Newspaper Watch (India) for the month of  July  2008. For latest newspaper watch, view homepage

31 July 08

Soul-less Power Capital?

‘A child in Delhi goes missing every hour’ decries the front page of Mail Today. “ ..The statistics (compiled by national crime records bureau) tells a chilling story: one child disappears every hour in the nation’s capital, almost certainly never to return to his parents..cases are treated as missing when actually children are kidnapped to be pushed into child labour, begging rackets and flesh trade. Some are kidnapped to have their organs removed…it‘s not a question of rich or poor. Cases cut across social strata….”.

What kind of power capital is this, where children are not safe? Who has the time for the future of India (read children) in the power hungry capital obsessed with economic growth and ‘deals‘. Did you say- What human development are you taking about? Has anyone top Indian tycoon really cared about public welfare (read happy country)? Yes, take a clue from an advertisement that appeared two days ago on the 104th birth anniversary of the legendary industrialist- J.R.D Tata with his golden word as punch line- “ I don’t want India to be an economic superpower. I want India to be a happy country”. Is anyone listening here?

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30 July 2008

Ready for Global Role?

Harsh Pant argues that ‘Emerging India needs a superpower policy’ in Asian Age. “ …Being one of the most powerful economies in the world today gives India clout on the global stage..The world is not waiting for India to put its own house in order and come to terms with its rising profile. Demands are bring made on India by the international community, expecting it to play a global role in consonance with its rising stature..” .

It appears the writer is not in touch with the ground realties in India. Not to look at further, below Harsh Pant’s article is Arun Kumar Singh’s take on India’s role in resolving most demanding global problem- terrorism. Take a look - “…The war on terrorism, anywhere in the world cannot be won by peddling half baked political…unfortunately in India, terrorism and the plight of innocent evokes little response beyond the stock applause for and reiteration of ‘the resilience of the Indian people’…it is indeed sad that no home minister, home secretary, NSA, IB or RAW chief has offered to resign voluntarily. Every bomb blast is a failure of their leadership”. A must to read. And the cartoon by Sudhir Tailang in the same paper says it all. It features sleeping Home minister in ‘Home Sweet Home’ despite buzzing of alarm clock fitted with bomb of terrorism.

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29 July 2008

Advertisement of the Day

United Indian Insurance Company Ltd (public sector undertaking) has placed an advertisement in Times of India, regarding family Medicare policy with the punch line - “ One for all”. Who are one for all family? The ad carries five Russian Dolls!

Point to ponder- Were there no Indian dolls that United Indian Insurance Company could relate to?

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28 July 2008

Eyes & Ears

The Indian newspapers conducts very few sting operations vis-à-vis the western counterparts. The investigative report of the day has been carried by Amar Ujala, a newspaper in Hindi, on its front page with heading- “ save your city from strike of terrorists”. Amar Ujala has exposed the claims of tight security in Northern India. How? Must read the newspaper for details. The front page of Indian Express has carried a report which is spot on: “ Blast send centre a rude, powerful reminder: need for local intelligence”. What stops top brass to actively gather local information from the eyes and ears of the public- the real intelligence?

The leading English newspapers have carried large advertisement by Delhi police-“Be alert, be vigilant, be watchful. Call 1090 to report anything suspicious, your identify will be kept secret.” The ad also carries ‘simple tips to fight crime & terrorism’. The ad addresses Rehdiwalas, patriwalas, motor vehicles parking attendants, TSR/taxi drivers, chowkidars,RWAs/MTAs -“ you are our eyes and ears- inform us and prevent crime & terrorism”. This ad has appeared in leading newspapers in English like Asian Age, Times of India, Hindu, Hindustan Times, Indian Express, which the Rehdiwalas, patriwalas, motor vehicles parking attendants, TSR/taxi drivers, chowkidars,RWAs/MTAs will most probably will not read! However, this crucial ad has not made an appearance in Dainik Jagran, a Hindi newspaper which claims to be the most read newspaper in the world Wonder why?

