November 2008 Newspaper Watch

Sarcajc Research in Journalism Advertisement & Cartoon 

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SOUTH ASIAN RESEARCH CENTRE FOR ADVERTISEMENT, JOURNALISM & CARTOONS

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

30 November 2008

Comment of Day

“…Terrorists, experts have repeatedly pointed out, seek publicity above all. And our 24-hour news channels obliged by providing an incessant flow of live and hysterical coverage. Every man cowering, every woman climbing out of the window, each body being taken out was telecast in vivid detail. The terrorists would have hoped for nothing better. It was indeed fascinating as anchors exclaimed over the boyishly handsome and clean-shaven looks of the men in arms. " They do not look like terrorists at all," cooed an anchor, convinced no doubt that terrorists wear hoods and sport long beards. Television channels ought to have known better. One can only imagine if masterminds of the attack gloated..”(Uttam Sengupta. DNA).
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29 Novermber 2008

Self Regulation & TV

How responsible are the plethora of Indian television channels? Take a clue from their reporting of the recent Terror attacks on Mumbai. While covering the counter attacks by the Indian Security forces in Mumbai, TV channels compromised on lives of security personnel by focusing their camera on operational moves by them and also narrating each move in detailed. Yes, they were obsessed showing every thing they could for higher TRP ratings. The element of surprise was gone from the security operations. Just switch on the television and one could inform the terrorist about the next moves by the security forces. And yes, detailed reporting of the security moves was not just done by bunch of naïve journalist but even by the renowned experienced Journalist - Barkha Dutt. Look, soldiers have taken position on a building behind…camera zooms in..And only after she received request from security forces not to show their operational moves, that she relented. Still, yesterday the camera showed a new move of the armed forces - positioning of a grenade launcher, the anchor in Delhi interrupted the over-enthusiastic reporter in Mumbai & requested him not show the operational position. But till then the position of the grenade launcher was already aired and was known to all. The position of the target was also visible to all of us. What responsibility?Business Bhaskar has raised this concern- “ ..all the television of the country forgot for 45 hours that live transmission of ongoing anti-terrorist operations by commandos could affect their effectiveness of the operation…” . The paper is also critical of the fact that many ‘breaking news’ by these channels were turning to be incorrect. Though after two days, few channels did declare that they won’t transmits live. But the damage to the tag of ‘responsible media’ was already done. Another television channel went further and broadcasted an interview with a terrorist holed in Mumbai. The I & B ministry has served notice to this channel and demanded an explanation for affording a “platform to terrorist to espouse their cause”. Apart from higher TRP ratings, what else these terror images do? Times of India reports that -” as the nation goes through shock and disbelief watching the long-drawn terror drama on TV, experts say there’s a real danger of people being traumatized by the events. This is the time to protect yourself and your family from the psychological fallout of the televised violence”. The front page of Mint reports that on instructions of the police, the news channels went off air for more than two hours in Mumbai. The police cited reasons which were was not off the mark- “ ..impact on people of their ongoing coverage of the ongoing terror attacks in the city and claimed this overage was giving terrorist prior information of police action”. The move came after certain channels ran news (read rumour) about fresh terror attacks in Mumbai, which created panic amongst the already scared public. But they came back to air after the intervention by the Union Home Ministry. On the whole, Self regulation has failed in the Mumbai Terror Attack.

Ungratefuls of Day

No gratitude no praise. Asian Age reports that instead of congratulating the armed forces for conducted anti terrorist operations in Mumbai, the ministry of defense has pulled up the Army and Navy over frequent utterance of their senior officials before the media on the operations against terrorists holed up at three places in Mumbai. Reason- the home ministry is the coordinator, hence home ministry should take the official word to the media. Oh, talking about the duty of home ministry, it should also owe up the responsibility of utter intelligence failure and its failure to strengthen it. The previous terror attacks in different cities in India did not lead to any concrete steps by the same ministry. The Home Minister was not spared by cartoonists in his obsession of changing his cloths many times a day. Further the armed forces have got a raw deal in the recent Pay Commission from the hands of politicians but this did not discourage them in discharging their duty. But what about politicians? MetroNow has not minced on words in headline- “Jokers in a pack of Aces”. No surprise, the article talks about netas (politicians) who - “played politics over Mumbai corpus”.

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28 November 2008

Ad of the Day

The University Grants Commission has placed a “Public Notice” in Tribune to inform the public that “Indian institute of Planning and Management (IIPM), New Delhi is not a University within the meaning of Section 2 (f) of the University Commission Act…further IIPM does not have the right to conferring or granting any degrees as specified by the University Grants Commission …..”. However, this has not discouraged IIPM from placing a full page advertisement in Hindu inviting students to apply for MBA, BBA degree.

Reaction of Day

The main opposition party - BJP has reacted in a “very subdued and moderate matter to the Mumbai terror attack and with a measured tone unlike in the past when the BJP reaction used to be instantaneous, loud, aggressive and shrieky…” (Tribune). However this was not visible in advertisements placed by BJP. The advertisement placed by BJP on front page of Hindustan Times - “ Brutal Terror Strikes at will: weak government Unwilling and incapable”. The advertisement ends- “Fight Terror Vote BJP”. Remember voting Day for Delhi is fast approaching. While on the other hand, in an apparent gesture to show solidarity with the victims of Mumbai terror strikes, the Delhi Congress has decided not to publish advertisements. The chief minister of Delhi felt that there was no need for any drama or criticism through the campaign. .

