December 2009 Newspaper watch

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Newspaper Watch (India) for the month of December 2009. For latest newspaper watch, view homepage


31 December 2009

Media Watch

The last day of this year. The editorial of Dainik Bhaskar points out that leaving behind last prediction of best recession, this year is ending with new hopes.“…Today, all around us is environment of hope and enthusiasm….”. Yeah, hope for the better future is always good, but not by ignoring crucial areas shouting for help. Is the bye-bye to recession (read slow-down) the ultimate end or means to achieve development and growth of a healthy democracy. The human development indicators are not in best of health, fake currency is on the rise and so is the pitch battle of the main street with corruption. Forget the long term plans for reforms in these areas, in the short run, one step that must be taken immediately is reviving the non responsive public grievance redresssal system of all public departments/ undertakings/ enterprises/ universities/ colleges/schools etc and to protect the whistleblower. And least not to forget giving more punitive powers to Directorate of Public Grievance (DPG) and CAG. Yes, bringing the small fishes to book should be the priority for the health of the democracy.

The year has ended with newspapers focusing on one small fish who had managed to get away for nineteen long years. It is shocking that the wife (and lawyer) of this small fish has accused the media for taking up this issue. Nevertheless, editorial of Tribune has stressed that Rathore must get the worst punishment. It gives several reasons for it and ends- “Ferreting out all facts and acting on them with an iron hand is the only way to ensure that no other girl suffers at the hands of a power-drunk fiend”. Yet again, editorial of Indian Express has focused on Ruchika case fiasco. Take a clue-“The Ruchika Girhotra case has already shown us some of the worst of India….reveals how difficult it is, sometimes, to envision an India in which the powerful are held to account. Each of us, at some point, has kept silent, or accepted injustice, for fear that the awful machinery of an intrusive state be turned against us by some insider. So it is that when a case like this is exposed, bottled-up frustration explode in righteous anger…”. Hang on, not correct that each of us, at some point, has kept silent, or accepted injustice, for fear that the awful machinery of an intrusive state be turned against us by some insider. Yes, not all give in to injustice. It is rather strange that one does not view leading newspapers carrying reports on how the common man is still fighting injustice and has not kept silent to injustice. None of the newspapers have initiated anti-corruption campaign. Any guess on the number of small corrupt fishes fishing around?

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30 December 2009

Editorial of Day

First Home Minister P. Chidambaram and now the ministry that he heads have joined a chorus -- other members of which include judges of the Supreme Court -- that complaints submitted to a police station should always be registered as FIRs...It is a sobering thought that what is being asked for is that the FIR -which is, in the end, a potent instrument, the unleashing of the might of the law -- be handed over to absolutely anyone with a complaint against the world. Can an effort to ensure the police do their duty merely legislate that their duty be done?…. But dealing with excessive discretion by taking away all discretion will clearly have severe repercussions. Enforcing accountability by statute is, as our columnist pointed out on these pages recently, a problematic idea. Getting more legitimate complaints registered is an unquestioned necessity. But recording all complaints might not be the way to get there (Indian Express)

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29 December 2009

Follow-up of Day

The cartoon in Financial Chronicle shows a dangerous looking wolf like creature in a cage. On top of the age is written- “Beware of wolves distinguished as watchdogs”. Ruchika case fiasco made it to the front page of almost all leading newspapers scanned today (Mail Today, Dainik Jagran, Asian Age, Amar Ujala, Rashtriya Sahara, Times of India, Indian Express, Navbharat Times, Tribune, Punjab Kesai, Hindustan Times). The editorial of Indian Express highlights- “Ruchika’s school yielded to pressure - since Nehru’s utopia is actually a babu’s paradise”. Seven letter to editors have appeared in Tribune, all are extremely critical of the manner Ruchika’s case has been handled- “…the law rules over the poor whereas the mighty rule over the law…system of law and order has crumpled…Indian investigating agencies have made a mockery of justice by delaying the case & complaining the investigation and evidence favoring the offender…is this not a mockery of our system?”. This is serious reflection on the manner justice is delivered in the largest democracy of the world. How many Ruchikas will end their lives before this ‘system’ is revamped and faith of the main street is restored?

Concern of Day

The President of India has expressed concern over the ‘rampant’ rise of alcoholism in the State of Kerala and that women are the worst suffers. This news has been carried by Hindustan Times on page nine.

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28th December 2009

Advertisement Watch

An advertisement by advertising Standards council of India (ASCI) comes will punch line is bold- “If you think an advertisement is misleading, dishonest or indecent, contact ASCI…“ This ad has been “issues in public interest by Hindustan Times. Financial Chronicle has carried news item procured from agency that advertising ASCI has pulled up 15 firms for running misleading ads campaigns during July to October this year (Financial Chronicle). Why wait for someone to complaint, no self regulation? Take a clue -surrogate liquor ads continue to make appearance in leading newspapers.

