Thursday, March 10, 2011

Media Watch effect - What is IE trying to convey?

This is further to Media Watch report What is IE trying to convey?

Now IE has changed the accompanying picture. We would like to believe it was a Media Watch effect

Amusingly even now IE has posted a different picture. This picture is not from said Press conference where he was wearing a shirt(watch the video in last post)


What is IE trying to convey?

Ongoing media reports on Sushma Swarajs tweets is a common knowledge.

Indian Express also reported about it in their article Gadkari snubs Sushma: CVC issue alive, will go to people(screenshot below). Media Watch will not go into content of this news but what caught our attention is the accompanying picture. The news was accompanied by a picture of Sushma Swaraj who visibly looked upset sad and eyes filled with tears. The picture accompanied with a caption “Sushma Swaraj at the press conference in New Delhi where Gadkari spoke on Wednesday. PREM NATH PANDEY”. Since the subject dealt with “snub” from party president one cant be faulted for assuming “the sad state” of Sushma in picture is due to snub.


But a deeper investigation reveals that picture does not seem to be from said press conference. In fact from the video available from NDTV report BJP's CVC divide out in the open reveals that Sushma was not even present in that Press Meet!

  • Check the difference in background
  • Note Sushma not present on table


Video of said conf call


Media Watch writes to IE Editor


Dear Editor of Indian Express,

We are a group working towards educating and mobilizing citizens of India to influence media  to see their responsibility in communicating news truthfully and responsibly.

We would like to draw your attention to todays news report "Gadkari snubs Sushma: CVC issue alive, will go to people"  published in IE website. The news was accompanied by a picture of Sushma Swaraj who visibly looked upset, sad and eyes filled with tears. The picture accompanied with a caption “Sushma Swaraj at the press conference in New Delhi where Gadkari spoke on Wednesday. PREM NATH PANDEY”. Since the subject dealt with “snub” from party president one cant be faulted for assuming “the sad state” of Sushma in picture is due to snub.

But the picture does not seem to be from said press conference. In fact from the video available from NDTV & Youtube reveals that Sushma was not even present in that Press Meet!

You can see the video and other detailed information from our blog Media Critic report on Gadkari snubs Sushma: CVC issue alive, will go to people

We request your clarification on this issue.


Media Watch Blog Team

Blogspot disruptions - Should we be worried?

It started as a trickle, in February several blogspot blogs (including this one) were inaccessible through several Indian ISPs such as Airtel, BSNL, Tikona, Tata, Idea, etc.  Understandably netizens assumed the worst and raised a stink as it brought back memories of the infamous 2006 blog block when GOI issued directives to ISPs to block a few specific blogs and the ISPs ended up blocking entire domains leading to an online backlash.
Airtel denied blocking any blogs though its official Twitter account @Airtel_Presence 
"We have'nt blocked any blogspot," 
That was not end of story. Now it seems several blogging site TypePad, bulk SMS site, Mauj Telecom owned mobile apps site Mobango is not accessible via certain ISPs in certain geographies. According to medianama, While most ISPs are just not providing access to the sites, at least Airtel, Reliance Netconnect (in Coimbatore) and Fivenet Broadband (in Mumbai) have been transparent enough to disclose that they’ve blocked due to a DOT order.
Hindu in their report Telecom Department orders ban on blog hosting site? writes
Others had been complaining for days, with the first Tweet on the issue on February 27. Screenshots seemed to show that while a number of internet service providers were blocking the Typepad site – along with mobile applications site and bulk SMS site – the message mentioning the Telecom Department was only posted by Airtel, Reliance Netconnect and Fivenet Broadband. The message had disappeared by Friday evening, with the sites becoming accessible again
Airtels response to this was
there was “no directive from the government” and that the issue was “just a temporary network problem,”
Airtel was unable to explain why the message regarding a request from the Department of Telecom appeared while accessing these sites
One can understand being blocked (In 2009 it was one of first sites to be blocked under section 67 of the Information Technology Act)  but why block (a website offering free mobile applications, games, themes and ringtones),  bulk SMS gateway and

Mr. Badri Sanjeevi, COO, Mauj Mobile issued a clarification on this issue

Mobango is a large global appstore with nearly 1 million downloads of apps and games daily. Of these downloads about 20 per cent are from India and growing. We have not heard of any customer complaints directly but are told that the site is facing access issues from a few ISPs on the web. It is possible that this is due to some technical error. Mobango is one amongst several Indian and global app stores, which are all accessible from India so we don't really see any reason for the site to be blocked unless it has been an oversight on the part of DOT. We are working with ISPs and authorities to address any inadvertent issues.

