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Archives for : Television

Modi-Fascism and the Rise of the Propaganda Machine

April 24, 2014
by  at

Almost every day, Modi takes off from Ahmedabad airport in an EMB-135BJ, an Embraer aircraft, for his rallies. The jet is owned by Karnavati Aviation, a group company of the Adani Group. “We record two movements of Modi’s aircraft daily. No matter where he goes to address rallies, he always comes back home,” said an air traffic control official.

Recently, Modi’s aircraft was denied permission to fly by DGCA in Delhi for over two hours, following which he lashed out at the central government for stalling his movement. Ever since, Modi has increased the use of choppers to cover smaller distances. “Mostly, politicians use chopper to reach places where bigger aircraft can’t reach,” said an ATC official.

Over the past few days, Modi flew in an Augusta AW-139 chopper, owned by the DLF Group, for his rallies in north India, especially in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. ‘Fleet of 3 aircrafts ensures Modi is home every night after day’s campaigning’,Times of India, April 22, 2014

The Political Culture of Fascism

In an earlier post, I had joined issue with a section of liberal intellectuals, whose ‘liberalism’ was either rendering them too gullible or simply complicit in the formation of the Narendra Modi phenomenon – which I have no hesitation in referring to as the Indian edition of fascism. The gullibility or complicity of many of these intellectuals also manifests itself in the myopia that grips them when the talk about the impending challenge before democratic politics in India – a brief glimpse of which is provided in the quote above, that indicates the alliance, the power bloc that will rule, were Modi to come to power.

The Modi-formation is ‘fascism’, in the sense that it takes direct inspiration from the particular history that goes by that name, especially its Nazi episode and knows that even though it cannot replicate the conditions of its existence in India, it can nevertheless use its cardinal ideas. The exaltation of the Nation/ nation-state, the manic obsession with ‘national security’ to the extent of the destruction of democratic rights, identification and suppression of scapegoats – the Other (the Jew, the Muslim, the homosexual, and all kinds of ‘wayward’ sexualities – often, all rolled into one) and of course, the intellectuals, artistes and human rights activists. A key aspect of this political culture is the combination of violence with mass frenzy that is sought to be continuously whipped up and directed against the imagined enemies of the ‘Nation’.

Developments since then shown that the rise of Modi is, increasingly, by the day, by the hour, unleashing the forces of fascism – witness the Pramod Muthaliks, Praveen Togadias, the Giriraj Singhs, Raj Thakres and the Shiv Sena MLC Ramdas Kadam who assured his audience in Modi’s presence, that Modi would destroy Pakistan within six months of assuming power – not to mention Modi’s very own Amit Shahs. Those in the media who have been trying to tell us that these are aberrations or even that Togadia and Modi fell out with each other long ago, have no clue about how politics works. They certainly have no idea of how a political machine is assembled and how signals are sent out and received within a political field that is already structured in specific ways. They should know that fascism requires ‘stormtroopers’ and ‘blackshirts’; that fascism is the mindset that knows only one way of dealing with dissent and disagreement – violence; that the Togadias and Raj Thakres are the thugs who will rule the streets and public life if Modi is to become prime minister.

It is not simply threats administered to dissenting individuals but the development of a generalized culture of threats and violence that is the hallmark of such politics, and it is not unusual to see different arms of the state itself surrender to that logic. Witness the following where Modi, already assuming he is going to be the next prime minister, administers this threat to the Election Commission:

Will probe EC’s role after elections: Narendra Modi: IBNLive

BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Modi has warned the Election Commission saying he will investigate the Commission’s role post-elections to see if the poll has been free and fair. Modi said, ‘I want to tell to the Election Commission and state Election officials that it will be your real test whether you conduct a free and fair poll in Firozabad. I will monitor this, install CCTV cameras and after the election I will set up inquiry. The EC does not have right to be partisan.’

Within a day of this threat follows the appalling arrest of a respected poet and AAP candidate, Balli Singh Cheema, in Nainital:

AAP Candidate and well known poet Balli Singh Cheema arrested in Nainital: TOI

“A senior police official had stopped Cheema’s vehicle on Sunday and found that the vehicle had two loudspeakers against the permitted norm of one,” SSP Udhamsingh Nagar Ridhim Aggarwal told TOI. When the police official asked Cheema to produce the papers of the vehicle, he failed to do so, she said.

