Posts Tagged ‘blogging’


News just in is that the Prime Minister is planning a new ministry and it is going to be named the Union Ministry for Propaganda, to be headed by Dr. Kapil Sibal with Shashi Tharoor as his Minister of State. The job of this ministry will be to ensure that any online content that criticises the First Family and the Prime Minister will first be sent for screening to the ministry concerned, and heads of these portals will be put in jail for even accepting such stuff. Just kidding, just kidding….

But what is not one bit funny is the UPA government asking google, Facebook, Yahoo and others to censor content, to supposedly protect the ‘fair’ name of the Gandhi-Nehru family and others among their list of favourites, who are constantly being lampooned on the Internet. Even more appalling is Sibal’s very Goebbelsian remark that “They will have to give us this data, where these images are being uploaded and who is doing it.”

Sibal seemed a nice chap, so what got into him all of a sudden? Is he trying to upstage his good friend Digvijaya Singh, who till now had excelled in shooting his mouth off, or is he trying to ingratiate himself to the First Family or is he trying appease his and the party’s vote-bank? OR is he trying the age old ruse of diverting the attention of the public at large from ticklish issues like FDI in retail, Lokpal Bill, 2G, CWG etc? So he now wants to “define” what we can say and in the same breath says he respects the freedom of expression! Bit of an oxymoron isn’t it?

Does his ranting have anything to do with the videos floating around that question the financial dealings of certain members of the First Family? Frankly, if the people who find themselves in these videos feel they are being defamed or maligned they should ask the website to pull them off and sue, if they think that would serve the purpose. I think that is justified. But to do what Sibal is suggesting websites do, is stretching it a bit much.

Amitabh Bachchan sued a Swedish newspaper that published reports about his and his brother’s links with Bofors, and won. Whether people believed they were involved or not, the Bachchans believed they were not and sued. The paper retracted the stories, apologised and paid the Bachchans for the damage caused to their reputation. Let the people who feel they are being maligned do the same.

Sibal has also outdone himself by his latest harangue on what he claims is ‘objectionable’, ‘blasphemous’ and ‘derogatory’ comments on the Internet. Who decides what is ‘objectionable’ ‘blasphemous’ and ‘derogatory’ and how?

And can he define what is blasphemous? If he is so concerned about it, why doesn’t he also ask social networking sites to pull down all the anti-India – and more specifically anti-Hindu – rhetoric that’s floating around, most of which emanate from a few neighbouring countries. They have been around for ages, how come no one from the government thought of complaining to Facebook about them? Why has his government never attempted to block those sites? Is it because it suits them to drive a deeper wedge between the two communities, and in doing so appease the party’s vote-bank?

I thought this government had learnt its lessons from the Emergency, when the prince and his henchmen tried to subvert democracy and a free press, by having secretaries sitting in newsrooms of newspapers vetting copies or confiscating film reels. Even the great ‘democrat’ Atal Bihari Vajpayee along with his trusted lieutenant Brajesh Mishra was not averse to using strong-arm tactics to rein in the media when they wanted to. But Sibal has taken this quite a few steps higher.

In 1962 during the Chinese invasion the press roasted the prime minister for his decisions and his blind faith in his defence minister. He was advised to muzzle the Press, but he refused saying that a free press was the very essence of democracy and if he were to black out the press he would never know what the people felt about him and his government. That Prime Minister was Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, one of the founders of the Congress party that harps on his name and ideals even today.

To end on a humorous note, a Russian tourist, on his first visit to the USA in the 1960s checked into a hotel and asked his American host what the TV was doing in his room. The American told him,” We have television sets in every hotel room, which beam over 50 channels. And we watch all of them”

The surprised Russian remarked, “Back home in Moscow, we too have a television set in every hotel room. Only IT watches you.”

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Life does come a full circle!

Posted: September 21, 2011 in journalism
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It’s been a while since I posted last. Since then so many things have happened.