It seems that there is method in madness. GOI is coming to hard realisation that it is difficult (if not impossible) to regulate content in Internet. JS Sarma, Chairman of India’s Telecom Regulator TRAI said at the CII Content Summit
“In terms of content, how do you control the internet? That is baffling and challenging, and it is frought with issues of freedom and security. Security in terms of physical security and others. This will have to be studied over the course of next few months or the next year or so,”
So new thinking seems to be if you cannot control the message (Internet content) why not control the the messenger(ISPs etc)
ToI article Plan to muzzle bloggers sparks outcry is revealing.
The draft rules, drawn up by the government under the Information Technology Amendment Act, 2008, deal with due diligence to be observed by an intermediary.
Under the Act, an 'intermediary' is defined as any entity which on behalf of another receives, stores or transmits any electronic record. Hence, telecom networks, web-hosting and internet service providers, search engines, online payment and auction sites as well as cyber cafes are identified as intermediaries. The draft has strangely included bloggers in the category of intermediaries, setting off the online outcry.
What does this mean?
It technically means that any comment or a reader-posted link on a blog which according to the government is threatening, abusive, objectionable, defamatory, vulgar, racial, among other omnibus categories, will now be considered as the legal responsibility of the blogger
Even Google, the host of Blogger, among India's most popular blogging sites, expressed displeasure at the proposal.
"Blogs are platforms that empower people to communicate with one another, and we don't believe that an internet middlemen should be held unreasonably liable for content posted by users,"
The expression and communication of information  is central to liberal democracies. It is a key human right. Blogs are an important news source and outlet to enpower “Aam Admi” who have lost their trust on MSM mired in Radiia and Paid News Scandal. Any attempt to stifle it will have a chilling effect upon the exercise of  their freedom of speech
Media Watch hopes that GOI is not attempting to bring in  Internet censorship by regulating the messenger.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Curious case of @BJPInsider twitter account

About 24 hours back a twitter account @BJPInsider started sending tweets about BJP Leader M M Joshi. Most of tweets were slanderous in nature and intention of @BJPInsider  is very obvious.
Most of us would not have noticed this until Bhupendra Chaubey, CNN IBN, National Bureau Chief @bhupendrachaube tweeted about it 1 hour ago. Interestingly it was his first tweet of the day. 
Media Watch looked at the Timeline of @BJPInsider  and found that this twitter account has not send even a single tweet to @bhupendrachaube
We would like to understand from @bhupendrachaube
  1. Since @BJPInsider has not send even a single tweet to @bhupendrachaube,  how did he come to know about this account and its “slanderous allegations”. considering the fact the account was started this monday (07/03) and first tweet from this account was on 12:42 AM Mar 8th via web. Was it via a RT?
  2. @bjpinsider acct was created 2 days back and was mostly tweeting junk. Its first two followers were Bot. Guess who was the 1st proper follower after 2 bots. Is it just coincidence that it was @bhupendrachaube

As expected Bhupendra Chaubey was asked by fellow twitterati @ssudhirkumar
Leave aside all conspiracy theories. Doesn't basic courtesy suggest @bhupendrachaube you don't encourage slander of the likes of "insider"?
And Bhupendra Chaubey replied
@ssudhirkumar pl don't distort sudhir, I was infact questioning the credibility of these messages,
We leave it to readers decision if following tweet from Bhupen was questioning the credibility or not?
Some bizzare tweets coming from @bjpinsider. Pretty slanderous against senior bjp leader murli manohar joshi. What's happening?

Update 11/03/2011

@bhupendrachaube has unfollowed @bjpinsider

Yfrog - photo  - Uploaded by centerofright

Media says Minority students suffering in state as Modi not using Centres funds

This is pertaining to various media reports which covers in detail how Narendra Modi is not using Minority (read Muslim) Student funds in Gujarat and as a result of which minority students are suffering

NDTV in melodramatic report Crores set aside for Gujarat's minority students go unused writes

But Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi refuses to use the money. "The scheme is to bring equity, as per the recommendation of the Sachar Commission," says Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal. "But as far as the Gujarat Chief Minister is concerned, we all know his attitude towards minorities."

As politics gets prioritised, thousands of students like Tahir are robbed of opportunities that could change their lives.

Indian Express in its report Khurshid: Modi denying minority students funds quotes Salman Khurshid

“I am not happy with the social situation (in Gujarat). I’ll be happy when the courts will be happy. The situation does not facilitate a neutral hearing of someone’s complaint.”

IBN in its Exclusive report Exclusive: Modi deprives poor Muslims of scholarship writes

More than 50,000 poor minority students in Gujarat have been reportedly denied central scholarship.

