Goodbye DNA, Pune!

http://www.newslaundry.com/2014/08/19/shutters-down/

Modi sympathizers among India’s public intellectuals are penning columns oozing disappointment

By Diksha Madhok @dikshamadhok August 7, 2014

The honeymoon is truly over for prime minister Narendra Modi.
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The assessment about his government’s performance in the first 74 days in office, even among those seen as his supporters, is bleak.
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Over the last few weeks, a growing number of newspaper columns from well-known academics and public intellectuals have expressed disenchantment with the Narendra Modi government. Particularly notable are the ones penned by those who were seen as Modi’s most visible sympathisers during his election campaign.
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They believe Modi is starting to be seen as politically weak and indecisive as the previous prime minister. Most of their criticism centres around the government’s lacklustre Budget in July, India’s present WTO stance and Modi’s silence on key issues. Some fear status quo-loving bureaucrats are hijacking the government’s growth agenda.
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Such prominent Modi supporters as economist Arvind Panagariya and Firstpost.com editor R. Jagannathan have openly expressed their disappointment in the last month.
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Following are some of the recent columns by erstwhile Modi enthusiasts:
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Acche din, like old times by Pratap Bhanu Mehta
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Mehta is the president of Delhi-based thinktank Centre for Policy Research. In a recent column in the Indian Express newspaper, he argues that so far the current government’s performance has been ordinary and complacent.
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“Prime Minister Narendra Modi increasingly seems to be trapped in his own echo chamber. His government is fast confusing the trees for the forest and ignoring the sense of restlessness brewing outside its hallowed circles.”
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Mehta says that Modi had promised a new discourse on secularism but has hardly lived up to his pledge. BJP ministers such as Sanjeev Baliyan and Amit Shah have contributed to polarisation in Uttar Pradesh, and the prime minister has done little to defuse the communal situation, he argued.
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“But he [Modi] is acting like the Congress in two ways. He has failed to publicly draw clear red lines on what his party men can and cannot say, and inevitably, the worst in his party will shape the public narrative and induce fear … Former prime minister Manmohan Singh’s silences created the vacuum that anyone could fill. Can this prime minister name one action that sends a loud and clear message about what kind of conduct will not be tolerated? Has he used any incident to create a teachable moment?”
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Great Expectations by Bibek Debroy
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Debroy is a professor at Centre for Policy Research and is seen as a leading economist sympathetic to Modi and his work in Gujarat. In a column written for India Today magazine, he says that the NDA government already looks aged and jaded and is “nothing but same UPA regime with better implementation.”
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He writes: “Here is a government that came in with a lot of hope, riding a tide of high expectations, promising change. Ennui has already set in.”
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Debroy accuses the prime minister for alienating the public soon after his victory. This is puzzling, he says, because BJP election campaign was one of the more interactive ones that India has seen, especially on social media.
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“Why has the Government and the PM stopped talking? Is it arrogance, complacency, or abode in an alternate reality? Honeymoons don’t last indefinitely.”
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In the name of India, why? by Surjit Bhalla
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Bhalla is an economist and runs New Delhi-based asset management firm Oxus Investments. He was a vociferous critic of the Manmohan Singh government and a supporter of Modi’s policies. He has been disappointed with India’s decision to stall the trade facilitation pact at the WTO.
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“India is making itself a laughing stock in the eyes of the world community (perhaps it does not matter) by violating agreements it made just six months earlier when it made the WTO accept its unreasonable demands … given that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is widely believed, and correctly so, to be his own man, then why, in the name of god and India, is Modi-BJP pursuing an illogical and regressive stance at the WTO?”
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India has spurned the adoption of a treaty to standardise and streamline the rules for shipping goods across borders, having previously agreed to its terms at a conference in Bali last December. India has accused WTO of not understanding the concerns of the developing world and has demanded more freedom when it comes to food subsidies. WTO has already agreed to find a permanent solution to the issue by 2017 and has approved India’s demands for now. But Modi-led government wants a solution faster.
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India’s best hope is that the Budget due February 2015 chooses growth and jobs: Arvind Panagariya
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Panagriya is a professor of Indian political economy at Columbia University. He was widely rumoured to be a leading contender for the job of chief economic adviser in the Modi government. In a recent column he was rather uncharitable about Modi government’s budget. He was disappointed with the NDA’s ambiguous stand on retrospective taxation and finance minister Arun Jaitley’s hesitation in tackling “regressive” subsidies.
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He wrote in the Times of India newspaper: “The presidential address to Parliament on June 9, 2014 had focussed nearly exclusively on projects and schemes, eschewing policy. Therefore, many had eagerly awaited the budget speech for a policy vision of the new government. Unfortunately, it too left observers guessing on whether the government would tackle tough reforms or rely principally on better implementation.”
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Get things done or lose mandate: Why Modi’s power strategy is wrong: R Jagannathan
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The editor of news website Firstpost is an unflinching defender of Modi’s policies and actions, even going as far as to suggest that Modi’s silence is actually very good political strategy. Even he now believes that the prime minister has failed to project power and convey his stand on many issues.
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“In his 70 days in office, despite some interesting moves on the foreign policy front with neighbours, Modi has projected political weakness rather than strength—the exact opposite of why this country elected him in the first place.”
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Like the other columnists, Jagannathan also writes that the NDA is going the UPA way.
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“If Modi does not take stock and deal with issues head on, he is going to face the same fate that UPA-2 did—of squandering a positive mandate with little to show for it at the end of five years.”
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Now many are pinning hopes on the PM’s address to the nation on 15 August during Independence Day celebrations.
http://qz.com/246073/modi-sympathizers-among-indias-public-intellectuals-are-penning-columns-oozing-disappointment/ Continue reading

PROPAGANDA WARS: How real is the threat of love jihad?