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27 December 2009

The Telugu newspaper Andhra Jyothy in its Friday edition carried an advertisement requesting the public to watch the channel for an exclusive visuals allegedly portraying Tiwari, the former Union Minister and Uttrakhand chief minister in a compromising position. Today, it has made it to front page of all newspapers. Take a look at headlines of a few-

Tainted Tiwari bows to Sonia’s dikat, resigns (DNA)

End Tiwari (New Indian Express)

Tiwari resigns after Cong prod (Hindustan Times)

Sexgate claims Andhra Governor (Asian Age)

After sex sting, Tiwari ejects prematurely (Times of India)

Tiwari stripped - of this job (Indian Express)

Tiwari quits in the wake of TV exposé (Hindu)

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26 December 2009

Concern of Day

Siddarth Varadarajan has pointed ten reasons why criminal in khaki gets away and the last but not the least related to media- “Media and the higher judiciary must also turn the light inwards and ask themselves whether they were also derelict in their duty. The Rathore case did not attract the kind of constant media attention it deserved, nor do other cases involving serving police officials accused to crimes against women, workers, peasants and minorities. As for the upper courts their record is too patchy to inspire confidence…”(Hindu). But why only blame criminal cops? The larger issue related per se to the safety of women and girls. Why do women feel unsafe in capital of India- Delhi? Why do they feel unsafe using public transport in National capital region? Is this not a clear reflection of the state of affairs?

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25 December 2009

The cartoon in Hindustan Times shows Santa echoing the woes faced by the main street- “I’m hit by austerity drive and price rise, sorry kids!”. But austerity, price rise does not seem visible in report by Sukanto Mukherjee & Sreeradha Basu in Economic Times. They report- “across the country personalized gifting companies …are cashing on the Christmas frenzy with customised gifts”. Sachin Mampattan informs that the real stimulus to the economy is the big fat Indian weddings and that 400 million Indians will marry in next 10-15 years- will spur economic boom (DNA). Spending so much money for one day! There have been many ads trying to cash in Christmas but best ad of the day is by Aircel which features a X’mas tree with punch line- “This festive season let’s fill those lonely with love. Donate your old mobiles to old age homes”. This seems to be close to the editorial of Financial Chronicle which points to the true spirit of Christmas- “The spirit of Christmas lies undoubtedly in giving. Not accumulating, Hoarding does not make a man rich but improvises and enslaves him…Small wonder, Mahatma Gandhi who was so influenced by Christ’s life…he trod the path of giving the self in service”.

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24 December 2009

Special of Day

The Christmas effect is showing on cartoon and advertisement in leading newspapers. The supplement of DNA (Mumbai) informs that X’mas spirit has gripped B town. Most hospitality advertisements highlight Christmas- “Christmas carnival, Christmas special”. while others focus on Christmas shopping! Yes, there is no sight of any slow down, take a clue of the festive spirit at one of the leading shopping mall in the Delhi region. SARCAJC exclusive.

Concern of Day

The front page of Indian Express informs that the Punjab and Haryana High Court Judge, who ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry into the Ruchika Girhotra molestation and suicide case, said that Ruchika hasn't got justice yet but not much can be done against ex-Haryana DGP S P S Rathore at so late a stage. More to come- Indian Express informs that from the school that dismissed Ruchika -- after she complained that ex-Haryana DGP S P S Rathore had molested her -to politicians and officers who scripted her and her family's nightmare that followed, all fumbled for answers when the newspaper asked them to explain their stand on the verdict. Editor-in-chief of Indian Express, Shekhar Gupta has asked in National Interest- “If Ruchika was your daughter”. Page nine of the newspaper is devoted to Ruchika verdict. Many editorial of newspapers have come down heavily. Take a look at a few:

If ever there was a travesty of justice this was it. Former Haryana inspector-general of police, S P S Rathore, has got away with a six-month sentence and a fine of Rs 1,000 for molesting a teenager, Ruchika Girhotra, who was driven to commit suicide three years later. Whats more the sentence by the special court was handed 19 years after the molestation incident took place…The story of people in powerful places trying to suppress evidence or abort justice is sickeningly familiar. How often have we seen politicians or senior government officials using their clout to subvert justice…This case yet again highlights the need for speedy dispensation of justice and protection for the victim and key witnesses. More importantly it highlights the urgency of drafting legal provisions to treat abuse of children as a special category and to penalise it stringently. Until that happens we might continue to see tragedies of the sort that forced a teenager to take her life, and for monsters who molest children to roam free (Times of India)

It is shame that crime against young girl is taken so lighted and instead harasses the Victim (14 year old girl) & her family so much that she is forced to commit suicide, Our society is no stranger to criminality emanating from high places. Indeed, those who yeild power & influence are known to crack the networks to break the law and then again to shield themselves…This is a good moment to think of overhauling the laws that deal with the most vulnerable sections of our society at the social or economic level, especially children and women. No less necessary is to break the binds that make justice the slowest moving machine in the country. A democracy in which speedy justice is not available will one day sow the seed of its own throw…” (Asian Age)