Cheema was arrested (in a Congress-rules state) for the violation of the code of conduct because he used two mikes instead of one!  This is the generalized breakdown of all norms in politics, where might is right. This generalized breakdown is the effect of the ‘Modi formation’ – a deadly cocktail of naked corporate power, lies, violence and threats of violence, combined with a propaganda machine which we mistakenly call ‘the media’. No arm of the state, including the Election Commission, apparently has any authority left when it comes to disciplining this formation. The Election Commission has not, to my knowledge, so much as taken note of the full-page advertisements featuring Modi in all newspapers on voting day in Delhi and some other places on 10 May 2014. This when the campaign in any form is supposed to have stopped 48 hours before polling begins. Who paid for the advertisements? What is their total cost? Does it get added to the candidate’s or party’s election expenses (on which there is apparently no cap!) Is the BJP (and Modi himself) then not guilty of the violation of the code of conduct? Are the newspapers who have taken the money and put out the ads unaware of what they were doing?

But no, neither will Modi be booked for excessive election expenses and violation of code of conduct nor will his aide Amit Shah be booked for communal speech. On the contrary, it was Yogendra Yadav of AAP, who was booked for ‘paid news’ for distributing his own party’s paper. It was Yadav again, against whom a police complaint was registered (by Modi-devotee Madhu Kishwar) for spreading communal hatred and making inflammatory speeches.

Such is Modi’s insatiable lust for power that he is not satisfied with an EC that is already grovelling at his feet – witness its mild reprimand of Amit Shah. He wants an EC – and by extension all independent state institutions – that will surrender completely before him and his cronies. As an aside, compare this with the toughness with which the EC continues to deal with Azam Khan (who is a crook, without doubt but that is not relevant here). What exactly did Azam Khan say? That the Muslims are nationalists and fought valiantly in the Kargil war against Pakistan. Yes, he went overboard and added that they fought more valiantly than even the Hindus. But seriously, is this a communal statement that bears any comparison to the call for revenge made by the triple murder accused Amit Shah? This is the portent of things to come, if Modi-fascism were to come to power.

Big Media Morphs into Fascist Propaganda Machine

However, this situation has not suddenly arisen out of nowhere. It parallels one of the most significant and frightening developments in the political landscape: the morphing of the Big Media into a fascist propaganda machine. More detailed and systematic studies of this process will soon be available as there are hundreds of people across the length and breadth of India who are closely monitoring the way the electronic media in particular, is indulging in a kind of carpet bombing in Modi’s favour. However, some things are evident even at this stage.

Ever since it became evident that Modi was facing a barrage of criticism about his inability to face tough questions in one-to-one interviews, raised by the AAP campaign in particular but also by us and other observers of the media scene, a whole barrage of fixed interviews was relayed. We had linked videos in our post linked to earlier shows that reveal that apart from the famous Karan Thapar programme in 2007 when Modi walked out mid-way in the interview, he had also avoided questions to the point of being rude with other journalists like Rajdeep Sardesai and Vijay Trivedi of NDTV. These videos have been doing the rounds in Facebook circuits as well. But in order to rescue Modi, the electronic media channels went berserk setting up one fixed interview after another with this would-be prime minister. It all started with Madhu Kishwar’s friendly, almost deferential, interview in NewsX, which was described by one report in the following words:

Conducted in a dimly-lit environment, the interview (or monologue?) showed Modi travelling down the memory lane in a sort of stream of consciousness where the questions were edited out and the interviewer remained resolutely off camera. It made for a very puzzling “interview” experienceRead more at:

Conducted in a dimly-lit environment, the interview (or monologue?) showed Modi travelling down the memory lane in a sort of stream of consciousness where the questions were edited out and the interviewer remained resolutely off camera.

