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SARCAJC

SOUTH ASIAN RESEARCH CENTRE FOR ADVERTISEMENT, JOURNALISM & CARTOONS

September 2008 Newspaper Watch

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

30 September 2008

Scoring Match

Editorial of the leading financial newspaper - Economic Times has spend some time on Print Media Vs 24x7 news channels - “ The print media scores” . Take a clue - “…You can take a newspaper, a magazine or a book to bed with you…Print media is not illusive wheres TV channels demand your undivided attention…”. But hang on, even print is illusive! Take a clue from the same page in Economic Times which informs the readers about a leader from Bihar in the Union Cabinet who has collected Rs. 300 million for Bihar flood relief from large PSU under his ministry and is getting it distributed though his party men. But for reasons best known to them, the newspaper has refrained from naming this Honourble Minister!

Point to ponder- If this story was carried by 24x7 news channel, would they have refrained from showing his face or name?

Global Chennai

It seems India has truly turned global. How? Take a look at the advertisement by the largest selling Japanese company on the front page of New Indian Express. OK, but what’s the catch here? Majority of the advertisement & the featured model with a sword is - Japanese!

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29 September 2008

Exclusively Yours

Do newspapers taken genuine interest in their websites? Well, today DNA has highlighted its ’web exclusive’ piece - ‘Fight for rights of the poor’ by Neeta Kolhatkar. Take a look- “ …Last week was one of the biggest tests of democracy for our state. The Government of Maharashtra woke up a tad late to conduct a referendum on the development of the Special Economic Zones (SEZ)….Yes, I am reiterating the concept of how the owner has NOT been taken into confidence, or whose opinion has NOT been taken. This farmer has at no point ever complained or registered one with any authority, saying, "Please help, my crops do not give enough yield….". Any solution to offer, nope it ends with questions- “Now, why is the government not declaring the Pedder Road area as a No Development Zone? Why is the richest businessman allowed to build a sprawling skyscraper there? These are questions the government will have to answer. The true test of democracy begins now”

Advertisement watch

The gender biased advertisements continue to appear in newspapers. This time it’s the leading automobile company which has placed an ad featuring one of its luxury car with the punch line- “ (name of car) brings you the ultimate offer. So be a man and grab it”. Is this car only for men? Take a closer look, the ad also carries the name of car - which appears more like a model number with assertion- “ Men are back”! Point to ponder- before this particular car model was launched, were the men away somewhere?

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28 September 2008

Advertisement watch

The Delhi government has placed an eye catchy advertisement in most leading newspapers with large red border and punch line- Unite against terrorism”. The ad urges- “Join the citizen-government partnership for a safe & secure Delhi. The ad lists out what a citizen - as individual, landlord, hotel/guest house owner, motorcycle/car dealer, cyber café owner, conductor/driver of public transport can do for a safe & secure Delhi. Most importantly, the ad assures that -” Your identity will not be revealed”.

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27 September 2008

Exclusively Yours

It seems that the euphoria over wining a lone gold medal at the Beijing Olympics is eventually over. Sharad Deep’s exclusive piece on the plight of hockey players, starts - “ NRI paid men’s team’s food bill in Australia. Chek De (bollywood movie based on hockey) maker stitched women’s uniforms. Heres is the farce of the India’s national sport: players scrounge for food, bulbs, washing machines- and even uniforms….”. A must to read- Cheque de India: Hockey body doesn’t pay. Hindustan Times. Front page.

Quote of the Day

So what if Bush’s popularity in America is not exactly soaring, he can bank on his good old Indian friend. Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India has made no effort to hide his ‘deep’ friendship with George Bush, President of United States when he said- “…The people of India deeply love you….” . A juicy quote for the cartoonists!

Look, back home, what Times of India had to say on its front page- “The nuclear deal wasn’t ready. The weather was awful as it was bleak and wet. And the menu was modest…But love flowed freely when an unusually loquacious Manmohan told George Bush the Indian people deeply loved him. …What took the cake (or sorbet) was Singh expressing the sentiments of a whole country about Bush- possibly based on opinion polls whose universal unpopularity is the stuff of late-night jokes…”.