PROPAGANDA WARS
How real is the threat of love jihad?
The RSS is attempting to convince Hindus in Western Uttar Pradesh that they face a great threat from love jihad. But many in the region have no idea what the phrase means.
Rohan Venkataramakrishnan ·

Is love jihad real? Are Muslim men actually being trained to woo impressionable Hindu women so that they can persuade them to convert to Islam?

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has begun a campaign across Western Uttar Pradesh attempting to convince Hindus that recent incidents like the Muzaffarnagar riots and the alleged gangrape in Meerut were all sparked off by Muslim men on a mission to convert Hindu women. On Sunday, the RSS started a week-long campaign to counter so-called love jihad by ordering its cadres to tie rakhis on 10 lakh Hindus. “People will be urged to protect girls from love jihad,” the RSS regional pracharak Rajeshwar Singh was quoted as saying.

But whether it is in the southern states where the alleged phenomenon first emerged or in the UP villages where the practices is supposed to be rampant, there is little evidence for the existence of love jihad.

Before 2008, the term love jihad was not commonly used. By 2009, however, it begins to appear across Kerala and Karnataka. Also referred to as romeo jihad, the term started to show up in alarmist religious literature. At first, it was the Catholic Church pushing the theory that women were being conned into converting.

The Kerala Catholic Bishops Council claimed in 2009 that up to 4,500 women had been targeted in this way. This was followed up by the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, which claimed that 30,000 women in Karnataka alone had already been converted.

A case study spread by the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti sought to explain exactly how the operation is carried out.

The document claims young Muslim men are trained in camps on the intricacies of love jihad and then sent out to ensnare Hindu women, “to finish off Hinduism once and for all by changing the demography of Kerala by ensuring that Hindu girls give birth to Muslim child”.

An elaborate process
It described an elaborate process by which men take on non-Muslim nicknames, wear red threads around their wrists and tilaks and then approach Hindu women to seduce them. The Hindu Janajagruti Samiti document even includes a hierarchy of targets based on caste, with varying cash rewards. Brahmins were most coveted because “the Muslims are aware that by destroying the priestly class they are more likely to uproot Hinduism”.

The term love jihad was given sudden legitimacy in the Kerala High Court in 2009, when Justice KT Sankaran asked the police to look into the matter. Authorities in both Kerala and Karnataka eventually denied that such a plan existed. But the fact that it was actually investigated gave a huge boost to the idea that love jihad might be a real strategy.

“It’s just a sociological fact that any woman who marries out of her caste is thrown out of her caste, so if a Nair woman marries an Ezahva man, she is thrown out, and a Hindu girl who decides to marry a Muslim is usually thrown out of her caste,” said J Devika, a historian and social critic from Thiruvananthapuram. “Nobody made it into a love jihad issue before.”

Once they had put a label on such relationships and given them a religious colour, though, fundamentalist organisations like the Sri Ram Sene continued to beat the same drum. Despite the authorities insisting that these fears had no basis, vigilance against love jihad became a crucial part of the rhetoric against the alleged Islamisation of Kerala and Karnataka. Soon, Sangh Parivar outfits in northern towns where Muslims are in significant numbers — like Muzaffarnagar and Saharanpur — started to use the same tactic.

Sarawa story
“What is love jihad? Maybe if you say it in Hindi, I could understand,” said Ram Niwas Paswan, an old farmer sitting in a shop in Sarawa in Western Uttar Pradesh. The store is just a few doors down from the house of a woman who, according to many espousing her cause, has become the victim of one form of love jihad.

The alleged Sarawa gangrape broke into the headlines two weeks ago after a 20-year-old from the village filed a First Information Report claiming she was duped into going to a madrasa, gangraped and forcibly converted to Islam. These allegations don’t amount to a straightforward case of love jihad, which involves women willingly going to the men. But it falls in the same category for the Sangh, which has chosen to fight for this woman’s cause and honour.

Navin Aggarwal — sitting in the same shop down the road from the house of the victim — has to explain what love jihad is to to his neighbours, Paswan and a young shop-tender named Naim Saif. Neither had heard the term before. He then explained his position on the matter. “There is no doubt that this phenomenon has come to India in some way, too many people are talking about it,” he said. “But who can tell you what someone’s motive is if they convert? Who am I to say what your motive is?”

Not everyone is so ambivalent.

Mohan Kumar Singh, the station house officer of the busy police station in Kharkhauda, where the Sarawa gangrape FIR was registered, dismissed it outright: “This is entirely the creation of you media people. No such thing happens.”

Down the road from the shop, the victim’s uncle insisted that it has to exist, because that’s what happened to his niece. “They say these men are trained to do these things, that they take them, brainwash them, convert them, and then sell them to countries abroad,” he said in a whisper, surrounded by policemen stationed outside his niece’s house to ensure her security. “Something like this only has happened here.”

Up another lane in Sarawa, Shakeel Ahmad, the brother of one of the accused in the case, also had to be told what the term means. “What? How can that be a thing?” he said. “In this day and age, can you tell me that someone is forcing me to change what is in my mind about God?”

The burden of tradition
But it is a Sangh-affiliated leader in Kharkhauda, eight kilometres away from Sarawa, who inadvertently sheds the most light on the subject. After nearly an hour explaining how crime has no religion, “even though all criminals do happen to come from one religion” and promising that his “save our sisters and daughters committee” is for everyone even though it has Hindu in its title, Ajay Tyagi moves on to questions of tradition.

“Look, I don’t know what they think of tradition, but we Hindus are different,” Tyagi said. “We don’t have the awareness to accept love marriages. Our tradition doesn’t allow it, and we uphold that.”

