Sometimes you get genuinely surprised at reading certain things, for example when The V spewed bile at Narendra Modi and the BJP in general, you would read his articles for the language, and comment on the prose. But last Sunday I was genuinely surprised at Counterpoint, where The V, decided to attack everybody's favourite I&B minister, someone who makes Sushma Swaraj look like a forward thinking woman. But, for someone who thinks that Sonia Gandhi and the Sardarji make the best couple in India since Raj Kapoor and Nargis, and this government is the best thing to happen to India since Moet Hennesey set up shop here, the level of vitriol in this article took me by surprise. I mean, all the other guys in the media (UndieTV and RajdeepTV) were still attacking Modi for 'banning' Parzania in Gujarat, but here was The V going hammer and tongs at PRDM.
Something fishy was up, this would not happen in the regular course of things, I mean to the best of my knowledge we had not transcended into a space-warp because Swapan was still at his eloquent right-wing best. So the world hadn't turned around and I hadn't drunk too much Bourbon on Saturday that had sent me into a parallel universe.
So I did what all good journalists do, I figured I would ask around, and I really didn't have to ask to much. It seems that Papermint, the paper with a hole, has more trouble than just a simple and complete lack of readable content and have even junior PR people laugh at it (more on that later). It seems, the Ministry has objections to WSJ content in mint. I don't know the exact details, but (and I won't be surprised if Times is playing a hand here) it is being argued that since mint, as a newspaper, and not a journal/general-interest magazine is not following prescribed Syndication norms and to top that there are also issues with putting WSJ on the masthead, which the Registrar Office of Newspapers for India (RNI) seems to have an issue with.
Now, according to some people, it seems that while sending official communiques to mint, PRDM has not been giving executives from the company run by his Congress parliamentary colleague any attention, refusing to meet them and going so far as to prevent his underlings from taking any decisions on the matter. Now, if party loyalties are not being followed in the first place, it isn't very difficult to break them isn't it?
I have no beef with the article, I think Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi is a person who should do his job and not try to police the media. I have said this before, Dasmunshi has allowed Indian football to fall to depths of hell, and even the Indian league is populated by has-been players from Nigeria and Brazil. At the same time, he wants to pass some extremely draconian laws controlling the media in India which even the Bush Administration would never do (but something more from the Putin book of media control - no, not quite that because that usually involves masked killers, but he is getting there). But as said, I was genuinely surprised by the tone of the article and the very fact it appeared and while some might argue that this is a very cynical reason why the article was written, in this industry it makes complete sense.
Sadly though, if this was the main problem for Papermint, one might understand, but yesterday I had a long chat with a colleague from Bombay and his one word reaction went 'Bakwaas', that paper has some serious repair work to do. Really!