Conducted in a dimly-lit environment, the interview (or monologue?) showed Modi travelling down the memory lane in a sort of stream of consciousness where the questions were edited out and the interviewer remained resolutely off camera.Read more at:
Conducted in a dimly-lit environment, the interview (or monologue?) showed Modi travelling down the memory lane in a sort of stream of consciousness where the questions were edited out and the interviewer remained resolutely off camera. It made for a very puzzling “interview” experienceRead more at:

This was followed by an interview by Sanjay Pugalia – who had only recently gone into campaign mode while interviewing Arvind Kejriwal, quite forgetting that he was conducting an interview. In that interview, from the point that Kejriwal mentioned Mukesh Ambani’s name, Pugalia lost his composure and let loose a barrage of abuse. With Modi however, he was ready to lie at his feet. Then the Aap ki Adalat programme where another acolyte, Rajat Sharma, whom we have all known from our college days as an RSS faithful, once again fixing the interview in such a way that no uncomfortable questions were or could be asked. At this point, Qamar Waheed Naqvi resigned in protest from India TV, the channel which hosts the show. And so it went, one after the other. Most recently, we had ABP News fix its entire show “ghoshanapatra” according to Modi’s diktat. The earlier format was changed and the channel made sure that no known journalist of standing was on the show. Here is an observation by Javed Anis on Facebook ( 23 April 2014):

कल रात एबीपी न्यूज़ पर “मोदीपत्र” प्रसारित किया गया .. मोदी के सामने तीन डरे – सहमे , अजनबी से पत्रकार थे .. मोदी बार – बार इन “बेचारे पत्रकारों” के सवालो को गन्दा, उत्तर देने के अयोग्य ठहराते हुए उनपर अपनी दबंगई का रौब झाड़ रहे थे और अपनी आदत के मुताबिक “I” ,”Me” और “Myself ” का बखान करते हुए लम्बी – लम्बी छोड़ रहे थे … “निष्पक्ष” पत्रकारिता की मिसाल पेश करते हुए चैनल ने मोदी के लिए के मूल कार्यक्रम घोषणापत्र” का पूरा प्रारूप ही बदल दिया .. मोदी को 30 – 40 लोगो ( जिसमें किशोर अज़वानी, अभिसार, दिबांग, अभय दुबे, अशोक प्रधान, अरविन्द मोहन जैसे लोग शामिल है ) का सामना कराने के बजाये उन्हें एक बंद कमरे में निरीह से दिखने वाले “तथाकथित पत्रकारों” के सामने पेश करके “औरंगजेब” बनने का मौका दिया .

[Last night ‘Modipatra’ was telecast over ABP News…three scared looking, unknown journalists sat in front of Modi…and time and again, Modi demonstrated his command and arrogance by dismissing their questions as bad and not worthy of an answer and as is his wont, waxed on his ‘I’, ‘Me’ and ‘Myself’, spinning a yarn about whatever he thought fit…The channel set an example of ‘neutral’ and objective journalism by fundamentally changing the very format of its ‘ghoshanapatra’ programme where he would normally have had to face 30-40 people (which normally would include Kishore Ajwani, Abhisar, Dibang, Abhay Dube, Ashok Pradhan and Arvind Mohan); instead he was made to set in this closed room with three helpless looking so-called journalists and given the opportunity of playing Aurangzeb.]

And so it goes on and on. Modi, Modi and Modi is all you see and all you hear – except when the channels decide to look a bit objective and do a story on their favourite punching bag – the Aam Aadmi Party and Kejriwal. Now the tenor of the anchor and the tone of the programme changes fundamentally. Let us take a few random examples. Those who have been watching the television channels over the last few days would have noticed the tone of horror with  which anchors reported on Shazia Ilmi’s so-called communalism: “शाज़िया ने तो ज़ुल्म ही कर दिया” (‘Zulm’ – the word used for Shazia’s act means ‘tyranny’/ ‘oppression’) screamed one ‘headline’ while another shrieked and shouted, “will Arvind Kejriwal expel his leader?’ (you guessed right, this is the most self-righteous one with the joker called Ornob). And it went on and on – for two days. Shazia asks Muslims to stop being secular and vote communally. Once again, this kind of madly hysterical rendering of her statement could only have come either from rank illiteracy or malice. Perhaps a combination of both. So let us take a look at what she said. Here is a word of advice to Shazia from a former journalist colleague from a piece (थोड़ा चालाक बनो शाज़िया – Pankaj Srivastava in Hille Le):