Indeed, the question is about different approaches to the personal freedoms: if you believe women have the right to choose who they marry, how could love jihad even be thought to exist? Except in cases that involve allegations of kidnapping, love jihad is no different from any other sort of controversial relationship – inter-gotra, inter-caste, homosexual. But here, inter-faith marriages involving Muslims have been presented as a deliberate, insidious plan to destroy Hinduism.

“It appears that when confronted with the phenomenon of conversion from Hinduism to Islam, especially by Hindu women, certain kind of Hindus lose their logical faculties,” writes historian Charu Gupta, about love jihad. “ The politics of cultural virginity is inevitably shadowed by a myth of innocence, combined with a ranting of violation, invasion, seduction and rape. [However] women, who were often perceived as victims by the Hindu communalists, may actually be actors and subjects in their own right by choosing elopements and conversions.”
http://scroll.in/article/674212/How-real-is-the-threat-of-love-jihad? Continue reading

TRAI issues recommendations on cross-media ownership Read more at: http://www.televisionpost.com/trai-tdsat/trai-issues-recommendations-on-cross-media-ownership/ | TelevisionPost.com

Television Post Team MUMBAI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has come out with its recommendations on cross-media ownership. The recommendations cover a comprehensive definition for control, cross-media ownership, vertical integration and internal plurality. As per the sector regulator, the News and current affairs genre should be considered as the relevant genre in the product market for formulating cross-media ownership rules. TV and print should be considered as the relevant segments in the product market. For print, only daily newspapers should be considered. Once private FM channels are allowed to air news generated on their own they too will be up for review under the cross-media ownership rules. The relevant geographic market should be defined in terms of language and the state(s) in which that language is spoken in majority. A combination of reach and volume of consumption metrics should be used for computing market shares for the TV segment. For the print segment, using only the reach metric is sufficient. For calculating market shares in the TV segment, the GRP of a channel should be compared with the sum of the GRP ratings of all the channels in the relevant market. The market share of an entity would be the sum of the market shares of all the channels controlled by it. In the relevant market for the print segment, the market share of newspaper would be the circulation of that newspaper with the combined circulation of all newspapers in the relevant market. The market share of an entity would be the sum of the circulation of all the newspapers controlled by it. The HHI (Herfindahl Hirschman Index) be adopted to measure concentration in a media segment in a relevant market. Summary of Recommendations Defining Ownership and Control The Authority recommends that the following definition of control should be adopted for all issues concerning media ownership discussed in this paper: An entity (E1) is said to ‘Control’ another entity (E2) and the business decisions thereby taken, if E1, directly or indirectly through associate companies, subsidiaries and/or relatives: (a) Owns at least twenty per cent of total share capital of E2. In case of indirect shareholding by E1 in E2, the extent of ownership would be calculated using the multiplicative rule. For example, an entity who owns, say, 30% equity in Company A, which in turn owns 20% equity in Company B, then the entity’s indirect holding in Company B is calculated as 30% * 20%, which is 6%.; Or (b) exercises de jure control by means of: (i) having not less than fifty per cent of voting rights in E2; Or (ii) appointing more than fifty per cent of the members of the board of directors in E2; or (iii) controlling the management or affairs through decision-making in strategic affairs of E2 and appointment of key managerial personnel; Or (c) exercises de facto control by means of being a party to agreements, contracts and/or understandings, overtly or covertly drafted, whether legally binding or not, that enable the entity to control the business decisions taken in E2, in ways as mentioned in (b) (i) (ii) and (iii) above. For this purpose: (i) The definitions of ‘associate company’, ‘subsidiary’ and ‘relative’ are as given in the Companies Act 2013. (ii) An ‘entity’ means individuals, group of individuals, companies, firms, trusts, societies and undertakings. The Authority recommends that the following proviso be added to the definition of control as provided in the ‘Recommendations on Issues related to New DTH Licenses’ dated 23.07.2014:  “Provided that if E1 advances a loan to E2 that constitutes not less than – [51%] of the book value of the total assets of E2, E1 will be deemed to ‘control’ E2.” Cross-Media Ownership The Authority recommends that the News and Current Affairs genre is of utmost importance and direct relevance to the plurality and diversity of viewpoints and, hence, should be considered as the relevant genre in the product market for formulating cross-media ownership rules. The Authority recommends that television and print should be considered as the relevant segments in the product market. For print, only daily newspapers, including business and financial newspapers, should be considered. Once private radio channels are allowed to air news generated on their own and become significant in the relevant market, a review of the cross- media ownership rules should be undertaken. The Authority recommends that the relevant geographic market should be defined in terms of the language and the State(s) in which that language is spoken in majority. Thus the twelve relevant geographic markets would be as follows – (i) Assamese and Assam (meaning, Assamese newspapers read and Assamese television channels watched in Assam, and similarly henceforth); (ii) Bengali and West Bengal; (iii) English pan-India; (iv) Gujarati and Gujarat; (v) Hindi and Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand (these ten States together should be considered as a single market); (vi) Kannada and Karnataka; (vii) Malayalam and Kerala; (viii) Marathi and Maharashtra; (ix) Odia and Odisha; (x) Punjabi and Punjab; (xi) Tamil and Tamil Nadu; (xii) Telugu and Andhra Pradesh and Telangana; In this list, the other languages included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, namely – Bodo, Dogri, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Manipuri, Nepali, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi and Urdu, to be considered based on the growth of newspaper circulation and television viewership in these languages in the future. The Authority recommends that a combination of reach and volume of consumption metrics should be used for computing market shares for the television segment. For the print segment, using only the reach metric is sufficient. The Authority also recommends that for calculating market shares, in the relevant market for the television segment, the GRP of a channel* should be compared with the sum of the GRP ratings of all the channels* in the relevant market and the market share of an entity# would be the sum of the market shares of all the channels* controlled by it i.e. :  Market share of a channel = GRP of the channel*∑ GRP of all channels* in the relevant market  Market share of an entity# =∑ Market share of all channels* controlled by it (*In the television segment, apart from pure news channels, some regional markets are characterized by the presence of news-cum-entertainment channels, which broadcast news bulletins for only some parts of the day in 30-minute slots, amidst various entertainment programs. The GRP of only the news content aired on these news-cum-entertainment channels is taken into account so that they are comparable, for the purpose of analysis, with the pure news channels.) Similarly, in the relevant market for the print segment, the market share of a newspaper would be the circulation of that newspaper compared with the combined circulation of all newspapers in the relevant market, and the market share of an entity# would the sum of the circulation of all the newspapers controlled by it i.e.:  Market share of a newspaper = Circulation of the newspaper ∑ Circulation of all newspapers in