Paid news scandal

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by SHASH2K2, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    [h=1]And the pay-to-print saga resumes[/h]

    The Delhi High Court has handed both the political circuit and the media a ticking parcel with its judgment in the Ashok Chavan case. It shouldn't be long before we learn what's ticking. (What's not ticking is the media. Subdued quiet seems the norm.) The former Maharashtra Chief Minister had challenged the power of the Election Commission of India (ECI) to go into the truth or falsity of his 2009 poll expenses. Those proceedings in the ECI had gained infamy as the ‘paid news' case. A case which embarrassed major newspapers that had run scores of hagiographic full pages of ‘ news' on Mr. Chavan during his poll campaign. Pages without a single advertisement on them (The Hindu, November 30, 2009). And without so much as a mention of his rival in Bhokar constituency in Nanded.
    Chief Justice Dipak Misra (since elevated to the Supreme Court) and Justice Sanjiv Khanna of the Delhi High Court dismissed Chavan's petition as being ‘devoid of merit.' In doing so, they upheld the jurisdiction of the ECI to probe the truth or falseness of poll accounts. This is crucial for the future (and for Mr. Chavan, right away). It should really worry the wealthy political elite who spend untold sums to win elections. No elected legislator or MP has ever been disqualified on grounds of excess expenditure. If such a precedent does emerge, the next elections could be riveting for entirely novel reasons. The more so with a galvanised ECI that won't roll over meekly in deference to power.
    It's a double whammy. Not long before this judgment, the Central Information Commission (CIC) had ordered the Press Council of India (PCI) to unwrap its own ticking parcel. That is: the PCI's ‘paid news' report which it had suppressed under pressure from media bosses. After the ‘paid news' scandal surfaced, the Press Council under Justice G.N. Ray rightly set up a subcommittee to inquire into the racket. The committee comprising Paranjoy Guha Thakurta and Sreenivas Reddy produced an explosive 71-page report naming names, pointing fingers. Yet, it did this within all the norms and ethics that such an exercise demands.
    The big guns of the media establishment struck back in a panic. The PCI buckled, burying its own report. It had a larger committee draft a 12-page version that dropped all references to the offenders. The final report reduced the original to a single footnote. It did not even include the real one as an annexure. Nor did it permit the authors to record a note of dissent. And the PCI never allowed the genuine report to be placed on its own website, though it paid lip service to the work of its authors. It stonewalled an RTI application from journalist Manu Moudgil seeking the full report. It was seeking legal opinion, it pleaded. Now the CIC, acting on Mr. Moudgil's complaint, has told the Press Council to put the full report up on its website by October 10.
    Together, these two developments promise many blushes for Big Media. In the Delhi case, of course, Mr. Chavan could appeal to the Supreme Court on the matter. Unless that happens, the ECI can proceed with its probe and render a verdict. Others in Mr. Chavan's boat include former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda. His accounts were in question, too. So we're not talking about just anyone, but two former chief ministers who won their elections. The platinum-tier political world has worries ahead. Money can't buy you everything, but it has bought a few elections.
    Mr. Chavan's accounts are a delight. A kind of Gandhian manual on poll austerity. Read them and you know that Bhokar, Nanded is where you want to settle post-retirement. Things are so cheap. Mr. Chavan wrapped up his newspaper advertising within a frugal Rs.5,379. His entire poll campaign cost less than Rs.7 lakh. (The limit for an assembly constituency in Maharashtra that year was Rs.10 lakh). This included two public meetings where he brought down Bollywood megastar Salman Khan as the main attraction, drawing thousands of people. The first meeting cost a piffling Rs.4,440 and the second even less, only Rs.4,300. In both cases the main cost, more than a third of the total, was on the public address system. (But even Steve Jobs could not have got the audio done in Rs.1,500). The pandal top cost just Rs.200, hired sofas cost the same and Mr. Chavan spent no more than Rs.1,000 on setting up the stage. (See: The Hindu, November 10, 2010).
    On December 2, 2009, Dr. Madhav Kinhalkar, Mr. Chavan's rival in the Bhokar poll, complained to the Election Commission. That is, two days after The Hindu's story on the amazing press coverage Mr. Chavan got during the polls. (“Is the Era of Ashok a new era for ‘ news'?” November 30, 2009). Dr. Kinhalkar's complaint focused on the latter's poll expenses and the huge number of full pages (many in colour) eulogising Mr. Chavan in large and powerful newspapers. Four dailies, asked by the ECI whether what had appeared on Mr. Chavan was news or paid-for, scorned all notions of paid news. It was all news, and balanced and fair at that, they said. The mere suggestion of payment was insulting. Their actions flowed from lofty journalistic values. Their letters to the ECI are clear and edifying.
    Two Marathi papers pleaded proximity to the Congress. As the daily Pudhari argued in a five-page letter: “….every newspaper has its inclination towards a political party and Pudhari is no exception to that.” Yet, Pudhari is known not only for “its frank and candid views.” It is also known for “rising above political affiliation.” At election time, the daily stated, newspapers cover all events and give “due publicity.” The “only difference being the degree and extent of coverage depending on (the) Newspaper's political inclination as explained above.” Such publication “is at the behest of the readers on their demand to satisfy their curiosity.”
    Lokmat candidly shared its aim in bringing out so many pages on Mr. Chavan. This was “to acquaint the people of Maharashtra about the achievements and developments of the Congress-led government in Maharashtra during its tenure under the present Chief Minister.” (Who had held that post for all of 11 months at the time). “The other factor that motivated us…is the alignment of our group's ideology with that of the Congress Party.” Mr. Chavan, for his part, contended that what had appeared in the press were “mere news items and are not advertisements.” The glowing articles on him were the outcome of the media's own assessments. He had neither control over, nor any role in that.
    The Times Group (for Maharashtra Times) also trashed any notion of ‘paid news.' We are “a balanced and responsible corporate,” their letter asserted. “The said articles are neither sponsored nor paid articles.” They were “not published at the instance of any political party or advertising agency.” And “no monetary consideration” was involved. It was, then, just good old news all the way.

