offered for this disproportionate funding for publicity is that people have to be made aware about various provisions of the Food Safety Act, 2006.

It appears India’s food regulator has got all its priorities horribly wrong. The regulatory body plans to spend a whopping sum of over Rs1,000 crore just on publicity during the 12th plan period.

The amount the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has sought from the government for publicity related activities is much more than what it plans to spend on its core activities – developing food safety standards, setting up testing labs, surveillance and so on.

Out of Rs6,548 crore for various projects and initiatives planned during the 12th plan period, as much as Rs1,019 has been earmarked just for publicity.

The meek justification being offered for this disproportionate funding for publicity is that people have to be made aware about various provisions of the Food Safety Act, 2006. While detailed rollout schedule and clear deliverables have been shown for various activities, the authority remains vague when it comes to its gigantic media spending plan.

All that the proposal says is ‘awareness generation/ IEC programme would be as per well-thought-out media plan to be undertaken regularly using all forms/formats of publicity having wide reach’.

The Rs1,000 crore media blitzkrieg is expected to result in ‘overall general awareness about food safety rules/ regulations and sensitisation of various stakeholders about food safety issues’.  Rs350 crore under the so-called media plan will be spent for undertaking a ‘comprehensive campaign utilising audio and video and print media for dissemination of messages’. An amount of Rs319 crore has been proposed for publicity utilising ‘non-media vehicles’ such as multi-coloured pamphlets on food safety, hygiene, prevention of food spoilage, use of potable water in cooking etc. Such material will be distributed to schools, vendors and will be displayed at bus and railway stations. Another Rs350 crore would be disbursed to states at the rate of Rs2 crore for every state every year for publicity in local language. (courtesy: Dinesh C. Sharma & MailOnlineIndia)

Indian Media: Sexual favors demanded from 90% women journalist in Kerala, god’s own country!!!

Dhanya Exhuthachan writes in her article titled “ACCEPTANCE OF FEMALE JOURNALISTS IN KERALA” Kerala’s own “City Journal”, how woman journalist are not accepted as bride in Kerala. Malayalees do not prefer to send their daughter to work as a journalist and that most of the woman journalists are exploited by their male counterparts to receive pay hike, promotion, etc :


A significant number (40.2 per cent) of female journalist did not complain because they felt sexual harassment is not taken seriously in their workplace or that their complaint would seem trivial or over-reacting.