Advertisement Watch

An advertisement with heading -” Pulse Polio Attention parents” has appeared in Hindustan Times. The ad is unattractive, sans any illustration. It starts off -” After detection of a P3 virus case in district Gurgaon (Naharpur, Manesar), the government of Indian & WHO are carrying out Pulse Polio programme in the neighbouring districts of Gurgaon, which includes- Faridabad, Jhajjar, Mewat, Rewari. The ad goes on to educate readers like- “…repeating polio drops even if they have been recently administered to the children is of no harmful effects”. Fair enough. But hang on, these neighboring districts of Gurgaon (cyber city, next to Delhi) are definitely not English savvy. So why this ‘English’ advertisement in ‘English’ newspaper? Who is the target?

A stereotypical gender advertisement has appeared in MetroNow with punch line- “ Smart women will no more smell like the food they cook”. What’s it about- not a perfume but a Chimney and 4 burner hob by a leading international brand! Hang on - only women cook? Anyways, many ‘smart’ women will not cook today as the another ad on the same page announces of a Kitty party at well known resort - “Full day masti for women” ! Now, are ‘Smart’ men ready to smell like the food they cook?

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26 September 2008

Advertisement Watch

The advertisement by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has appeared with the punch line - “Tobacco OR Family?” The ad informs its readers of the ill-effects of smoking and that smoking is prohibited in all public places from 2nd October 2008. It also appeals to ‘Quit Tobacco Today!’. The sight of unborn child being consumed with burning cigarette is self explanatory.

Though the festival of lights- Diwali is far off, still a half a page advertisement by leading international computer/iPod brand is wishing us “ Happy Diwali”. It also mentions- “ A perfect gift to give or receive”. (Hindustan Times). Yeh, one can understand a perfect gift to give but how to force someone to give you that particular model of computer of that particular brand? Simple, show this advertisement & praise the insight of the advertiser! Any guess- Will it work?

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25 September 2008

Media Bashing

It's not very uncommon to see authorities bashing media in India. Now, the vice chancellor of Jamia Millia University has taken on the media. Take a look what MetroNow has to say- “ Finally, it’s the media’s fault that 30 innocent lives were lost in Delhi, that two terrorists were gunned downed …that two others arrested were students of Jamia Millia University…Hasan (vice chancellor of Jamia Millia) blamed the media for blowing things out of proportion”. Not surprising that after interacting with the vice chancellor students raised slogans against the Delhi Police and the media. Earlier, it was media trial, now it’s trial by vice chancellor of Jamia Millia University!

Point to ponder- What’s is the view of prestigious mass communication center of Jamia Millia University on this media bashing by its vice chancellor ? Hello, why this silence?

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24 September 2008

Anything Goes- Dream Ad

During early 1980s, a superhit weekly comedy serial- Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi made an apperance every Friday night. Simply a laugh riot! One of its episode made fun of ‘anything goes’ type of advertisements. Unless, one reads or listens to the name of the product, one can’t figure out whether this advertisement is trying to promote boot polish or hair oil or toothpaste! Anything goes! Yes, the tradition of ‘anything goes Ad’ has been promoted now by the Indian Post. Scene one- a rough sketch of small boy playing with a toy plane with punch line- ‘dream’. Scene two- a rough sketch of small boy flying a kite with punch line- ‘fly ’. Scene three- a rough sketch of small girl with her arms stretched up, with the punch line- ‘soar’. Scene four - new logo of India Post with the punch line- ‘giving wings to your dreams’.

Hey, we don’t dream nor want to dream that our letters reach on time! Hey, we don’t dream nor want to dream that our money order reach on time!Hey, we don’t dream nor want to dream that our complaints are attended promptly! Why? Simple, all this should be part of normal service by India Post not part of our dreams! Remember, an extremely efficient postal service was inherited from Colonial rulers. But now, the less said the better! But India post is still better than other government services like water, electricity! However our postman has no uniform, 'this' post office is understaffed, attractive stamps are not available......

Point to Ponder- Guess the logic of spending taxpayer’s money on cosmic change like the new logo and ‘anything goes’ type of advertisement which has appeared in almost all leading newspapers! Simple, publicity! But at what cost?

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23 September 2008

Election & Ad

It seems that the Indian ad industry will be able to float though the so-called global slow down, thanks to the coming election season. Economic Times reports that the Congress party has already set aside Rs. 1.5 billion for the general elections. This in addition to Rs. 0.4 billion for the ongoing campaign in Delhi. And the main opposition party too is expected to roll in similar ad kitty. Hang on, this is nothing compared to the ongoing presidential campaign in the United States. So how will these political parties reach out to the voters? Don’t you worry, this is India! Here votes are lured not just by ads but also by promising freebies like TVs, free electricity, cheap rice etc! And not to forget the role of local liquor! Has Obama or McCain offered this there?