the relevant market  Market share of an entity# = ∑ Market share of all newspapers controlled by it (# this entity may be a media entity itself, which is operating the television channel(s) and/or daily newspaper(s) in the relevant market or an entity which is controlling many media entities, which in turn are operating the television channel(s) and daily newspaper(s).) The Authority recommends that the Herfindahl Hirschman Index (HHI) be adopted to measure concentration in a media segment in a relevant market. The Authority recommends that a rule based on HHI be implemented i.e. if the television as well as newspaper markets are concentrated (HHI> 1800 in each), then, an entity contributing more than 1000 to the HHI of the television market, cannot contribute more than 1000 towards HHI in the newspaper market as well, and vice-versa. If it does so, it will have to dilute its control (as defined in paragraph 6.1 & 6.2 above) in one of the two segments. This rule applies only if the HHI thresholds are violated consecutively for two years. The Authority recommends that the cross-media ownership rules be reviewed three years after the announcement of the rules by the licensor and once every three years thereafter. The existing entities in the media sector which are in breach of the rules, should be given a maximum period of one year to comply with the rules. The Authority recommends that Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) in the media sector will be permitted only to the extent that the rule based on HHI, as recommended in Para 6.10 above, is not breached. The Authority recommends the following list of reporting requirements for this section. These reports are to be made on an annual basis to the licensor and the regulator. A. Transparency Disclosures (to be placed in public domain) (i) Shareholding pattern of the entity (ii) Foreign direct investment pattern of the entity (iii) Interests, direct and indirect, of the entity in other entities engaged in media sector (iv) Interests of entities, direct and indirect, having shareholding beyond 5% in the media entity under consideration, in other media entities/companies (v) Shareholders Agreements, Loan Agreements and any other contract/ agreement (vi) Details of key executives and Board of Directors of the entity. (vii) Details of loans made by and to the entity (viii) For all channels registered as news channels with MIB – Registered language(s) of operation, actual language(s) of operation, time slots for news programs B. Reports to be submitted to the Licensor and regulator (confidential) (ix) Subscription and advertisement revenue of the entity/ company (x) Advertising rates (xi) Top ten advertisers for each media outlet of the entity. Changes in any of the parameters (i) to (vi) listed above must be reported to the licensor and regulator within thirty days of implementation of the change. Vertical Integration amongst Media Entities Based on an examination of the issues and analysis of the comments received in this exercise, the Authority reiterates its recommendations on vertical integration amongst broadcasters and DPOs as contained in its “Recommendations on Issues related to New DTH Licenses” dated July 23, 2014 and recommends early notification and implementation of the same. For ease of reference these are annexed at the end of these recommendations as Annex-3. Issues affecting Internal Plurality 6.15 Given that about six years have elapsed without any concrete action being taken by the Government, the Authority strongly recommends that its Recommendations of 12 November 2008 and 28 December 2012 may be implemented forthwith. These Recommendations inter alia specified: (a) the entities (political bodies, religious bodies, urban, local, panchayati raj, and other publicly funded bodies, and Central and State Government ministries, departments, companies, undertakings, joint ventures, and government-funded entities and affiliates) to be barred from entry into broadcasting and TV channel distribution sectors; (b) that in case permission to any such organisations have already been granted an appropriate exit route is to be provided; (c) that the arm’s length relationship between Prasar Bharati and the Government be further strengthened and that such measures should ensure functional independence and autonomy of Prasar Bharati ; and (d) that pending enactment of any new legislation on broadcasting, specified disqualifications for the entities in (a) above from entering into broadcasting and/or TV channel distribution activities should be implemented through executive decision by incorporating the disqualifications into Rules, Regulations and Guidelines as necessary. The Authority further recommends that even surrogates of the entities listed in paragraph 6.15 above should be barred from entry into broadcasting and TV channel distribution sectors. Given the inherent conflict of interest arising from practices such as “private treaties”, the Authority recommends that such practices be immediately proscribed through orders of the PCI or through statutory rules and regulations. This would cover all forms of treaties including (i) advertising in exchange for the equity of the company advertised; (ii) advertising in exchange for favourable coverage/ publicity; (iii) exclusive advertising rights in exchange for favourable coverage. The Authority recommends that in “advertorials” (for that matter any content which is paid for), a clear disclaimer should be mandated, to be printed in bold letters, stating that the succeeding content has been paid for. The Authority is absolutely clear that placing such a disclaimer in fine print will not suffice. The Authority recommends that such action on advertorials and other material which is paid for81 may be taken immediately. On “paid news”, in addition to the above, it is imperative that liability reposes in both parties to the transaction if it is tried to be passed off as news. For instance, if an MP/ MLA seeks favourable coverage in the media in exchange for payment, then if such coverage was given in the garb of “news”, responsibility would be that of both parties, not only of the politician. Again, on grounds of the inherent conflict of interest, the Authority recommends that ownership restrictions on corporates entering the media should be seriously considered by the Government and the regulator. This may entail restricting the amount of equity holding/ loans by a corporate in a media company, viz., to comply with provisions relating to control. The Authority recommends that editorial independence must be ensured through a regulatory framework as described in paragraph 5.73 (iii) above. With respect to the “media regulator”, the Authority recommends that: (a) Government should not regulate the media; (b) There should be a single regulatory authority for TV and print mediums; (c) The regulatory body should consist of eminent persons from different walks of life, including the media. It should be manned predominantly by eminent non-media persons; This covers promotional write-ups for a company, write-ups from publicists on individuals and favourable write-ups on politicians in exchange for payment. Here, control would have the same meaning as enunciated in paragraphs 2.13 and 2.14 of these Recommendations. (d) The appointments to the regulatory body should be done through a just, fair, transparent and impartial process; (e) The “media regulator” shall inter alia entertain complaints on “paid news”; “private treaties”; issues related to editorial independence; etc, investigate the complaints and shall have the power to impose and enforce an appropriate regime of penalties. The above recommendations, once implemented, will address the immediate objective of curbing unhealthy media practices. The Authority notes that there would still exist the need for a comprehensive evaluation of the legislative and legal framework in order to establish a robust institutional mechanism for the long term. The Authority, therefore, recommends that a Commission, perhaps headed by a retired Supreme Court Judge, be set up to comprehensively examine the various issues relating to the media, including the role and performance of various existing institutions, and the way forward. More than 5 years have elapsed since the Authority released its ‘Recommendations on Media Ownership’ on 25 February 2009. The situation has become graver. Clear time-lines may, therefore, be indicated to the Commission so appointed.