One of the most nauseating pictures on television these days is that of a retired Haryana director-general of police, SPS Rathore, who is seen coming out smiling out of a court complex after being convicted in a case of molestation of a teenaged girl..Indeed, one could be mistaken in believing that Rathore was actually mocking at the criminal justice system which, after 19 long years, had let him off with an equivalent of a rap on his knuckles for the heinous crime of child molestation. After all, six months and a fine of Rs one thousand is no punishment for a criminal-cop whose act drove his victim, fourteen years old when he molested her, to commit suicide three years later due to her and her family's constant harassment and vilification…The society must find ways to teach criminals like Rathore a salutary lesson. (Free Press Journal)

Point to ponder- why safety of women and young girls are not a priority for the largest democracy of the world? Why is there no speedy justice for the main street and why corruption that amounts to blatant abuse of power allowed to prosper? This brings into light dysfunctional public grievance redressal system. Yes, there is an urgent need to make it responsive and efficient for the welfare of the main street. Let the corrupt be exposed and shamed. Is anyone listening?

Media Watch

The front page of Tribune informs that editors guild of India has expressed shock and serious concern at increasing number of reports of publication or broadcasting of ‘paid news’ by some newspapers and television channels especially during recent elections. The statement issued by the guild called on publishers, editors and journalist to fight the menace of commercialization and bartering of self-respect of the media. But did not educate - ‘how’! Can a poor journalist alone stop this trend which is been run through a number of players? According to P. Sainth- “well known PR firms, professional designers and ad agencies served the richer parties and candidates. They made up “news” items in the standard font and sizes of the desired newspaper and even “customized” the items to make them seem exclusive in different publications..”(Hindu). Today, the Gurgaon supplement of Hindustan Times carries on page four three write-ups on educational institutions that are a must to read to know their direction! Read on top corner of this page- “Hindustan Times Live Media Marketing Initiative”!

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23 December 2009

Editorial of Day

Given our colonial past, it is perhaps not surprising that we react quite badly to criticism from the West. However, it is not necessary, even wise, to constantly take umbrage. The recent survey by the Pew Research Centre, an American think tank, has found that India is next only to Iraq when it comes to social hostility and religious discrimination…Are there any lessons to be learnt? It is not necessary to point out that American society has its own problems: of course it does…When Mahatma dismissed Katherine Mayo's Mother India as a "drain inspector's report", he was outraged that she had reduced India to its parts rather than look at the sum. Yet, he had to acknowledge that the faults she pointed out also bothered him. We need to look at international assessments of ourselves with the maturity and good sense of a civilised society (DNA).

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22 December 2009

Concern of Day

The Indian economy seem to be on the rise and booming. Most financial newspapers inform that payment of advance tax by leading corporates has increased by 44 percent in Q3, portending higher corporate earnings. However, that apart from quest for growth, is there any other consideration in light? The prevailing high food prices are beyond economic theory. Badarinath informs on the front page of Financial Chronicle that intelligence agencies have warned that food prices may play havoc by March in the country. But yesterday, Mandakini Raina had informed on the front page of Financial Chronicle that worst may be over on food price front. The cartoon on the front page of the same newspaper says it all. It shows two people holding place cards. One is holding - “economy to grow 7.75 pc” while other holds- “food inflation”. The latter asks the obvious- “Our gross domestic woes don’t get counted?”

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21 December 2009

Advertisement Watch

The punch line of advertisement by Times Now (television channel) questions- “What does it take to be the most watched English news channel week after week?”. While punch line of the advertisement by Famina (magazine) features a marriage Analysis report! Read on - “Traces of the man I though you’d be -73%. Traces of the woman I thought I’d be -68%. But we’re working on it, aren’t we, love?”. Then it comes to centre-point of the ad - “You ought to know that Famina is now there for you, round the clock, round the year, online at …”. Point to ponder- Is Famina meant only for married women?

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20 December 2009

Climate Watch

Take a look at the front page headlines of Indian newspapers on the Copenhagen deal:

After the heat, a face saver (Tribune)

Copenhagen Accord an important ‘beginning’(Hindu)

Finally that happened, which was suspected (Aaj Samaj)

Face saving gets paper agreement (Hindustan)

Climate summit gets finished without conclusion (Dainik Bhaskar)

Before success got spoilt (Loksatta)

Climate summit: saved only reputation (Punjab Kesari)

How Chindia stopped Obama (DNA)

No big deal, only a face-saver in the end (Indian Express)

A facesaver in Copenhagen, scripted by US and friends (Times of India)

Climate accord in place, but falls short (Hindustan Times)