Unsung Heroes

The Union health Ministry had refused permission to doctors of the best medical hospital in India- All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to work as volunteers in flood hit by the districts of Bihar. But the good news is that despite this set back, they didn’t give up. Eighteen doctors have taken leave without pay to work in the flood affected area of Bihar. Hats off to their determination. However, Jaya Bhalla has not listed all the names of these eighteen doctors. “Young doctors - all junior and senior residents, between age of 25-35 years have been working in tough conditions in the flood affected districts of Bihar since September 6. Even the sudden death of a Mumbai medico hasn’t deterred them from staying on…with no help from the state or central government, these doctors have set up health clinics in districts with non existing health infrastructure…” These doctors travel 300-400 Kms everyday to treat people in remote helmet and see around 500 patients everyday. “…Only God knows what will happen if the state does not react in time”-cautioned one doctor. (Hindustan Times. Page 5).

With space in newspapers decreasing everyday to floods in Bihar, this report has a lot to say. Hey, are you just listening, what about some concrete action?

Celebrity or cause

Is the celebrity attending a protest over illegal dumping of garbage more important than the cause? Guess from the headlines of the write up about recently held protest in Gurgaon over illegal dumping of garbage in Cyber city - Gurgaon. Similar protest in past did not receive much coverage in newspapers. Why? Now, that’s a silly question to ask. There was no celebrity, simple!

Yuvi bats for Gurgaon (Hindustan Times)

Yuvraj bats for Gurgaon’s anti-dumping brigade (Times of India)

Yuvraj at DLF protest (Asian Age. Photograph. Front page)

Garbage issue: Yuvraj bats for residents (Pioneer. Page 2)

Yuvraj against illegal garbage dumping (Dainik Bhaskar)

Yuvraj joins in campaign against dirt (Amar Ujala)

Point to ponder- This protest, like the one in the past yielded no result. Why not take Right to Information (RTI) route instead ! Simple, RTI application will not get their photographs and names of their companies in the press! Keep trying for the next celebrity?

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22 September 2008

Financial Views of the Day

Shanbhag’s words have expressed a great deal. Take a look - “W OW! Lehman Brothers has filed for bankruptcy. Merill Lynch is being bought over by Bank of America. ….America is in turmoil --- India is not. Yes, there will be collateral damage. ... So should we go boo-hoo? …The other constituency that could be adversely affected is our capital intensive real estate sector. Sob! Now these guys would no longer be able to sell ludicrously over priced property and you and we may just be able to look forward to affordable housing. So we are shedding tears, but these are tears of happiness.… Okay -it is sad that an institution with a legacy of over 150 years like Lehman has fallen. Which means that this pillar of Wall Street could survive two world wars but not the recklessness of Wall Street cowboys …..but at the end of the day, how has this changed your life?….”. (In the wonderland of Investment- Global Turmoil : What Should You do? Free Press Journal)

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21 September 2008

Crisis Management of Week

Can a special puja in a temple in Andhra Pradesh ‘save the world from the economic crisis’? Well read on- “If the Wall Street upheaval eases soon, techies here will be thanking Lord Balaji for saving their jobs. At least 3,000 local IT professionals and students yesterday thronged the Balaji temple at Chilku in Andra Pradesh… after learning that a special puja was being held to resolve the global financial crisis, temple sources said.The temple’s priests decided to hold the puja after a devotee called up from the US with an appeal to “save the world from the economic crisis”. The next special puja is scheduled for tomorrow…” (Telegraph. Kolkota Edition)

Blame of Week

On Thursday, the front page of Mail Today carried a photograph (eye portion blackened off to safeguard his identity) of 11-year-old balloon seller (name changed to safeguard his identity). This boy is sole witness of the recent bomb blast at Barakhamba in New Delhi. Below his photo, bold & underlined - “Manhandled and confined by the police for two days, Paraded on TV. Now dumped in a slum. With no security. He’s the only eyewitness who helped the police sketch the terrorists of Barakhamba Road.” (Mail Today. 18 Sept 2008) But hang on, why just blame others, what about Mail Today? This paper too did not bother to protect the identity of this balloon seller. On 14th September 2008, Mail Today (page 4) published photograph of this 11 year old balloon seller with his real name. Moreover none of the leading papers have raised the problem of child labour.