Comment of Day

The terror attack in Mumbai has seem strong editorials in most newspapers. The editorial of Mail Today ends - “…After all, just as there was no one there to defend the hapless hundreds who were gunned down, taken hostage or injured in Mumbai, there will be no left to defend the country whose political and administrative system fails again, and again and again”. According to editorial of Hindustan Times - “…the days will show whether we will be able to survive ’effortless’ terrorist attack. It will also show whether we can save the idea of India and the way we live our lives…”. While the editorial of Pioneer ends- “We have to ensure Indian wins this war”. And the editorial of Times of India concludes- “There is no time to waste”. However, till now, responsibility fixing & intelligence strengthening exercise has not even been initiated. Would politicans be able to identify the 'enemy'? Take a clue from the cartoon that has appeared in Tribune! Is the common man safe here? No prizes for getting it right!

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27 November 2008

Reporting: Terror Attack

The news of terrorist attack on Mumbai has appeared in almost all leading newspapers with prominence on front page:

Mumbai night of terror without end (Indian Express)

Biggest terrorist attack in country (Dainik Bhaskar)

Warzone: Mumbai (New Indian Express)

Bloodbath in Mumbai (DNA)

Mumbai under attack (Economic Times)

Mumbai Ravaged (Pioneer)

Terror attack on Mumbai (Nai Duniya)

Mumbai attacked (Tribune)

Terror attack on Mumbai (Hindustan)

Terrorist kill 78 in 5-Star Mumbai (Asian Age)

It’s war on Mumbai (Times of India)

Mumbai terrorized (Mail Today)

Unprecedented terror rocks Mumbai (Hindu)

Surprisingly, though this news was carried by Economic Times (English edition), however its counterpart in Hindi did not carry it. Similarly this news was carried by Tribune but not by its counterpart in Hindi- Dainik Tribune. Moreover Hindustan (Hindi) carried this news with prominence on its front page, however its counterpart - Hindustan Times (English) carried this news only in brief with heading - “Terror attacks in Mumbai?”. A question mark on this terror attack on Mumbai? It’s not all, there was no mention of this news in many newspapers like Punjab Kesari, Aaj Samaj, Financial Express. Wonder why?

Encouraging Crime?

‘The Pundit’ in Hindustan Times is critical of the comment of Union Tourism Minister, but has gone overboard- “… Just the other day, a couple of MBA graduates demonstrated how to cope with an erosion of stock market portfolios by taking to abduction. Who wouldn’t want to take out a bank when the heist can be planned perfectly? …For starters, they should probably abduct her (Union Tourism Minister)”.Get the things right, first, only one of the youngster who abducted was pursuing MBA-part time and both were unemployed. Secondly, they claimed to have lost Rs. 800 million in stock market and therefore demanded the same amount as ransom. However, ‘The Pundit’ did not bother to analyse how on earth they acquired Rs. 800 million. Their families are not affluent enough to spare Rs. 800 million for them to play in the stock market. Unaccounted wealth black money? Third, no one can take shield of loss in stock market to justify any crime. But ‘The Pundit’ is suggesting ideas like to take out a bank, abduct the Union Minister of Tourism? Even if these suggestions are made on a lighter note, ‘The Pundit’can mislead the readers to take up crime to cover up their losses in the stock market. This is no joke, man.

Comment on Day

“…The politicians and bureaucrats who run the central and state governments in India must hang their heads in shame after Wednesday's terrorist outrage that hit Mumbai. This time it wasn't anonymous bombers who killed and injured innocent civilians; the terrorists targeted citizens openly with machine-guns and grenades, causing panic and immense casualties….We have seen blast after blast killing ordinary civilians by the hundreds over the last few years, but nobody seems to have a clue about how these threats can be minimized government must put in place an effective intelligence mechanism and give the police more equipment and powers to deal with the challenges. Politicians need to abandon short-term vote-mongering and put the country's interests above everything else. At the end of the day, it does not matter whether the UPA or the NDA or a Third Front comes to power after the next elections. There will be no India left for any of them to rule if they continue to behave the way they have done so far.”(DNA).
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26 November 2008

Advertisement of Day

The front page of Hindustan Times greets and educates readers- “ Good Morning, You can save more Now…”. But will we really save? Take a clue from an advertisement in Times of India - “ World famous Christmas Cake…Baked in Texas - shopped to the World…Easy to order...But hurry!!…”. A truly international advertisement as even the price & international delivery charge are mentioned in dollars, 1-lb.14oz $22.85 USD…And just below this is an ad of an Indian roses & chocolate cake worth less than ten dollars (mentioned in Rs). Your choice?

Decision of Day

The Delhi High Court has sentenced former CEO of Delhi Water Board & two officials to two week jail term for their failure to prevent the sewage flow in the river Yamuna - lifeline of Delhi. But is this sewage story not the story in most urban cities? Sustainable development is a lost word here. The view of Times of India is spot on- “ ….there should be zero tolerance for this kind of callous negligence as it shows total disrespect for taxpayers money with which our utility are run…hopefully, “powerful” people will now realise that they are in fact servants of the public”. Hopefully!

Health of Day

The front page of the Times of India reports that the Indian government has decided to put off the directive to have pictorial warnings on cigarette and bidi packs from first of next month to end of May 09. Why? According to paper - “…the quite, unannounced decision was taken by a group of ministers headed by foreign minister..and is seen driven by the market recession…pictorial warnings being put off for the fifth time in two years…tobacco lobby has a strong political presence at the Centre..”.

