Nothing ever like it on Indian TV : Arnab Goswami’s veritable ‘Devil’s Dance’

Additional Secretary (retired), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt of India B. Raman writes in Sri Lanka Guardian about TIMES NOW Editor Arnab Goswami‘s theatrics while anchoring the prime times news at 9 on the Times Of India’s news channel:

 

Even if there is no exciting news, Arnab manages to produce excitement out of what is available.And when exciting news is available, Arnab keeps his viewers enthralled.

I understand Arnab Goswami of the Times Now news channel is an increasingly viewed news anchor of India today.

I am not surprised.
Ever since he started his 9 PM daily news programme, people no longer have to go to night clubs and bars for their evening excitement.

They get it in ample measure by watching his daily debates on the important news of the day.

It may not be appropriate to call them debates.
What he serves the viewers is a veritable Devil’s Dance— with no histrionics barred.
The more hysterical you are, the more valued you are by Arnab.
It is immaterial whether you know the subject, whether you have insights and whether you analyse lucidly.
What is important is your ability to add to the colour and excitement of his Devil’s Dance.
Things like Netiquette, politeness, courtesy, patience to let others speak, decorum, gravitas are not important.
It is not a debate, it is an exciting performance.
You can do anything so long as you attract viewers.
You can scream.
You can shout.
You can pull your hair and that of others.
You can try to monopolise the show by not letting others speak.
Not much is intelligible because everybody speaks and shouts at the same time.
As in some Greek shows where the author also joins the play as an active participant, Arnab is not just an anchor.
He also joins others in their histrionics.
There is never a dull moment in Arnab’s Devil’s Dance.
Even if there is no exciting news, Arnab manages to produce excitement out of what is available.
And when exciting news is available, Arnab keeps his viewers enthralled.
For the last three days, Indian TV news channels, which were going through the summer silly season, have found something exciting to show and talk about following the arrest of Abu Jundal, a co-conspirator of the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai, by the Saudi authorities and his transfer to Indian custody.
You can depend on Arnab to make the best out of the excitement.
His Devil’s Dance, full of anti-Pakistan histrionics, has acquired a new excitement, a new rhythm and new drum-beats.
Many retired spooks are happily joining the Devil’s Dance every day.
You can save money on going to bars and night clubs and instead watch Arnab’s show at 9 PM every night.
Nothing like it seen on Indian TV before.

Army scoop rumor : Balance and restraint by the media is need of the hour


Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi

A recent incident of indiscipline in a unit of the army was dutifully reported by the media, but a few newspapers and TV news channels that indulge in yellow journalism, continue to sensationalise it. This is despite the army having unequivocally stated that the incident is being investigated thoroughly. Implicit in various media releases by the army is that there is no move whatsoever to push the incident under the carpet and that exemplary disciplinary action would be taken against all those found guilty. This being so, speculative innuendos and sensational stances must stop.

My intention is not to say that the news of the incident should not have been reported, or that the media should only report favourable news about the army. However, one starts losing faith in our supposedly independent media when sensationalism takes over and phrases like ‘unique case’ or ‘army getting indisciplined’ are bandied about.

This is not the first time such an incident has occurred. Without going too far back, there was a case in 1978 and another in 1979, both in Ladakh. In 1986 and 1987, two such incidents occurred in the eastern sector. During Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka, there were two incidents, one each in 1987 and 1989. Mutinous actions of a number of units following Operation Blue Star in 1984 are well known. There have been similar incidents in the navy and air force too. All these were handled by the hierarchy of the armed forces with balance, maturity and panache and no editor-in-chief of those days interfered or offered advice, as is being done by a few upstarts today! Neither was there any dilution in the professional capabilities of our forces!

All artillery units fire their artillery guns a number of times every year, but the annual practice firing camp has a special sanctity. During this camp, all artillery guns of the unit fire at the field firing ranges and all personnel of the unit are fully involved. When all the guns of the unit fire simultaneously, the noise, dust, smoke and explosions they produce can only be described as spectacular.

During these camps, there is a surge in adrenalin levels of all ranks, as well as tension, as everyone wants to do well. On the day the entire regiment fires, many guests are invited to witness this spectacular event. Once the firing is wound up, there is visible decrease in tension and everyone gets in to a celebratory frame of mind, having successfully achieved what they had set out to do.