Recap: Witness exposed

(SARCAJC Newspaper Watch. 14 Sept 2008)

A 11 year boy, who might hold crucial information about the identity of bombers, has been exposed, thanks to the media. The leading newspapers like Hindustan Times, Pioneer, Dainik Jagran, Tribune and Mail Today- have carried his real name. This is not all, Hindustan Times, Dainik Jagran and Mail Today have even carried his photograph, which could put him & his family at risk.

Only exception of the scanned newspapers is Times of India, which has taken care to protect the name of this key witness. Further, the paper has not carried his photograph.

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20 September 2008

Sheer Externalities?

Making a case for resorting to nuclear power generation to meet India’s growing energy needs, the Planning Commission has said that the country needs to vigorously pursue the nuclear energy programme. According to the Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission- “If we raise nuclear power generation based on imported fuel by 30,000 MW to 40,000 MW in the next 12 years we can achieve 6,00,000 MW nuclear power by using thorium technology”. (Indian Express)

Is this so simple as it sounds? Nope. There is no word about the high cost of nuclear power- the common man can’t afford it. And if the State intervenes and doles out subsidies, which is most likely the case, then why not dole out for renewal clean energy like biogas, solar? At least latter will not harm the mother earth. If the problem of disposal of radioactive waste and decommissioning of nuclear plants is taken into consideration, Cynthia Pollock‘s saying- “savings millions of dollars now could mean spending billions of dollars in the future” will hold good. Given India’s pathetic record of garbage disposal, its not hard to guess what will eventually happen to radioactive waste here! However, there is hardly any articles in the Indian newspapers on this crucial issue.

Tomorrow, residents of cyber city, prestigious suburb of Delhi will assemble on street to protest against illegal dumping of garbage, skinning of animals etc on the Aravali range of mountain in Gurgaon. Despite constant representation to the authorities, nothing moves here and the stink is simply nauseating. Hello, is someone including these so called ‘externalities’ in the cost-benefit analysis?

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19 September 2008

Accountability Sham

The eye catching -‘Shame’ in big font can’t be missed. Hindustan Times has devoted full page two to the problem faced by Delhites on Wednesday, when it rained for an hour. Guess what happened- “An hour of rain and India’s best-governed, most -pampered area collapsed…NDMC (municipality in New Delhi) has not bothered to upgrade sewer lines and drainage system over the years. Experts say these are virtually unchanged from the time they were built in the 1930s….”. This is the best coverage today by any newspaper focused on immediate local problem faced by the capital city.

Point to ponder- How to make municipalities accountable? Link remuneration to performance. Delhites to judge the performance- No salary & perks on waterlogged rainy day!

Humanity Sold off

Yes, there is no doubt that corruption is prevalent India but it now has reached the nadir. Why? Take a look at the front page of Mail-Today, which shouts- “ Children for sale in Bihar Relief camps’. Giridhar Jha from Patna reports -”Merchants of misery are scouting for young blood in the relief camps for Bihar’s flood ravaged people. They are buying children for Rs, 500 to Rs, 1000 each…”. A must to read and think where are we heading? Hello, only think? Will this new report be forgotten as any other report read over a cup of hot tea in the morning? Any one listening?

Advertisement watch

Faced with threat of legal action in India, Google and Microsoft have taken back advertisements for sex selection products and other services in India. The Supreme court had last month asked the two companies and Yahoo to respond to complaint that they were illegally advertising do-it-you self kits and expensive genetic techniques to find out the gender of the unborn child (Hindu). The problem of female abortion due to obsession for male child in India is not any secret. But its unfortunate that these global giants on their own did not care about this serious problem in India.

But hang on, before going overboard, also take a look back home. The Indian law says liquor advertisements are not allowed. But hey, who cares? Take a look at page 17 in MetroNow. Here an ad has appeared with all revealing punch line- “Carlsberg” with a crown. Now, don’t justify that Carlsberg is a detergent soap!

Mag Competition

The government has decided to give green signal to Indian editions of foreign magazines in the news and current affairs category. But this comes with strings- the foreign publishers seeking an Indian presence will have to enter into financial tie ups with Indian partners and others. 26% of the FDI limit remains unchanged. What happens to the much needed competition to the Indian magazines & publishers?
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18 September 2008

Three

Three - Kishnan, Sanat & Ramarathinam have come together to report- “Lehman, AIG, Merrill’s India pain continues”. Take a clue- “Three days after three large US financial institution roiled global markets with simultaneous woes, investors continue to punish Indian stocks held by these firms (Mint. Page 3). However an advertisement by Tata- AIG Life sings a different song with the punchline-” Everything’s the same”. Guess the reason- “…As you many be aware, the company is 74% owned by Tata & 26% by AIG…”