Point to Ponder- helping tobacco lobby at cost of heath of the common man?

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25 November 2008

Crime Report

The lead news report on most leading newspapers focus on police cracking a case of kidnapping of 15 year boy. The kidnappers had asked for a ransom of Rs 80 lakhs as they had lost the same amount in shares. Take a look at some of the headlines:

Meltdown spawns kidnapping (Pioneer)

25 November 2008Crime Report The lead news report on most leading newspapers focus on police cracking a case of kidnapping of 15 year boy. The kidnappers had asked for a ransom of Rs 80 lakhs as they had lost the same amount in shares. Take a look at some of the headlines:Meltdown spawns kidnapping ()

2 MBA students held for kidnapping teen (Times of India)

2 kidnap Delhi teen after huge stock losses (Asian Age)

MBA students among six held for kidnapping teenager (Hindu)

MBAs kidnap boy to make up for stock market failure (Mid-Day)

To cover up for share loss, students become kidnappers, caught (Dainik Jagran)

Businessman's son found in Gurgaon (Daink Bhaskar)

Stocks shock drive MBAs to kidnap for ransom (Hindustan Times)

For money, management students kidnap (Hindustan)

A detailed analysis leads to many crucial issues, which have not been discussed by any news report. How did these students acquire such huge principle amount to invest in the stock market? These students were not working and had no magic wand to become rich - overnight. If they had earned this amount by any other means, was this declared in the their income tax returns? Suppose they had taken this money from their families, was this gift reflected in their income tax return? It is worth to mention that property dealing is a much unregulated business in India, where black money thrives. And a glance through the accused -Piyush Jains' family does not show any signs of ‘legal’affluence. His father is a small time printer and mother house maker. Both are not even properly educated but are living in affluent area of Gurgaon. Even his brother (photocopier) is residing on the same posh street and the affluence story is the same. What is their source of income? And ’real’ source of this huge amount of money which was invested in the stock market and posh lifestyle? His full family including relatives should also be brought under the scanner and strict scrutiny.

Newspapers report that the two young man are pursuing MBA part- time. Part-time MBA is usually pursued by working people. The question emerges what were they doing full time? If they earned a lot, what was the source and did that massive figure come in their income tax returns?

If dealing in huge property transactions & stocks, was the enrolment in part time MBA only a cover up? How did they come know a criminal who helped them in kidnapping? It seems they couldn't be involved along without help of their families. Remember in India, mostly the business is in name of son but his father heads it.

It seems the case is not resolved but just began. In the recent past too, the city of Gurgaon has been making headlines for wrong reasons. It’s the property dealer’s unaccounted wealth that is playing havoc and must be cracked down. This is important so others don’t take shelter in crime by making excuse of global meltdown.

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24 November 2008

Which way?

The Reserve Bank of India has already injected liquidity amounting to Rs 1450 billion to combat the liquidity crunch caused by the global financial meltdown but can this stop the slow down (read nosediving Sensex)? What next is in store? Take a clue:

Manmohan Singh government is not planning a big spending or investment package, choosing a sectoral approach which is the immediate context will focus on export oriented sectors like textiles. Leather and gems & jewellery…(Times of India)

The government is planning to set up a special dedicated fund to provide loans to infrastructural projects- roads, airports, ports & power plants…the proposed fund is expected to have a corpus of about Rs.50,000 crore (Rs. 500 billion)..(Economic Times)

Is the government considering both options? Whom to ask? Hindustan Times reports Montek Singh Ahluwalia, the front line economist and the chief of the Planning Commission will soon be off to Lahore to study what they have done to maintain urban infrastructure of Lahore despite population growth.

Election Ad-Goodies

Election advertising trends have changed from traditional (flags, banners) to mouth fresheners wrapped with party symbols, bands, bangles, clips, lockets(Tribune). But what didn't report- role of liquor and cash, if any!

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23 November 2008

Adventurous Take

The headline of the main report on the front page of Hindu Business Line reads-” Smart domestic investors see value in falling markets:Bhave”. Bhave is the Chairman of Securities and Exchange Board of India. Hang on, this the right time to invest in dangerous waters? Is this the crux of Bhave’s speech in HT Leadership Summit? Is this the right time for retail investors to drive in dangerous waters? Nope, read on and somewhere in the middle of the report, discover that Bhave has also advised retail investors that equity investment carry risk they should not leverage themselves to invest in the market & also that they should not pull all their savings in equity. But will ‘smart’ small investors pay any heed? Next: a bail out package to compensate the ‘cruel’ market forces?

Not all investors are ‘smart’. Another report on the front page of the same paper reports that pension fund managers have invested ‘only one percent of the total corpus in the risky equity market…The major chunk of the money has been invested in the more secure government securities, PSU bonds and other approved securities.’ Further, in the same paper, Krishnan has pointed out people who shouldn't invest in stocks and spelled out lessons like- “ Decision to invest in equity should, first and foremost, factor in the prospect of downside risk…Equities should be a parking ground for surpluses, after pulling away sufficient funds in safer investment options..”. Will these crucial lessons catch the reader’s eye, who would have read the headline on the front page -” Smart domestic investors see value in falling markets:Bhave”? Not sure, as Krishnan's write up has appeared on page 7 not page one!