शाज़िया इल्मी की बातचीत सुनकर हैरानू हूँ। हैरान इसलिए कि मेरी इस पुरानी साथी पत्रकार को अभी तक राजनीतिक जुमलेबाज़ी में महारत हासिल नहीं हुई।…

लेकिन ठहरिये…बात तो आगे भी कही है शाज़िया ने। कहती हैं कि- “कम्युनल बनिये और अपनों को वोट दीजिए। अपने बारे में सोचिये। अरविंद केजरीवाल आपके अपने हैं। उनका साथ दीजिए। डरने और हराने का सिलसिला खत्म कीजिए, लड़िये और जीतिये।”

बताया जाता है कि ये वीडियो तब बना जब शाज़िया मीरा सान्याल का प्रचार करने मुबई गई थीं!

दिमाग चकरा गया है। ये कैसी ‘सांप्रदायिकता’ है जो मुसलमानों को किसी मुसलमान को नहीं अरविंद केजरीवाल और मीरा सान्याल का समर्थन करने के लिए प्रेरित कर रही है। ऐसा भी नहीं कि आम आदमी पार्टी किसी ‘सांप्रदायिक एजेंडे’ पर काम करी है। यह तो एक ऐसा ‘संप्रदाय’ रचने की बात है जिसमें हिंदू-मुस्लिम का साझा हो

[I am amazed listening to Shazia Ilmi’s statements. Amazed because this former journalist colleague of mine has not yet learnt the art of making statements in politics…

But wait a minute…Shazia has said something more. She says: “become communal and vote for your own people. Think of yourselves. Arvind Kejriwal is your own. Support him. Stop this business of fear and defeating and start thinking of fighting and winning.”

It is reported that this video was made when Shazia was campaigning for Meera Sanyal in Mumbai.

The mind boggles. What kind of communalism is this that asks Muslims to vote not for Muslims but for Arvind Kejriwal and Meera Sanyal. And it is not even the case that AAP is working on any communal agenda. This is indeed a call for creating a new ‘community’ which is a common property of Hindus and Muslims.]

Need we say anything more? Shazia and AAP have subsequently issued a statement to the effect that 80 seconds of the larger video have been selectively taken out to launch this vicious propaganda.

Equally telling is the fact that when all this was being played over and over on TV channels, Righteous Ornob’s Times Now – the latest recruit into the Modi Propaganda Machine chose to completely ignore the physical attack on Somnath Bharti by BJP thugs the next day in Benaras. Most channels – with the exception of CNN-IBN did the same. Times Now of course took the cake – its running text at the bottom of the screen merely said “Somnath Bharti Heckled in Varanasi”. Heckled? He was physically attacked, but for the propaganda machine, that was not news.

The bottom line is this: What was once merely ‘bias in reporting’, often conflating news with opinion, has now acquired an altogether new and dangerous dimension. The Big Media is no longer ‘media’ in the sense that we understand it. It is now a full-blown propaganda machine of Modi-fascism. One need only look at the complete black-out of the massive turnout in Benaras at the time of Kejriwal’s filing of his nomination.

Benaras AAP turnoutBenaras AAP turnout

The only time one gets some idea of a party like the BSP, for example, is when Ravish Kumar takes us on his tours across the Hindi heartland – where voters are angry that their party has been blacked out.

There is no ‘wave’ once you leave the highway – which is as far as the propaganda machine manages to reach.


Read more here —

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Of Sexist Russell Brand & Why the Revolution was Not Televised #mustread


By Saswat Pattanayak
Red Monthly | October 2013

Russell Brand’s allegedly humorous attempt at explaining away his motivation for editing a political magazine is not just sexist (“asked by an attractive woman”), it is also inherently elitist. At the risk of spoiling the ongoing “revolution” party at social media, let me quickly get to the point.

Brand’s “attractive woman” fixation is nothing new. Earlier this year, he had called MSNBC journalist Mika Brzezinski a “shaft grasper” for the manner in which she was clutching a water bottle. Commenting on her cleavage, when Brzezinski leaned forward to repair a collapsing table, Brand justified his ogle in this manner: “I’m only flesh and blood, I’ve got instincts.”