1800 in each), then, an entity contributing more than 1000 to the HHI of the television market, cannot contribute more than 1000 towards HHI in the newspaper market as well, and vice-versa. If it does so, it will have to dilute its control (as defined in paragraph 6.1 & 6.2 above) in one of the two segments. This rule applies only if the HHI thresholds are violated consecutively for two years. The Authority recommends that the cross-media ownership rules be reviewed three years after the announcement of the rules by the licensor and once every three years thereafter. The existing entities in the media sector which are in breach of the rules, should be given a maximum period of one year to comply with the rules. The Authority recommends that Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) in the media sector will be permitted only to the extent that the rule based on HHI, as recommended in Para 6.10 above, is not breached. The Authority recommends the following list of reporting requirements for this section. These reports are to be made on an annual basis to the licensor and the regulator. A. Transparency Disclosures (to be placed in public domain) (i) Shareholding pattern of the entity (ii) Foreign direct investment pattern of the entity (iii) Interests, direct and indirect, of the entity in other entities engaged in media sector (iv) Interests of entities, direct and indirect, having shareholding beyond 5% in the media entity under consideration, in other media entities/companies (v) Shareholders Agreements, Loan Agreements and any other contract/ agreement (vi) Details of key executives and Board of Directors of the entity. (vii) Details of loans made by and to the entity (viii) For all channels registered as news channels with MIB – Registered language(s) of operation, actual language(s) of operation, time slots for news programs B. Reports to be submitted to the Licensor and regulator (confidential) (ix) Subscription and advertisement revenue of the entity/ company (x) Advertising rates (xi) Top ten advertisers for each media outlet of the entity. Changes in any of the parameters (i) to (vi) listed above must be reported to the licensor and regulator within thirty days of implementation of the change. Vertical Integration amongst Media Entities Based on an examination of the issues and analysis of the comments received in this exercise, the Authority reiterates its recommendations on vertical integration amongst broadcasters and DPOs as contained in its “Recommendations on Issues related to New DTH Licenses” dated July 23, 2014 and recommends early notification and implementation of the same. For ease of reference these are annexed at the end of these recommendations as Annex-3. Issues affecting Internal Plurality 6.15 Given that about six years have elapsed without any concrete action being taken by the Government, the Authority strongly recommends that its Recommendations of 12 November 2008 and 28 December 2012 may be implemented forthwith. These Recommendations inter alia specified: (a) the entities (political bodies, religious bodies, urban, local, panchayati raj, and other publicly funded bodies, and Central and State Government ministries, departments, companies, undertakings, joint ventures, and government-funded entities and affiliates) to be barred from entry into broadcasting and TV channel distribution sectors; (b) that in case permission to any such organisations have already been granted an appropriate exit route is to be provided; (c) that the arm’s length relationship between Prasar Bharati and the Government be further strengthened and that such measures should ensure functional independence and autonomy of Prasar Bharati ; and (d) that pending enactment of any new legislation on broadcasting, specified disqualifications for the entities in (a) above from entering into broadcasting and/or TV channel distribution activities should be implemented through executive decision by incorporating the disqualifications into Rules, Regulations and Guidelines as necessary. The Authority further recommends that even surrogates of the entities listed in paragraph 6.15 above should be barred from entry into broadcasting and TV channel distribution sectors. Given the inherent conflict of interest arising from practices such as “private treaties”, the Authority recommends that such practices be immediately proscribed through orders of the PCI or through statutory rules and regulations. This would cover all forms of treaties including (i) advertising in exchange for the equity of the company advertised; (ii) advertising in exchange for favourable coverage/ publicity; (iii) exclusive advertising rights in exchange for favourable coverage. The Authority recommends that in “advertorials” (for that matter any content which is paid for), a clear disclaimer should be mandated, to be printed in bold letters, stating that the succeeding content has been paid for. The Authority is absolutely clear that placing such a disclaimer in fine print will not suffice. The Authority recommends that such action on advertorials and other material which is paid for81 may be taken immediately. On “paid news”, in addition to the above, it is imperative that liability reposes in both parties to the transaction if it is tried to be passed off as news. For instance, if an MP/ MLA seeks favourable coverage in the media in exchange for payment, then if such coverage was given in the garb of “news”, responsibility would be that of both parties, not only of the politician. Again, on grounds of the inherent conflict of interest, the Authority recommends that ownership restrictions on corporates entering the media should be seriously considered by the Government and the regulator. This may entail restricting the amount of equity holding/ loans by a corporate in a media company, viz., to comply with provisions relating to control. The Authority recommends that editorial independence must be ensured through a regulatory framework as described in paragraph 5.73 (iii) above. With respect to the “media regulator”, the Authority recommends that: (a) Government should not regulate the media; (b) There should be a single regulatory authority for TV and print mediums; (c) The regulatory body should consist of eminent persons from different walks of life, including the media. It should be manned predominantly by eminent non-media persons; This covers promotional write-ups for a company, write-ups from publicists on individuals and favourable write-ups on politicians in exchange for payment. Here, control would have the same meaning as enunciated in paragraphs 2.13 and 2.14 of these Recommendations. (d) The appointments to the regulatory body should be done through a just, fair, transparent and impartial process; (e) The “media regulator” shall inter alia entertain complaints on “paid news”; “private treaties”; issues related to editorial independence; etc, investigate the complaints and shall have the power to impose and enforce an appropriate regime of penalties. The above recommendations, once implemented, will address the immediate objective of curbing unhealthy media practices. The Authority notes that there would still exist the need for a comprehensive evaluation of the legislative and legal framework in order to establish a robust institutional mechanism for the long term. The Authority, therefore, recommends that a Commission, perhaps headed by a retired Supreme Court Judge, be set up to comprehensively examine the various issues relating to the media, including the role and performance of various existing institutions, and the way forward. More than 5 years have elapsed since the Authority released its ‘Recommendations on Media Ownership’ on 25 February 2009. The situation has become graver. Clear time-lines may, therefore, be indicated to the Commission so appointed. Read more at: http://www.televisionpost.com/trai-tdsat/trai-issues-recommendations-on-cross-media-ownership/ | TelevisionPost.com” title=”Cross Media Ownership Guidelines by TRAI” target=”_blank”>http://www.televisionpost.com/trai-tdsat/trai-issues-recommendations-on-cross-media-ownership/ Continue reading