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27 July 2008

Story of the Day

When the courts are bogged down by thousands of pending cases, the local court in Bihar had the time to call a pet desi dog of a poor widow to the court on charges of “breach of peace“! Can a pet dog really breach peace? The local residents had filed a complaint with the local police that this pet dog had disturbed the peace by barking and biting some people. But when this dog was produced in the court, he was well behaved, contrary to claims! (This Dog has its day- in court. Statesman. Kolkota Edition). However the Manoj Chaurasia, did not tell us the name of this dog nor the ’real’ reason why the local residents had filed this complaint against the poor creature. For that a must to read -“ Dog in the dock” in today’s Mail Today. Giridhar Jha. According to him ‘faithful god Chhhotu, who doggedly protects his widowed owner in Bihar’s backward Purnea district, is fighting a bitter court battle to e scared a death sentence…the lawyer defending him and his owner hotly contests the allegations, saying that the god only attacks those who come to steal the widow’s property papers…“. The good news is that the Magistrate hs observed that prima facie, the dog does not seem to be of unstable mind. A must to read.

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26 July 2008

Tackling cartel?

The Indian Newspaper Society has asked its members to reduce the use of newsprint by at least 20 percent in their publications in order to meet the challenges of ‘extraordinary and uncalled for’ rise in indigenous newsprint prices. According to the president of Indian Newspaper Society- ‘this situation is bring used to reap windfall gains through a tendency among some local manufactures to cartelize and ask for unreasonable prices”.

Point to ponder- Is reduction in the use of newsprint the only way to break the cartel and unreasonable prices?

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25 July 2008

Cotton woes

India is second largest cotton exporter the world. Financial Chronicle (Hyderabad) reports that large-scale hoarding by the trade abroad has affected the prices in India. Punjab cotton is now 16 percent costlier, while Gujarat cotton has increase by half in the three months.

The government has decided to impose restrictions on raw cotton exports. The commerce ministry has proposed for a 10 per cent export levy on cotton. And if this measure will not work, then a total ban on exports till December will be considered. However twenty days ago, joint secretary of Ministry of textile had gone on record that “there is no plan to ban cotton exports” (Central Chronicle. Bhopal 6/7/08). The cotton sage did not end here. Thereafter, yielding to the demand from textile industry, the government abolished customers duty on import of cotton (Central Chronicle. Front page. 10/7/08). But the Financial Chronicle did not offer any comment on whether these measures have been taken a bit late!

Advertisement of the Day

The ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public distribution has places an educative ad with the punch line- : “Consumers : Be Aware”. Sayani Rani warns - “Don’t let advertisements mislead you”. The ad also gives out National Consumer Help line telephone numbers. However, no email number or e-complaint system has been advertised here.

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24 July 2008

Advertisement of Day

United States is appearing in the Indian media, probably than never before. After the Indo-US deal which saw a lot of tamasha and an overwhelming media coverage, now it’s time for advertisements to cash on the American wave. Take a clue from an advertisement by a Korean Automobile company which has come with the punch line-” 421 MILLION DOLLARS.” (Deccan Chronicle. Hyderabad).
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23 July 2008

Advertisement of Day

A not so common advertisement has appeared in Indian Express today with the punch line-” Human DNA Bank”. It claims to be Asia’s first & World’s second DNA bank for identification purpose. The ad invites application for establishment of “DNA centre” in all cities of the state”.

Point to ponder- is this an genuine advertisement?


Ad Claims

A day after the Indian government somehow managed to win the trust vote in the parliament for keeping Indo-US deal alive, advertisements have appeared in favour of the Deal in the leading newspapers. The one published by Directorate of Information & Public Relations, Haryana comes with the punch line- “Our nation is ready to get empowered and a bright future is awaiting us…nuclear deal is going to be a mile stone for growth and development of India”. The ad also claims that “nuclear energy is the most efficient, environmentally the cleanest and safe source of energy…”. Hang on, environmentally the cleanest and safe source of energy!

Another advertisement placed by Samajwadi Party comes with the punch line-“India Thanks Shri Mulayam Singh Yadav and Shri Amar Singh for keeping India above everything, helping it to go ahead and brighten the future…”. The ad lists benefits of Nuclear deal - “every home with get electricity, Our dependence on crude oil will reduce….,Inflation will be curbed, with this deal India can be energy independent, International sanctions against is will be lifted and India will again be seen as a sovereign power”. However, this political advertisement has not mentioned the time frame for achieving the above mentioned benefits from this nuclear deal! Keep guessing!

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22 July 2008

Intentional Diversion?