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19 December 2009

Advertisement Watch

Timing of roll back of stimulus measures is a guess? The finance minister has told the Parliament that the Indian economy may grow by over 7.75 per cent this fiscal on the back of higher than expected growth in the first and second quarters of 2009-2010. The year was also marked by the revival of net FII inflows with the BSE SENSEX rising by 73.6 per cent between end-March 2009 and November 11, 2009, which is another indication of growth. To meet its expenditure the government embarked on a heavy borrowing programme without crowding out the private sector. It completed a large part (84.68 percent) of the budgeted gross market borrowing programme during April to November 2009 (Indian Express). Advertisements are raining in supplements of Hindustan Times and Times of India. Yes, there is no recession or slow down in Indian economy. Liquor brands are still making an appearance in advertisements in leading newspapers. Page 25 of Times of India contains an ad with “Black Dog easy evening CDs”. Turn to page 27 of the same newspaper, and one comes across Seagram’s Blenders Pride! The fine prints reads- “Experience Seagram’s Blenders pride magical nights events”. While half a page ad in Hindustan Times on page 11 comes with punch line - “Fuel asks: do designers clothes make you look better?” What is this fuel? Not a normal fuel but the ad goes on to tell- “All you need Seagram’s fuel”. The fine print read- “Music CDs”. If these not surrogate liquor ads, what are they then?

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18 December 2009

Advertisement Watch

An ad on page three in Hindustan Times comes with a punch line- “Chivalry is a moment worth capturing”. The accompanying photograph appears of be of a photo shoot of a well dressed handsome man wearing a hat! Is this ad selling a camera? Nope, it’s another surrogate liquor ad! Read on the large font- “The Chivas Studio: 18th -20th Dec 09”. The fine prints reveal- “Music CDs. For more details log on to www.chivas…”. The same ad has also appeared in Delhi Times (supplement of Times of India) on page 19, here only the accompanying picture has changed. On page 11 an ad invites- “Bacardi presents the longest new year bash begins at blue…“. The ad also carries a black bottle carrying log of Bacardi”. Next to this, is an ad-“Kingfisher Blue…presents Global groove…“Look at very very fine print at the centre left of this ad- “Adventure Holiday”! It’s not all, more surrogate liquor ads on page 11! Here an ad features a photograph of young people dancing with a punch line- “Fuel asks: are parties in night clubs more fun?”. Read on- All you need Seagram’s Fuel”. Again look at the fine print at the bottom left of this ad- “Music CDs”. The large headline on page 18 of Hindu reads- “Industry captains congregate at the CII’s 17th quality summit to chalk out strategy and notch up emerging global opportunities”. The whole page is about Confederation of Indian Industries (CII). But hang on, look at fine print at the bottom right of the page- “Advt”. Advertisement looking like of a news feature! While page 13 of Times of India carries three write-ups about mobile phone and ad of Nokia mobile phone . The three write-ups look like regular news reports- “VAS: Adding value to the service”, “Mobile broadband to drive inclusive growth for India” and “The third revolution has begun”. But hang on, look at the very fine prints on the top right of the page- “Northern Business Review”.

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17 December 2009

Advertisement watch

Can an advertisement, sitting on boundary of blatant apartheid, ensure a successful launch of its first outlet in India? Reshmi Dasgupta informs on the front page of Economic Times that a day before Haagen Dazs opened its first outlet in Delhi, it advertised around its arena- ‘preview for international travellers’ with a rider- “Entry restricted only to holders of international Passports”. Now what does this rider mean? Take a clue from Rashmi- “..it was apparent that international’ was used was used as anther word for foreigner..clear implication was that only ‘foreigners would be allowed for the preview. It was not, however not intended to be a case of reworking the old British sign, ‘Dogs and Indians not allowed’. Nevertheless, this controversial ad campaign has resulted free front page coverage on Economic Times, which was not possible otherwise! But how far will Indian consumers forgive and forget this preview ad- is still to be seen!

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16 December 2009

Report of Day

There is no iota of doubt that ever rising food inflation is cutting the pockets of the main street. Most leading economists and policy makers blame the supply constraints the most, which has resulted from drought in the country. Neha Lalchandani informs on the front page of Times of India -’Veggie vendors making a killing”. She asks- “Did you know that there is a 400% mark-up on vegetables in the last mile when it travels from the wholesale market - the mandi- to the vegetable vendor?…There is no shortage of food items in the wholesale market….The government’s inaction has encouraged profiteering by retailers…”. Wonder what will be the take of lead economists on this one? Should one now expect some hard hitting measures coming down on food hoarders, speculators and middlemen?

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15 December 2009

Report of Day

Puneet Nicholas Yadav questions the low total election expenses of leading politicians The Election Commission (EC) guidelines allow a candidate to spend up to Rs25 lakh as election expenditure during Lok Sabha polls. According to an analysis of election expenditure filed by different candidates, the average election expenditure incurred by 6,753 of the 8,028 candidates (details for the remaining wasn't available) was less than 50% of the prescribed limit. Election observers slammed politicians in Andhra Pradesh for doling out crores to voters during their campaign, but according to what they declared to the Central Election Commission (CEC), the average expense incurred per candidate in the state was just Rs3,63, 053! The corresponding figure in Maharashtra was Rs 3,84, 474, Uttar Pradesh Rs 5,76, 989, Tamil Nadu Rs 2,76, 395 and Bihar Rs 4,90, 490! (DNA). Any external sharp auditors around?