Special Report of Day

Half a page of Hindustan Times is devoted to the historical role of Sainik Samachar. The writer- Naqshbandi reminds that Sainik Samachar will turn 100 next year. In the early years, Fauji Akhbar served s a propagandist for the Raj, cruising Mahatma Gandhi, publishing articles and advertisements against him for launching the non cooperation movement against the British. Fauji Akhbar was renamed as Sainik Samachar in 1954 but today it does not contain any ads but is carrying more photographs and has a circulation of about 22,000 but readership in lakhs.(Hindustan Times)

Editorial of Day

“…Economies have been mismanaged in the past; trade numbers have gone awry; financial transactions have in jeopardy…one may not agree with the proposed solutions by other economies but one fails to comprehend the ostrich like behaviour of the managers of the Indian economy, burning their heads in sand as fragments of the of the collapsing economy fall around them in heaps: price rise, payroll paring, lack of liquidity and vanishing wealth…One may recall that India was compelled to go in for structural reforms more than a decade and a half ago purely to get out of the capital account mess. Much water has flown down the Ganga since, the numbers continue to be nightmarish and there is a morbid compulsion…” (Double Whammy. Statesman)

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22 November 2008

Open Secret of Day

The findings of top American body- US National Intelligence Council on front page of Times of India, should not come as surprise. It has predicted reordering of the world order and rise of India & China. And further- “Although we believe chances are good that China and India will continue to rise, their ascent is not guaranteed and will require overcoming high economic and social hurdles..”. Yes, obsession with high rate of economic growth & Dalal Street has led to widening of income disparities and consequent fall-outs. However these serious fall-outs are not finding adequate coverage in the mainstream media.

Political Ads on radio

The government has given a green signal for political advertising on private FM channels. These ads will be subject to pre-broadcast scrutiny by the election commission during the period when the model code of conduct is in operation.

Opps!

The front page of leading financial newspaper has carried a report- “ PSU honchos’ salary catching up with pvt sector peers”. But there is a error in the report, take a look- “ According to an ET analysis, the CMD of a public sector oil major will not be earning a respectable Rs. 5,76,00 per month thanks to the pay revision bonanza, factoring a 200% performance related bonus. This means a leap of 450% over his current monthly salary of Rs. 1,02,500.…” (Economic Times) Caught the error?

None of the leading newspapers have questioned the rationale for this unprecedented hike for public sector. Just a recap- The only objective for setting up public sector was not to earn profits. Therefore, performance bonus should not be based only hard core profits, right?
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21 November 2008

Ban on junk food ad

The Indian Health Minister’s campaign against junk food has got an unexpected boost from researchers in the United States , where research study has found that banning fast food advertising on TV can reduce the number of overweight children by 18 per cent and obese children by 14 per cent. (Hindustan Times).

Point to ponder- what would proponents of ‘right to choose’ say on this research finding?

What's in the name?

Chetan Chauhan reports of a Cabinet decision that the Indian laws will not be applicable to the faculty of the South Asian University which is being set up in South Delhi. Further, it allows hassle free travel to the students and faculty. The University will be functional by August 2010 (Hindustan Times).

However Chetan has altered the name of the CEO of the University - it's G.K Chadha instead of P.K Chadda!

N Plants & water

Dr. G.S Dillion ends his article on a page devoted to Science & Technology- “..The water requirement of a nuclear power many be as much as 80 per cent to 90 per cent more than of thermal plant of the same capacity and which uses the same cooling system. So, with water resource availability already under pressure…we need to undertake a comprehensive water availability audit before going in for the inland nuclear plants.” (Water requirements of N- Plants. Tribune). Is this what Sonia Gandhi & Manhoman Singh are discussing ove a cup of tea in a captionless cartoon in Asian Age?

Unproductive expenditure Boom

There appears to be no effect of global meltdown in India. Proof- lavish unproductive expenditure:

The Indian State of Karnataka is preparing to spend Rs. 1 billion on new homes for ministers. Why? “Ministers want houses to be on par their position….” (Mid-Day. Front page)

The government has hiked he salaries of executives of profit making public sector companies by as much as 50 to 300 percent, resulting in additional burden of Rs. 90 billion per annum.

Point to ponder- Is this unproductive expenditure anyway comparable to 77% of India’s population who are poor & vulnerable? What on earth will happen to Gini coefficient? Does anyone care?

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20 November 2008

Election: other side

As many as 42 billionaires and 53 people with criminal cases against them are in the fray in Chhattisgarh's second and final phase of polling for 51 seats on Thursday. This is not all. But despite being filthy rich, several candidates have not submitted their permanent account numbers (DNA)

Critisism of Day

…Till the meltdown happened, the government had been living in a fool's paradise. Encouraged by high growth rates and booming stock markets, it convinced itself that it was doing a fantastic job with the economy. Now that that illusion is dying, we could see some real reforms…The moral of the story is clear: it is not good to entrust the government — any government — with too many resources if you want it to take sensible economic decisions. On the bright side, the current global meltdown is going to rob government of resources, and we could see some real reform. Two cheers to the crisis. (DNA)

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19 November 2008

Cartoon of Day

The cartoon in New Indian Express says it all. It has appeared very prominently on the front page with a news report, with self explanatory headine- “ Mr. PM Sir, this is not economics”. The toon shows not so happy looking PM driving a punched car of India Inc, but how? The smiling FM is giving a push! “Finance minister P Chidambaram prescribed a wave of price cuts by businesses to lure customers back to showrooms and beat the ongoing slowdown, but industry seems ready to say "no thanks"(DNA, Pune edition).

