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Thursday, January 29, 2009

NDTV gags freedom of speech: No criticism please!

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Please also read "NDTV to honor Anti-Hindu bigot MF Hussain" and Video: A Viewer exposes NDTV Barkha Dutt's bias.

It looks like it is not just Antonia Maino aka Sonia Gandhi who has a loathe for freedom of speech, there is also a section of media in such league, who on one hand protest their innards out at a mere mention of Government regulation on the press (so they should, I support them on it iff they follow some code of conduct and report the news as it is and not give sensational commentary), but on the other hand they themselves are trying to gag the free speech and opinion of the people. This time on the receiving end is a fellow blogger. Apparently, NDTV and its editor Ms. Barkha Dutt have forced a blogger Chyetanya Kunte to retract his views which he expressed in a post, aptly named so, "Shoddy journalism". He started his post by saying,
Appalling journalism. Absolute blasphemy! As I watch the news from home, I am dumbfounded to see Barkha Dutt of NDTV break every rule of ethical journalism in reporting the Mumbai mayhem. Take a couple of instances for example:
He then continued on to give specific example supporting his views.

Thanks to B Shantanu for bringing this to others notice in his post "Of “Hindu Hooligans” and “MIM Activists”". In this post, Shantanu has done a very informative and nice comparison between media's approach to the despicable attack by hooligans in Mangalore with the macabre assaults on Taslima Nasreen by radical Muslim extremists conveniently called as MIM activists by the biased media.

Chaitanya in his post "Shoddy journalism" had spoken his mind out on the ethics of journalism followed by NDTV and its editor Ms. Barkha Dutt during 11/26 Mumbai terrorist attacks. He questioned how news channels behaved during such emergency situation and how their irresponsible quest for oneupmanship may have caused loss of lives and may have hurt the rescue efforts of the security forces by unintentionally helping terrorists by showing the whole rescue operation live. Also, by giving out some sensitive information. But looks like NDTV doesn't have a taste for criticism and doesn't like to be held accountable for any mistakes done, if any.

Faiz Dadarkar give his views on "Bombay Terrorist attack - Media responsibility" below:

WE, THE PEOPLE - The Mumbai tragedy and the English language news media by Mukul Kesavan, The Telegraph

We the pupil by Saubhik Chakrabarti, Indian Express

The channel box carnage by Mohan Ramamoorthy, Express Buzz

Three days of Mumbai terror reporting by The Hoot
The media behaved as if the country was so terrified it came to a standstill. As if Madhya Pradesh did not go to polls, as if Delhi did not vote, as if a former Prime Minister, V P Singh, did not pass away ANJALI DESHPANDE and S.K. PANDE of the Delhi Union of Journalists detail their observations.
The mayhem in Mumbai: readers react by The Hoot
Was it necessary to provide 24-hour coverage of the hostage crisis? Did it do anything for the viewers, the security forces, the helpless hostages, Mumbai city or the nation…?
MEDIA AND THE ELITE: Mumbai Tragedy Has Brought Out The Worst In Both by Suhit Sen, The Statesman
THE electronic media and the Mumbai elite ~ represented inexplicably by an overwhelming and, not at all paradoxically, eminently underwhelming contingent from Bollywood ~ have not covered themselves with glory after the terrorist strike on Mumbai. On offer from the media were crass sentimentality, over-the-top jingoism and an elite bias that was shocking. From the elite there was a mix of elitist foibles ~ an inexcusably self-centred response to a national crisis; a deeply anti-democratic, oligarchic view of how the country should be run; hypersensitivity about rights married to insensitivity to duties; and a deplorable lack of understanding or even engagement with public affairs.

The worst offender was NDTV 24x7’s We the People, anchored by Ms Barkha Dutt, though CNN-IBN was not very far behind. The crux of the gripe against the news channel is an elitist bias that could be spotted with eyes wide shut. On every talk show and news capsule the people paraded were from the well-heeled set ~ with a large dose of Bollywood and the entertainment industry ~ with a token policeman and politician thrown in. The latter, it must be said, made more sense than the rest of the crew put together. There were, to be sure, token references to the attack on the railway terminus and the deaths there ~ but they were not really in the frame. What was on offer in We the People was stomach-churningly nauseating tokenism ~ with a man who had lost most of his family brought into the studio, his privacy shredded to bits and a spectacle mounted, replete with histrionics from the anchor that would make anyone cringe. Such treatment, needless to say, was not meted out to the smart set from the five-star hotels. The patronising tone was unreal.
Week 1 - Post 26/11 - Quo Vadis News Media ? by Harini Calamur 'Gargi'

People have sharply reacted to this muzzling attitude by NDTV:

Blogger Silenced by NDTV by DesiPundit

Indian Blogosphere Condemns NDTV’s Bullying of Blogger Chyetanya Kunte Over Criticism of Barkha Dutt by Gaurav Mishra
Bloggers were scathing in their criticism of Barkha Dutt’s sensationalistic coverage of the 11/26 Mumbai terror attack, accusing her of broadcasting sensitive information about the position of hostages and security troops, sensationalizing the news coverage, and being borderline hysterical, in general. The National Security Guard, the Naval Chief, and the Information & Broadcasting Ministry had also criticized Indian news television coverage of the crisis. This groundswell of criticism prompted mainstream media to join in (The Hindu, The Indian Express) and forced Barkha Dutt and NDTV to go on the defensive.

The Role of Indian Televison Media in the 11/26 Mumbai Terror Attack by Gaurav Mishra

NDTV needs to Apologise by Blogger News Network

Shame on NDTV and Barkha Dutt by Shripriya

Freedom of Speech - challenged yet again! by Prasoon

NDTV - Self-righteous, ill-advised or both? by Gaurav Sabnis

Following is a lecture by Dr. Subramanian Swamy, National President, Janata Party on Freedom of Speech suppressed and gagged by Government of India. I guess add on a few more names on to that list now.

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