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14 December 2009

Concern of Day

Pranab Dhal Samanta informs that the PMO has decided to implement the concept of service level agreements. This will mandate penalties to be deducted from salaries of dealing officials if there are delays in providing citizen services like issuing ration cards and driving licences. The PMO is targeting Delhi and then the Union Territories, and hopes other states begin taking the initiative on their own as many of the services fall under state subjects (Indian Express). Now that’s a positive step but much more desired to be done. Yes, this would somehow tackle rampant corruption prevailing in getting basic services. Why not give sharp teeth to Directorate of Public Grievance (DPG) to impose penalties for any delay? And above all, why not include retirement benefits as a top most priority? But how to tackle the ever rising food inflation which is eating out the pockets of the main street? The editorial of Free Press Journal does not mince words- “..For sure, the blame for the relentless price-rise lies squarely with the Government. In its obsessive concern with the growth rate and Sensex, the policy-makers seem to the increases in the have forgotten the existence of the common man. How else can one explain the triple digit rise in the prices of everyday food items? Even the middle class seems to have become irrelevant in the official scheme of things, for, otherwise, there would be moderation in electricity and water tariffs. Electricity users in Mumbai are among the worst affected in this regard, though in Delhi the greed of the private power distributor has so far been curbed by angry consumers and an alert media. Admittedly, the central and state governments seem unconcerned since the next round of elections is some four years away. However should prices continue to rise as relentlessly as they have in recent months, consumer anger will be difficult to contain”. Point to ponder- why excess money supply has not been controlled by RBI? Why is the apex bank waiting so very patiently for the bubbles to burst on its own? Remember - all this tamasha is on at the cost of the main street. Point to ponder- no lessons learnt from Alan Greenspan?

Media Watch

The front page of Times of India informs- “Times bid for Free: A win-win deal”. Now, what’s that? Read on- “Reading your newspapers has always been a rewarding experience. Now, it also help you to win exciting prizes…Times Bid for free allows you to bid for a whole range of goodies. And the best part is , you don’t have to spend a single paisa!..”. Point to ponder- will this marketing gimmick attract more readers to this paper and then sustain the hiked interest? How long? This brings back the fundamental issue - why people read newspapers?

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13 December 2009

Advertisement Watch

The front page of DNA contains a self ad with punch line - “Money cannot buy our integrity”. Read on- “Journalism isn’t about integrity anymore. News is fabricated, not reported. Newspapers aren’t what they used to be. They aren’t reams of paper crammed with truth. Instead they are crammed with advts….They disguise themselves as headlines. As news reports. At times even as editorials. Because each of them comes with a price tag…”. Hang on, why not specifically name the newspapers that indulge in these practice, instead of blatant generalization?

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12 December 2009

Advertisement Watch

An advertisement by NCP (political party) greets agriculture Minister (who also belongs to NCP) on his birthday. The punch line reads- “Global warming is global warning from nature”. It goes on- “Together let’s take a pledge to protect the environment & save the mother earth”. The clock is showing time 10:10 & accompanying text is - “An NCP initiative….beyond politics”! (Hindu). Whatever that means! Hindustan Remix Bollywood is 12 page supplement of Hindustan. A half page ad of a retail store has appeared. But hang on, above this ad, a write-up about this store has made an appearance which calls this particular retail store - “A important event”. Three colour photographs of store are also present here! But take a closer look on fine prints on the right- “HT media marketing sponsored supplement”. Now, what does this mean?! Liquor ads are no-no in India? Who say? An advertisement has made an appearance in Times of India with punch line - “Just across from office. But an entire universe away. LET THE WORLD WAIT…relax at Black Dog easy evenings….”.Big font reads- “Black Dog”.. Where-
at a bar! Now you know the meaning of Black Dog? The ad does not forget to mention below Black Dog- “easy evening CDs” (in smaller font). Point to ponder- another surrogate ad in leading newspaper, self regulation (why a lost word)?

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11 December 2009

Media Watch

An advertisement in Times of India informs that tomorrow the newspaper will complete 171 years. Read on- “..On this occasion The Times of India pays homage to the very anvil on which it was shaped- power”. Mind you, not a word about role of newspaper as a watchdog! Turn over to page 23, where another ad has appeared with punch line- “How to fly a magic carpet”. Literally speaking, accompanying illustration shows a person on flying carpet, while three persons are watching from below! The advertisement narrates how Times private treaties helped a company- “…unparalleled advertising muscle to build the brand via print, TV, radio, internet…”. What is it private? It seems placing of advertisement is gaining importance over editorial discretion in newspaper. On the front page of Hindustan an advertisement has appeared right in the middle of news reports, without any demarcation border! Its punch line reads- “life without power cut in only Rs. 3705/”. Look left and read on- “Order to cancel passport of Raj Khora”. While on the left hand side read on-”Since 38 years bullet of enemy is in body”. Relax! These are news reports, making it difficult to figure out where the ad ends!