One would think such overtly sexist behavior towards a media professional would cost Brand’s career dearly. Hardly so. Turns out, his critics merely call him “lazy” and his sexism “dull”. Instead what always work for him by the European standard of beauty are his “big hair”, “10-mile high charisma”, “look like Jesus” and “lovely cheekbones”.

White Jesus as he is, he could still have a career after the ‘Sachsgate’ scandal. He remains wary only because the broadcast was made, which apparently hampered his image, but not because he finds it not funny that he would have “fucked” Andrew Sachs’ granddaughter. But that reference did not end there. What the media largely ignored was what happened afterwards. In a patronizing manner of a classic male savior, Brand then left another voicemail on Sachs’ machine saying, “It was a mistake… The truth is I am phoning you to ask if I can marry – that’s right, marry – Georgina, the granddaughter”.

The dig at the “granddaughter” did not end right there. Russell Brand then furthers that, “I said something I didn’t have oughta, like I had sex with your granddaughter. But it was consensual and she wasn’t menstrual, it was consensual lovely sex. It was full of respect I sent her a text, I’ve asked her to marry me.”

Just as he out of full respect towards his wife Katy Perrydumped her via a text message.

Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross in a BBC studio leaving messages on Andrew Sachs' answerphone. Photograph: BBC

Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross in a BBC studio leaving messages on Andrew Sachs’ answerphone. Photograph: BBC

This was a while ago. And the Brzezinski episode was a few months ago.

But even farther were his days of drug addiction, that he brings up in his most recent interview to project himself as a revolutionary. Except that he cleverly makes no reference to his sexism, his white male privileges, his multi-millionaire attitude of indifference.

Read more here–


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Mangalore : Govt drops all charges against journalist Soorinje #goodnews





Mangalore: June 14; The State Government has dropped all charges against journalist Naveen Soorinje in connection with the Morning Mist home stay attack Recently The Visual Media Journalists Association of Dakshina Kannada district had submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah urging him to drop all charges against journalist Naveen Soorinje and TV cameraman Sharan in connection with the Morning Mist home stay attack.


As per the Cabinet meet on Thursday June 13 it was decided to withdraw cases registered against journalist Naveen Soorinje in the Morning Mist Home Stay attack .
Advocate M P Amruthesh had filed public interest litigation in the state high court on February 6, challenging the state cabinet’s January 31 decision to withdraw case standing against Soorinje.
But the state High Court had, based on an affidavit that Soorinje was not involved with illegal activities at the venue, granted bail to him thereafter on March 23.


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State cabinet withdraws criminal cases against scribe Soorinje #goodnews


Mariam Alexander Baby, Polit Bureau Member of CPI(M), with Naveen Soorinje, at Wenlock Hospital in Mangalore. Photo: H.S.Manjunath
The HinduMariam Alexander Baby, Polit Bureau Member of CPI(M), with Naveen Soorinje, at Wenlock Hospital in Mangalore. Photo: H.S.Manjunath


The State Cabinet which met here on Thursday has approved the withdrawal of criminal cases registered against a television journalist-Naveen Soorinje , the minister for law and parliamentary affairs, Suresh Kumar told presspersons.

Mr. Soorinje covering Mangalore district for the channel, was instrumental in exposing the July 28 attack by activists of the Hindu Jagarana Vedike on a group of innocent boys and girls who were celebrating a birthday party at a homestay in Mangalore.

He was arrested on November 7 by the Mangalore police on charges ranging from “rioting with deadly weapons,” criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly, and using criminal force on a woman with the intention of outraging her modesty. The police also invoked Sections 3 and 4 of The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act 1986.


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#India-Spurned man burns two women with insecticide #acidattack #vaw


Rejected by the married woman he was trying to woo, a 30-year-old man attacks her and a friend with a can of insecticide and a lighter; women suffer serious burns but are out of danger

Nazia Sayed, Mumbai Mirror

Posted On Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Samtanagar police have arrested a 30-year-old man, Sachin Gangaram Shigvan, for assaulting and attemtping to kill a woman and a friend who tried to rescue her.