It is unfortunate that after the culmination of this specific event, the unfortunate incident of indiscipline occurred. It was an isolated incident, where tempers were allowed to rise unnecessarily. There was no pre-mediation or planning, let alone a conspiracy on anyone’s part. It was simply an accident and hence there is no reason to sensationalise it or make it larger than life. From the very beginning, no attempt was made by the army to hush up the incident. One therefore cannot understand why a section of the media is bent upon making it sinister and trying to link it with other recent events.

In a 1.3 million strong army, where individuals interact with each other on a 24X7 basis, the odd aberration does occur. Despite discipline being ingrained in them from the very first day they don a uniform, and despite the excellent officer-man relationship that is nurtured on a continuous basis, tempers sometimes run high. All ranks do understand that it is this close relationship that sustains them even in the most difficult situations, but anger subsumes this temporarily. Despite the many ups and downs in the working environment of the army, officer-man relationship has endured. These are the facets that have contributed to making the Indian Army professionally highly competent and behaviourally the best in the business. This needs to be commended not criticized. I would urge those elements of the media that are going unnecessarily overboard in bashing the entire army to desist, for if such coverage continues, it will do great harm to the army and the nation.

The army has time-tested and well laid out procedures for dealing with all types of indiscipline. The media neither has the expertise nor the knowledge of doing so. Even those segments of the media that may have been goaded to unnecessarily raise the issue to absurd heights on account of their vested interests will do well to confine their reports to news and desist from voicing irrelevant views and comments. The country continues to have faith in the prowess and honesty of purpose of their army. It is best for amateurs of the media, however much they may think of themselves as the greatest media honchos, to let the army take remedial actions in their own professional manner. They will, in due course, share their conclusions with everyone.

Let me end this piece by adding that the motto of the Regiment of Artillery of your army is “Izzat o Iqbal”, to which they adhere to scrupulously. This particular unit – 226 Field Regiment, will also bounce back, provided unnecessary hounding of the unit and its personnel comes to an end immediately.

The writer is a former Vice Chief of Army Staff.

There is a political agenda always at play in ‘Media’

Arun Tambimuttu, Presidential coordinator for the Batticaloa district, Batticaloa Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Organizer and a member of the Sri Lankan delegation to UNHRC sessions in Geneva,  in an interview with the Daily News says:

In the mass media there is a political agenda always at play. The media portrays everything in a very political manner. Reporting is always sensationalized. Bad or negative news always gets priority. Good news is never given priority or published/broadcast/telecast quickly/on time. It is understandable because there is a saying that bad news travels faster than good news. The media still propagate either Tamil or Sinhala nationalism. First of all, local media institutions should go for reconciliation and shed petty differences such as state media, private media, Sinhala newspapers, Tamil newspapers etc. Truth should be reported without being sensationalized.

The younger generation has less communal feelings and they are moving away from biases and biased entities. It may take time but we have to reach reconciliation and the media can speed up this process. The ordinary people get all the information either from the media or politicians. Therefore, they believe that everything that comes to them through those channels is biased.

Read the full interview : http://www.dailynews.lk/2012/04/25/fea01.asp

Symonds, Lara & Jayasuriya to play Pakistan Premier League

Pakistani cricket authorities confirmed that pakistan’s very own t20 league will happen soon in near future. According to pakistan cricket board chairman Zaka Ashraf said:

“most probably t20 league will be held in october 2012 in the same format of IPL,BPL and Big Bash. The name of proposed league is yet to be decided but it will not be Pakistan premier league because we are not coping any thing from India.”

He also confirmed that board is in contact with foreign players to make t20 league successful and many players wants to come to pakistan. He also hinted that Andrew Symonds of Australia,Brain Lara of WestIndies and Jayasuria of SriLanka will feature in pakistani t20 league. courtesy: Dr Owais Karni’s Blog

Modest Kohli says, scaling “Paji”‘s century of ton, a “mission impossible” !!

“It is mission impossible”

At 23 years, Virat Kohli is burdened with the passing of the baton. He is expected to fill in for Rahul Dravid in Tests and simultaneously be the team’s momentum dispenser during tight chases under lights. After his 183 stunned Pakistan, Kohli addressed the press with a fine blend of an old man’s diplomacy and a youngster’s sense of wonder.

A Pakistani scribe asked him: “Your celebrations after getting the hundred said something, did anything happen on the field?” Kohli’s answer was seconds away from being an explosive breaking news item but he played with a straight bat. “Ah nothing really, haven’t performed well in my previous matches against Pakistan, so I was keen to do well. There was nothing on the field. Yes in international matches, teams compete hard but I have friends in the Pakistan team too,” he said.