“ In New Delhi there are two dramas that are currently bring staged. One if he nuclear deal and the second is the twin murder mystery that rocked the neighbourhood of the national capital recently. Thanks to the national media, the entire country is forced to follow the two dramas, scene by scene, frame by frame. It seems both the media and the government are consciously engaged in diverting the people’s attention from the price of essential commodities, hitting the roof. …”. (Dr. Sued Ali Mujtaba. Central Chronicle. Bhopal )

Editorial of the Day

“It is an irony that the rhetoric on the Indo-US nuclear deal in the Lok Sabha debate on the confidence motion will make practically no difference to the voting intentions of the members of parliament on either side of the political spectrum…It is as though the debate on the confidence motion need not have been there at all..Enough is enough. How long will the people continue to abdicate their responsibility to pick up cudgels against the wrongdoings of politicians of all hues? Only a mass people’s movement for electing legislators with integrity and competence can arrest the downslide. But for that there is need for a charismatic leader. Such a leader is indeed not quite visible on the Indian horizon. (The Free Press Journal. Mumbai).

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21 July 2008

Unspoken

The front page of International Herald Tribune (printed in Hyderabad) has carried a news item with the heading-“ Ties to U.S leave Indian government struggling”. Is this deal just a mark of ‘deepening friendship with the Bush administration (and not United States)’ and not a Nuclear Energy Deal per se? And particularly, when President Bush is coming under fire for his energy policies in his own country and the Presidential elections are just around the corner..

The same paper (page 9) has carried critical views of Thomas L. Friedman, a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner: “…. I am reliably told by a Bush administration official that there is an old saying in Texas that goes like this: “If all you ever do is all you’ve ever done, then all you’ll ever get is all you ever got. Could anyone possibly come up with a better description of President Bush’s energy policy? America is in the midst of its worst energy crisis in years…….If you want to know what an alternative strategy might look like, read the speech that Al Gore delivered on Thursday to the bipartisan Alliance for Climate Protection. Gore, the alliance’s chairman, called for a 10-year plan…Mr. Gore proposed dramatically improving our national electricity grid and energy efficiency, while investing massively in clean solar, wind, geothermal and carbon-sequestered coal technologies that we know can work but just need to scale..”.

Seema Mustafa has questioned the intention of Indian government in rushing the deal though: …” What was the hurry, that the people of this country has to be witness to the worst kind of political machinations with the Congress in the lead? Bush would have been kicked out of office without a thought had he brought his government to a standstill, in the manner that the Congress has done for an international treaty. More so, when the nation is reeling under double digit inflation and spiraling prices. What is the hurry?…” (Free Press Journal. Mumbai). While editorial of Statesman- ‘Jailbirds as Voters’- has declared that criminalisation of politics has reached its nadir. “..It is a lethal cocktail of crime, punishment and political compulsions that is being brewed for the cause of democracy..”.

However, not much has been written in Indian newspapers on “Why Nuclear?” and the risks involved in radioactive waste disposal and potential radioactive leaks. Take a clue from an article by three writers associated with Centre for Study of Science, Technology and policy at Bangalore- “Why Nuclear Power?” in Tribune. There is not a word about the potential risks involved in nuclear radioactive waste. What about renewal clean energy? For solar, they state-”…technology required time to mature and for costs to reduce”. For wind they state-“wind energy is too intermittent and would contribute only 2-3 per cent even if all the available sites are exploited”. What about biomass energy? Not a word! Take clue from Karyn Ostrom in Hindustan Times-” Clean energy fuels prosperity in rural Karnataka”. Indeed a Biomass energy is sustainable, clean energy source for Indian villages- A must to read. Further, Nilofar Suhrawardy, is the loner in raising the crucial problem of nuclear waste disposal. She feels-” …considering that the US has not yet been able to take care of its own nuclear waste, the deal appears to be more of a nuclear trap for India….”(The New Indian Express. Chennai).

And meanwhile, the ‘Circus Nucleus’ continues in India, while the common man is buried under hefty inflation. Mail Today has devoted one full page (‘Circus Nucleus’) to cartoons, where Indian leaders have been taken to a Roman holiday! Why Roman!

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20 July 2008

Views of the Day

“…a government victory doesn’t constitute the last word in the question of” national interest”. The cost of a UPA victory on Tuesday many prove unacceptably high for the government. While defeat has the possible compensation of Manmohan’s political martyrdom, a victory is certain to add to overall decline of government’s political authority…” (Swapan Das Gupta. The New Sunday Express. Chennai)

Point to ponder- what about cost of horse trading even by the opposition to topple the government? Is this not a reflection of the overall decline in the standards of Indian democracy?