Shradha Landge (23) and Minal Zeman (36) suffered serious burn injuries after Sachin attacked them with a can of insecticide and a lighter, but are out of danger. This is the latest in a spate of horrific attacks on women in Mumbai, and echoes the recent case of Jerrit John, an ad film-maker who threw acid on the face of a girl who rejected him.

According to the police, Sachin, who lost his wife and son two years ago, both to prolonged illnesses, had been attracted to Shrasha even before she got married. According to Shradha, he had been actively wooing her for the past four months, but in vain.

Since Shradha refused to leave her husband, Sachin tried a different tack – he befriended her husband and began telling both spouses made-up stories about the other’s infidelity. “This went on for a long time and caused many misunderstandings between my husband and I. But finally we understood that it was all Sachin’s doing,” said Shradha.

On Sunday, Shradha and her husband Shashikant, an auto driver, called Sachin for a chat over a cup of tea and tried to convince him to forget about Shradha. Sachin reacted angrily and started to abuse the two. Furious, Shashikant slapped him twice and threw him out of the house. On his way out, Sachin told them that he would get back at them.

On Tuesday morning, he returned for revenge. Around 11 am on Tuesday, Shradha was at her neighbour Shabana‘s house. Shabana and her watched TV while another friend, Minal Zeman (36) washed clothes outside. Sachin barged in and told Shabana to get out of the house. He said that Shradha had destroyed his life and now he would do the same to her.

As soon as Shabana fled, Sachin locked the door, unaware that Minal had already sneaked in and was hiding behind a curtain. Sachin was carrying a can of insecticide, which he sprayed on Shradha before setting fire to her. Shradha’s face, neck, left shoulder, and hair were burnt in the attack. Seeing her friend in trouble, Minal emerged and tried to douse the fire. Sachin warned Minal that if she did not leave, she would suffer the same fate as Shradha. Minal however refused to leave her friend’s side.

Sachin then tried to spray and burn her as well. Minal suffered burns but managed to run towards the door. When she opened it, she saw a large crowd gathered outside. People immediately rushed in to rescue to two women and nab Sachin. Sachin later told the police that he had intended to burn Shradha alive. Senior Inspector Nanasaheb Kamble of Samtanagar police station said, “The accused will be produced in court tomorrow. Both victims have been admitted to a hospital in Kandivali.”


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#India #BreakingNews- #Mumbai Police Blocks FOX and Discovery channels on #digitalcable #Censorship #WTFnews

Nov1, 2012, 3.00pm

I love ‘ Fox Crime : Channel and Alfred Hitchock presents my favourite, so as I switched my  television today to watch my favourite show, this is what i saw

Cursing my remote I again  started surfing channels, then auto scanning channels , I switch my TV off and then on again

and here is what I got

I have a digital cable TV connnection, so while all hue and cry was going on for last few days, I was least bothered. Now after checking all technical glitches with my digital connection myself, Ii called my cable operator, and there came a robotic voice, ‘ Madam, fox channel na, haan woh police ne band karwa diya hai  ( Madam, the police has blocked  fox channel )?” I was like WHAT ???, Yes , madam discovery science bhi band karwar diya hai. ( They also blocked the discovery science channel )  I asked her if the Police gave them anything in writing. ‘ Kya, madam, police kya likh ke dega,  ( What Madam, What police will give in writing ? ( laughingly ) ,they have blocked the channels’.   WTF,  was my only reaction.  I treid the police phoen numbers but could never get through as usual.

How can police block channels, do they think that robbers  watch criminal minds and plan their robbery and  murderers  will watch Alfred Hitchcock presents to hatch their perfect murders, what crap.  So, if they are going on banning spree, why not Crime patrol  on Sony TV, Saavdhan India on Life OK channel. Although, censorship of any kind is problematic, but here uts the typical stereotype that western channels  are polluting the innocent desi minds argh.

The police had blocked channels in 2008,imposing section 19 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act 1995, that governed the  cable operators,  as accoridng to the police the transmission of  of various clippings,  coverage of the actions take  by the police against the terrorists in South Mumbai were  causing impediment in the police action and  operational difficulties. Section 19 of the Cable TV Act empowers the authorised officers to prohibit transmission of certain programmes that are not in conformity of the programme code and is likely to disturb the public tranquility.