Point to ponder- Is higher stake by Indian companies better for long term stability? What’s your take?
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17 September 2008

Politics

The front page of Greater Kashmir reports of a medicine war heating up. The Jammu & Kashmir Pharma Association (JKPA) has reiterated its stand asking the Pharma companies not to supply medicines directly to Kashmir, while the valley based pharmacists said they could approach international aid and humanitarian organizations. But hang on, turn to page two where an advertisement has appeared from Jammu & Kashmir Pharma Associates. According to which- “ extraordinatory meeting of JKPA was held …members felt that people cannot be held ransom to the whims of a few greedy businessmen and the people have every right to get adequate medicare including the medicine and related items…decided that henceforth the JKPA is dissolved and no organization under such name and style exists in the State…as Sons of the soil we have commitment to the society and nobody will be allowed to bring the bad name to noble trade…” .
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15 September 2008

Minister & Roses

It seems the Union Home Minister is not a favourite of Indian media. Specifically, check out Mail Today and MetroNow for proof. Of the two, don't miss-"How to defeat Dastardly designs!" by Kay Raghoed in MetroNow. Why? First it carries a smiling photograph of the minister with roses!
And second, take a look at its extracts- " ...Mr Patil is also the first man to actually dissect the whole thing and understand its hidden meaning: terrorist want to create panic. "hey you wanna create panic, I ain't panicking. You wanna scare me, I ain't scared. You wanna spread fear fear, I ain't afraid. How's my hair..." . And more so with roses! A must to read.
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14 September 2008

Insecure Capital

Blasts has shaken the capital of India. This is the lead news report of all newspapers today.
Not surprising, this incidence has left the common man wondering who is next? Take a look at the headlines of some newspapers:

5 blasts shake capital (Deccan Chonicle. Hyderabad)

20 killed as 5 explosions rock Delhi (Hindu)

Delhi shaken by explosion(Swatantra Varta. Hyderabad)

Attack on capital 9/13 (Hindi Milap. Hyderabad)

5 blasts in Delhi, 20 dead (Tribune)

Twenty dead in Delhi blasts (Business Standard)

Delhi shaken by several blasts (Dainik Tribune)

Terror Revisits Delhi (DNA)

Serial balsts rock commercial areas of capital, 18 dead (Hindu Business Line)

Delhi shalen by serial blasts by bomb (Veer Arjun)

Terror 9/13 (Pioneer)

Delhi shaken (Dainik Jagran)

Terrorist attack on Delhi (Dainik Bhaskar)

...Now Delhi, 26 min, 5 blasts, 18 dead, 130 injured (Hindustan)

Again, in capital (Indian Express)

Terror Saturday (Mail Today)

Now, Delhi (Hindustan Times)

Witness exposed

A 11 year boy, who might hold crucial information about the identity of bombers, has been exposed, thanks to the media. The leading newspapers like Hindustan Times, Pioneer, Dainik Jagran, Tribune and Mail Today- have carried his real name. This is not all, Hindustan Times and Dainik Jagran have even carried his photograph, which could put him & his family at risk.

Only exception of the scanned newspapers is Times of India, which has has taken care to protect the name of this key witness. Further, the paper has not carried his photograph.
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13 September 2008

Set an example

Yes, it seems nuclear energy is there to stay in India. But why does the Department of Atomic Energy have a soft corner for Tata Indica cars, over all other car brands? Check out an ad by Department of Atomic Energy, Nuclear Fuel Complex at Hyderabad which has invited sealed tenders from reputed transport contractors for- 'providing transport arrangements for commuting senior officers of NFC from specific points in twin cities to office & back and other duties during intervening period". So what's the catch- they require- "seven cars of Tata Indica. Model 2007 or later". Wonder why 7 Tata Indica cars! Rather one expects Department of Atomic Energy to set an example of car pool for senior officers and employing only one car and reduce these harmful green house emissions.
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12 September 2008

Cartoon of Day

Three days ago, Times of India ran an alarming report on its front page-' Britian dumps its garbage on Indian soil' and on inner page- 'UK silent on waste end-use'. Is India still a white man's burden or its the other way around? The hangover of the Empire still continues! Today, the cartoon of the day has concentrated on this serious issue in Mail Today and is appropriately titled - " Brown man's burden". Here a brown man is seen carrying "toxic waste from the West". Won't Greenpeace & others help him?