Story in Picture

Sudhanshu Malhotra tells a heartbreaking 'Story in Pictures'- ‘Mercury Menace’. The workers at Hindustan Lever’s thermometer factory in Kodaikanal are suffering from numerous aliments like damaged hearts, brains and kidneys even birth defeats in children. Reason- exposure to mercury vapors from the obsolete thermometer factory of Hindustan Lever , which has been dumping toxic waste from the hill slopes of Pambar Shola forests.

In fact mercury levels are about 2640 times higher that the permissible levels….A Must to view and feel the risks posed by hazardous waste (what to talk about radioactive nuclear waste).

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19 July 2008

Influencing Power

Is nuclear energy cleanest and the safest energy option for the bright future of life on planet earth? Take a clue from recent news of uranium leak in France which has made it to the front page of Pioneer. News of the leak came the day after France ordered tests at all its 19 nuclear power plants following the discovery that liquid containing non-enriched uranium had been accidentally released from another Areva site in southeast France.

Has this news somehow influenced today’s editorial in Times of India entitled: “Think Big, Think Green”. Take a look at its extracts-“ …With economies of scale, energy generated from the sun, wind and water would become more affordable and, eventually, all electricity generated could be from non-fossil fuel sources. All it needs to step up the green revolution in energy is a part-persuasion, part-legislation strategy with strong political leadership and individual faith and determination. Like Gore, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and opposition leader L K Advani should speak out and present a united front to overcome the difficulties posed by the challenge. By thinking big and green, the 10-year challenge might be met, at least in part.”

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18 July 2008

Cartoon of the Day

The high rising inflation is hurting (not pinching) the common man, but this has disappeared from the front page of most newspapers. The obsession with Indo-US Nuclear Deal is far too obvious. The parrot has rightly commented in a cartoon in Dainik Jagran-“whole energy is consumed ‘falling’ and ‘saving’ the government, instead of uplifting the country”. The toon in Indian Express shows “renaming of Sansad Marg (Parliament Street) as Sad Marg”. Why? Take a clue from a cartoon in Hindustan Times which features Manmohan Singh batting in a nail-biting cricket match. Not surprisingly, Manmohan Singh is exhausted in a cartoon in Mid-Day: “ I need a break from this ongoing nuclear deal tamasha!….”. Other newspaper which have taken on various aspects/happenings on this deal include- Govinda’s trust vote (Mid-Day), protecting Somnath (Mail Today), PM waiting for arrival of Ajit Singh at renamed airport (Mail Today), Deal (Rastriya Sahara), price acceptance (Aaj Samaj), renaming of airport (Jansatta), too expensive price (Veer Arjun), Mayawati Mahathagani (Rajasthan Patrika), Inflation N Deal (Pioneer), Renaming Deal (Dainik Bhaskar), deal & rock bottom politics (Times of India. Mumbai Mirror), hole in the boat (Hindu). Hindustan has carried maximum and in fact, the best cartoons of the day. The first cartoon on the front page shows intention of study of deal after Deal, the second toon features a BJP guy dragging a rustic man & presenting to Advani as a Congressman, but the rustic guy is seen shouting that is grass seller outside the Congress headquarters & is not a Congressman! And the third features large sized 272 and approach of various top political leaders toward this magical figure (needed for trust vote).

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17 July 2008

Ignoring Majority

The Public Relations exercise of the 123 Indo-US Nuclear deal continues in the form of advertisement. This time the punch line reads- “THE 1-2-3 OF THE NUCLEAR DEAL”

Among many claims, the significant highlight is -” it offers us an invaluable souse of clean, efficient and safe energy. Assures is the supplies we need to power the future. If we do not act now, our future energy independence is at stake…In other words: the deal strengthens India‘s energy independence, sovereignty and autonomy. It ends the sanctions that have crippled our nuclear efforts. It invests in India’s future”. The last emotional punch is: “THINK OF TOMORROW - SUPPORT THE AGREEMENT TODAY”. This ad has made an appearance in leading English newspapers like Times of India, Hindustan Times, Asian Age, Indian Express.

However, surprisingly, this ad has not appeared in any of the leading Hindi newspapers scanned today- Amar Ujala, Dainik Bhaskar, Dainik Jagran, Rajasthan Patrika (Jaipur), Nai Duniya(Indore), Aaj (Varanasi), Swatantra Bharat(Lucknow), Punjab Kesari, Sandya Times, Jansatta, Navbharat Times.

Point to Ponder: Is there no need to reach out to the Hindi speaking masses, who are in majority vis-à-vis the marginal English speaking elite?

