Saturday, June 07, 2008


"You journalists are selfish pricks", a senior PR-type told me recently after a few too many pegs. Now, a self-righteous young reporter straight out of media school would say all sorts of bullshit about how we are not, you know, the stuff you sometimes see on CV's claiming that they want to 'make a difference' and all. Sorry, I am not being cynical, but sometimes mediapersons are just utter pricks, and I must start with my creed, that is Bengali's and their irritating habit of assuming that everybody and their granduncle knows the language, and if you don't you are not worthy. Last night, thanks to another friend, I was introduced to one such gem, who insisted on using 'Phataphati', which would I guess translate into 'Awesome', and despite being the only other Bong in the room insisted on speaking to me in Bangla.

Now, I will be the first one to admit that my Bangla has improved considerably since I started out in the profession, since I'm rather 'probashi' (roughly translating into Non-Resident Bong) to use the language again, see even I do this stuff. Anyway, sometimes when people I haven't seen in months, insist in a crowd to say 'Kamon Aachesssss?' it is a bit disconcerting. Listen I'm proud of being Bong, you know cultural superiority and all, but for gods sake, I understand why several of my non-Bong friends get upset at the parochialism. And as I said, I'm guilty of it too at times, but usually only to transmit gossip. To all my Bengali friends and colleagues in the media and I know a lot of you read this, chill out on the Bangla and public places with other people around. It is irritating and kinda builds up the stereotype.

Back, to the topic at hand, why are we 'Selfish Pricks'. This gentleman contended that journalists are a self-serving bunch of hipocrites. Of course, I got on into the class-war that has been unleashed by different media organisations targeting completely different markets. Like the police in UP drawing inference to Arushi's character based, almost entirely on the non-urbane mentality of the bhaiyya's in some language channels who, much before the Noida police, questioned Arushi's character on nothing more than hearsay. This gentleman agreed with me, but he came to more important points.

"Look at the BRT corridor in South Delhi", he said, "Now had that corridor been made in Rohini or Dwarka, the media would not have uttered a peep, but the Delhi Government insisted on putting it slap-bang in the middle of an area close to homes of several senior journalists and on the route to a media orgnaisations headquarters." The guy gave me examples of how the electricity distribution company in the capital actually ensures that the electricity supply is better at Mayur Vihar than other parts since that will keep them out of the news. "Keep journalists minds cool."

"Well, isn't that any community of professionals", I argued back, "Monks and Nuns aside." The guy agreed with me, but said that the hipocrisy is aparent when the media cries bloody murder if any attempt is made at regulation citing 'Freedom of Speech". But after this Arushi thing, I really do think we deserve a regulator for the TV media. that might also stop stock market manipulation, but that is another argument for another time.


The Ahmedabad case gets even murkier, with a senior BJP functionary recently commenting, "Narendra Modi appointing a Dawood man, do you really think the world has gone nuts?" The guy argued that the ToI had been fed a cock-and-bull story, but the cop himself had over-reacted by pressing 'sedition'. Why the guy didn't file defamation, for that matter criminal defamation charges is strange. Was the guy scared the charges will not stick? Anyway, it seems there is a lot of back-channel work happening in Delhi to clear the mess in Ahmedabad, but from all indications something is going to give.

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