THERE are many girls among us who wish to be a Barkha Dutt or Leela Menon when they grow up. Most of the times, those dreams are shattered due to contradictory circumstances. Female journalists are aplenty in Kerala; definitely majority of them are more talented and sharp than their male counterparts. Still, Malayalees are yet to prefer journalism as a career for girls. It is a fact that most of the female journalists reach for the work overcoming disagreements even from their parents and husbands. Parents cannot be blamed as they are concerned about the safety of their girls as journalism is about taking risks and challenges. But it’s really ironical that even boys here do not prefer to marry a working journalist!
Arun Menon, a mechanical engineer says, “I cannot accept my wife going for reporting. I do not blame their profession. Of course, it’s a cool one. But it will not be nice if my wife goes out of house at midnight. I know it’s a part of their job. They should be present if something happens. I respect that. But even if I accept, my parents will not be. They are old people. We cannot change them. So I prefer a job for her in which she can go in morning and come back by evening.”
As journalism became a profession, women were restricted by custom and law from access to journalism occupations, and faced significant discrimination within the profession. Nevertheless, women operated as editors, reporters, sports analyst and journalists even before the 1890s.
In several places now women can no longer be ignored and also the old tradition of keeping women out of the workplace has been set aside by the younger generation of newspaper owners. This has happened in Malayala Manorama. Fifteen years ago, women were not allowed to write the entrance test for recruitment to Malayala Manorama. In those days, even receptionists in the organisation were men. Today there are women in almost all departments, the change brought by the second generation owners and their spouses.
A male news reporter in the city says, “Its true people have started to accept female reporters. But still there is a concept among public that female journalists are bad. It’s common people pull a long face if they find any girl on the road after 7pm. Moral policing is very high in Kerala society. Now the newspapers and channels provide cabs for security of female reporters. But those who travel in bus or train at night have to suffer the male gazing even if they are journalists. Boys think female reporters are daredevils and they will command everything if they marry them. Lack of feminine look is another problem in their eyes. It’s true as part of the profession, the reporters adopt dress styles similar to men and go for short hairs. The society is yet to change. There is no doubt that females are excellent in reporting and finding things. They stay a step above us always. But they have many limitations.”
Some have the opinion that male domination is very high in media field. As being a ‘Pennu (Woman)’ in their language, most of the times, the girls have to face several harassments from workplace. 90% of the female journalists here come across a situation in which their male seniors demand their body to get a salary hike or promotion. Some girls obey that demand thinking of a better payment and position, some leave the job and majority suffer without saying all these things to others. Maybe, all these exploitation also stop parents and boys not to prefer female journalists.
National Commission for Women had conducted a project on the ‘Status of Women Journalists in the Print Media’ to look into the issues affecting the role of women working in media. The project was prepared conducting survey of women journalists all over India.
A section of the project says, the biggest burden on women in journalism is their domestic responsibilities as wife, mother and daughter-in-law. The brightest and most successful journalists have left a bright career to settle down in matrimony or have moved to less demanding jobs when children arrive. For women, almost invariably, the home comes first.
AT Jayanti editor of Deccan Chronicle, believes that “As home is always a woman’s responsibility, it naturally affects her work. I have no problem with any girl until she marries,” she says.
Findings of the projects also include that sexual harassment is part of work culture in media organisations in India but women either do not know how or, for a wide variety of reasons, choose not to do anything about it. Only 15.2 per cent of women who experienced sexual harassment had made a formal complaint. 10.8 per cent of those who did not make a formal complaint did not do so for fear of intimidation, victimisation or losing their job. A significant number (40.2 per cent) did not complain because they felt sexual harassment is not taken seriously in their workplace or that their complaint would seem trivial or over-reacting.
A senior Malayalam journalist, who spoke to the Commission on the harassment of women both sexually and professionally, put it briefly: “A woman works alone and suffers alone. She finds no support either at home or at office. Men on the other hand, when faced with allegations, close ranks and stand by their colleagues.”

India’s corruption ‘gurus’ ruining Nigeria

Salisu Suleiman editor of Nigeria Intel writes about corrupt Indians looting & ruining Nigerian economy in his article: Nigerian Corruption: the Indian Connection

The Dana Air flight from Abuja to Lagos crashed a few km to the airport with over 150 people on board

When we think of politicians and public officials who looted (and are still looting) hundreds of billions of dollars from the Nigerian public treasury, what usually comes to mind are numbered Swiss bank accounts and ultra-secret deposits in the Caymans and Bahamas. We imagine assets and investments in England, the United States, Dubai and Europe.

Less known destinations for Nigerian loot include South Africa, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco. More recently, looted funds from Nigeria have been traced to Australia, Hong Kong, Brazil and China. But how does stolen money leave Nigeria? Who are the middlemen and agents helping to fleece our country in what is clearly the most blatant capital flight from Africa?

Welcome, Indians. Many people now think of India mostly in terms of the country’s economic successes and technological advances. With a billion people and one of the fastest growing economies in the world, India has become a major power. From one of the poorest countries on Earth, the world’s largest democracy has projected itself unto the global scene. In what can be viewed as reverse-colonialism, Indian businesses have taken over several notable British icons and businesses. And for what it is worth, some of the most valuable franchises and real estate in the British Isles are now owned by Indians.

But what is the downside to India’s remarkable successes? Is there more to it than meets the eye? The truth is, despite India’s remarkable achievements, the country remains very corrupt. And because of its vast business and trade links with Nigeria, some of those unorthodox methods are compounding Nigeria’s already hopeless culture of corruption. When Indian corruption and Nigerian corruption meet, the outcome can be devastating.