Are the Hindi newspapers worse off than the English newspapers in their understanding of the Indo-US Nuclear Deal? Nope! Take a clue from the cartoon of the day that has appeared in Nai Duniya (Indore). After reading a Hindi newspaper (headlines- horse trading of MPs), a seemingly well educated man is seen telling a common man- “Your vote is valuable….And if you are independent MP than the value of your vote is worth crores”.

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16 July 2008

Democracy for Sale?

The front page of Aaj (Varanasi) has carried a report that as the time of the trust vote is approaching, the price of MP has gone up to 30 crores. Is this not illegal, against the basic spirit of democracy? Satya Praskash in Hindustan Times has analysed: “Horse trading & the law”. Take a clue- “ Can an MP voting in favour of the trust motion for monetary consideration be prosecuted?.” Satya dwells on article 105(2) of the constitution but accepts that “the provision does not expressly cover the outside conduct of MPs.” He concludes that that the parliament ad the supreme court will have the redefine constitutional and political morality.

The cartoon of the day has appeared in Central Chronicle (Bhopal) which features man wearing khadi attire (looks like a politician) telling Scholarly Manmohan Singh-“ Sir, it is less in these times of inflation…!” And what is talking about? A glance in the background reveals the dismal state of Indian democracy: “MPs for 25 crore..!”. Is there anymore to say?

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15 July 2008

Public Notice of the Day

“ In view of the on going Paddy season and shortage of Power in the Northern Region, PSEB (Punjab State Electricity Board) has decided to ban transfers of all categories of officers /employees ….are advised to remain present in their respective head quarters /field offices and attend to the public complaints/breakdown promptly to ensure 8 hours of uninterrupted power supply to farmers during the paddy reason….” (Tribune).

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14 July 2008

Mosquito Blues

The punch line of the Advertisement by Ministry of health & Family welfare reads-” The small Mosquito is a BIG MONSTER”. BIG MONSTER! The ad visually depicts places where this big monster could be present and also lists the precautions to prevent mosquito breeding. But more visible are the happy photographs of State Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare & Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare. However this ad has not appeared in many leading newspapers in Hindi like Dainik Jagaran, Dainik Bhaskar, Amar Ujala.

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13 July 2008

Sunday Visual

In the era of inflation, where prices of almost everything is proceeding up & up, Binoo John has presented the story of evolution of matchbox, price of which will be Rs. 1 from September. He claims -“matchbox’s evolution is a story of our national character”. For Visual delight- must to read-” flickering over the years, the matchbox lives on” (Mail Today).

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12 July 2008

Nuclear Blues

The Indian government is keen in seeing the Indo-US Nuclear deal though and wants public to know why? Take a clue from the large advertisements issued by Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas in leading newspapers.

Its punch line warns-“Tomorrow can be dark If we don’t se the light today”. Scared! Where is the light? The light is Nuclear energy! The ad list six points, which really don’t reveal the entire story about nuclear power. “ ..we face the challenge of ensuring sufficient power and electricity to meet the demands of every village, town, city, and state, in a sustained and cost-effective manner”. True, but the question is whether the rustic common man will be able to afford this nuclear electricity at home? Remember, nuclear energy is more expensive compared to other energy supply options in most if not all cases. Ad goes on to claim-” nuclear energy is the most efficient, environmentally cleanest and safe mode of energy”. While the reality is that nuclear energy carries a huge safety risk & is not environmentally the cleanest.

“The entire commercial chain of the processing of nuclear raw materials from nuclear mining; operating nuclear power stations; handling nuclear waste and finally re-processing, is full of leaks and contamination and produces a highly toxic legacy for thousands of years to come. The creation and handling of highly toxic nuclear products and the unsolved issue of safe storage of waste demonstrates the unsustainability of the technology”. (WWF website).

Last but not the least- “saving millions of dollars now could mean spending billions of extra dollars later” (Cynthia Pollock). Heard of 'sustainable development' anyone?

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11 July 2008

Advertisement of the Day

Can one ignore an advertisement that carries a cartoon? Probably not!

An interesting advertisement by MTNL features a cartoon. The toon shows a man, completely soaked, stuck in the middle of Mumbai monsoon with a frog on his head, water up to his knees, holding umbrella upside down & shoes, stating the rainy reality in Hindi- “heavy downpour is common but whole of Mumbai goes out for work is a special thing” (DNA). Does it anyway suggest the ground reality of telephones in heavy Mumbai Monsoon?

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10 July 2008

Cartoon Watch

CarTooNs overwhelming centre around the Indo-US Nuclear Deal: associated speculations- rise & fall of the present government. And for that one needs mobile and calculator!