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#India- FM radio stations under scanner #Censorship #FOE #FOS

FM radio stations under govt's scanner

The government is planning to set up a facility that will monitor the programme content that is broadcast on FM Radio stations during the 12th Five year plan. Information and Broadcasting secretary Uday Kumar Varma said there was a need to monitor radio content as nearly 800 more FM channels are likely to come up in the next couple of years.

Speaking at a function at the Electronic Media Monitoring Centre (EMMC) here, he said, “The whole world of monitoring of radio content is still to be handled and addressed in a meaningful manner. We do have a mechanism but I think we need to keep that mechanism evolving. With 800 plus FM channels expected to come in next one to three years, there will be quite a handful that will need to be addressed”.

He said private channels in the coming days would get permission to broadcast news which makes the need to monitor content important. “They will begin with AIR news but local news in any case, they may be allowed to generate and broadcast and that would have several manifestations which will need to be monitored,” Varma said.

Later speaking to PTI, Ranjana Dev Sarmah, Director EMMC said the content monitoring body was planning to expand its operations to include radio content and increase the number of television channels. “During the 12th five year plan period, we intend to set up the mechanism to monitor radio content as per the I&B ministry’s instructions,” Sarmah said.

“We also plan to increase the number of TV channels which are monitored from the current 300 to upto 1200 in the coming days,” he said. The EMMC is a department under the I&B ministry which monitors TV content round-the-clock and reports violations of rules and also carries out analysis. Earlier in his speech, the I&B secretary said EMMC was presently confined to satellite transmission but with the onset of digitisation of cable services, new technologies could be looked in to to see what content goes into the cable viewers’ homes.

Varma said that analysis of television content was another challenge that faced the EMMC. “It is good to know which channel is transmitting what kind of programme….which channel is the one which actually uses maximum time for advertisements on may be weekly basis or half yearly basis,” he said. “What kind of rural reporting the channels actually resort to in terms of their overall time devoted to matters which relate to the villages of India or developmental dimensions of the country…may be women, may be children or may be physically challenged and then there are sensitive analysis from the political point of view,” Varma added.

Secretary I&B said that the EMMC could set up its own Research and Analysis Wing which could be known as EMMC – RAW.

Press Trust Of India

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Bangalore Police arrest journalist, 10 others for suspected terror links


PTI, Aug 30/8/2012

In a major operation, Bangalore Police have arrested 11 persons with suspected links to terror outfits Lashkar-e-Taiba and HuJI and claimed to have foiled their plot to target MPs, MLAs and mediapersons in Karnataka.

A foreign made 7.65 mm pistol, seven rounds of ammunition and other gadgets were seized from the arrested, City Police Commissioner Jyotiprakash Mirji told reporters along with DGP L.R. Pachau.

The arrested included a journalist of an English daily, police sources said.

Mr. Mirji said all the arrests were made by CCB police on Wednesday in Hubli in northern Karnataka and Bangalore after gathering intelligence inputs for several days.

He denied reports about involvement of Uttar Pradesh police in the operation.

“It was a meticolously planned operation by CCB. The arrested had links with banned outfits like LeT and HUJI,” Mr. Mirji said but refused to share further details remarking “in the interest of the security, case and investigations no more details can be shared at this stage“.

The arrested, all aged below 30, planned to target MPs, MLAs and prominent journalists, he said.

He said cases under IPC sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), 307 (attempt to murder), 379 (theft) and under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and Arms Act have been registered against the arrested.

Initial reports had said the four suspected Indian Mujahideen activists involved in the 2010 Chinnaswamy stadium blast case were picked up by police.


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Sunday Reading–Artivism In The Age Of Capitalism- #SJ #Aamir Khan

by-Samvartha Sahil–

In a recent article on Satyameva Jayate (SJ hereafter) one of our important film, TV and theater artist B. Suresha brought in the argument of the visible and invisible connection between commerce and art and on how the control of commerce over art can limit art and also corrupt and dilute it.

