Hunger strike of Aseem Trivedi and Alok Dixit from Save Your Voice

On 11th April 2011 Government of India notified the new Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 in order to have a significant monitor and control over the vicarious web world. The act will allow government agencies to have access to each and every activity of ours on the internet. Let it be your facebook profiles, twitter accounts, blogs, YouTube, gtalk, Skype calls and even data stored via cloud computing, they can trace them all. If the government finds something obscene on the ministers or disagree on few issues, they can shut down site or blog on its own. Basically the IT Act 2011 will lead to;-

1. Lead to a clamp down on the freedom of speech and expression enshrined in the Constitution of India by providing for a system of censorship/self-censorship by private parties;

2. Adversely affect the right to privacy of citizens by allowing Government agencies to access their information;

3. Will severely hamper the growth of internet penetration in India, and consequently lead to a slowdown of economic growth;

4. Limit the growth of various IT related industries and services (in particular cyber cafes, search engines and bloggers). Courtesy (Save your Voice).

The Protest

On 2nd May Cartoonist Aseem Trivedi and Journalist Alok Dixit from ‘Save Your Voice‘ started open- ended hunger strike at Jantar Mantar to support the ANNULMENT MOTION against IT Rules-2011 in the Rajya Sabha.

It started with the Anna Hazare agitation against corruption; he went on “fast” from 27th December, and cartoonist Aseem went all the way to Mumbai from Kanpur to attend. He made few cartoons which were later on published in Hindustan Times and Prahar a leading Marathi newspaper. And the next day his sitecartoonsagainstcorruption.com where he uploaded the same poster was shut down by Mumbai police on a complaint being filed by the local Congress leader. After checking up with the lawyers he found that the action taken by the police official is not covered in the IT Act.

So, Aseem and Alok decided to take an action and started protesting against the various loopholes and freedom of speech held by IT Act 2011 in the gandhian or Anna way by fasting. The protest was started quite peacefully and they gathered support from a Rajya Sabha MP, Sh. P. Rajeev., and theatre personality Arvind Gaur, Director of Asmita Theatre (New Delhi) and other associates.

The protest was gaining momentum and on 6th may the duo decided to quit water as well. But later in the evening Delhi Police came on spot and on their persuasion, Aseem and Alok were admitted in Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. However, they are adamant to continue the protest.

Recently Mamta Banerjee got Professor Ambikesh Mahapatra behind the bars for making cartoons on her! Most of us were shocked on this lame news, but if the IT Act 2011 gets approved than people like Ambikesh will lose their voice and there can be a monarchy similar to Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s regime where only a government run channel was allowed to show what PM wants to show.

However, there has been an increasing need for an IT regulation, as Cyber crimes are increasing at an alarming rate, Pornography is highly accessible, Piracy has been adding new channels and the worst part is Terrorism is make a full use of social networking sites leading to high risk for the country. But the current Act is of severe loopholes, which can lead to an adverse effect on the freedom of speech and expression provided by the World Wide Web.

Courtesy:  Madhav Gupta & Youth Ki Awaaz

India’s perkytweets: ‘Lawyer ban gaya Donor’ starring AMS

Breaking: AMS (You know who) will be starring in the sequel of Vicky Donor. The movie is tentatively titled ‘Lawyer ban gaya Donor’ :) #fakingnews. Taking forward the humour thanks to AMS and Vicky Donor, we present to you this week’s #perkytweets. Read, Share, Smile.

 

“Takiye se samosa nikaal yaar” ~Anna Hazare #unknownquotes

— Gabbar singh (@GabbbarSingh) April 22, 2012

 

Ganguly is the new brand ambassador for Havells switches?

— VNS (@degree_kaapi) April 21, 2012

Matthews gets the wicket. But so that it does not count for Dada. Conspiracy. I want my own newspaper.

— greatbong (@greatbong) April 21, 2012

Well bowled dada! U need to put gel next time you take a wicket ! #ipl

— yuvraj singh (@YUVSTRONG12) April 21, 2012

Bangalore is so Americanised that part of Richmond Road drives on the wrong side of the road

— Nitin Pai (@acorn) April 21, 2012

A M Singhvi is a man of many talents. Usually he puts his foot in his mouth. At other times, He holds his Shirt in his mouth.

— Amit (@amsrjn) April 21, 2012

If you donate some money to Wikipedia, will you also be called Wiki Donor?

— Comedian Praveen (@Funny_Leone) April 20, 2012

Will Abhishek Manu Singhvi make it to Big Boss this year ? #AMS

— feluda (@feluda) April 20, 2012

Just saw in a resume :- “Here are my qualifications for you to overlook.” #LOL #HR@_imonlyindian

— Vivek Mishra (@iVivekHr) April 20, 2012

Why does Kunal Khemu look like the guy who brings new cylinders to your house on a cycle?

— Roshni (@DhinchakChokri) April 20, 2012

Burning Desire -When u discover that the Vaseline u applied before sex in the dark was actually Zandu balm.

