Monday, June 11, 2007

Assorted notes

Went to a dinner on Saturday, lots of media people there and felt great to catch up with people who have spent the better part of the previous month in the badlands of Haryana. Anyway, the discussion turned to blogging and after attacking one, now completely defunct blog, I managed to convince people that there was a need for a 'critical' media blog. You know, the sort of blog where people can bitch out the stories that go into news channels - like trying to comprehend what exactly is running in the minds of people at TV Today, because I would would certainly like to smoke some of the shit they're on. But beyond just dissecting the news, there should also be critical commentary on things like accentuated accents - I mean the terribly fake accents you come across sometimes. Or the godawful dressing sense of some reporters who seriously look like the car dragged them into work in the morning.
My new blog is currently a work in progress and it seems unlikely that I will get around to launching it before July - thinking of buying a domain name and contemplating a switch to WordPress, and given what I just wrote, debating whether there is space for a good collaborative media blog. Not the typical names of oldies and keeping a blog restricted to one part of the country or one type of media - a good, and that word is very bloody important - good media blog, run not by people who sit idly by and constantly critique the media, but by fairly intelligent insiders.
Someone sent me a mail asking me about the marital status of a prominent female anchor, and even though I know, it is in such bad taste to comment on why someone did something or even to write about who on earth is sleeping with whom. I will gossip about these people over a beer or two, but this blog, and I have made the mistake previously, should not become too bitchy. I don't want to say that someone is warped in the head because he goes around dipping his wick everywhere or that certain reporters have slept around for stories/jobs. It happens, but nothing off my back, right!
Anyway, another person wrote in saying why I don't write about radio. Which got me thinking, why don't I write about radio? Well, MP3 player in car and a couple of iPod's essentially, but then I made the mistake of hearing the latest channel in Delhi, and lets put it like this - I want to release a couple of big cats in their studio (pun intended), because that had to be the most infernal crap I have ever heard. That said, some of the other new channels are pretty nice, but sadly I don't live in Bangalore and therefore don't get Indigo, which is a brilliant channel by the way!


Anonymous said...

Methinks it will be quite a challenge ... errrm, getting "fairly intelligent insiders" I mean ;-) ... not that there still aren't some left ...

- Bona

Anonymous said...

A blog on the news world. But not bitchy? Countrywide? Ambitious aren't you?

I get why you felt disgusted when someone arbitly asked you the marital status of a female anchor.

But I don't get why you're against the idea of talking about reporters who sleep around for stories/jobs.

The moment they compromise their integrity in their professional lives in this manner they lose the right to have a life above comment.

Also, suppose a reporter sleeps around for a story. If it's a good/big story at least others should know it wasn't a great feat of investigative journalism but just the equivalent of money on the dresser.

Another point of view is that if a reporter does sleep around for a story, favours or jobs, others should know about it for the simple reason that it enables them to take a call on that reporter.

They can mark that person down as someone they can whore around with or they can mark that person down as someone to be careful of at the workplace. They decide.



Anonymous said...

whats the big deal about reporters sleeping around for news stories? its their choice and their business...who are we to pass moral judgements on that? or does it mean that just becasue you've slept around for a role/story your private life should be up for all to see?

K said...

First, one thought I would like to make Saurabh. Ninety percent or more of the stories we hear of the people who sleep around are pretty much untrue, spread by jealous colleagues. Anyway, yes, there are cases when you have heard of stories being true, for god's sake there are at least four 'dubious' mobile phone videos of female anchors/reporters purportedly shot by seniors in the same office and there are other stories, which are fairly well-detailed. But, I really would not want any blog I write on to become like that. Which is why I'm possibly going to remove post posts from earlier. Also, if you do want to set up a blog or a forum where people can rip personal lives to shreds, go ahead. I just don't want to do that.
Ambitious - maybe, maybe I am chewing off way more than one can handle, but enough decent reporters do have blogs, but are too off-and-on. Lately, as you start climbing the ladder you realise that you less and less time to blog yourself. I make it a point to get in a post at least twice or thrice a week, but I don't have the patience of some bloggers, nor do I want to pontificate 10,000 word posts on geopolitical affairs, usually with little idea. Blogs, should, no, they need to be snappy. 200-300 words, maybe the occasional post spreading to 500.
Can it be pulled off, maybe. Don't know.