Advertisement of Day

The advertisement by the Ministry of Women and Child Development comes with the punch line- " She is the tree of life She creates She nurtures She sustains....Let her 'live'! Save the girl child". This ad features a tree with many leaves of various profession including mother, provider, farmer... (Deccan Chronicle). However the ad did not list any punitive action if one doesn't let 'her' live.

Women per se feel insecure even in the capital city of the largest democracy of the world, what to talk about the declining sex ratio. Hey, someone listening, atleast for the sake of upcoming Commonwealth Games!
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11 September 2008

Commenting RJ

Anticipatory bail has been granted to radio jockey -Brady H Jonathan Nitin by the Supreme Court of India. But what the matter? He had allegedly compared 'Indian Idol' Prashant Tamang of Darjeeling to "chowkidars" (watchmen) last year. The supreme court judgment referred to media reports quoting Nitin as saying that "If chowkidars become 'Indian Idols' (meaning Prashant Tamang), from where we are to obtain chowkidars".Though Nitin made attempts to clarify, the complainants pressed for trial. (DNA)

Vote Price

What is the relation between democracy and TV? Now this one is easy- election coverage, polls, debates, analysis, news and so on! Nope! Check out the lead report in New Indian Express- “Only when election comes, some politician will visit us, asking for votes. Then we will ask for electricity for every household, so that we can watch TV in our own homes and not go to the street to watch TV "- tribal of Naichaneri hills in Vellore district. The tribals are happy that the DMK Government had kept its promise of free TVs. And, of course, they will also vote for the party again. For the free television has helped them to let their hair down after a hard day’s work in the forests."

Point to Ponder- What can Obama or McCain learn from this a 'vibrant' democracy? Quick, the elections are fast approaching!

Editorial of the Day

"It really stinks. That something is rotten in the judiciary has been known for long now. Only, the judiciary refused to recognize it. Politicians knew too well that things were extremely wrong with the courts and the judges, but they did not have the moral courage to take up the matter....When Supreme Court Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan took office, he conceded that there was corruption in the lower judiciary, and that there was no evidence of it in the upper echelons. But the revelations of the last few days indicate that corruption has spread across the system, in the lower as well as higher courts. The judicial system is now being dragged into the treacherous quicksand of corruption into which government and politics have already sunk..... There is the danger that people will get accustomed to corruption in judiciary. The sense of outrage will wither away. That would be a real shame in a country where the judiciary is often seen as the last hope in a hostile and intractable system. Balakrishnan and others at the helm have to ensure that not only are the guilty brought to book but that the taint of disgrace is quickly wiped out." (DNA)
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10 September 2008

Women Insecurity-III

Sachin Tendulkar is not just a hero in the field of cricket but in real life too. He is the only celebrity who has shown concern about insecurity faced by women. Take a clue from what he had to say- ...If you don't respect women then you are not a man. A woman is always somebody's daughter, mother or wife. I am a father so I know. It feels terrible. It has got nothing to do with the city. Rather it has to do with the mindset of people...". (Sachin bats for women. After Hours. DNA).
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9 September 2008

Advertisement of the Day

The self Advertisement of DNA has not hesitated to boost- " If there were an award for this sort of thing, we'd call it Best Debut for a Newspaper". The fine prints revealed it all- " In a mere eight months since DNA arrived in Pune, we're already knocking on the heels of Pune's leading newspaper....the best is yet to come". Really!
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8 September 2008

Glamour vis-à-vis floods

The bold headlines of the lead report in Hindustan Times on page ten reads- " Hindustan Times lends Bihar a hand, on your behalf Join our helpdesk, send money or follow our reporters.." This is not all, more about reporters- " ...Three reporters from HT City, our lifestyle , are in the flood-hit areas reporting and helping out with the relief and rescue operations. No one asked them to go; they just wanted to". (Hindustan Times). The lifestyle supplement of Hindustan Times- HT City is coming out as usual, it seems these three reporters are not missed here. But guess their knowledge about disaster management vis-à-vis page three personalities! Never mind, they can at least hope for an award for sacrificing glamour to floods! Anything for an award?
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7 September 2008

Vienna Victor?

After a long time, the top story of all newspapers scanned today came down to one event- clearance of the Indo-US Deal by NSG in Vienna. Take a look at the headline euphoria:

Nuclear Apartheid ends (DNA)

Victory in Vienna, worry in Bengal- Historic compromise India can live with (Telegraph).