They have got what they wanted- liquidity, courtesy RBI, now who cares for the Main street? Point to ponder- Why didn't’t the FM take heed from Barack Obama and come forward to denounce huge pay packages for Indian corporate chiefs? "Some CEOs make more in one day than their workers make in one year," Obama had said. True, more so in India. The greed is never ending. But who cares? Most newspapers are happy describing their wealth, in a positive light! Indian Obama?

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18 November 2008

Free Market

The front page of Economic Times has carried with prominence a report - “Sebi looks to shield small investors”.

Many free market proponent point out that retail investors were well aware that mutual funds are subject to market risks. Of course they were. Were they not rejoicing when the Sensex zoomed so high? Of course. So, why should they be “shielded ” from the same market forces whose fruits they relished? Rather focus on planned development. Now, this point is valid?

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17 November 2008

Question of Day

The developed world is pondering over fears of recession, where as China & India are seen much better off. The leading economic daily has posed a question in “ Are we facing risk of deflation?”. This is no “Face-off“ -” Deflation is a remote possibility…Measure to cushion are in place”. Point to ponder- how to cash our strong position vis-à-vis the ’powerful’ G8!

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16 November 2008

The other side

India is the land of Ganges- is a fact that has been known to almost to all for centuries. Recently the Ganga was crowned - “National River’. Does this national ‘title’ make any difference to the river or the common man? And not to forget the ever eternal pollution in the river? Nope, the title is not more than a cosmetic cover up and it did manage to occupy space in leading newspapers. Today, Hindustan Times has dedicated one full page to Gargi Gupta’s write up with photographs on Ganga- “….is the symbol of sustenance, faith and sanctity. This is an image that’s been with us - not just as a subliminal memory from the Rig Veda but as a living part of our lives, reinforced by the florid depiction of the river in comic books,calendars,films,songs..” .

Yes, despite the fact the Ganges is a part of our lives, billions of rupees for Ganga clean up have gone down the drain with no net result. The municipal, industrial waste continue their journey into the holy river. Any chance of changing it all? Seems a remote possibility as till date pollution in river Ganga has never really become an election issue. But still, we continue to call the river ‘the symbol of sustenance, faith and sanctity.’ Why this superficial title stunt, the Ganges must be wondering? Can we respond to ‘Ganga Maiya‘?

Anniversary Goodie Missing

The editor in chief of Mail Today, Aroon Purie, has showered huge praise for his paper, today, which is a year old - “…Mail Today is in the vanguard of this change in the newspaper world. …there is little doubt that Mail Today us a newspaper that stands apart from the crowd. In this special issue we celebrate this difference- the new newspaper for the new India.” Yes, the Mail Today is heavy today- 96 pages, worth Rs 3. Did goodies reach the reader? Nope, the ‘special discounts booklet with fabulous offers on clothing, electronics and eating out’ was missing. Not hard to guess what the vendor will do this anniversary special discount booklet!

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15 November 2008

Meet a Regional Newspaper Dainik Badri Vishal is a little known daily from Haridwar. The eight page newspaper is worth Rs one only. It is noteworthy that this newspaper is owned, printed and published by Mrs Veena Sahgal. Yes, a sign of women empowerment. Unfortunately, the paper has no website nor is available outside Haridwar. Dainik Badri Vishal is not a new kid on the block. Now in its 27 year, this newspaper has carried only one advertisement. The lead story on the front page is focused on the century by the Indian cricketer - Yuvraj Singh. The editorial is focused on terrorism, ‘terrorism: wrong to drag religion’ and the lead article focuses argues- “ nation is hurt by Hindu terrorism’. The other focuses on “ Adiwasi Warrior of Independence Movement Birasa Munda”. However, none of them carries the name of the writer. Wonder why?

Advertisement of Day

The punch line- “Tender notice for Ideas competition”- sounds rather strange. Nevertheless this advertisement has appeared in Hindu regarding “International Architecture compeition for the development of a monument…”. There are three prizes, the first one worth $5208. So, will you compete in this ‘idea compeition‘?

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14 November 2008

Advertisement of Day

There are plenty of F.M radio channels in the capital. But it seems, Fever 104 is the first one to inititate “Delhi Radio Survey 2008” through its one full page survey questionaire in Hindustan Times. In addition this FM channel has also installed a listener hotline so that one could call in with new ideas ot suggestions. Sounds listener friendly! “ Just our way of saying thank you for helping us Fever 104 FM an even better radio station..”. Keep going!

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13 November 2003

Truth of Day

The renowed Principal of Delhi Public School- Dr. Chona has spoken the truth about garbage, Yes we also see & smell it everyday, but just walk away covering out face. - “ …The first thing should be addressed here in India is the issue of garbage. India is garbage and I say this without any regrets.”

Point to ponder- “India is garbage”? Now that’s going too far. What about Poverty and hunger, Madam? You see none in posh school of Delhi?

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12 November 2008

Truth of Day

According to Supreme Court of India has declared that nation’s justice delivery system was “rotting”. The judge’s disgust wit the dispensation system surfaced when it was told that the case registered against Coca Cola six years ago for adulteration did not come up for hearing even once.

Point to ponder- why public health is not given top priority in the jungle of pending cases?