Anonymous said...

Sure K. That most of these stories are probably untrue is the best reason not to publish. That you don't want your blog to be Gossip Central is another great reason not to publish. I completely get that.

I do submit that when people, of their own accord, do personal stuff in their professional lives and maybe even claim merit/credit on the basis of that, they put their personal lives, inasmuch as they overlap with their professions, up for scrutiny.

And to the anonymous person who wrote, "Just because you've slept around for a role/story your private life should be up for all to see?"

Not necessarily. But if your story/role does come out, don't complain or crib about it. You put it out their yourself when you brought your personal life into your professional life.

And if someone has whored around to get a job/role/story/assignment, that kind of intercourse isn't personal, it's professional and so open to discussion.

If however it's someone having sex with their husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/lover/hoooker/mistress then it doesn't qualify for discussion.

I realise you may find the difference too nuanced to understand dear anonymous. Don't worry too much about it.

K. Heck. I didn't mean to sound discouraging when I said ambitious. Good thing too already.


TYLER said...

cud i've the names?

Anonymous said...

why should someone else's personal or professional life be up for dicsussion saurabh? who gives the third person that right?

the only time they can be asked questions is if its hurting in, if the information is factually incorrect or if its biased. thats it.

if i choose to sleep with my boss or my source, thats really my problem.

Anonymous said...

Why shouldn't someone else's professional life be up for discussion? And it's not who gives me the right, it's what. The answer of course, Article 19 of the Constitution.

(Really who said anything about asking questions.)

Sure, it's your problem if you choose to sleep with your boss or source.

But it's up to me to call you out on that if I choose.

If you can't take the heat then get out of the kitchen.

Maybe you should think twice before doing something you know you'll want to hide. And if you still go ahead and do it, don't crib about it coming out later.


Tyler< > said...

saurabh...Now that you mentioned article 19, i'd recommend you read that up for exceptions as well.
and while you're at it, also read in detail the provisions of article 21.
don't show off ur general knowledge without clarifying your base. article 19 doesn't allow malicious gossip. and article 21 contravenes any invasion of privacy.
there's more... you can look up and book on constitutional law for that.
as for ANON suggesting the right to sleep for stories.
it's a part of the trade and has been since long...
there's no honour amongst thieves here.

B Shantanu said...

This may be slightly out of place here (on this post) - in which case, forgive me but what do you (and your readers) think of the rapidly deteriorating quality in news and TV journalism; See this, for instance:

and if you have time, this category of posts:

Srikanth said...

All the pro-Hindu communities on Orkut such as RSS,VHP and Haindava Keralam have been deleted by Orkut without giving any reasons.
The RSS community had over twenty-thousand members.
None of these communities had violated any of the Orkut service terms.
However,there are hundreds of porn and Islamic hate communities that continue to exist on Orkut.

All this points to an Islamic mole inside Google.
Efforts are being made to get the communities re-instated.
I request you to give this issue publicity on your widely-read blog.

K said...

My widely read blog, I should be flattered. But let me guess, Sonia Gandhi fan-clubs are still running on Orkut?

Anonymous said...

A serious comment deserves a serious answer.

Okay this is Article 19.

19. Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech, etc.-

(1) All citizens shall have the right-

(a) to freedom of speech and expression;

(2) Nothing in sub-clause (a) of clause (1) shall affect the operation of any existing law, or prevent the State from making any law, in so far as such law imposes reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub-clause in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offense.