    The shortest reply is a two-paragraph missive from the editor of Deshonnati. The key line: “the said publications were neither sponsored articles nor paid articles. It was a reflection of my individual perception.”
    Their individual perceptions are at odds with the whole media scene portrayed in the suppressed PCI report. The Election Commission's own experience of poll coverage also seems to have been different. The Commission saw ‘ paid news' as a real threat and ordered creation of “district-level committees for scrutiny of paid news during election periods” after the 2009 polls. It even set up an Expenditure Monitoring Division within the ECI to deal with the challenge of abuse of money power (including ‘paid news') in elections. The Commission responded to complaints by Dr. Kinhalkar and others and wrestled with the complex issues thrown up by the paid news syndrome.
    In April this year, Mr. Chavan went to the Delhi High Court, challenging the ECI's jurisdiction. The High Court judgment dismissing his petition has set the poll cat amongst the political pigeons. The CIC's order puts major sections of the media in a bind. Earlier, the ECI had to make do with the truncated 12-page report from the Press Council on paid news. Now it is entitled to receive the full 71-page version. And also, quite separately, to carry on from where it was interrupted in its proceedings. How does that phrase (perhaps wrongly attributed to the Chinese) go? “May you live in interesting times?” We sure will, fairly soon.

    source
     
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  3. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Poll expenses are big. The ECI first of all has to set a better expense limit. Again the state funding of election has be taken up seriously.
    People spend money like water and booze on elections. That is the reason why only criminals are ruling the roost in Parliaments and Assemblies. Common folks will not be able to "compete" with them at all.
     
  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    'Guaranteed win in Election made Easy and Cheap'

    by

    Chavan

    Will be heading the international top 10 best sellers!
     
  5. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Get a good chartered accountant (Suhel Seth is an expert on CAs) and you will remain within the limits laid down even by the Planning Commission's Rs 20 (rural) and Rs 36 (urban).

    Forgive me if I have got the Planning Commission's figures wrong. I was too busy reading Grimms' Fairy Tales and Han Christen Andersen when the Planning Commissions figures and story hit the scene. I am still reading it!

    The Montek yarn is even better and so gripping and unputdownable and so I am still at it!

    Quite a gospel for the AAAm AAAdmi!

    I am sure Singhvi, Tiwari, Renuka and Jayanthi are existing on Montek' figure of existence, given their great defence of the figures!!

    I am surprised that the impoverished Raja Digman who lives on doles has not joined the chorus, or has he? Or, where is that Congress Cheshire Cat, Sibbal, who is selling dirt cheap electronic Tablet clone!

    The sad part is the political scene is so murky that the citizen has no choice since one wonders who is Mr Clean!
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011
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  6. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    [h=1]Is the ‘Era of Ashok’ a new era for ‘news’?[/h]
    Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan spent a mere Rs. 5,379 on newspaper advertisements during the recent State Assembly election, by his own claim. And he spent another Rs.6,000 on cable television ads. These figures are clearly at odds with the unprecedented media coverage the Chief Minister got during the election campaign. The Hindu has gathered 47 full newspaper pages, many of them in colour, focused exclusively on Mr. Chavan, his leadership, his party and government. These appeared in large newspapers, including one ranking amongst India’s highest circulation dailies. However, they were not marked as advertisements.
    By his own account, candidate Chavan spent less than Rs. 7 lakh on his election campaign overall during the Assembly polls. The spending limit imposed on contestants is Rs. 10 lakh. Section 77 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 stipulates that candidates must submit their campaign expenses accounts to the district election officer within 30 days of the declaration of results. Apart from a signed statement and summary, the candidate must submit the accounts in the format of “Register for Maintenance of Day to Day Accounts of Election Expenditures by Contesting Candidates.”

    more
     
  7. xXX-Nair:::Saab-XXx

    xXX-Nair:::Saab-XXx Regular Member

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    Biased Journalism By Times Of India ( TOI)... TOI is a Congressi puppet newspaper ... see the Difference between the The same Article that was Published in TOI & " The Hindu " ... Biased Yellow journalism by TOI...