Advertiser’s choice

No matter how much one tries to convince that English is the language of India, no matter how much the Hindi newspapers deliberately mix English in standard Hindi, Hindi is there to stay. Take a clue from the fact that out of 394 television channels beaming into over 100 million homes, there are only 10 Hindi language general entertainment television channels. Now that’s low. But look at the other side, they are extremely popular. And not surprisingly, these Hindi channels are collected 40% of total advertising on TV!

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11 November 2008

Love for Bush?

Not so long ago, the Indian Prime Minister had told the American President that he (George Bush) was loved by Indians. It led to the creation of many interesting cartoons in the Indian newspaper. Now, it’s time for the news that Manmohan Singh has not yet talked to the President Elect- Barack Obama. Still waiting for his call, right? The cartoon in Tribune features Manmohan Singh looking at the phone and asking his aide- “ Think he’ll phone me-- or willl he talk directly with Soniaji?”. And not surprisingly, the paper on his table carries the catchy news - ‘Obama phones world leaders‘. Did India’s (read Manmohan’s) love for George Bush play a part here? Keep guessing!

Take a look, what some of Indian commentators have said about Obama:

“Obama is a politician and he will have to do what all politicians have to do once they’re in power: compromise on the promises they made to get there. We all know that.…..Whatever his policies, Obama cannot be worse than Dubya. Even the comedians who miss him most will find something about Obama to laugh at. We in India had a similar situation with Rajiv Gandhi when he became a dreamy prime minister after his mother’s assassination but after the honeymoon was over, the knives came out…(Ranjona Banerji’s DNA).

And of course former External Affairs Minister, Natwar Singh has an diplomatic take- “….The real diplomatic test for Obama will be his dealing with Israel and the Palestinians. He has committed himself to Israel and that is an explosive issue. The rest of the Muslim world on the whole has welcomed his election but that could change if he was seen to be too close to Israel. Finally, a word about political good manners displayed by McCain, Bush and Barack Obama. We could learn something from them” (New Indian Express).

Women empowerment, What?

There is lot of tall talk about women empowerment in political manifestos, but what’s the ground reality?

Look no further. The Editorial in Kashmir Times has minced no words regarding the hypocrisy of political parties regarding women empowerment. Take a look- “As anticipated earlier, the women have once again been meted out a raw deal by almost all the political parties contesting in the seven-phased assembly polls.….Out of 102 candidates contesting in the first phase, there are hardly three or four women who managed to secure party mandate for them. Paradoxically those parties, which have women at the helm of affairs, or those which at the drop of hat claim to empower the women politically or boast about the grant of 33 percent reservation to them could not find any member from fairer sex as their candidates at least in the first phase…..Just a glance on the lists of candidates and it coveys all as how serious different political parties would be about the issue of empowering women politically and socially. Navbharat Times has carried a cartoon which features a politician looking man, half out of window of car commenting towards a Palin like women “ Sadke Jawa, if I would have been high command, I would have given a ticket …”.
Even the Office of the Chief Election Commissioner of Delhi is not far behind. It has placed large advertisement that features a ‘modern girl’ talking on mobile & carrying a shopping bag with punchine “hey gorgeous, hey genius, hey fashionable and lovable, our Pappu is clever, beauty queen of college, pappu’s makeup is mind-blowing, reflecting glamour…but Pappu doesn’t vote. Don’t become Pappu, definitely caste your vote….” (Punjab Kesari).

Surely, targeting only a few ‘Page Three beauty queen of college’ will not appeal to the majority of college going girls. All women are not Palin. So, does the Election Commissioner of Delhi desire a high voter turnout or high beauty queen turnout? Just a recap: Palin lost, right? No wonder, why women in National Capital region feel unsafe even in daylight. Anyone listening?

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10 November 2008

Editorial of Day

“…The minute it was known that the Bush era was over, comedians in the United States were heard carping that their main source of humour was being snatched away from them..Obama as president should be a natural candidate, but he is still seen as too pure to be made fun of….Probably realising this, Obama himself opened a small pathway in his first post-victory press conference….Immediately, there was even more adulation — at his honesty, his affability, his ability to poke fun at himself and his mixed race origins....The time will come when Obama rejoins the human race and then he will become a fair game for cartoonists and comedians. Trouble is, he is likely to laugh along and that does take some fun out of the whole thing …”(DNA).
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9 November 2008

Sunday Report

Large advertisements in leading newspapers shout- “ Come out and celebrate the 700 days of countdown for the Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010 today…cheer…ING Renault Roadshow…Delhi half marathon.. ”. What kind of place is the capital city of India? Is is safe for women? Take a clue from Neha Verma- “A stange fear has gripped Delhi, especially the already unsafe women. Monkeyman, hammer man and now the acid-thrower has made venturing our alone difficult for them…cases have installed a feeling of fear in women in general across the city. Till now they had to avoid the eve-teasers and men on the prowl for physical pleasures, but now even standing at the bus stop has become scary…”.(Pioneer). Point to ponder- Is anyone listening?

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8 November 2008

Kashmir Watch: Give Youth a chance

Naseer Ganai reports that the Government is contemplating to increase the retirement age of its employees by two years apparently to curtail financial implications to the tune of several million rupees. And this move is likely to trigger a serious debate between its supporters and opponents.The officials however admitted that the “financial implications” would not end permanently by increasing the retirement age but only get delayed by two or four years.However, opponents allege that the government servants at the brink of retirement are out to get the plan implemented to perpetuate their stay in service at the cost of educated youths reeling with the menace of unemployment.However, the senior KAS officer said that increase in retirement age had nothing to do with the menace of unemployment in the region.At present, he said, there were 150,000 unfilled posts in the State and increase in the retirement age by two years would not make any difference in unemployment scenario.“If the Government is serious about reducing unemployment, it should fill vacant posts,” he said.(Greater Kashmir).