Since the Dana Air flight, which killed over 150 people on board and an unknown number on the ground, much attention has been focused on the Indian owners of the company. Allegations that the aircraft was not airworthy have emerged. Though the company has denied it, an official was quoted as saying the plane had technical problems and was not fit to fly. For those who know Nigeria well, if a bribe was all that was needed to certify the plane as airworthy, then the required signatures would have been obtained in an instant.

A few years ago, Nigeria was gripped with the drama of the deportation of the Vaswani brothers who have been labeled ‘economic terrorists’. They allegedly caused Nigeria losses amounting to billions in unpaid customs duties, among other corrupt practices. In typical Nigerian fashion, the matter has been forgotten. Serious allegations of compromise at the top echelons of the Nigerian Customs Service have been shelved. This is just one case that came to light. Many others are unreported. Some estimates indicate that Indians help to evacuate more than $50 million daily from Nigeria through dubious paperwork and official collusion.

Despite these sharp practices, if Indians simply engage in the importation of stale rice and sub-standard automobiles at outrageous prices and also help Nigerians launder money, it would be a simpler affair. The greater danger comes with the involvement of Indians in Nigeria’s health services. Currently, a significant percentage of all fake drugs found in Nigeria come from India. And as if it not enough to sell death to us, the angels of death (or Indians of Death) have come to reside among us.

A notorious example is a so-called ‘super specialty’ hospital located in Karu, Abuja. Initially, complaints of fraud and medical malpractices were seen as the actions of rivals and detractors trying to spread malicious rumours about the hospital. However, there is a growing litany of complaints from too many sources who claim have been defrauded by this hospital for the authorities to simply ignore.

One blogger whose sister had a nasty experience at the hospital puts it this way: “Those Indians are quacks; they do not posses basic medical credentials. The head of the hospital, an Indian woman is not a medical doctor. The deputy is her son and not a medical doctor as well. A specialist hospital operating in a Nigerian government built infrastructure does not have a medical director”.

Operating structure and credentials aside, more worrisome are the reports of unneeded and unnecessary surgeries the hospital forces on patients. One person reported the case of a patient who had gone there for treatment on his leg. According to her, “the quack doctor did a terrible job on him and he’s presently walking with crutches. The poor guy went to the hospital with his two legs and they turned him to a disabled being after paying almost N2.5million”. Another reported, “My mother is a victim. After paying over 5 million naira for (unneeded) operations, she is bedridden. Avoid these killers at all costs. You have been warned!”

Considering the plethora of complaints against this Indian hospital, isn’t it high time our health authorities investigated what is going on there? Or have they also received the ‘Indian Treatment’?

Indian Media: Why journalists hate trolls

Pagal Patrakar (in his blog – http://blog.fakingnews.com) writes without any screaming and shouting in plain English and without any intellectual nonsense or any stern voice and constipated faces either, about how journalists thinks that it is their duty, as a journalist, to show “mirror to the society” and not let anyone show the the mirror:

..For them(journalists) , a troll is anyone who is not following the rules and decorum of a civilized communication, and who argues without showing much respect to logic.

At this point of time, some of the top journalists leading the crusade against trolls would claim that their objection is only to the abusive and hateful trolls. I have reasons to believe that this is just an excuse.

The thought process (no lateral thinking involved here) behind creating such a list is rooted in a journalist’s arrogated right to frame rules and decorum for a public debate…..However, more than the anarchic nature of Twitter (and much of the virtual world) and a public display of love towards civilized discourse, a journalist’s problem with Twitter arises from the fact that traditional journalism is ill-conceived to allow and incorporate feedback and criticism.

……..I’ve been a (television) journalist myself (in pre-Facebook and pre-Twitter era) and don’t remember a single editorial meeting that was called in to discuss feedback. In fact, there was no mechanism to collect public feedback at all.

The only ‘feedback’ that we were responding to was weekly TRPs. There were weekly meetings to analyze what type of program gathered the highest TRP and how to repeat the “success”. And I guess things haven’t changed much since then.

Most of what is being dismissed as trolling by journalists (not all of them, I must admit; many of them are doing really good on Twitter) are actually instant and angry feedback by their ‘consumers’.

