Friday, December 05, 2008

Response to Ms Barkha's defence of their 26/11 coverage - Updated

This is in response to Ms Barkha's defence of their 26/11 coverage. You can read it here

Dear Ms Barkha,

Appreciate your initiative on coming up with a spirited defense on NDTV's coverage of 26/11 and now even allowing critics from "hate groups" to post their opinion here. Is this the aftereffect of assembly election results?. 

At the onset, we thank the efforts of likes of you because of which we were able to watch our motherland being ravaged - Live.  At times, We were also able to see your emotional side, some call it "hallmark" melodrama but I believe it was genuine. However, all this donot absolve NDTV from its abysmal  record on ethical journalism based on "fly on wall" concept.

In past, we have watched with horror and anger the NDTV reports which were completely divergent from the mood of the nation or reality. Your gaffe of “Modi might win but he still won’t get the visa to the US.” after his emphatic second term win was the classic example. Even NDTV's reporting during the election period has left no doubt on which horse NDTV is betting.

Now coming back to your rebuttal of specific charges regarding 26/11 coverage:-

1. On the issue of media respecting the security cordon. Physically yes but I fail to understand how physical cordon can limit camera view/zoom. We are not complaining on physical movement of journalist(we are confident of  journo's sense of self perseverance), we are upset on what was aired by media. The question to be answered is, has over enthusiasm for "exclusive shots" helped our detractors or whether it had put life of our commandos in risk?  Remember how NDTV cameraman kept focusing on the commandos preparing the grenade launcher!  Lastly isn't it over the top to claim credit on NSG getting an Aircraft?

2. I can only laugh at the self righteous assertion on your sensitiveness towards grief of relatives. It seems you have conveniently forgot your small chit chat with Santanu Saikia? Even if we agree on your assertion, can you make a similar claim for your colleagues at ground zero? The arrogance of one of them was disgusting.  Reminds me of the saying .... baap toh baaap. beta sava sher

3. On the issue of your singular focus on two hotels. It was amusing that most of the journos (and some of socialites who made it an occasion for their 2 minutes of fame) kept repeating how Hotel Taj represented Mumbai without realizing the fact than 90% of Mumbaikars cannot even set their foot in Hotel Taj let alone dine and wine there.  Why was there no such shrillness in 7/11?

4. In this version of NDTV response, I didnot see the name dropping.  In the previous version, you said -

In the past week, we have also received countless words of support and encouragement- from thousands of people - Indian citizens of every hue and ilk across the country, as well as some better known ones, like Narayan Murthy, Salman Rushdie, Shashi Tharoor, Sunil Khilnani and Suketu Mehta, to name just a few.

So my fist reaction was wow... if Mr. Murthy says so it might be true. But my hopes were dashed when I realised that Mr. Murthy is Non.Exe.Independent Director of NDTV. Now it would be too much to ask Mr. Murthy to criticise a organisation of which he is Director!

Post 26/11 NDTV seems to have started a campaign against the entire political class of India. I can understand your predicament on how you can blame one group (Congress et al ) without benefiting other (BJP et al.). so I guess you chose the second best available option of blaming the entire political class. But have you ever for a moment paused and thought the grave danger the nation would face if the people lose confidence on political system. You got it right when you sensed the anger in the people but it was not directed against entire political class it was directed against the so called secular brigade of this country. People are angry with your reporting because you have not sensed this anger and your actions are seen as a move to protect the actual culprits.

Following is one of the mails which seems to have originated from NDTV, Is this your official position considering this came out of your corporate affairs?

From: Sachin M. Kamble *****
Subject: Section 49-O
Date: Tuesday, December 2, 2008, 12:13 PM

Please treat this as a MUST READ. .

Did you know that there is a system in our constitution, as per the 1969 act, in section "49-O" that a person can go to the polling booth, confirm his identity, get his finger marked and convey the presiding election officer that he doesn't want to vote anyone!
Yes such a feature is available, but obviously these seemingly notorious leaders have never disclosed it. This is called "49-O".
Why should you go and say "I VOTE NOBODY"... because, in a ward, if a candidate wins, say by 123 votes, and that particular ward has received "49-O" votes more than 123, then that polling will be cancelled and will have to be re-polled. Not only that, but the candidature of the contestants will be removed and they cannot contest the re-polling, since people had already expressed their decision on them. This would bring fear into parties and hence look for genuine candidates for their parties for election. This would change the way, of our whole political system... it is seemingly surprising why the election commission has not revealed such a feature to the public.....
Please spread this news to as many as you know... Seems to be a wonderful weapon against corrupt parties in India... show your power, expressing your desire not to vote for anybody, is even more powerful than voting... so don't miss your chance. So either vote, or vote not to vote (vote 49-O) and pass this info on...
The people of India , can really use this power to save our nation". Use your voting right for a better INDIA.

Still not able to make up your mind go through the slides.

Sachin M. Kamble
Corporate Affairs
NDTV Imagine Ltd.
Cell. *****
Off. *****
Fax. ****

Lastly, one of perils as we grow in stature is we surround ourselves with people who tell us only what we want to hear and usually that's the start of the end. It would be an eye opener for you if you could take some time out of your busy schedule and visit some of communities in orkut and hear the unbiased outpouring for and against NDTV(and please be prepared for the shock). By the way, majority of Indians prefer orkut over facebook.

NDTV is an important media house, its wellbeing and longetivity is important for all of us. We as citizens of this nations hope and pray that you play your role with with utmost care and independence.



(a pseudonym I use to keep myself out of harms way...)

The author can be reached here


Saranya said...

That was superbly written. I agree with every line.

Anonymous said...

Greate post. I completly agree with what author is saying.