Point to ponder- Unemployment & underemployment among youth is a serious issue in rest of India too. However with no reliable recent data on unemployment, this issue is not making to the front pages of the newspapers. No one really care here. Till then, continue to see the oldies talking enthusiastically on the merits of a young President in the White House!

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7 November 2008

Reactions of Day

Reactions on Obama’s victory continue to downpour in leading Indian Newspapers. Take a look, what they have to offer:

“…The result is momentous not only for America, but also for the rest of the world.…Of all the reasons to celebrate Obama’s victory last night, it is this— how his extraordinary, audacious rise from anonymity to the highest office in the world can be an inspiration to billions of people, to believe that change is indeed possible. Hope is the ultimate elixir. (Ramesh Ramanathan . DNA)

“ Obama’s victory is not of the non-whites of USA but actually of the white people. ….This win is a lesson for all the nations of the world including India that power must be handed over to the youth of the country before they lose patience. ... The message from this US election to the world is that powers which refuse to change with the times will cease to exist. …”(Shravan Garg, DNA)“

…The world is repeating the Obama mantra of change. The Indian media is a leading trumpeter of the change. But, no one seems to know what that change is. What is the change the US needs, or the world needs from the US? And whether Obama can deliver that change? These are questions which, in the shock and euphoria of a black in the White House, no one asks. Nor has Obama cared clarify either. ……the US Presidential elections turned more like India’s as to who the candidates should bribe to get more votes. But is the issue in the US as simple as Wall Street vs Main Street? ….So, resetting the priorities between Wall Street and Main Street is no change at all or just a small change….There is no sign of Obama thinking beyond the Wall Street vs Main Street issues. QED: Obama thinks within the paradigm; but what the US needs is a different paradigm ”(S Gurumurthy. New Indian express)

Editorial of Day

At least nine jumbo deaths have been reported from the vicinity of wildlife habitats across the State in the last one week alone, four of them by electrocution….The reasons for elephants straying out of their habitats and turning into marauders of crops and property in human habitations are both comic and tragic…the forest department needs to think out of the box to tackle the mindless felling of the gentle giants. Diversifying the food chain, strengthening the Wildlife Protection Act to end high tension electric fencing by hassled farmers may be some of the answers. The government needs Notwithstanding these truths of nature in the animal world, to take stern action against those illegally tapping electricity and using it on their fences.” (Deccan Herald)

Cartoon of Day

Yes Obama has won, and most are pleased. But what about the manufactures of fairness cream? Take a clue from a cartoon in Nav Bharat Times, which features a crying manufacturer of (fair fair cream) telling his glamorous female secretary the fallout of Obama win- “Now the sales of our product will decline…Oh Rama..”. Where is Palin?

Advertisement of the Day

One full page advertisement in Mint features a fountain pen with the punch line- “sometimes, all it takes to build a bond is a little talk”. The ad announces that today the joint venture agreement between and Indian public sector bank and Belgium based KBC AM will be signed to form asset management company. What’s so special- the occasion will be graced by king of Belgium. Nevertheless, given the global turmoil, is this the right time for the formation of this asset management company ?

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6 November 2008

Race to White House Ends

Barack Obama has won the Presidential race to the white house. He is the first African- American to the elected as President of United States of America. Yes, history has been made. The headlines of most Indian newspapers have devoted themselves in bold:

“America makes history” (Hindu)

“America has changed” (Hindustan)

“Bushed US embraces Obama (Pioneer)

“Race ends in historic win” (Times of India)

According to front page of Mail Today - “Barack Obama will be the first Black President in US history…”. Similarly, Tribune also echoes the same on the front page- “Barack Obama first US President-elect…”. And even Hindustan Times has mentioned- “ United States’ first black president-elect…” .Point to ponder- Is Barack Obama the first black or first African- American president of United States?

ONE position

The leading English daily - Times of India has highlighted on its front page- “ The Times of India has once again emerged as the capital’s most read newspaper…”

While the front page Hindustan Times has stressed - “ Hindustan Times has consolidated its position as the most read English daily in the capital and the adjoining National Capital Region”. The CEO of the HT media has not forgotten to thank its readers for “trust and support they have shown”.

Cartoon of the Day
Mail-Today features Barack Obama burdened under heavy globe named ‘EXPECTATIONS’. And the caption of the toon- “ Black man’s burden”. This is in tune with closing para of the editorial of which has come on front page- “ …What place Barack Obama will find in history for himself will depend on how far he succeeds in restoring the US’s confidence in itself and the respectable place in the world around it…Good luck to him”.

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5 November 2008

Obama Wave

Most Indian newspapers have carried the news of an early lead for Barack Obama in the US Presidential elections on their front page.