This report has once again put Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in a spot.

His is the only state government in the country which is not willing to bear 25 per cent share of the central-sponsored pre matric scholarship scheme for the minorities.

This year again, despite of repeated reminders, the state government has not earmarked any money which means the minority students will remain deprived of their due.

IBN also quotes Congress spokesperson, Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

“This is unconstitutional,”

If you were to believe the media there seems to be some sinister conspiracy in gujarat led by Modi to keep Muslims uneducated by denying them scholarships inspite the best efforts of the Congress Government.

Media Watch is surprised that none of the Media included following statistics along with their report

  • literacy rate among Muslims in Gujarat has increased by 10 per cent in the last decade and at 73 per cent.
  • literacy rate among Muslims in Gujarat is higher than the state's average of 69.1 per cent and the all-India Muslim literacy rate of 59 percent
  • Literacy rate among Muslim women in Gujarat is 5% more compared to national literacy average in urban areas.
  • In Gujarat, 45.3% Muslim children receive secondary education as against the national average of 40.5%
  • Against the plan of the Government of India to provide scholarship to 52,260 minority students under the pre-matric scheme, Gujarat has made available scholarship to the tune of R 227 lakh to 2,25,000 Muslim students during 2010-11 and paid assistance worth R 535 lakh for school uniform to 3,57,000 Muslim students studying in Std 1-7
  • the per-capita income of Muslims in the state, she said in urban areas of Gujarat, it was R 875, compared to the national average of R 804. The figure was R 662 in Uttar Pradesh, R 748 in West Bengal, R 811 in Punjab, R 803 in Andhra Pradesh and R 837 in Karnataka
  • Per capita income among Muslims community in rural areas in Gujarat is R 668, compared to the national average of R 553

With the above statistics it takes lot of imagination to claim that Muslims in Gujarat is suffering!

Only TOI took the effort to get view of Gujarat government on this issue.  A senior state bureaucrat, requesting anonymity, said

The thinking is, the scholarship creates discrimination among non-minority groups, hence it cannot be allowed here".

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Monday, March 7, 2011

HC slaps Rs 50 lakh fine on ex-SP MLA for accusing Rahul Gandhi of rape

This in continuation to our previous entry here Did Media underreport this news about Rahul?

The reports coming in media (all this time) suggest this was a false accusation.

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court Monday fined a petitioner Rs.50 lakh for falsely accusing Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi of gangrape of a girl in his Amethi parliamentary constituency.

The court has also directed the state government to probe the controversy in order to ascertain if there was a political conspiracy behind the petition.

There are an important lessons for media here , Imagine how high credibility of media would have been if they would have reported HC notice to Rahul in same zeal

If you believe IE, Arjun Singh made last wish a fortnight before he died.

Arjun Singh is no more. According to IE report Arjun’s last wish was to meet Sonia, she obliged.

On his death bed, veteran Congress leader Arjun Singh, who had always worn his loyalty to the Nehru-Gandhi family on his sleeves, only wished to meet Sonia Gandhi. Informed about his desire, the Congress chief called on him at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) but what transpired at their meeting remains a secret.

So if one were to believe IE, Arjun Singh was so loyal to Nehru-Gandhi Family that even in his death bed his last wish was to see Sonia which she gladly obliged

But, a finer reading of next few para lets the cat out.

About a fortnight back, Singh had sent a message to senior Congress leader Anil Shastri, asking him to see him in the hospital. Shastri told The Sunday Express that Singh looked “disheartened” as he held his arm and said how most of his political associates had not even visited him in the hospital. “I only wish to meet Sonia Gandhi,” Singh told him.

So it was not on his death bed he wished to see Sonia but it was a fortnight before his death he indicated his wish to see Sonia.! Not sure how IE thinks this was his “last wish on death bed” unless he knew 15 days before that he is going to die

And then what does Sonia do

Shastri informed Sonia’s office about the ailing leader’s wish. She was said to have immediately shot off a letter to Singh in the hospital, wishing him speedy recovery. A couple of days later, she visited him in the hospital, according to Shastri.

So in reply to Arjun Singhs visit request. Sonia writes a letter back to him. Senior Congress leader Anil Shastri do claim that she visited Arjun Singh at hospital after two days. But strangely, there are no media reports available online which indicated that Sonia Gandhi visited ailing Arjun Singh!  If someone can find a news source please let us know.

Arun Singh died almost immediately after he was dropped from CWC. Is this a premeditated effort to offset any negative public reaction which may link Arjun Singhs death and Sonia Gandhi dropping him from CVC