The cartoon in Dainik Bhaskar and DNA has highlighted the demand of mobile with built-in calculator at the store in Parliament street! Calculations, numbers? Take a clue from the cartoon in State Times, that shows one politician giving another a suitcase full of currency-“ …I hope we can ‘trust’ you at the times of ‘trust vote’. The cartoon in Hindustan Times sums it up. It depicts one beggar saying to another-” Nuclear has clear majority, other issues are just minorities”. In the background is the ‘old issue’- inflation. But inflation is not old! Yes, old it seems, if one checks out cartoons today with exclusive focus on N Deal!

Take a look a the variety -Sonia arranging stools for PM (Deccan Chronicle, Asian Age), Political deals related to N deal (Pioneer), Apostle of energy security (Hindu), Somnath & Karat (MetroNow), Amar Singh educating MP regarding Deal (Jansatta), Manmohan Singh renaming of Karat as Karar (Aaj Samaj), divorce and honeymoon (Dainik Jagran), Splits in party (Deccan Chronicle), support (Times of India), Karat bidding goodbye though web (Hindustan), opposites in same boat (Hindustan), effective whip & Amar Singh (Mail Today), PM’s plane crash (Deccan Herald), socialist & N deal (Rajasthan Patika), PM’s choice of balls (Virat Vaibhav), safeguarding chair (Mumbai Mirror, Times of India).

The cartoon of the day has been carried by Deshbandhu, Hindi daily. It shows Manmohan Singh looking very pleased when he hears George Bush - “ We had only heard that India is the land of martyrs, today we have seen!!” Hang on Mr. President, isn’t it too early to predict that Manmohan Singh’s government will fall for a Deal! If it doesn't fall, thank the ever rising inflation, not the stars!

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9 July 2008

Media Blamed

Troubled by the recent “findings” in the Aarushi murder probe that the Talwar couple was not at home the night the teen was slaughtered, mother Nupur has accused the CBI and the media of defaming the family (DNA). What could be the reason for media coming under attack? Take a clue from the Editorial of Statesman-”…Initially, the police investigation was shoddy; it exposed the professional incompetence of the force and the ineptitude of senior officers to interact properly with the media…wider issue of police-media relationship, which in India remains somewhat adversarial. A content analysis of Indian newspapers and journals as well as TV channels over a period of time reveals that the media on occasion makes negative and pejorative references to the functioning of the police…The police case often suffers if it avoids the media…Enlightened police officers should grasp the fact that the media in general is a potential ally and not a rival. If the police are forthcoming with information, they will receive the media’s support and their work will be appreciated…”

Point to ponder- What about the spicy mircha masala (read media trial) for higher TRP ratings? Not the doing of the police here!

Editorial of Day

…The management of religious institutions should be delinked from the high offices of governor and chief minister. Autonomous institutions need to be created and persons of known integrity selected to man these bodies. J&K is a tinder box of competing identities which have sufficiently polluted political processes. There is no scope for adding to this problem by creating new tensions in the name of religion. Diverse interpretations being used to characterize the Amarnath land controversy indicate the inflammability of the issue. Sooner the root cause is delinked from high public offices better for all.(Kashmir Times)

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8 July 2008


Person of the Day

Laxmi, the goddess of money has her effect on people who have 'her' in their name? After Laxmi Mittal- the over-rich India, Laxmi Das has also made it to the rich list! So what if as the richest beggar of the region of Kolkota not a business tycoon! A must to read- Saugar Sengupta’s report- "Beggar deposits 91 Kg of coins in bank” in Pioneer.


Advertisements & Inflation

Would you like to be reminded again and again about the dreadful inflation? Perhaps no and yes! Yes, inflation has taken over the life of the common man and also the creative part of many advertisements! Take a look at a punch line of a few ads that have appeared in the leading financial newspaper Economic Times:

“ Rising prices do not mean falling hopes. Not after talking to us”

“ Hit by inflation? Save tax, avail benefits of indexation”

“Recruitment Profession is inelastic to inflation”

“ Inflation is in double digits. Male sure your international mobile bill isn’t in five digit”

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7 July 2008

Ad of Day

The ad by Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Management Centre is definitely not one of those boring governmental ads that one flips over. This ad comes with a punch line- We are the Solution…Our small lifestyle changes contribute to huge reduction in CO2 emissions”. However it fails to appeal to stop or minimize usage of air conditioners! 'NO to AC'- Effort from the government offices to start with ?

