Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Bad Humour

The last post was a bad attempt at humour, which is why I steer clear of writing humour.
Now you know.
I wanted to use this post to highlight just how fortunate most journalists sitting in Delhi really are today. You can afford to be lazy, call and email your contacts and sit in the luxury of an air-conditioned office or travel in air-conditioned cars all the time. The media is relatively free, yes some might argue that we are beholden to corporate interests and would bend over backwards for our advertisers - even if they are lying twats like the Ponytail. But there are parts of this country - Chattisgarh, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh come to mind where the media is caught in the crossfire of political interests. I'm no fan of Naxalism, but some of the means used by the government to combat the 'Red Terror' would make the Chinese seem humane.
But, from all that I have been reading, and I don't read anything about this in India's remarkably international-blind media (yesterday's Afghan attack aside) that reports on the madness that is taking place in Sri Lanka. Other than The Hindu, whose international focus is at the other extreme (an interview with Bashar Al-Assad on the front page a few weeks ago?) Indian papers and TV channels, even the mainstream ones have an extremely blinkered international opinion (the Hindi channel's India stops at the end of the cowbelt with Bombay being a distant enclave). The Indian government supports (and always has supported) some rather unpleasant regimes - Myanmar and Zimbabwe among them in its self interest - we want a permanent seat on the Security Council after all (the BCCI was loathe to lose a vote in the form of Zimbabwe, so...).
Anyway, coming to the point, the media has been under severe duress in Sri Lanka. There is not much someone can do sitting 2000kms away in New Delhi, but I can hyperlink. Visit the site, show your support, and if your publication or TV channel does look at the international scene beyond the PM's Hokkaido visit where he generally gets ignored and is told to reduce carbon emissions (lets shut off the generators that power the call centres - that would reduce our carbon profile who cares if the Americans crib) write about this sometime.


Anonymous said...

In July last year, Hindustan Times lost its Editor-in-Chief Chaitanya Kalbag. Almost a year down the line, while HT is yet to find a replacement for Kalbag, it has now lost two more senior hands who were managing the paper. Managing Editor Pankaj Paul and Editor-Delhi, Rahul Sharma, have both quit.

The exits of these senior hands were announced this morning through an internal mail put out by Shobhana Bhartia, Vice-chairperson and Editorial Director of HT Media, and also confirmed to exchange4media by CEO Rajiv Verma.

Paul, a graphics and design expert based in the US for long, was brought in as Managing Editor around the middle of 2007. He has not been keeping in good health while in India and has been keen to go back to the US. He had earlier worked in American newspapers like The News Journal, The Palm Beach Post and The Philadelphia Daily News. He had moved in from The News Journal at Wilmington, where he was Managing Editor for niche and new initiatives.

Rahul Sharma was brought in by Kalbag from Reuters Singapore as Resident Editor-Delhi soon after he took over in July last year. Sharma is moving to Dubai as Editor of Khaleej Times. Prior to moving to Reuters, he was with The Economic Times.

Sharma will be joining Khaleej Times by the middle of July. He is taking over editorial charge of the No. 1 daily in the Gulf region at a time when it has entered into a tie-up with the International Herald Tribune

Anonymous said...

There is a change of guard at Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd again. Pradeep Guha, CEO, ZEEL, is moving out of the organisation, and Punit Goenka, who is the current Network Operating Officer, is taking over as CEO. Guha and ZEEL officials have confirmed the development to exchange4media and further informed that this change takes place with immediate effect.

Confirming the same to exchange4media, Rajendra Sinh, Group Director – Human Resources, Essel Group, said, “ZEEL and Pradeep Guha have decided to part ways. Punit Goenka takes charge of ZEEL as CEO.”

Guha added, “I have some plans and options, but I would like to speak about them shortly.”

The industry has been rife with speculations of Guha exiting ZEEL for some time now, however, both ZEEL officials and Pradeep Guha had been denying it till today’s development. This development puts all speculations to rest now.

After a stint of almost three decades, Guha had exited the Times Group to join the Zee Group in the first quarter of 2005. In the last three years, much has happened in Zee under Guha’s leadership. From a revamp of the Group and its various channels to new initiatives like Zee’s foray into print through Diligent Media (a JV of Zee Group and Bhaskar Group) are some of the developments at the Group under Guha’s guidance.

Punit Goenka has been actively involved in all aspects of the Group. From being the head of just the flagship channel Zee TV, Goenka went on to become the Network Operating Officer in November 2007. He has actively engaged with various aspects of broadcasting, including the growth of ZEEL in the international markets. Goenka is Essel Group’s Chairman Subhash Chandra’s son.

In the last few months, Guha has been involved with other areas such as development of a digital company to the launch of an OOH company, Street Culture.

When contacted by exchange4media, company insiders on the condition of anonymity shared that Guha’s departure was in the offing for some time. One reason, as some stated, was that Guha had been occupied with his own businesses on the side. Insiders also informed that Chandra, who was away on an overseas trip to London, agreed to the advice of Corporate Human Resource Director Rajendra Sinh when he was informed of this, and the only way forward then was to bring in Goenka to take charge of ZEEL.

Goenka is expected to settle into his role easily as he has been actively involved in ZEEL and is the heir apparent, having performed the roles assigned to him in the network well in the last few months.

It would be interesting to watch Punit Goenka, the entrepreneur, lead the company in this very competitive media environment.

Anonymous said...

Will the SP be divided? Or is that a ploy to get some ministerial berths? Didn't know whom to ask :)

Meanwhile Rajdeep TV is shifting towards BJP?

Amit N Sharma said...

In full agreement with this hindsight of how easy life is for Journo's sitting their air conditioned offices in Delhi.
And the trend has creeped in from the working fabric and style of Foreign organizations in India.....BBC World News is a case in point...The Government in India comes into a minority after the Left Front pulls out....And BBC carries this story in a two minute chat with their India Correspondent Chris Morris-that too from teh studios!!!! Its a pity that the top BBC reporter in India doesnt even find it feasible to venture out from teh plush BBC office in connought Place and move a few km towards Parliament and gives a LIVE Chat!!!!!!!!!! Considering the fact that BBC has an 8 member team for Eng News, this clearly reflects the sorrt state of affairs in teh beeb!!!!!!!!!! And their HIndi radio counterparts as usual are busy copy and pasting news copies on all the latest developments from Agency copies!!!!!!!! Give us a break guys....Do something imaginative, Go LIVE, break some new stories.....As the time will come soon when people will forget BBC's illustrious journos like Mark Tully and Daniel Lak............

Anonymous said...

hey...haven't heard from you on the new tabloid that ET is going to come up with in the next 2-3 months. It's going to be on personal finance...do you think, the BCCL conglomerate is on T-20 spree against the magazines in the same personal finance sphere. Will be interesting to know your views.

who said...

we'll shut off the generators the power call centres as long as you and your journalist colleagues send your paychecks. people run families working there you know.

also we could save some trees if we stop printing newspapers.mos of the stuff in them is trashy news anyways. :)

ajay kumar said...

Great analysis of the BBC 's presence in India by Mr Sharma. Its a pity or is it BBC's apathy, whatever it is, this stands true in whatever the BBC has done in the country. They are quick to jump on stories on female infanticide, Poor sanitation, Tsunami bunglings, Pligt of Kashmiri muslims and Pandits , but they will never do stories which are worthwhile or which make a difference to the world from an indian perspective. Quite understandable, as they hardly have journos within them- All they have are Agency copy writers, Hindi and English Translators, ex-AIR people who specialized in Yuvvaani kind of stuff and outside contributors who have no loyalty towards BBC i suppose. Pathetic, to sum it up.