— Amit Sharma (@DesolateCranium) April 19, 2012

Those MLAs in Karnataka and Gujarat were watching Abhishek Singhvi!

Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) April 19, 2012

They should play one Ashish Nehra dentistry benefit match. Quickly.

— Suo Motu™ (@suo_motu) April 19, 2012

A request – Please don’t raise very obvious questions. Thanks. RT@sardesairajdeep …Is Mumbai’s train system creaking?

— Amit Paranjape (@aparanjape) April 19, 2012

Lalit modi live tweeting abt Ipl is like spkng to colleagues how good was ur paycheck @ the old off

— The Artist (@prash_prince) April 16, 2012

Can’t get over this at all “Marol is the Andheri East of Andheri East” Hahahahaha :D

— Shilpa Rao (@shilparao11) April 18, 2012

The news is dat the mango of Slice ad has become Katrina’s best friend these days

— I Live Ranbir (@TheBarfigirl) April 18, 2012

BTW, If Arnab Gozwami marriez Dolly Bindra, their child would be ze most advanzed sound system the universe will ever see, noe? #Yuss

— S S Sodhi (@SimpooSir) April 18, 2012

(courtesy: BlogAdda)

India’s media judge Katju speaks the ‘unpleasant truth’: 90% of Indians are fools

From his lofty ivory tower, Press Council of India chairman Markandey Katju has a 360-degree view of India – and it’s plain from his every pronouncement that he doesn’t like what he sees. Long after he retired as Supreme Court judge, the man continues to sit in judgement on virtually every aspect of humanity and its many failings. And he has been unabashed about pronouncing his verdict on every subject under the sun, typically with a sneer.

Today, Katju has fleshed out one of his earlier comments in which he said that 90 percent of Indians are fools. In an editorial page contribution in The Indian Express, Katju reiterates the point, and offers it as

“the unpleasant truth” he insists on telling us. And to validate his point, he is even rewriting the scriptures.

The shastras, he says, tells us not to speak the “unpleasant truth”. But “I wish to rectify this. The country’s situation today require that we…. ‘speak the unpleasant truth’’.”

And what is that truth? That 90 percent of Indians are fools.

To establish his case, Katju points out that

“the minds of 90 percent of Indians are full of casteism, communalism, superstition.” In elections, 90 percent of people vote on the basis of caste or community, not the merits of the candidate – which accounts for why dacoits like Phoolan Devi were elected to Parliament.

Second, Katju claims, 90 percent of Indians believe in astrology, “which is pure superstition and humbug”. Which is why television channels that beam programmes on astrology have high viewership ratings.

Katju then picks on another of his pet peeves: the Indian media’s obsession with cricket and Bollywood. The game, he says,

“has been turned into a religion by our corporatised media, and most people lap it up like opium.” Rahul Dravid’s retirement is treated like a national calamity, and Sachin Tendulkar’s 100th century as if it were a great achievement for India.

Likewise, the media’s breathless reportage of Dev Anand’s recent death gets Katju’s goat.

In the process, India’s real problems that affect 80 percent of the people – mass deprivation, unemployment, and a whole lot more – are ignored, he points out.

And then, there’s the Anna Hazare movement for a Jan Lokpal to combat corruption. Katju likens the movement’s followers to a lynch mob – and blames the media for playing it up.

Katju writes:

“It is time for Indians to wake up to all this. When I called 90 per cent of them fools my intention was not to harm them, rather it was just the contrary. I want to see Indians prosper, I want poverty and unemployment abolished…”

But for that to happen, he reasons, Indians should cultivate a “scientific outlook”; until that happens, “the vast majority of our people will continue to be taken for a ride.”

‘print media journalists are in many ways able to come out with a better fact’

Unlike the manufactured truth or half-truth or something else (of electronic media), the print media journalists are in many ways able to come out with a better fact.

Who can come out with a better truth, a television journalist or print media one. Apparently the former, equipped with camera and microphone, is in a better position to break more ground than the unarmed pen-pusher.

While speaking in a function organized to release his book, “Anna: 13 Days That Awakened India,” in Patna on March 18, the author Ashutosh, who is incidentally the Managing Editor of IBN-7, explained the role the media, especially the private electronic channels, played in exposing corruption at the top level and the advantage the TV channels have in doing that. (In Delhi the book was released by Anna Hazare himself on March 21).

Ashutosh narrated how in August last he literally abandoned his studio to spend days covering Anna Hazare’s fast as he actually wanted to know the truth, that is, how the common mass think about the issue.

Since Ashutosh writes for the print media too he was, in no way, running down its importance though he was critical of English-speaking class as well as some fellow journalists who, according to him, opposed Anna’s movement. But a big question arises from what he said. Is a high-profile television journalist really in a better position to know the real truth? Or it is still the faceless low-profile reporter of any newspaper who can do this job in more appropriate way?

True, the private television channels have decisive edge in showing all sorts of happenings related to any development, movement, scams, mishaps etc. The print media may never match them. But so far gauging the real mood of the people or gleaning the truth is concerned the print media is still ahead and will remain so in future too.