Let's see. Privacy isn't listed anywhere in the exceptions. And the exception merely allows the state to make a law abridging the right conferred by 19 (1)(a) for certain reasons which don't seem to include privacy. It isn't fair is it. Boo hoo hoo. Get the law changed and then we'll talk.

You say Article 21 (Right to Life and Personal Liberty) confers the Right to Privacy on individuals. Strictly speaking, that's not true. The Supreme Court has interpreted Article 21 to include privacy. Great. Even if that makes your case, which it doesn't (next point), I'd like to know the law under which the the alleged transgressor of your 'right to privacy' is going to be prosecuted. You do know there has to be separate law, right?

Let's see. The tort of Defamation? S. 499, IPC? To which a complete defence is that the statement made is true and in the public interest. Well, if it isn't true then I probably deserve to be in the slammer. Which is why I agreed with K that since 90 % of the stories are lies it's best to avoid getting into it. But if it is true, which I would have to be sure it were before I published, then the only thing I have left is to prove that it is in the public interest.

So here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to tell the court that if so and so whored around for a story and claims that story to be true then the public need to know how that story was obtained because then it quite possibly raises doubts on the veracity and neutrality of the story. There are more defences I could think up. Meanwhile, poor ol' so and so gets screwed twice, first by me and then by the courts, when they throws out his/her suit.

And even then all of this is only assuming I publish or broadcast. Try and enforce this against me if I just discuss it with someone. And the law is delightfully vague and so full of holes (even where it exists) when it might have something to say about me publishing on the internet.

Tyler. I'm not showing off my general knowledge. And I didn't have to look up any book on Constitutional Law. This is specialised knowledge. I completed law school. Did you?

Maybe there's no honour among thieves. That doesn't make it right or justifiable. And that it's been part of the trade for a long time is no reason for it's perpetuation.

Saurabh :)

Anonymous said...

FCUK saurabh. You can be my lawyer anytime.
Where'd u study law?

Anonymous said...

dont throw law at us saurabh..i just think yu have ants up for ants big time

Anonymous said...

Anonymous No. 1: Delhi University, Faculty of Law, Campus Law Centre.

Anonymous No. 2: Ants? Really? Now that is a brilliant rebuttal!


Anonymous said...

Really saurabh?
You actually completed your legal studies?
I'm suprised they gave you a degree!
And to reiterate my point which you so conveniently ignored...
Article 19like any other article has provisions for exceptions.
So when 19(1)(a) says: 'all citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression'
There's a 'reasonable restriction' added.
And the 6th exception is 'defamation' which prohibits the use of article 19's protection to hurt anyone's reputation. Defamation as you may have studied is a civil as well as criminal offence. In this case the protagonist sleeps for her job/story which is immoral... But NOT illegal. At the most you can try her for adultery if she's married. But i believe laws against adultery are very ineffective against women it this country.
That's GK.
Also, if you are referring to the FREEDOM OF PRESS, under our Constitution the freedom of press is not higher than the freedom of an ordinary citizen.

And remember, half truth is worse than a lie.


Anonymous said...

Feel surprised Tyler.

Sure. Defamation is both a civil and criminal offence (you got that right sport). You obviously don't know the distinction between defamation and privacy. Two different things. That's alright, it is probably too subtle for you to understand. It also makes all the difference.

And since 19 (1)(a) talks about defamation to which I have already explained my complete defence, you still don't have a leg to stand on.

I'd love to see someone file a tort for defamation. Their grandkids would be dead and gone before the case was decided. A tort action? In this country? Haah.

I never claimed anyone sleeping around for a story or a job was doing something illegal. I don't even consider it immoral. Morality is relative anyway.

I have no idea why you brought up adultery.

Again. I never mentioned freedom of the press. Sure. The same freedom applies to the press that applies to an ordinary citizen. And thank God for that.

Half truth is worse than a lie. Gotcha Tyler! What about irrelevant bullshit? Is that better?