Traditional journalism, as an institution, has always seen itself as ‘giving feedback’ to the society and hasn’t thought it necessary to ‘take feedback’.

I remember Indian Express editor Shekhar Gupta’s interview with Star News (now ABP News) after the coup-story controversy where he claimed that a member of Team Anna (most probably Arvind Kejriwal) had asked him whether Indian Express took feedback from the readers on what it publishes (Express had published a string of stories ‘exposing’ Team Anna before).

Shekhar Gupta thought that the suggestion (about taking feedback) was irrelevant as it was his duty, as a journalist, to show “mirror to the society” (his words) and not let anyone show him the mirror (my words).

A bulk of the problems of journalists with Twitter is rooted in this nature of journalism, where feedback is not deemed necessary, in fact, it’s seen as an unpleasant development, something they happily dismiss as trolling.

Read the full post : Why journalists hate trolls

Maya “Bush”: Goa Sting Operator Who Gave Up Anonymity

The multiple exploits of Mayabhushan Nagvenkar, the journalist who exposed Goa’s paid news racket, pulled off a prank by planting a fake Nazi story in several well-read dailies, and has held up a mirror to the media in other ways. He is known in Goan media circles as Bhushan, or The Bush. He has written an hilarious article titled  ‘Pimples on Paradise’ about the various corrupt activities of media in Goa in newslaundry.com:

“Bhushan gives the home minister too much tension. He gives the chief of police too much tension as well. He is too straightforward.”

Mayabhushan Nagvenkar

I live in Goa. In a small corner in that paradise.In that corner, where I live, there aren’t any dancing virgins. There’s only journalists. And crimson trails of torn professional hymens.

And the story I have to tell is not new. It isn’t even a big story.Like the one which spilled out with the Nira Radia tapes. There’s no Barkha Dutt. There’s no Vir Sanghvi. Not even a relatively low-brow, shrill Prabhu Chawla.

The story is about a small place. The heroes here are a lot smaller in scale. So are the villains. But the stories from this small place are as interesting as the ones which come from the big cities. Trust me. The sweet, warm smell of purification reeks the same everywhere.

As the author of this piece, I will reserve stories involving me for later.

The first story’s a comparison between two opposite journalistic poles.

This is the story of Ash. And the story of Pats.

Ash has been a journalist for nigh two decades. He’s conscientiously worked on the newsdesk and reported extensively in Goa. He’s anchored newspaper editions for all three local newspapers in Goa.

Ash has been a journalist for nigh two decades. He’s conscientiously worked on the newsdesk and reported extensively in Goa. He’s anchored newspaper editions for all three local newspapers in Goa. But then he went on and did three things over the last few years – not necessarily in the order listed. He became a founding member of a newspaper employees union seeking fair working conditions. Later, he contested civic elections after putting in a legit leave of absence. Third, he befriended me.

Result: He has been virtually unemployed for the last four of the eight years. There are four daily English newspapers in Goa. One monthly news magazine. And several other news, feature and lifestyle magazines. But no jobs to be had for him. In my honest opinion, he has the professional wherewithal to fit into any newspaper set up across the country.

The one reason which editors and newspaper managements in Goa give him for rejecting his job application, is his ‘voluble’ support and perceived involvement in an anonymous media critiquing blog I ran by the name of Penpricks. And he wasn’t even part of it.

Directorate of Official language organized a book release function on 31st May 2010 at Maquinize Palace, Panaji at the hands of Shri Digambar Kamat, Hon’ble C. M./Minister of Official Language in the distinguished presence of renowned music director Shri Ashok Patki, following three books were released in the function, one of which was “Vikas Khara Khota” written by Goa’s most prominent, resourceful, respectful and seniormost journalist, editor Shri Raju Nayak (extreme right) in Marathi
(note: This picture is not suggestive of any imaginative character in the article. It is only published here to show how Goa governments has been encouraging prominent literary personalities from all walks of life to promote art & culture.