The likes of Ashutosh––or even the lesser mortals in the channels––are not better-positioned to know the real truth because they are not unidentified. It is very difficult for them to maintain ear-to-the-ground approach. As most of the people, to whom a TV journalist approaches for any view, know him or her, they would speak more guardedly. They would give byte, according to the demand of the situation. After all the charm of appearing in camera prompts a person to give the view to the liking of the journalist, who is asking the question. Since an overwhelming number of those present at Ram Lila Maidan were aware of Ashutosh’s stand on the fast those interviewed would not say anything against it.

A girl student of a college learnt this lesson a wrong way a few months back when she told a top lady electronic media journalist something about a particular chief minister, which was not of her liking. That journalist half-smilingly told the girl that she is not interested in negative comment about that particular leader. The hapless girl did not get space while the bytes of her friends were prominently highlighted.

A print media journalist does not behave like a celebrity and can mix in the common mass. He could gauge the mood of the people by just eavesdropping in the crowd, in the suburban train, bus etc. S/he can stand up in long queue for getting cooking gas cylinder anywhere in the country. S/he does not even need to disclose his/her identity. So unlike the manufactured truth or half-truth or something else, the print media journalists are in many ways able to come out with a better fact.

Even for sting operation the TV media has to rely on anonymous face.

Though the TV camera may highlight the apparent hardship of the people the inner feelings and pain could be known only by the journalist who stand with the toiling mass without giving his or her own introduction.

It is always man, or nowadays woman, behind the machine who matter. But in case of TV journalism it is machine––that is camera––which do most of the work. The role of person behind it gets minimized. Yet many senior TV journalists often end up boasting that what they are showing to the world is the ultimate truth. In this brave new world of media the truth itself has become a relative concept.

Palangtod Dhulai: ‘(media) arrogance is all very well, but stupidity is just that’!

Palangtod Dhulai <> Ranjona Banerji

Justice Katju tells it like it is. Again

Press Council of Indian chairman Markandey Katju has been one of the most vocal holders of this post, losing no opportunity to stand up for the media when required and to castigate it at other times. The trivialization of news remains a key issue with him and he has questioned once again whether our obsession with Sachin Tendulkar’s 100th century was justified. Interestingly, Tendulkar himself questioned it, pointing out that in the four matches when he got his 99th 100, no one mentioned it at all!

Katju, speaking at the convocation ceremony of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in New Delhi (“over the weekend” says The Hindu in Monday’s paper) however saved his best for last, taking on Anna Hazare and his methods. While making it clear that corruption is a mega issue and that is why Hazare’s movement gained so much support, he questioned Hazare’s methods. “What is the rationale of the thinking of Anna Hazare? With due respect, I could not find any scientific ideas. These shoutings will not do anything.”

Katju is a man who calls a spade a spade. Much as he rubbed most of the media the wrong way, there is perhaps some merit in taking some of his criticisms seriously. Is Aishwarya Rai’s pregnancy really front page news? Did the world end with Rahul Dravid’s retirement from cricket? There’s no point getting defensive here and saying, “The media has every right to choose its own stories”. Quite right it does. But does that mean that the media never makes mistakes? Or indeed, can one deny the dumbing down of the media in terms of choice of stories and understanding of news?

**

Talking about getting defensive, the editor in chief of MXM India. Com Pradyuman Maheshwari faced some defensive posturing on the media’s role in the Norway-Bhattacharya child custody case on NDTV “over the weekend”. The anchor Sunetra Chaudhury, journalist Rashmi Saxena and former diplomat MK Bhadhrakumar staunchly held that the media had done no wrong. It was only when Maheshwari pointed out that no fact-checking had been done by the media and that the other side of the story was not presented – “a basic trait in journalism” – that the bluster of the others died down a bit and it was accepted that the media could have done more.

Arrogance is all very well, but stupidity is just that.

**

This lack of perspective in the television media, especially when it comes to the armed forces, is equally appalling. It has the narrow-focused ability to only see every problem from the side of the armed forces. Yet surely we have seen, more so in recent times, highly ranked officers involved in the most reprehensible acts of corruption. In the current allegations made by chief of army staff VK Singh that he was offered a bribe by a former Lt-general, surely it would be better to get a few more facts on the case before having hissy fits in favour of every soldier ever accused of anything at prime time? At the very least it would be interesting to see if TV can seriously question what seems to be an obsession with attention as far as VK Singh is concerned. Also, at the risk of facing a firing squad at dawn, I would suggest that the media would be better served if it stopped treating the armed forces like a collection of overly-principled martyrs eschewing payment for their cause and just treat them with customary scepticism.

**

In an aside, how about TV channels hire some people with better spelling skills for their written portions? All morning on Monday I read about a “defemation vase” filed by Arun Jaitley against somebody. Of course, there are no bigger teasers than those little ticker tape thingies that run across the screen which promise so much and deliver so little.

Twitter: @ranjona

(courtesy: ranjona banerji & mxmindia.com)