We think sexist TDP MP Murli Mohan Maganti suffers from selective amnesia, here’s why

We think sexist TDP MP Murli Mohan Maganti suffers from selective amnesia, here's why.

All those tweets…

In assessing claims that Twitter has changed the way politics is practised and how journalists function, we need to remember that it wants to grow in India with the keyword being ‘monetize’
by Sevanti Ninan
What does Prime Minister Narendra Modi do on Twitter?

He sends his good wishes to athletes at the Glasgow games, and then thanks them for making him proud. He remembers those who died at Hiroshima. He urges all and sundry to work together to further the cause of world peace. He tells us how blessed he felt at offering prayers at the Pashupatinath temple in Nepal. He competes with the Press Information Bureau—“Harnessing Nepal’s potential in hydropower, tourism & herbal medicines will hasten Nepal’s development journey & benefit Nepal’s youth.” He also reiterates his occasionally corny acronyms, and tweets about Jeet Bahadur, the youth he helped reunite with his parents. He is a risk-averse tweeter, occasionally banal, and dishing out pearls of wisdom: “mind is never a problem, mindset is.”

What do journalists do on Twitter when they are out on assignments they consider important? Compete to make the Press Trust of India and agencies like it redundant. Lots of bright journalists from the top newspapers were tweeting from Nepal. They all sounded like each other; worse, they sounded no different from the official tweets. Everybody was reporting news as it happened.You cannot do more than that anyway unless you have a real scoop which can be compressed into 140 characters.

In assessing claims that Twitter has changed the way politics is practised and the way journalists function, we need to remember the following:

Twitter wants to grow its market in garrulous India. Thereafter the keyword for the microblogging site is, monetize.

This government wants communication minus accountability. If the Prime Minister didn’t need the mainstream media to win an election, he does not need them to communicate with the citizenry either. The official media and social media between them can do the job.
And pushed by their editorial and marketing managers, the media these days are tweeting as part of a promotional strategy that journalists abroad were encouraged to follow long before. Out on assignment? It’s not enough to go back and write your piece. You’ve got to tweet while you are there. More and more editors are now fixated on getting their staff to tweet.

A relatively new development is the fact that media houses now want to hire journalists with established Twitter profiles. A young reporter in Delhi was recently taken aback when he was asked at a job interview how many followers he had on Twitter. Is that going to be one of the new criteria for judging a journalist’s abilities, one wonders. Journalists report being urged by their editorial heads to tweet as much as they can, with targets being set. Twitter is pitching in with visits by its top people to media offices. At one Sunday paper there is talk of a financial disincentive for those who are not tweeting a minimum number a month. Talk of Twitter tyranny.

According to interviews the delighted people at Twitter give, they are responding to demand. Thanks to the Prime Minister being such an enthusiastic convert, the company has been given direct access to ministries and ministers, to train them, as well as diplomats, on how to use the medium. Meanwhile the RSS also asked for and got such training. They too are now on Twitter.

The latest addition is the President’s office. When President Pranab Mukherjee tweets himself it will be signed Pranab Mukherjee, you are helpfully informed. It isn’t as if there is no value to such an outreach: If you want to know what the President does all day, you are now told that. But if traditional PR has climbed onto social media, it doesn’t add up to a more communicative government.

Given the sheer numbers being bandied about, it helps to see these in perspective. If Narendra Modi has five million followers and 18 million plus Facebook likes, the competition on Twitter comes from the President of Indonesia who had more followers, and the office of the President of Mexico which puts out more tweets than three Narendra Modi related-accounts together including the official PMO one.

A study released earlier this year by the PR firm Burson-Marsteller offered the simple logic that leaders from more populous nations have a natural advantage and do better on Twitter! The exception is Barack Obama, who is ahead as No. 1 in terms of followers, and hardly ever tweets.