Concern of Day

According to expert group headed by Suresh Tendulkar, former chairman of PM’s economic Advisory Council- “every third Indian below poverty line”. 42 percent of rural population survived on monthly per capita expenditure of Rs. 447, spending much on food, fuel, light, clothing and footware. The front page of same newspaper informs the obvious- “Burning food rates turn heat on economy”. (Economic Times). The high inflation rate of food products is having adversarial affect on main street. And this could get worst. Take a clue from the front page of Nai Duniya which informs that State government of Maharashtra has given green signal to usage of pearl millet, barley and maize (poor man’s food, which is already in short supply) to manufacture liquor. These upcoming factories of liquor belong to people related to politicians- spread across parties! This is not all, they will get subsidy from government to produce this liquor! But what will the main street eat? Don’t eat, only drink?! Recently. the Unicef representative in India had pointed that child under nutrition in India is a human Rights issue. Is setting these liquor factories which will eat food of main street not a human right abuse? Two days ago HT correspondent reported that while political parties have been raising issue of price rise but when it came to question government in parliament, only 25 out of 235 members were present in the Rajya Sabha. Take a clue from cartoon on the front page of Financial Chronicle which shows a well-off man, holding paper- “Poverty line redefined”. A poor man asks him- “could I cross the line this time around”. You know the answer don’t you!

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10 December 2009

Cartoon Watch

It seems some environmentalist has taken fancy of cartoon that appeared yesterday in Times of India, therefore it has appeared again today in the same newspaper. This cartoon features politician who looks like Indian Environment Minister - “India’s pledged to cut emissions by 20% to stop global warming, I too, shall contribute to this.” When asked- “ Really”. He elaborates- “by cutting down my speech on global warming here at Copenhagen summit by 20%”. Point to ponder- Is there an underlying message in this cartoon for it to appear twice? Keep guessing!

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9 December 2009

Birthday Watch

Advertisements celebrating birthday of their favourite leaders, make frequent appearance in newspapers. The front page of Hindu carries an advertisement with punch line- “Warm wishes Smt Sonia Gandhi on her birthday”. The ad praises her contribution- “Having taken the Congress through difficult period to its present strength. she handles the mantel of leadership with assurance”. Take a look who has issues this ad- “From the President’s men”. What does this mean? Look at the fine print on the right hand side- “ Issued by Hotel President, Chandigarh”. Another ad wishes Sonia Gandhi on her birthday and also remember Mahatma Gandhi -”We were not fortunate to serve under MAHATMA GANDHIJI. We are fortunate to serve under ANNAI SONIA GANDHIJI”.

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8 December 2009

Advertisement Watch

Full page advertisement in DNA by BD Corp Ltd comes with a punch line- “Our readership has growth from 32 lacs to 1.55 crore in just 14 years”. The image in the background is of a Big Red apple placed in front of a tree full of red apples, amidst greenery. The ad also educates via statistics- “grown from 5 editions in one state to 48 editions in 11 states in just over 10 years….”. But why? Look at the very fine print at the bottom of the ad - IPO issue in in the wings! Point to ponder- who says print media was not profitable and people don’t read newspapers anymore?

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7 December 2009

Concern of Day

Today, the much awaited United Nations climate change conference begins in Copenhagen. Many Editorials have focused on it. Take a look-

“Today 56 newspapers in 45 countries take the unprecedented step of speaking with one voice through a common editorial. We do so because humanity faces a profound emergency. Unless we combine to take decisive action, climate change will ravage our planet, and with it our prosperity and security. The dangers have been becoming apparent for a generation….At the deal’s heart must be a settlement between the rich world and the developing world covering how the burden of fighting climate change will be divided — and how we will share a newly precious resource: the trillion or so tonnes of carbon that we can emit before the mercury rises to dangerous levels….Social justice demands that the industrialised world digs deep into its pockets and pledges cash to help poorer countries adapt to climate change, and clean technologies to enable them to grow economically without growing their emissions….The transformation will be costly, but many times less than the bill for bailing out global finance- and far less costly than the consequences of doing nothing. Many of us, particularly in the developed world, will have to change our lifestyles….Overcoming climate change will take a triumph of optimism over pessimism, of vision over shortsightedness, of what Abraham Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature.” It is in that spirit that 56 newspapers from around the world have united behind this editorial. If we, with such different national and political perspectives, can agree on what must be done then surely our leaders can too…..” (Hindu editorial, front page).

