I hear from sources, well make that readers, that the Times Group has blocked this blog (and some more) in Bombay. I'm genuinely surprised, because I actually wanted to say good things about the ToI, like how their cricket coverage over the last week has shattered the competition - in TV as well as Print. Inside, outside and exclusive interviews - brilliant interview with Greg Chappell yesterday.
Anyway, on the ethics front, I had an interesting insight on Friday. I had gone to visit a senior executive at an airline and while waiting for him in the Corp Comm's guys office, I overheard a phone call. The phone call was made by a journalist from an organisation I once worked at, and he asked for a 'free ticket' - the CC guy laughed saying that the guy would pay the taxes, but I still was horrified. Fair enough, it is a low-cost and a return ticket would be what - maximum Rs 8,000? But still, asking for a free ticket - that is a bit wild even in my opinion. I offered to give the CC guy the number of the guy's editor, but he didn't want it. He told me with a straight face, "If he wants this, if he wants to sell his soul to me, I'll get my own back."
Of course, during the course of the conversation, it became apparent that this was 'not' an isolated incident - quite a few journalists, not particularly senior ones also try to pull their 'PRESS' status for more than skipping traffic offenses, and frankly, I was a bit shocked. I know that one or two certain airlines don't mind dispensing trips, but they give them out to very senior journalists and a free ticket is rarely wasted on those folks - because you never know, during their best Tony Bourdain impressions on Travel and Living they might just mention the airlines' name.
On another note, everybody's favourite minister PRDM now claims the idea of the draconian 'Broadcast Bill' is to save the media from 'vested interests'. Have you seen a more delusional man? Anyway, I will grant him this much, after much humming and hawing, the government has allowed us to watch 'Adult Content' between 11-5. If this means I can see movies where the 'F' word is used is every possible form I will drink to that. Anyway, it is Sunday and the Formula One race is about to begin at Sepang, so till later...