What’s more, if you are looking at how responsive the tweeting leaders were, Modi was low down on the list. The most “conversational” world leader on Twitter is Ugandan Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, with 95% of his tweets being replies to other users. Modi’s average is 5%. He is an avid one-way communicator.

This is also borne out by the fact that the concomitant to this expansion in abbreviated chatter is bureaucrats more reluctant to meet journalists than before, and, if journalists covering the Bharatiya Janata Party beat are to be believed, an Amit Shah effect on the party which ensures that formerly garrulous BJP leaders have turned taciturn.

At the end of the day, Twitter and Facebook as companies could end up being more concrete beneficiaries of the new Twitter mania than Indians who want their leaders to be more open.
{Sevanti Ninan is a media critic, author and editor of the media watch website thehoot.org. She examines the larger issues related to the media in a fortnightly column.}

http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/lF26rOlnXiBARFfAs4RbzN/All-those-tweets.html?utm_source=copy Continue reading

Questions asked about media freedom in India

by Vikas PandeyVikas Pandey
(senior journalist at BBC Monitoring)
Is the Indian media really free? This is a question posed by many after a series of high-profile resignations from prominent media houses in the past few months.

The case of the Network 18 group is particularly intriguing. It runs several regional and national news channels along with a host of news and entertainment websites. The network’s English-language news channel CNN-IBN has become a popular name in the past few years under the leadership of editor Rajdeep Sardesai.

But Mr Sardesai quit his post last month after spending several years building the channel from scratch. His resignation came against the backdrop of a prominent Indian business group’s huge investments in Network 18.

Are the two developments linked?

While Mr Sardesai did not mention this ‘takeover’ as a possible reason behind his resignation, he wrote in his farewell email to his staff, “Editorial independence and integrity have been articles of faith in 26 years in journalism and maybe I am too old now to change.”

Reliance Industries, which has invested huge sums in the network through a trust, denies interfering in the editorial matter of the network.

Mr Sardesai is not the only high-profile editor to have quit his post recently amid questions about relations with media owners.

In November 2013, Harstosh Singh Bal left his post as the political editor of the Open magazine, and Sidharth Vardarajan quit the editorship of the Hindu newspaper earlier in the year.

Surprisingly, India is one of the very few countries where newspaper readership is growing in the age of the internet. India has one of the fastest growing media markets in the world with close to 400 news and current affairs channels, and more than 12,000 newspapers. Several more are on the way, with many business houses, big and small, eager to invest in the media.

Many business owners have strong political links and analysts say editors are often put under pressure to favour certain political parties or groups in their coverage.

Observers suggest that owning a media company gives “clout and access” to business houses.

Freedom House said in a recent report that India is only “partly free” when it comes to the level of freedom journalists enjoy in the country. It said India’s poor performance reflects “increased interference in content by media owners in the run up to the 2014 elections, which led to the dismissal of key editorial staff in several instances”.

Reporters without Borders ranked India 140th in its annual report on press freedom in 180 countries. It cited violence against journalists and reporting restrictions in Indian-administered Kashmir as some of the reasons behind India’s poor performance.

“Those responsible for threats and physical violence against journalists [in India], who are often abandoned by the judicial system and forced to censor themselves, include police and security forces as well as criminal groups, demonstrators and political party supporters,” it said.

In February, Penguin India recalled Wendy Doniger’s book The Hindus: An Alternative History after protests by a Hindu nationalist group. Campaigning group Shiksha Bachao Andolan had brought a civil case against Penguin India, arguing that the book contained “heresies” insulting to Hindus.

Academics fear that victory by Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party in the recent general election is likely to encourage groups like the Shiksha Bachao Andolan.

Amid battles between editors and owners, content is often the loser. India’s regional TV channels mostly concentrate on ratings-driving, sensationalist local stories and rarely pay attention to serious political discourse or international stories.

National channels cover important political stories but often through “loud and noisy” studio debates. “Television then has become less about great journalism and more about histrionics on screen,” media watchdog website The Hoot said in an editorial in May.

Most newspapers and channels do not give great attention to international stories, and when they do they mostly rely on Western news agencies.

Indians get their international news from outlets like the BBC, CNN and al-Jazeera. Some experts say the country needs its own international channel that can tell global stories from India’s perspective.

But that could take some time.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/blogcollegeofjournalism/posts/Questions-asked-about-media-freedom-in-India

Journalism school series Archive

How to build a better journalism school: Part 7, trades & professions
By John KrollJournalism Education, Journalism school series0 Comment
Journalism education, like the typical newsroom, is in need of rebuilding.
One of the first reactions to this series of posts on journalism schools was from my friend Curt Chandler, professor at Penn State. He saw a gap in my proposed curriculum: discussion of “innovation, disruption, the business of freelancing and other practical issues facing modern reporters.” In fact, the initial spur to create this curriculum

25 Jun 2014
How to build a better journalism school: Part 6, breaking news and beats
By John Kroll
Journalism education, like the typical newsroom, is in need of rebuilding.
In some form or another, almost all the journalism schools I’ve looked at (about 20 top programs) include a class — most often required — that involves beat reporting. This description from Boston University is typical: Students learn to cover a city neighborhood or a nearby community beat. Students will branch out across the city

How to build a better journalism school: Part 5, storytelling
By John KrollJournalism Education, Journalism school series, Online Journalism, Writing0 Comment
Journalism education, like the typical newsroom, is in need of rebuilding.
The most common way journalism schools have adapted to a changing industry (at least based on my small survey of about 20 top programs) is the insertion into the curriculum of a course called, most often, “multimedia storytelling.” This course description, from Northwestern, is typical: Introduction to using multimedia skills to create effective web-based journalism.