I’ve helped a young lady jump from obscurity to fame/notoriety to near obscurity. I did my two cents worth by posting her link on my Facebook page and let things take their course.

Sorry for showing off, but I did play a hand, albeit a very small one in the young lady’s brief encounter with fame. I guess she also realises that one rant can get her to the top, but the problem is staying there – if she really wants to, that is.

But credit’s due to this young lady. She did in less than a week what I, and I’m sure a million others like me, have been struggling to achieve in two years – and are still nowhere remotely close!

Oh, yes, I also changed jobs. Quit my ‘fancy’ job at the two auto magazines and chose to return to a newspaper, which in its former avatar was the entity from where I started my journalism career –  only now it’s called something else and has new owners.

The nice thing is that it has some  familiar faces and is a much more modern version of the one I left 13 years ago. But it is NOT,  a remnant of the old one in any way.

‘Why am I joining a ‘small’ newspaper’ is what someone asked me. Well, I worked in some ‘big’ places with fancy reputations – both in media and software – and, frankly, considering their formidable reputations, their working left a lot to be desired.

And then, I was missing out on teaching at various places, due to the time constraints in my magazine job. That’s not an issue anymore. Now, it’s really up to me to decide if I want to.

There is something more  happening on the domestic front. But let’s wait for the ink to be put to paper before we celebrate! Touch wood and fingers crossed.

…on the subject of paid news

Posted: August 8, 2010 in blogging
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To all those of my students who are interested in the subject of paid news. This might be interesting

One year…and still here

Posted: January 15, 2010 in blogging
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Posts – 104; Hits – 4480; Visits – 532; Page views – 1,082; Followers – 54 ….It has been a year since I started blogging. If 54 and had been 104, it would have looked even better, but looking at those figures, I don’t know if it’s a good or a bad start for a guy who once fell into a drum. This nugget was supplied to me by an old friend Zubin Kabraji. I guess he knew, because I obviously, had no recollection, probably because I was in no condition to remember!
Why did I start blogging? To be truthful, I saw a blog by a colleague on cookery and said to myself…“If she can do this, why can’t I?” And I wasn’t demeaning her efforts, but if someone could start a blog on recipes, I could surely write a few hundred words every week. Thank you, Anjali, you were my inspiration!
I was also warned by friends that blogging wasn’t everyone’s cuppa. That it was difficult to keep the content flowing day after day. To be honest, there were days I said to myself, “Shit, I can’t do this every day.”
That’s why some blogs were just rants, some pretty crappy, while others were straight from the heart. But isn’t that how our minds work? Unless, of course, like race horses, we go through life with blinkers on!
A couple of my posts have been featured in some newspapers while some were used as a subject of discussion on other blogs and discussion sites. I have got a few acerbic reactions from students, friends and even anonymous bloggers – ALL of which I have posted on my blog.
I wrote about various things, probably because I myself have done, and am still doing, a lot of different things! I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I don’t know whether it’s better to be a jack of all trades and a master of none or vice versa. But I’ve never been one to do something, just because someone said I should or shouldn’t. It’s mostly been because someone said I can’t.
Between working in a hotel, five newspaper offices, two IT companies, three media institutes, blogging and writing a book…it’s been fun. Maybe, if I could have done things differently, I would have been elsewhere, bigger, better. But then I might never have had so much fun, never met so many people and never had the opportunity to interact with so many youngsters, who showed me life from a fresh perspective.
I had also decided that the blog wouldn’t be one dimensional and I’ve stuck by that. A lot of former colleagues from my media days write on education or technology, based on their interest, but I didn’t want to confine myself to that. I’ve no interest in ‘educating’ anyone or preaching, because that’s never been my interest.
To all those who follow my blog…a big thank you! I wouldn’t have been there nor done that without you.
And to my students, even if I am not teaching anymore tomorrow…enjoy whatever you do!
Now, an honest confession… It took me two weeks to write this one! Why? Because, it’s very easy to criticise, but far more difficult to praise – even oneself!!!