    TOI = TOILET...

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    The real issue with journalism today

    While the institutionalization of a malpractice is definitely far more insidious, it is also easier to address. Laws and regulatory bodies, even if they are only self-regulatory bodies, should help



    I live in a house that has been leased for me by the company, and whose lease payment comes out of my salary.

    I am told, however, that there are around 60 New Delhi journalists who live in houses provided for them by the government and, yes, some of these houses are in Lutyens’ Delhi.

    A good friend (who also happens to be a good journalist) and who works for a large and respected television company told me that. He also tells me that in an attempt to get on the good side of the media, which has taken the government to task for its involvement in various controversies, the administration is considering giving houses to 40 more journalists.

    Jayachandran/Mint
    I do not possess a list of the 60 journalists who live in government provided houses currently, nor of the 40 who will soon move. Mint’s media reporting team, however, is in the process of getting a list and if they do manage to get it (a simple Right to Information application should suffice), I will be happy to publish it.
    One of Mint’s political writers tells me that she knows two journalists who live in houses provided by the government and that there is usually no quid pro quo involved. I have also been told that some of the journalists living in government houses are actually former journalists well past their prime.

    Even then, I find this whole thing abhorrent—just as I find abhorrent, the practice of the government giving, and professional journalists accepting, state awards.

    It is one thing for the government to award state honours to the promoters of a media company just as it would, the promoters of an IT company or an auto company (and I think several promoters of IT and auto companies have received one Padma award or the other), but it is an entirely different thing when it comes to a professional journalist.

    Yet, I know of only one instance of a journalist (The Hindu’s P. Sainath) refusing a state award, and I know of at least three instances of journalists lobbying politicians to ensure they get at least a Padma Shri. (Of course, there’s lobbying involved for the Padma awards.)

    This edition of Ed Space isn’t about houses, though. Nor is it about titles. Given real estate rates, I have long given up any hopes of buying a house in a part of the city I like. And given the style of journalism this paper subscribes to, there’s little chance of the government bestowing any award on me (to stretch the point—not that I would accept one).

    It is about paid content.

    Now, the popular perception is that the journalists involved in helping pass off advertisements as news are forced to do so by venal management teams looking to make a quick (and illegal) buck. That’s true in some cases, but it’s equally true that, in many other cases, the journalists themselves are the villains of the piece.

    While the institutionalization of a malpractice is definitely far more insidious, it is also easier to address. Laws and regulatory bodies, even if they are only self-regulatory bodies, should help.

    Individualized malpractice, however, usually tends to be far more widespread and also far more difficult to track.

    The only people and entities that are in a position to do this are the editors of the journalists involved and the media companies for which they work.

    The solution could be a two-tiered regulatory system, the first involving the media companies themselves, with their editors filing annual S-Ox type documents, and the second comprising a self-regulatory body.

    I’d also like to see far more discussion on what journalists, including senior journalists, should and shouldn’t do.

    Is it alright to serve on a government committee?

    Is it fine to quit one’s job as a journalist and go to work for the government? (The answer to that would probably be yes.)

    Is it okay to return to being a journalist after moving on from that government job? (I am not so sure.)

    Should journalists accept government honours?

    Housing?

    I’d like to see the Editors Guild (of which I am an unacknowledged member) spend some of its time debating these issues at the core of which is an inconvenient and unpleasant truth that all journalists, including me, would like to ignore: journalism is in the shape it is in here not because of advertisers or the sensibility and likes and dislikes of readers and viewers or the managements of media companies, but because of journalists themselves.

    We may be victims sometimes, but, often, we are also the crime.


    The real issue with journalism today - Views - livemint.com
     
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  9. SPIEZ

    SPIEZ Senior Member Senior Member

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    Nair saab hindu also a toilet, they never voice opinion about ruling party!!!!!!!!!!!
    NEVER! Ask the old folks if possible
     
  10. SPIEZ

    SPIEZ Senior Member Senior Member

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    Ha Ha true sir!!!A.Roy did 1 usefull thing here. She asked Montek Singh to live on Rs.32/day for proof.

    later he was whimping on a news interview !
     
  11. xXX-Nair:::Saab-XXx

    xXX-Nair:::Saab-XXx Regular Member

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    They Have a Habit of Left Leaning ... Specially Towards China ... But They are far Better Than TOILET & Pakistan Times (Hindustan Times ) Who is Clearly on COngressi Pay roll... I always Side With the Lesser Evil...
     
  12. SPIEZ

    SPIEZ Senior Member Senior Member

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    Coming to news channel, What about NDTV( COngress mouth piece) ?????

    check this link
    http://nationalizer.wordpress.com/2011/02/25/encounter-with-omar-abdullah/
     
  13. xXX-Nair:::Saab-XXx

    xXX-Nair:::Saab-XXx Regular Member

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    My Friends here know Whats My opinion About NDTV , Aaj Tak , Star News & CNN IBN...

    I only Watch INDIA TV, Live India & Time Now...:thumb:
     
  14. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    [video]www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qBQTq9TObk[/video]
     

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