However the ‘love’ for outgoing President George Bush is still being displayed. Mail Today has carried his ten photographs. Reason? “ By George how we’ll miss him!…why life without Dubya may be just a bit duller…” But none of his photographs are with any Indian leader or in India! Hang on, come out of the bushy missing part and all! Accept the presence of strong winds of change! The editorial of Economic Times feels- “ there is unlikely to be any structural readjustments in Washington’s policies. India can hardly get a President as keen as George Bush was on cementing strategic partnerships…”. If only his people acknowledged his ‘real’ contributions there! While according to editorial of Hindustan Times -” …For America to chart these choppy waters, it will have to have a helmsman who understands and engages with the world on the world’s terms. Mr Obama or Mr. McCain, today a changes America has elected its least insular President”. And last and not the least take a look at the editorial of Indian Express- “..voters will speak as much about America as for the political agenda in Washington for the next four years. Either way, the President-elect will have to hit the ground running…” No matter what the Indian corporate feel about George Bush, Hey man, the change is on the cards and there seems to be no doubt that it’s Obama all the way! But where is Indian Obama? Anyone?

Tough for News Channels?

According to Shuchi Bansal, the free lunch era for employees in the Television News Channels is over. This is not all. “… they are on to serious savings on manpower and news gathering expenditure as well as on distribution and sundry other costs….channels have also been forced to restrict their election coverage expenditure…insiders say there will be fewer or no exit poll and fewer cameras & reporters per state…15 to 20 percent decline in news channel advertising…” (Business Standard).

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4 November 2008

US Presidential Expectations

The results of the Presidential election are just around the corner. And hopefully the wait has been worth. Manjesh asks “...Is America ready to embrace its evolving identity, or will it opt for the comfort of a known but outdated self-image?…Who is an American? …” (Times of India). While K.V Prasad asks a more domesticated question- “Can Mayawati (female chief minister of Uttar Pradesh) do a Barack Obama?”. Seems a remote possibility, given the deteriorating law & order situation in her state, where women are extremely unsafe, what new she to offer? The editorial in Hindu stresses on “America’s distinction’ which ends- “ …Barack Obama’s position as the leading candidate for the presidency is a mighty achievement for the American republic”.

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3 November 2008

Letter of the day

“In disturbed times, we are all casino players…..The current market crisis only reaffirms Keynes’ theory that financial markets function like casinos. (Kangayam R Narasimhan, Chennai in New Indian Express)

Truth of Day

Tamal Bandyopadhyay is spot on to point out- “ …It’s difficult to justify RBI’s inaction on 24 October and the series of measures a week later. One hopes that the Prime Minister’s Office and the finance ministry aren’t calling all the shots. In abnormal times, coordination between the central bank and the government is fine, but if the trend continues, RBI risks losing its clothes.” (Mint)

RTI of the Day

In response to a query raised under the Right to Information Act by Lakshmi Premkumar, a social activist from Besant Nagar, the Madras university revealed that over Rs 83 lakh was spent by Madras University for a three-hour extravaganza to mark the finale of its prolonged sesquicentennial celebration on September 5. Here the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Chief Minister M Karunanidhi received honorary doctorates, The university spent Rs 40,69,221 on advertisements and Rs 22,05,508 on decoration. Besides, Rs 10 lakh went for “publicity” alone. (New Indian Express). Point to Ponder- where is the liquidity crunch, that too for unproductive expenditure?

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2 November 2008

Views of Day: Financial Turmoil:

Where are the proponent of Free Markets? Swaminathan Aiyer has raised a pertinent question- Should the government assist Indian banks and companies that have borrowed billion abroad, and suddenly find it difficult to repay maturing loans because of the global financial crisis has frozen the money markets? He ends his write up- “Normally, I am dead opposed to governmental guarantees. But in a global panic, there is a case for guarantees of they thaw an otherwise frozen market. The government must charge a substantial penal fees for giving such a guarantee …This still carries the risk of crony capitalism. But in a global panic, the risk may be worthwhile.”. Point to ponder- Why bring in government guarantee distortions in the free market? Remember there is no recession in India, unlike the developed world! What if everyone decides not to panic and let the free market forces decide the course?

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1 November 2008

Obama’s Indian Support

Is the report - “In Delhi school, Barack Obama has already won” (Hindustan Times) an indication for the result of presidential elections? Take a look - “ United States senator Barack Obama won the 56th US Presidential election by a landslide. A whooping 86 per cent voters supported him, while Senator McCain secured only eight per cent of the votes…” Yes, these are result of a mock presidential election held at the American Embassy School in Delhi. Yes, Obama is on roll here. Incidentally the editorial in Tribune is entitled- “Obama on a roll”. It ends - “ It does seem that all that Mr. Obama need to do now is to keep a clear head and his trademark cool to truly make history.” The front page of same paper carries a photograph of Obama with the caption -“Missive to PM”. Why? “ Obama back N- deal”.Ashok Tuteja reports that Obama has written a letter to the Indian prime minister, in which he has supported the Indo-US nuclear deal.

But it seems many are still apprehensive about Obama’s economic policies and its effect on India -” On the economic front, Obama’s policies are cause for greater concern in India than his opponent’s. McCain’s voting record in the Senate is staunchly pro-free trade while Obama’s indicate protection list tendencies…” (Editorial. Times of India). Hey, look at the wider canvas!

Point to ponder- The Indian Obama is greatly missed here? Anyone listening?

Report of the Day

The front page report in Tribune - “The great non-resident dope trick” reveals a disturbing trend that 70% of Punjab is in the grip of drugs- virtually afflicting every household in the State. Prabhojot Singh points out that - “ More than three years ago, the Tribune carried a series of investigative reports on the unchecked growth of the drug trade that was threatening to outgrow the annual budget of the state..”. First part of the series- “Punjab on high’- a must to read.