“December 7 is no festival, no special day, no holiday marked on any calendar, much less Indian. But that's the day fixed for a small meeting in a little country called Denmark. A meeting in its capital Copenhagen that will see every country that matters, send its best arguers and bargainers -- each one trying to negotiate over who has how much right to pollute in today's warmed world.…The superpowers that wrangle over numbers in carbon emissions this week in Copenhagen may not discuss Lobzang or his Ladakhi apples, but what's a climate debate if it's not about people? (DNA).

…Copenhagen -- or more precisely, COP15 (the 15th Conference of Parties), attended by 193 nations -- is likely to be a long and arduous haul.. Unlike trade talks, much more stagey, and where one dramatic exit doesn't really scupper global economic integration, the Copenhagen climate summit is a much more sensitive, delicate affair. It tests the very possibility of international collaboration around a contentious and difficult set of measures that are nonetheless imperative to our security and survival. So while walking out in a huff might be emotionally satisfying, India must be extremely careful in how it deploys that threat….Our negotiators must translate all that parliamentary support offered to the government into a meaningful agreement that we can all live with. (Indian Express).

The quirkiness of governments holding Cabinet meetings at the base camp of Mount Everest or under the sea is obvious. Even then, these efforts to draw attention to the danger of climate change should not be dismissed as either gimmicks or forays into an exotic unfamiliar terrain by jaded politicians looking for a bit of change from their dull quotidian routine… From Rio de Janeiro in 1992 to Kyoto in 1997 to Copenhagen now, the focus has been more on passing the buck than on a fervent desire to find a solution. The only progress that has been made is to admit that there is a problem which wasn't even acknowledged a decade or so earlier on the plea that scientists had not yet produced conclusive evidence….Nepal and the Maldives should be congratulated, therefore, for their innovative method of underlining the threat of climate change. (New Indian Express).

…At Copenhagen, it’s the hares who will obviously grab the headlines. That’s been certain for some time. That’s the nature of global power play. What’s remained uncertain is exactly who’s in the lead, although the picture has become clearer over the past couple of months….If Copenhagen fails to yield an agreement, more blame is likely to rest with the US than with us (Financial Express).

 ….Given India’s record and its commitment to environmentalism, it is unfortunate that New Delhi was seen as a defensive player in the run up to Copenhagen. This was partly because of poor public relations and partly because of a deliberate distortion of the Indian record and position by the western media…. No nation is an island unto itself in our increasingly inter-dependent world. The prime minister has to perhaps do more to sell his vision to his own party, to Parliament and to India’s conservative diplomatic and strategic community. (Business Standard).

India’s long road to Copenhagen has taken so many twists and turns that it is now hard to figure out which direction the government is facing….The government seems to have broken ranks with the rest of the developing nations by saying that it will voluntarily curb carbon emissions per unit of national output. There is immense confusion here. It is not clear what India is exactly trying to do… The change in India’s basic negotiating position also seems to have the country’s climate change negotiators up in arms….Manmohan Singh and Jairam Ramesh are well within their rights to alter policy: Politicians do often take high-risk gambles. But they should explain how their climate change flip-flops meet the key goal of protecting national interest (Mint). Surprisingly, no editorial on climate change conference has appeared in leading Hindi newspapers like Dainik Bhaskar, Dainik Jagran, Rajsathan Patrika, Navbharat Times.

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6 December 2009

Media watch

Most newspapers report that Indian cricketer team stand close to being number one in terms of test ranking. However Hindustan Times correspondent points out the other side- “whimsical broadcast”. Why- “…broadcast barely gives fans a chance to take in the action. The channels rushes into ad breaks as soon as the final ball is delivered and sometimes returns as the bowler is halfway through his run-up. When a wicket falls, the channel first cuts to an ad, only coming back to show replays when the action is already resumed..”. Point to ponder- self regulation, a lost word?
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5 December 2009

Cartoon Watch

Cartoons have appeared on variety of topics today. Global warming (Pudhari, Loksatta Marathi), Water protest (Mid-Day), Obama & Terror (Mumbai Mirror), Dubai crisis (Mid-Day), Inflation & PM (DNA), how to escape lathi-charge in morcha (Samana), politician not service of people but for post (Loksatta). Sandesh (Gujarati. Surat edition) has carried maximum number of cartoons- three on different topics. The cartoon on the editorial page shows Dubai begging Obama for help. The thrust lies in the man at the background. Must Read the fine prints for satire! The second toon has appeared in the supplement for Children, here a school kid is asking policemen to drop him to school. Read why! And the third toon features veiled lovers riding two-wheeler scooter, the two-wheeler scooter is being driven by female. Read what onlookers have to say! The cartoon of the day has been carried by Times of India. Here an officer is telling his junior (who is relaxing with his legs on the table containing a lot of files)- “Look! I am again making a surprise visit here in 2o’clock. If I catch you wasting your time like this I will punish you!”. However, no cartoon has appeared in Navakal, Janmabhommi, Pudhari, Lokmat, Vyapar, Mumbai Samachar, Afternoon Dispatch & Courier, Gujarat Mitra.