How to build a better journalism school: Part 4, grammars
By John KrollJournalism Education, Journalism school series, Online Journalism0 Comment
Journalism education, like the typical newsroom, is in need of rebuilding.
I had a traditional education in journalism school, focused on newspapering. That includes learning several rules for writing headlines — cutting out forms of the verb “to be,” not breaking phrases between the first and second lines of a multi-line headline, making all the lines of a headline roughly the same length. Rules like that

How to build a better journalism school: Part 3, facts and truth
By John KrollEthics, Journalism Education, Journalism school series0 Comment
Journalism education, like the typical newsroom, is in need of rebuilding.
One of the required courses in the journalism bachelor’s program at Washington and Lee University is called “Beyond Google and Wikipedia.” It comes before reporting. The course description from the syllabus: An introduction to information sources that academic researchers, journalists, public relations and advertising professionals rely on increasingly in the digital age to conduct scholarly

How to build a better journalism school: Part 2, breaking silos
By John KrollJournalism Education, Journalism school series0 Comment
Journalism education, like the typical newsroom, is in need of rebuilding.
In many of the undergraduate journalism curricula I’ve reviewed recently, students spend a lot of time in mode-of-delivery silos: writer/editors separated from broadcasters separated from photographers. In some cases, magazine students are isolated from those fedora-wearing news people. In my ideal journalism school, most of that changes. Students learn that while each modality has its

How to build a better journalism school: Part 1, the core curriculum
By John KrollJournalism Education, Journalism school series, Online

Journalism education, like the typical newsroom, is in need of rebuilding.
Many journalism schools are reconsidering their curricula, trying to adapt to industry changes. Much of the discussion has focused on technology and entrepreneurial skills. Over the next several posts, I will propose and defend an alternative approach. To start, here’s how I would set up the core of an undergraduate journalism program designed to be

http://johnkrolldigital.com/category/journalism-education/journalism-school-series/

This Fashion Photo Shoot Depicts An Indian Woman Being Abused By Several Men On A Bus

http://www.buzzfeed.com/regajha/this-glamorous-fashion-photo-shoot-depicts-an-indian-woman

What colleges can learn from journalism schools

Updated by Libby Nelson on August 3, 2014

It’s easy to make the case against journalism school.

You don’t need a degree in journalism to get a job in news, and professional journalists are much less likely than academics to say the degree is valuable. Newspapers and magazines shed 50,000 jobs between 2003 and 2012, while journalism school enrollments climbed. A year after graduation, 60 percent of the graduating class of 2012 from 82 journalism and communication schools had a job in their field of study; 13 percent were unemployed.

IT TURNS OUT JOURNALISM SCHOOLS ARE DOING ONE THING VERY RIGHT

But however beleaguered, it turns out journalism schools are doing one thing very right: They embrace practices that make it likely that students will be successful after graduation, no matter what career they go into.

Gallup conducted a nationally representative survey of 30,000 college graduates earlier this year. The research firm, as part of a project with Purdue University and the Lumina Foundation, was searching for another way to measure the value of a college degree. They asked adults about their college experiences, and tested them to see if they were thriving at work and in their lives — a high bar involving a mix of measures of financial, personal and professional well-being that most American adults don’t meet.

The Gallup researchers uncovered what they say is a six-step formula to have a good life, as the research firm describes it. Three of the steps relate directly to the academic experience:

Have at least one professor who makes you excited about learning
Feel your professors care about you as a person
Find a mentor (whether a professor or a peer) who encourages you to pursue your goals and dreams
There’s no reason to believe journalism schools are much better than any other academic discipline at making those three things happen. But Gallup also found three colleges experiences related directly to reported well-being in adult life.

It turns out that by working around a central problem with majoring in journalism — that it’s hard for even the best classroom to emulate a newsroom, and that the best way to learn journalism is by doing it — journalism schools have embraced all three:
Get extremely involved in an extracurricular activity
Have an internship or job that allows you to apply what you learned in the classroom
Work on a project that takes a semester or more to complete
Semester-long projects are fairly common in journalism schools — writing, photography, video or programming projects often take weeks to complete — but they’re common in many other academic departments as well; the senior thesis is the classic example.

Where journalism schools tend to go above and beyond is on the other two measures of experiential learning, which are so much a part of a journalism education that they’re written into the journalism school accreditation standards. Accreditation for individual programs, such as journalism, isn’t required by the federal government, but it’s generally considered a symbol of educational quality.

Usually, college professors don’t spend a lot of time urging students to join Greek life or to lead on-campus nonprofits, particularly when “extreme involvement” can often come at the expense of time for study and research. Journalism faculty, staff and advisers, though, encourage students to write for campus news websites or newspapers, or to report for radio or TV stations. Often, those extracurricular activities are attached to the journalism schools themselves. This isn’t the best way to insure journalistic distance, but it does make it more likely that students will participate.

Internships are also considered a key part of journalism education, and also included on the accreditation standards.
FACULTY ARE ONLY DOING WHAT’S LOGICAL TO GIVE THEIR STUDENTS A HEAD START

Journalism has a clear advantage over other majors in getting these experiences off the ground, because working for the student paper and getting internships either during the school year or in the summer have long been considered the starting point for getting a job in the field. So faculty are only doing what’s logical to give their students a head start.

But Gallup’s findings suggest the effect could be broader. The research firm found that it doesn’t matter what kind of extracurricular activity students are involved in, as long as they’re extremely involved in one. Nor did they ask if the internships students got related directly to their eventual career.

Journalism schools often argue that a journalism education prepares students for success in other fields because it requires them to learn to write and to think. But it turns out what journalism education is doing right for students who don’t pursue a career in news might not be in the classroom, but outside of it.
http://www.vox.com/2014/8/3/5960359/what-colleges-can-learn-from-journalism-schools Continue reading

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