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6 July 2008

Reality of the Day

The supplement of Pioneer has carried the story of the day entitled -“Crippling Reality”. Why? Take a look-” Talent hunting now seems a far cry for reality television. Shows like MTV Roadies and Dadagiri on Bindaas are all about venting aggression, delivering insulting put downs and thriving on humiliation of contestants on national television.….TRP gimmicks can wreak havoc on the young psyche”.

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5 July 2008

Tackle inflation

The common man doesn’t need Asian Development Bank’s warning to know the obvious that that rising prices poses a grave threat to the world’s poor. How to tackle the rising inflation in a country where 77 percent of its population is poor & vulnerable? What tackle? Inflation has been accepted by the Governor of Reserve Bank of India in the short run! Take a look what the governor of the RBI had said in Manchester: “..implicit recognition that a somewhat elevated inflation in the short term many be difficult to avoid.”. (Pioneer)

Hang on, can one compare the inflation in Manchester & India on the same platter? And how short is the ‘short term‘? Any insights? Remember, inflation went up much before the marginal fuel hike in already subsidized fuel prices in India & clear prospects of bumper food crop. Even after the bumper crop in India, food prices went up & up in India! Though there was some action taken in Delhi against hoarders but that was short-lived & consumers are paying a heavy price for the local produce. Every day they hear the noted economists blame the rising global food price & wonder what‘s going on! “we don’t import food like oil, nor do we export food, so why is the food price up in India in the context of bumper crop?”- did you ask? Any intelligent guess? It has been reported in Pioneer that the government will soon unleash an advertising to prove that consumer in India are not hurt as such as those in other countries by high inflation like Pakistan, China, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Point to ponder- Why always look down & compare , why not chin up & learn?

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4 July 20008

Cartoon Watch

The cartoon scene is dominated by the Indo-US Deal and the associated political activities (read maneuvering) & possible combinations & fallouts. These political cartoons have appeared in majority of leading newspapers like Jansatta, State Times, Deshbandhu, Aaj Samaj, Indian Express, Hindustan Times, Times of India, Asian Age, Deccan Chronicle, Mail Today, DNA.

The high and ever rising inflation has been highlighted by many cartoons in newspapers - Opec art gallery (Mid-Day), inflation & support (Virat Vaibhav), Inflation & cash truck (Mid-Day), excuse for inflation (Deccan Chronicle, Asian Age), hands up (MetroNow), Inflation trouble for PM (Daink Bhaskar). The cartoon of the day has been carried by Financial Chronicle which features a rustic farmer looking at the list of loan waiver beneficiary list with the hard reality -”Tolling hard all my life, I could make only to a defaulters’ list.”

Others focused on a variety- Health department & clouds (Rajasthan Patrika), school & year (Hindu BusinessLine), market crash (Economic Times), adjustment of graph (Economic Times), Modi’s attack on press (Hindu), flood (Times of India). However, no Indian cartoon has appeared in Navbharat Times, Economic Times (Hindi edition), Mint, Rastriya Sahara, Amar Ujala, Daink Jagran.

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3 July 2008

Reporting Styles

The front page of Economic Times informs that “After loosing more than 71% of its market cap in the past six months, the country’s largest real estate developer, DLF has announced a buyback of its shares….”.

While on the other hand Times of India on page 27 reports “DLF Ltd, India’s biggest real-estate developer will consider a plan to buy back shares at a meeting on July 10...”

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2 July 2008

Press Gagging

Are journalists free to write critical articles in the largest democracy of the world? And are their efforts appreciated? Nope, if one takes into account the response of the government of Gujarat against veteran journalist Ashis Nandy. And yes, if one goes with the response o the Supreme Court of India.

A vacation Bench comprising Justices Altamas Kabir and G S Singhvi said the practice of making ‘soft targets’ of journalists for writing critical articles did not augur well for the country. “Why are people coming from the land of Mahatma Gandhi so intolerant towards such criticism? There are worst examples than this.” They also stressed the importance of press freedom and provided relief to the veteran political scientist, against whom the government of Gujarat had initiated criminal proceeding for writing an article in Times of India on outcome of the 2007 assembly poll. . “If a journalist cannot write what he feels, then it will be disastrous for the country,” the Bench said. (Times of India).

Wisdom of the Day

..The second lesson is that you must not take all press releases at face value. Good reportage does require a little effort. The third lesson is that journalism is often about instinct, which in turn is based on sound common sense. But all this does require editors who are not merely literate, but well educated. (Editorial. Mail Today).

