The Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, currently in India, is expected to address concerns in India over attacks on Indian students.The issue blew up in May this year after a spate of attacks on Indian students amid allegations of racism.The Australian leaders have been defending the safeguards and measures taken since then, but every time there is a fresh attack the media goes to town with the issue.With over 80,000 students enrolling in Australian every year the attacks, whatever their nature, have hardly dampened the outflow of students.Rudd won’t be the first to offer a reassurance and given the regularity with which incidents are reported it doesn’t look like he would be the last.Indian students continue to be interested in Australian education.Is this because they can sense that the issue is has been blown out of proportion?Or are they voting with their feet on the state of Indian education system?Are we still sold out over the lure of a ‘foreign degree’ and willing to run the risks for it?
The war of words between the billionaire Ambani brothers took an unexpected turn when younger sibling Anil offered an olive branch to elder brother Mukesh in a bid to resolve a feud over the split of the Reliance business empire in 2005.
The widespread coverage the Indian media has given to the squabble between the brothers has led to a debate on social networking sites such as Twitter, with some accusing news organisations of playing host to a reality show or soap opera that stars the Ambani family to boost ratings.
Prominent columnist Vir Sanghvi wrote through his Twitter account virsanghvi: “Do you think some network should plan a reality show on the Ambani battle? Or are they doing it already on the news?”
It’s actually on page 17 of the Hindustan Times. The Mail Today, which leads on liquor being allowed for sale in shopping malls, puts it on page 16. The Hindu, which also finds space for liquor sales liberalization on its front page, puts it on page 20.
Why is such major news in Asia relegated to back pages of Indian newspapers (there are some exceptions, of course) ?
The toll in India from the H1N1 pandemic rose this week, but a look at the screaming TV headlines and graphic visuals in newspapers would suggest a country under siege from something akin to the bubonic plague.
Dramatic headlines and graphic visuals in the media; reporters looking alarmed behind their masks; commuters with handkerchiefs and scarves around their mouths; and long lines of people outside screening centres, imagining the worst.
Even as the health minister and state officials appealed for calm and warned against hoarding masks and flu drug Tamiflu, the red splashes of breaking news and the tone verging on hysteria were unabated.
A crucial part of gunman Mohammad Ajmal Kasab's confession at the Mumbai attack trial has been censored by the judge on the grounds that it could inflame religious tensions between Hindus and Muslims in India. After stunning the court on Monday by admitting guilt in the the three-day rampage that killed 166 people, Kasab gave further testimony on Tuesday that included details about his training by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a Pakistan-based militant group on U.S. and Indian terrorist lists.
The front-page report in today's The Hindu, which noted the judge's gag order in its sub-header, put it this way:
Ajmal made some crucial statements on Tuesday as part of his confession. They pertained to the purpose of the attack as indicated by the perpetrators and masterminds and the message they wanted to send to the government of India. Ajmal also wanted to convey a message to his handlers. However, this part of his confession faces a court ban on publication.
“I am happy to meet you, but my mandate is to tell you that the territory of Pakistan must not be used for terrorism.” This was how Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh began his crucial meeting with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari in Russia’s Yekaterinburg on Tuesday.
Those few dramatic moments may have served Singh two crucial purposes: Pakistan could not showcase the meeting as proof that it was again business as usual between the two countries. Second, Singh managed to preclude any criticism back home that India had capitulated before Pakistan.
“As the film revels in the violence, degradation and horror, it invites you, the Westerner, to enjoy it, too…Slumdog Millionaire is poverty porn,” wrote London Times’ columnist Alice Miles.
The phrase “poverty porn” spread across the Indian media as commentators nodded in agreement or shook their heads even before the film premiered in its native Mumbai and India could (legally) watch it.
A group of the city’s slum dwellers, including children, protested against the word “dog”. A social activist filed a defamation case in Patna. And this week, hundreds of slum dwellers in Bihar’s capital ransacked a movie theatre demanding the title be changed.
Rahul Gandhi spoke at a news conference in Amritsar last month. Somewhat predictably newspapers and TV channels covering the event focused on his comments on the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 and his defense against being called a rookie by a seasoned political rival.
They ignored the context of his visit — to review preparations for the local youth Congress elections, being conducted with greater involvement of party workers at the grass-roots level. It’s a practice he apparently wants to replicate across other states.
If Gandhi is serious about it and succeeds in doing so, it will further the cause of internal party democracy, which is a major blind spot in the working of our democracy.
from Global News Journal:
The concept of a televised war was born in January 1991, when news networks reported live on the missiles slamming into Baghdad and millions watched from the comfort of their living rooms as tracer fire lit the sky above Iraq's capital. A decade later, the world watched in minute-by-minute horror as the twin towers came crashing down in New York.
Now, with the ferocious militant attacks in Mumbai, we have arrived in "the age of celebrity terrorism". Paul Cornish of Chatham House argues that apart from killing scores of people, what the Mumbai gunmen wanted was "an exaggerated and preferably extreme reaction on the part of governments, the media and public opinion".
It's too early to tell if governments will respond with extreme reaction, but the saturation coverage of the drama in the world's media would suggest that, at least on this level, the killers were successful.
Just when I thought news trivialisation by a section of Indian media could not get worse, it did. And how.
In a control room somewhere on the French-Swiss border, scientists of CERN, the European Center for Nuclear Research, waited for the first signals to come in from a $9 billion particle collider as they embarked on an experiment to unlock secrets of the universe.
In a town somewhere in Madhya Pradesh, farmer Biharilal’s daughter Chayya sat glued to the TV screen, taking in the graphics and amateur video game imagery put together by vernacular news channels who said the experiment would bring about the end of the world.
The fact that I’m sitting here writing this is proof enough the world did not end. But Chayya, who killed herself fearing what doomsday prophets said would be the experiment’s cataclysmic effects, is not around to see that.
Sensationalism in 24×7 news coverage is relatively new to India — a concept borrowed from the larger and more prolific western media. In India, every road accident, murder and rape makes delightful copy for news channels vying for the attention of elusive viewers with serious commitment issues.
In a country where a sudden media boom led by rapid economic growth and freeing of entertainment and media markets has resulted in a plethora of channels all “bringing news first”, viewers switch loyalties before you can utter the word ‘TRP’.
The viewers have seen it all, they control the remote control and unless you hold them down with the right concoction of sensation, sleaze and news, they just won’t stay.
Which meant that the fear psychosis created by vernacular channels on the biggest scientific experiment of our time spread like wildfire across the country. The rationalists logged on to the internet to know more about the Big Bang project while the religious held prayer sessions.
What shocked me was how ill-informed and factually incorrect some of these channels were on scientific trivia. A channel repeatedly referred to this “big dark hole” in the universe in the same hushed tone little Red Riding Hood’s mother would use to caution her against the big bad wolf.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued an advisory under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act 1995 to two Indian TV channels asking them to show restraint in the coverage of the Big Bang experiment.