NSG Nod (Free Press Journal)

India joins nuclear high table at Vienna (New Indian Express)

India powers to victory (Deccan Chonicle)

India gets NSG waiver (Kashmir Times)

India gets historic NSG waiver (Assam Tribune)

India joins Nuke club, gets NSG waiver (Central Chonicle)

N- Suppliers lift sanctions on India (Hindu)

NSG Conquered (Hindustan)

Nuclear dawn (Hindustan Times)

Vienna Message: 123 go! (Tribune)

World acknowledges nuclear power(Dainik Bhaskar)

Sweet deal in Vienna (Asian Age)

New (Nuclear) World Order Made for India (Indian Express)

India’s nuke isolation is over at last (Mail Today)

Exile ends after 34 years (Amar Ujala)

India in Nuclear commuity (Dainik Jagran)

K S Narayanan in New Indian Express has gone overboard-“ What does the waiver of NSG for India mean for you and other billion plus in the country? A lot, as you swipe sweat and curse the acute shortage of power.…”Seems more like an election speech !

However the only exception is Pioneer, which has called this “Sellout!” and claimed “India gets NSG waiver at huge cost: N-sovereignty”- And why? “ If any future Government in New Delhi, in the face of the most serious of security threats, attempts to walk out of its moratorium commitment and upgrades the nuclear arsenal, India would invite the kind of sanctions Iran has..”.
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6 September 2008

Reporting
If you wish to know, which relief camp is better- one run by State government of Bihar or one run by Indian Railways, read on the headlines of write -up:

“Tale of two camps: villagers leave govt tents for better facilities in Lalu’s relief centres” (Mail Today).

“Govt camp-ensation big draw for flood -hit. Clean, hygienic, a lot better than Lalu’s railway camps, says villagers” (Pioneer).

Point to ponder: now which of them is true? To know the reality, you’ll have to pay a personal visit to the relief camp!
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5 September 2008

Fury on toon

The publication of a controversial cartoon of Prophet Mohammad in Dinamalar, a leading newspaper of Tamil Nadu has lead to major stand off and confrontation between minority community and the state government (Mail Today)

Advertisement Watch

In the era of high inflation the punch line of advertisement of State Bank of India pinches- “ Bigger Returns. benefit from our revised interest rates 10% p.a. 1 year to less than 2 years..” (Economic Times). Hang on, why does it pinch? First, 10% rate of return is no big deal as it is less than the ongoing rate of inflation, so net real rate of interest will be negative anyway! Second, other banks are already offering this rate, so what’s the big deal?

More important, the State Bank of India pays serious attention to the recovery of fake currency from its branches rather than teasing public with 10% rate of interest!
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4 September 2008

Banning Exit Polls

With the polls in six states and General elections not far ahead, the union government plans to ban exit & opinion polls claiming that these influence voting behavious especially when the elctions are held in phases (Indian Express. Front page)

Women Insecure-II

SARCAJC had raised the issue of Women’s Security two days back. Today, Hindustan Times reports that Delhi government is planning to bring a new law to tackle the instances of misbehaviour, sexual harassement with the women on the Delhi streets. This will enable marshals (in plain cloths) to take on who misbehave in public. The senior government officer: “…the city will host commonealth games in 2010. A safe, clean environment for everyone is as much a part of the experience….we would not want women visiters to feel threatened while walking around the city…”

It seems the emphasis here is not on the safety of women in Delhi per se but on safety of women visiters to Delhi during Commonwealth Games. If image building of India is part of the benefit of hosting Commonwealth Games, then the whole point is getting lost. Nevertheless, the Delhi Government is taking some positive steps and needs to be appreciated.

However, what about safety of women in the National Capital region, which includes Noida, Ghaziabad and Gurgaon? Adjorning Delhi, in the city of Ghaziabad, women don’t not feel safe even in a government office like Tehasil. What to talk of women empowerment, their safety is at stake in Tehasil in Ghaziabad. And most deplorable trend is that people don't speak out when they see men misbehaving with a woman.

Why bother about Ghaziabad, since the Commonwealth Games- 2010 will be held in Delhi? But hang on, this city is closest to the upcoming Commonwealth Village, compared to many colonies of power capital of India. It is home to numerous people who everyday commute to Delhi for work, like they do in Gurgaon & Noida. How can one ignore it?

SARCAJC appeals to the Chief Ministers of Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh for a combined action plan to make Ghaziabad,Noida,Gurgaon and Delhi a safer place for women. And we also appeal to people to speak out and protect woman from misbehaving culprits and not turn a blind eye.