Point to ponder: which news report should be taken seriously, which one, not? Get me the detailed C.V of the editor!

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1 July 2008

Cartoon Watch

The hot topic of the cartoons in newspapers relates to the problems associated with the Indo-US Nuclear Deal and instability of the government (Jansatta, Dainik Jagran, Hindustan, Tribune, MetroNow, Tribune, Asian Age, Times of India, Statesman). The good old R. K Laxman’s small toon corner on the front page of Times of India shows a politician demanding his Gandhian costume to start campaigning for the fast approaching general election. Yes, Mahatma Gandhi is mostly remembered only during elections & some occasional days, while otherwise forgotten in terms of his principles. Is this not true also for the common man, who is the vote bank during elections, and after that? Topic for the next cartoon!

Not surprising Advani, the opposition leader has made a come back in cartoons in Hindu, Mail Today, Aaj Samaj and Deshbandhu. But what about the scholarly Prime Minister, whose government might be in trouble? The cartoon in DNA shows him dancing on hearing that the Left is planning to withdraw support!

Politics of Nuclear Deal over the menace of society-corruption- which very recently hit the front pages of many newspaper as a news item? Of the scanned newspapers, only two have carried cartoon on corruption- Virat Vaibhav and Navbharat Times. The cartoon of the day has been carried by Virat Vaibhav on a corruption remedy suggested to a politician- to tour a country where corruption is at its peak!

While the cartoon in Hindustan Times has focused on global warming and stars and Pioneer on Aarushi murder case.

Editorial of the Day

“There would be immediate, strong refutal of any suggestion of sinister motives underlying the disturbingly low-key political and military representation at the Sam Manekshaw requiem. Maybe there were none: but that would invite even more worrying interpretations ~ of indifference, ingratitude. Either way, what transpired in the Nilgiris was indicative of how, as a nation and a people, we have abandoned all graces.…Already some retired officers are expressing dismay, those still in service must suffer in silence. The impact on morale can only be negative…In all humility The Statesman would make bold to recommend that, with the approval of his family, a selection of Manekshaw’s effects be brought to the Capital and constitute the core of the long overdue National War Memorial. Other nations pay homage at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier; we can honour our military martyrs around memorabilia of our most hallowed one.” (Statesman).

Story telling: Digging Up Deep

The best uncovering of story-telling by newspapers was done today by Siddharth Varadarajan in Hindu- “Stories that are too good to check”. Take a look at the extracts to make up your mind:

“On Sunday, an email message from ‘Hamman Smit,’ press officer from ‘Perus Narpk’ from Shede Road in Berlin arrived in the inbox of several journalists in Goa and Bangalore. The message identified ‘Perus Narpk’ as the “intelligence wing of the German Chancellor’s core” (sic) and claimed credit for the arrest on the Karanataka-Goa border of a fugitive Nazi war criminal named Johann Bach who was responsible for the killing of 12,000 Jews in the ‘Marsha Tikash Whanaab’ concentration camp…The email was literally full of clues suggesting it was a hoax. The author revealed he was “hamming,” his office was on ‘Shady’ road and the rather un-Germanic ‘Perus Narpk’ was an anagram for ‘Super Prank.’…And yet, a number of hacks and their editors rushed to print with this sensational story without bothering to check any of its hilarious details…The Telegraph ran the story on Monday under the headline “Goa piano ‘thief’ found to be Nazi war fugitive.”….The Indian Express went one step ahead of its competitors with an exclusive detail, noting in its headline that the “Nazi war criminal” had already been “airlifted to Berlin.” Clearly, if the story was too good for journalists to check, it was too good for the police to deny…The Deccan Herald, which had all the usual details, also informed its readers that the arrested Nazi was “a brilliant musician like his illustrious 18th Century namesake” and later "”rose high in the Nazi hierarchy.”….It is easy to laugh at the gullibility of reporters and editors in the ’Bach’ case but is our profession any less gullible when it uncritically regurgitates improbable, unverified and unverifiable details provided by the police in virtually all terrorism cases?”.

A must to read. A Real Story this time!

Point to Ponder: overheard- "Blame that misleading innocent looking email!... Blame that email, server, computer, technology!" Did you hear this before? 

July 2008 Newspaper Watch

SARCAJC

SOUTH ASIAN RESEARCH CENTRE FOR ADVERTISEMENT, JOURNALISM & CARTOONS

Sarcajc Research in Journalism Advertisement & Cartoon 

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