Advertisement Watch

One rarely finds matrimonial advertisements on the front page of prominent newspapers in Delhi. Samana (Mumbai Edition) has carried on its front page an advertisement that conveys best wishes to newly wed couple. It also contains their photograph. Matrimonial Advertisements have made an appearance on the front page of Mumbai Samachar. An advertisement informing that Swine Flue is treatable has made appearance in Samana (Marathi) in English language on page 5 while a similar ad has appeared in Hindi language in the Hindi edition of Samana.

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4 December 2009

Concern of Day

The front page of Business Standard carries a photograph of Union Carbide. Subodh Verma informs that government has turned blind eye as carbide toxins from Bhopal Carbide factory and are poisoning water. He has not minced words- “Government at centre and state seem unfazed by the unfolding disaster that had hit Bhopal as thousands of tonnes of poisons continue to seep into the soil and water from closed Union Carbide factory…Over 30,000 people in the surrounding low income colonies…depend on this water for daily use. They are slowly being poisoned or a life or disability…”(Times of India. Mumbai Edition). Environment Activist Sunita Narain informs -”we have no protocol for handling chemical accidents, managing medical relief or fixing of polluters” (Business Standard). Not surprising, five days ago, the lead news in Times of India informed of radiation mishap at Kaiga N-power, 45 employees sick. Point to ponder- Why protocol for handling chemical accidents, managing medical relief or fixing of polluters have not been put in place even today? Why no hectic lobbying by the civil society organisations and not to forget the media?
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3 December 2009

Concern of Day

Subodh Verma reports Bhopal Gas Tragedy victims have received only one-fifth of the compensation that was promised under 1989 agreement. And on the eve of 25th anniversary of Bhopal Gas tragedy, the Madhya Pradesh High court has turned plea for more compensation. Now poor victims have to approach Apex Court. A cartoon has appeared in DNA, where two politicians are standing in front of Union Carbide Bhopal, one telling the other- “It’s a myth that we need inquiry commission to let culprits off”. Page 11 of the same newspaper shouts- “Black Box of Bhopal” Reasons- 25 years later, stronger enotions tinger on”. Point to ponder- Why the public memory is so short, only revives on landmark anniversaries?

Advertisement Watch

The front page of Navbharat (Mumbai) contains an advertisement by Gitanjali Group on International Day for disabled people. It ends- “..Let us jointly endeavor to employ at least 5% of the total workforce of gems and jewellery through this initiative.…”. Point to ponder- an indirect way of asking readers to buy gems and jewellery?
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2 December 2009

Media watch
A Hindi daily from Delhi, Aaj Samaj, is comparatively a new kid on the block. It is known for carrying interesting cartoons and at times devoting full page to them. However today, the newspaper taken a beating in terms of poor printing. Page two is blackened while majority of its four page supplement- “Gurgaon Samaj” is blank!

The Editorial of Day

…The latest evidence of good intentions gone awry is the way politicians in Maharashtra in recent Assembly elections had co-opted large sections of media in deploying black money for enhancing their electoral appeal….Accepting ‘benami’ ads, and passing sheer propaganda and paid advertisements as news to hoodwink readers, revealed the crass commercialization of the media. That the lead in this regard was taken by a major newspaper group should have caused little surprise since its owners have equated journalism with selling soaps, and its editors’ faith in a free press has not extended beyond the size of their pay packets….As for the media, well, given the so-called biggie appears determined to run his media empire on the lines of a soap manufacturing unit, with an obsessive concern only on the bottom-line, it is for its readers to realize how their continued support has led to the decline and fall of the Fourth Estate despite its numerical growth” (Free Press Journal).
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1 December 2009

Cartoon Watch

Mulayam Singh’s tailor talk with Amar Singh (Hamara Mahanagar), public support of BJP: a worry (Hamara Mahanagar), reason behind opposition, inflation (Navbharat), improving image of Mumbai Police (Punnaya Nagri), traffic problem in Mumbai (Samana, Hindi Edition), welcome & good bye (Sagar), seven star hotel (Nepal News). Dubai begging (Mid-Day) The cartoon of the day has been carried by Tarun Bharat which shows a young boy being bought to police station. The sad boy with folded hands tells a seated policeman that he has not been given money by any party. All he wanted was to show his face in television so he shouted Kasab Zindabad!! A toon in Mumbai Mirror shows two people (seem Indian negotiators) passing by the room of Copenhagen Climate Change Conference Coordination Committee (CCCCCC) . One tells another- “Rich nations never cut emissions. That’s why so much of Ç’- Carbon”. The toon in Sakaal shows a minister returning from foreign country. However no cartoon has appeared in Vritmanas, Jagrook Times, Khabare Aaj Tak, Pratahkal, Navshakti, Navakaal, Mumbai Lakshdweep, Ratnagiri Times, Sandhyakaal, Jancheta Mahanayak, Bhahujanratna Loknayak, Mumbai Mitra, Prahaar.