His eyes brightened when asked about a probable 200. “To be honest, it did cross my mind once. And I thought ‘no, this can’t be real’ and I just concentrated on the ball,” Kohli said. His best line was reserved for the last as he said: “It is mission impossible.” It was a reply lost in laughter after a journalist asked him whether he is dreaming about scaling Tendulkar’s century of tons!

The mirror that cracked

The media manifests itself in many ways. Usually it is a mirror that reflects truth but when the glass is distorted, reality acquires other shades. It happened in the manner in which a few television channels handled the Saeed Ajmal issue.

The controversy started perhaps with the Men in Blue’s machinations that led to a story being planted among the Indian scribes: Ajmal’s action has been questioned and an informal complaint has been lodged with the International Cricket Council officials.

On a wretched day when no one would come on record except for team manager Arindam Ganguly’s line about the issue being discussed, it was all about clutching at straws. The ICC also slipped in to denial-mode, as conveniently the august body had not received anything in writing.

Like an open secret that no one will acknowledge, the speculation hung uneasy in the air. Soon the man in question – Ajmal – was asked about his reaction to the whisper-campaign. The Pakistan off-spinner initially declined to talk but gradually opened up and said that his action has been cleared by the ICC and when asked about Sachin Tendulkar, he graciously and in a very respectful tone said: “He is a Sir. He is nearing the end of his career but he is still a very big player.”

Within minutes, a few television channels ran the story: Ajmal mocks at Tendulkar. The tweaker’s Punjabi drawl was misinterpreted as sarcasm and it proved to be a needless attempt to trigger tension between the rival camps ahead of the expected Indo-Pak final. The cricketing gods were obviously miffed and once Bangladesh trumped Sri Lanka and qualified for the summit clash, the talk about Ajmal died down but the damage was done.

One man, many moods

Mahela Jayawardene has a boyish charm and a quaint Sinhalese accent that often masks the intense competitor, who resides within him. During the course of a forgettable Asia Cup for him and Sri Lanka, the man displayed varied emotions ranging from anger to exasperation.

At a press conference, a sports hack from Colombo, repeatedly asked Jayawardene about the losing spree that started from the Commonwealth Bank Series finals in Australia. The Sri Lankan skipper answered patiently but once the media interaction concluded, he stepped down from the podium and had a heated exchange of words in Sinhala with the concerned scribe. Later it was gathered that Jayawardene had told his interrogator that the team is trying its best and questions that ‘mock’ the squad is not in good taste.

More was to follow once Sri Lanka crashed out following the defeat against Bangladesh. A Pakistani journalist bluntly asked Jayawardene about whether his men’s performance was a reflection of ‘poor captaincy.’ A bemused skipper said: “Amazing isn’t it, two weeks of cricket does that to you, eh? Well I don’t know, it is tough to answer that question. I have been beaten five times in a row before so I probably was in the dumps then! We played Australia in the (CB Series) finals and I can’t be a bad captain overnight. A captain is as good as his team and there are no secrets to it, just that he handles certain situations. We haven’t played good cricket, there are excuses for that. We were up against some quality teams – India, Pakistan and Bangladesh – and we haven’t played good cricket and that happens but we will move on.”

That Indian restaurant…

The yearning for home food forced a bunch of sports correspondents to race around town in an auto-rickshaw that presumed Dhaka’s packed roads were indeed F1 tracks! Muttering prayers and holding their hearts in their mouth, the hacks finally stepped in to a restaurant named ‘X-Indian.’ It was the biggest blooper of the tour. The food joint turned out to be a Chinese and Thai outlet. The misleading nomenclature was raised with the waiters and one said:

“Well its Xindian, meaning China!” And then the tired bunch of pen pushers cracked weak jokes like ‘Yeah, it is actually ex-Indian so it makes sense that they don’t serve our food.’ Finally hunger triumphed and a mix of soups and noodles were ordered in haste.

Weak smiles, wet eyes

Bangladesh’s dream run that concluded in a so-close-yet-so-far despair evoked a standing ovation from the press corps when a shattered coach Stuart Law and captain Mushfiqur Rahim walked in for the post-final media session. It was a moment that reflected the duo’s fierce self-belief and also revealed that even hardened journalists can at times forget their brief about being lizards on the wall and occasionally allow their hearts to dictate their responses. Law and Rahim kept nodding their heads with tired smiles and moist eyes at a time when Bangladesh had truly turned a corner.