Now, Pats has also been around a bit. He’s on the vernacular end of things. His honest cherry popped early and was perhaps replaced by a big red plum. He was caught using a ruling Congress politician’s credit card for wardrobe shopping. Took paid-news suparis regularly. Bought a few mining trucks. Started real estate projects. Until one fine day he was asked to leave by his newspaper management, when they discovered that he hadn’t withdrawn from his salary account for several years. Within a month he was snapped up by another vernacular newspaper and his cycle of corruption renewed once again.

The second story has no central characters. There were just too many of them during the run-up to the assembly elections in March this year, for any one in particular to take centre stage. Early during the campaign, both the Congress and the BJP came in with war chests to cultivate the media. Well, there’s still no confirmation of the exact monies doled out to the media here. But then there’re things you see for yourself. While one political party offered journalists covering the polls tablet phones along with money, another party simply offered cash on the barrel. So if you see media folk in Goa who suddenly flaunt a tablet phone and tell-tale signs of a sudden flush of cash, chances are you may have just spotted a bad egg.

The deal struck between journalists and newspaper managements and poll contestants these last elections was relatively uncomplicated, but also had a sheen of innovation.

Conventionally, the concept of paid news involves payment of money for publishing of favourable content. During the March elections however, the paid-news deals involved not just writing favourably about one candidate, but also blanking out news involving his opponents. Paid-news emerged as an evolved and a matured entity this time round.

Those interested in looking up lop-sided reportage, could scan the poll coverage in the Herald for a comparative analysis of assembly constituencies like Fatorda, Curchorem, Quepem, etc, where the coverage has been extremely ‘unusual’ to say the least. There were other newspapers who did it too, but none with the élan of the above-mentioned newspaper.

And then there’s this little story about me.

I’ve been a working journalist since 1997. I have worked for The Asian Age in Mumbai, Herald in Goa, Tehelka in New Delhi and have also been part of a band of journalists who produced investigative news software for television channels. And then I’ve done some writing on and critiquing of the media in Goa over the years. There’s the story about editorials for sale. Then there was the fake story about a holocaust varmint Nazi being arrested by a fictitious secret German police unit floated by me which was published in several newspapers across India and the globe. Then there was another story about newspapers publishing sex advertisements promoting prostitution, where instead of listing the pimp’s number, I inserted phone numbers of the same editors whose newspapers published these lewd and solicitous adverts. There was also the story of how the Goa Editor’s Guild (GEG) set out to gag the media critique blog, by listing the item on the agenda of an official Guild meeting. And then another one establishing paid news in these assembly elections in Goa.

Result: I’ve had to do my bit of scrounging. I have been at the bottom of the barrel for a spell. In the course of exposing the above-mentioned stories, I’ve been out of a job for a long while. There was no money coming in so I resorted to all sorts of odd writing jobs, since writing is the only paying skill I possess. I did some cheap sweatshop commercial-writing by pitching to postings on craigslist. I’ve written and rewritten about yoga mats. About turd-cleaning devices, which help you clear dog poo off the floor, without leaving stains. I’ve even written tasty little descriptors for websites hosting porn films and sleazeclips, sometimes making $2 for 500 words.

All this, until a friend and fellow journalist Fredrick Noronha voluntarily and graciously gave up his job writing for a news agency from Goa, so that I could pitch for it.

So now every story told through the ages has had its morals. And I am still looking for the morals in mine.

But like I said earlier. The story is the same everywhere. Journalistic corruption is not special to Goa. Dammit, it’s not even as big as the big metros. So why did I do the things I did and say the things I have over here?

Things come across a lot clearer in smaller places. There’re fewer people. Fewer buffers. Fewer layers of camouflage. There’s lesser intrigue. The smaller journalistic microcosm of Goa is representative of the profession’s ills and helps one understand the depravity of the broader journalistic setup in India in an easy way.

A shot of Goan feni in a Goan tavern works as well as the finest scotch in Delhi’s tony, well-heeled clubs. But what would cost you ten bucks here could cost you a few hundred quid in Delhi, with perhaps a Bangkok junket thrown in for good measure.