But hang on, Marshalls cannot be everywhere in the NCR region. And many women don’t want to report such instances to the police, who are not very sympathetic. And after media coverage of Aarushi murder case, many feel reluctant in approaching the media too. Solution - a responsive helpline (operated by responsive women) for reporting such instances and marshals also carrying out sting operation on identified culprits/area based on complaints. Further, these culprits must be humiliated in front of the media. And SARCAJC is willing to help to bring these culprits to book...
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3 September 2008

Advertisment of the Day
Dinakaran has placed its advertisement in DNA (Mumbai Edition) - “ Dinakaran. The first & only Tamil daily to cross 1 million copies announces the launch of its Mumbai edition”

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2 September 2008

Agri-Land: Double Standards

Global food shortages & associated potential profits has made the Indian corporates take a refreshed look at agriculture. Economic Times (Hindi Edition) carries a report on its front page that informs readers that corporates as well as the Indian Government are getting ready to buy agricultural land for farming in countries like Canada, Australia, Myamar, Africa, Brazil, Argentina etc.

However, back at home, the approach is entirely different. The ongoing agitation in West Bengal against use of agricultural land for setting up of manufacturing unit for car is the net result of this stand-off. Economic Times (English Edition) has carried views of three ‘experts’ on acquisition of agricuture land for industrial use, with the highlight- “ The aquitision of agricultural land for industrial use has become a contentious issue even when there is near consensus that the availability of land is not a problem..”. But the real issue is what type of land! Why buy agricultural land abroad while waste Indian fertile land here!

Editorial of the Day

The fury of Kosi river in the Indian state of Bihar that has left millions struggling for survival. The Best Editorial of the day - ‘The disaster gap in anticipation’ has appeared today in New Indian Express (Chennai). A must to read. Take a look, why - “…The issue goes well beyond Bihar, as none of us knoe what horror next week will bring, in which part of the country. Are aroused state apparati everywhere working furiously after this reminder…We know that hasn’t happened or is likely to. But we certainly can demand that the ponderous machinery get off its collective backside and begin moving, if not pro-actively, then with less sluggishness”. But is someone listening? If only they would have taken some lessons from their American counterparts who evacuated millions before disaster could strike.

Reporting Kosi

“ The flood situation in Bihar on Monday showed signs of improvement with water level receding in five north-eastern district following reduction in discharge of Kosi river..” (Mumbai Mirror (Mumbai) “Water levels recede in Bihar”)

“ Twelve days after the Kosi breached its embankment here on August 18, Nepal police cut a 15 metre chasm across a highway to send the floodwaters surging southwards into Bihar…“ (Telegraph (Kolkota). Front page. Nepal digs, Bihar drowns)

Women Insecure

An ad has appeared on the last page of Mail Today with a punch line- “ The time has come to strictly deal with the Bl**dy insecurity faced by working women in Noida!” And how? “…come let us swear to change!…” in a Upmarket Mall in Noida. But hang on, are women insecure only in Noida, not elsewhere in the country? What about neighboring capital city of Delhi?

Take a clue from the front page of the same paper which features photograph of a female RJ who was “beaten up with a metal stick by a neighbour in posh East of Kailash colony over a parking issue. The man’s rage leaves the 21-year-old bruised and bleeding as residents watch the tamasha…”. Times of India, page two, reports that father and son were stabbed when they objected to youth’s bid to molest teenage daughter in Delhi. Dainik Jagran reports that a man was beaten to death when he objected to eve teasing in a market and saved a woman in Delhi. Two days ago, the front page of Mail Today decried- “ Flood -Hit women molested in Bihar:” …Is this sign of progress of a trillion dollar economy? All physical infrastructure is being build on a war footing for the upcoming commonwealth Games in Delhi but not a word about curbing this lawlessness which is heading women back to the dark ages? Surprisingly, not even from the women run Non governmental organisations! Hello, Anyone listening?

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1 September 2008

Gut Feeling

The front page of Hindustan Times carries a report on ‘Mood of India’ with the heading- “Inflation on our minds” Now what’s this? Read on- “ With political parties preparing for polls HT reporters discarded surveys and used traditional technique to gauge India’s mood.” And what’s this traditional technique? You’ll never guess- “ At this newspaper, we often do dipstick surveys to gauge the country’s mood…. No survey can reflect the aspirations and worries of 1.1 billion people. So, we are using an old traditional Indian technique : gut feeling…”. Hang on, is ‘gut feeling’ a traditional Indian technique for finding the mood of India? Well, check your ‘gut feeling’ for the answer!