India Insight

Journalist Sardesai sours on Twitter: “Had hoped to interact; failed.”

(The following post contains some essential Hindi translation help from my colleagues Arnika Thakur, Suraj Balakrishnan and Havovi Cooper. Any remaining errors or lack of precision are my fault as I reviewed and participated in all translations. Additionally, any opinions here are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Thomson Reuters Corp.)

From the desk of Rajdeep Sardesai, editor in chief of Indian news network IBN Live (I stitched these sentences together from his Twitter account):

My timeline suggests little space for healthy debate/discussion on twitter. So will no longer raise any political issues on the medium. Will continue writing/talking on issues of natl interest in print/tv, but not on twitter. Will continue to write in print/speak on tv. But will no longer seek twitter as a medium for public debate. Had hoped to interact; failed. A journalist has only his integrity/credibility. That has been abused on this medium for too long by unknown people. Time to switch off.

Or: I’ve had it with you awful people. You are intolerable and I don’t have to tolerate your abuse.

Indeed.

I can’t determine whether Sardesai plans to leave Twitter or whether he is going to save just his political coverage and thoughts for the papers and for television. I also don’t know which comments or which Twitter users led him to this decision, though I have asked him these questions.

Elsewhere in India: girls, mobile phones and slapping your tormentors

Here’s a short roundup of regional news in India that attracted our interest this weekend. Any opinions expressed by the author are no doubt ill informed and ridiculous. Aditya Yogi Kalra contributed to this post.

Another politician, another reference to women being the root of all man’s troubles. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh blamed “girlfriends, bikes and  mobile phones” for the rising number of road accidents in the state.  ”It’s a common sight to see youngsters driving two-wheelers while talking on cellphones which often leads to accidents. Youths should avoid such habits,” Singh said. (PTI via CNBC-TV18)

Shivakumar of Uliyakovil, Kollam, was arrested after promising to marry a woman, but demanding that she sell one of her kidneys first. “The victim was identified as Manju (alias Chinchu). Police said Manju had lodged a complaint in 2009. The operation to remove her kidney was conducted at KIMS Hospital in Thiruvananthapuram.” Shivakumar reportedly abandoned Manju, and took the kidney, which he sold for 1 million rupees, or $18,289. (TNN)

Forget journalistic ethics. The Radia tapes have wider implications

British press magnate Lord Northcliffe once stated: “News is something someone wants suppressed. Everything else is just advertising”.
Ratan Tata, Chairman of the Tata Group, attends the annual general meeting of Tata Consultancy Services in Mumbai July 2, 2010 REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Files
It’s interesting, then, that in a season of multi-billion dollar scandals that has seen India’s 24/7 news machine at its probing, questioning, investigative best, one — perhaps bigger and more serious than all the rest — has failed to make the hourly bulletins.

Taped conversations involving corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, anonymously leaked from a reported set of around 5,000 recordings made by India’s Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax authorities, appear to reveal the unholy nexus between India’s business leaders and the political policymaking machine.

But due to the embarrassing proximity that the Indian media elite have to the most controversial dialogues amongst her web of business, political and journalism sources, full-blown coverage has not been seen.

Women in technology – “unmarketable product in marriage market?”

I moderated a panel discussion for an in-house ‘Women in Technology’ event in Bangalore this month.

A generic picture of a woman using the computer. REUTERS/Catherine Benson/FilesThe three women on the panel were an impressive lot — a former defence scientist, a renowned mathematician currently on the Prime Minister’s panel and a former-CEO-turned-entrepreneur.

But there was one common thread that bound them together — their fight against society, among other odds, to gain their glories.

Searching for a brighter future for India

Sometimes journalists are accused of only writing about bad news, so I wanted to share with you a wonderful day I had last Friday travelling to Hyderabad.

For a change, even the journey was smooth. I went on a brand-new plane with one of India’s new airlines — not only was the service good, but it actually left exactly on time, and arrived early. A bit of a rarity in my recent experience of India’s congested airports and airspace.

And when I arrived, what an airport. The Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, which was opened in March, is truly state-of-the-art, incredibly clean, very spacious and stylish. A public-private partnership, it would grace any country in the world, and clearly had been built with room for Hyderabad to expand. Again, a pleasant change from Delhi’s chaos, where the airport is several steps behind demand.The private sector won’t solve all of India’s problems, but here were a couple of examples of liberalisation at its best, of reforms which have unleashed the country’s vast economic potential.

  •