When the strings of art is in the hands of commerce, whichever art may it be, how much ever concerned the art is and has its heart in the right (rather left) place finally its concern and artivism will be playing within the framework of commerce (read capitalism) and all its concern will be, in one or the other way, benefiting the larger capitalist structure. Else why would the capitalist structure even bother to hold the strings of art in the name of artivism.

What actually makes such associations quite limiting and also dangerous is that the art, in the name of artivism, will not be able to survive of its own and the commercial interest becomes more important than the very artivism of such art.

With all respects to the concern of Aamir Khan and all those who are watching the show, we should not let the question on how Aamir Khan, with so much of advertising, Ambani and corporate interest intertwined with SJ will be able to raise some of the most inhumane issues of this country- say caste discrimination/oppression, demand for reservation, khap panchayat, communalism etc- in his show? One show on caste discrimination and a call for mass support for reservation will make Aamir Khan a villain in the eyes of most of the viewers. One show on how monopoly of Reliance can ruin this nation and the capital flow for the show will vanish- or make the show itself vanish. Or let Amir give us one show on NBA- a movement with which he has identified earlier- and speak of the problems associated with the popular model of development. Will he and his show have the same number of audience the following week? The point here is not whether Aamir Khan is concerned or not but how these associations and negotiations chain one! He may not be able to speak of NBA, even while having his heart with the movement, because of the fear of losing TRPs.

This association between commerce and art, thus, lets art be concerned and speak about all those issues which, if spoken, doesn’t harm its commercial interest. So what happens as a result is that the structure of world, which in itself is very oppressive and needs to be fought, remains untouched. Moreover it keeps benefitting from such programmes too.

Have not people like Sainath, Kalpana Sharma, Harsh Mander, Arundati Roy, Anand Teltumbde spoken about burning issues to us? The fact that we require an Aamir Khan- with an aura of being a star- to wake us up speaks about the thick skin we have developed. This is a sort of moral illness. May be the world which we have constructed for ourselves is not a thick skinned one and – to use a marketing word- “good packaging” is required to take the message. But it becomes important to see what is happening to the message itself when it is sealed in a plastic cover?

This moral illness of our times is something which artivism has to cure. We the people, with this moral illness, who are a part of this larger structure and also benefiting from this structure, amidst our busy life strengthening the status quo and this larger structure for our own benefits, feel satisfied about our ‘sensitivity’ about ‘burning issues’ of the world by watching and speaking of some socially relevant issues. This is like personal/ individual CSR. It is, forgive the language, a kind of moral masturbation.

One should remember the recent Idea and Samsung advertisements which showed that ‘like’ buttons on facebook can change the world, bring a revolution, and awaken a generation. It may be speaking about how facebook can help in raising questions and bring about awareness. But the bottom line is “buy idea 3G” and “buy samsung”. Worse it takes activism and artvism from the real to the virtual space. SJ is not very different from this because it again is playing within the framework of an oppressive system, with its close association with commerce, which surely is benefitting capitalism.

One problem with SJ (and also the column by Aamir Khan in The Hindu) is that they sound very much like a moral science class. Bringing up issues and discussing them and thus opening the eyes of the people to the issues and also awakening them are fine. But what makes one turn skeptical about it is the moral high position that Aamir Khan seem to assume for himself. One wouldn’t become so skeptical about it the research team of SJ was to come and narrate these stories.  When SJ becomes more of an Aamir Khan show and not a programme which speaks of reality as it really is, there are all reasons for one to be skeptical about it as one has all reasons to be skeptical about all such works where an individual’s aura eclipses the work. In the narratives narrated by Sainath, Kalpana Sharma or Harsh Mander (for example) we do not see their individual personality casting its shadow on the issues they are raising.

It can be argued that Sainath, Kalpana Sharma or Harsh Mander has not been able to penetrate to the larger mass and mass consciousness the way Amir Khan has done. But how can we ignore the difference in the issues being raised by Sainath, Mander, Roy etc and Amir Khan? May be there is a need for the former to invent newer methods of speaking. Possible. But SJ does’nt become an alternative for the former.

That does’nt mean that SJ does’nt have any right for existence. To think that though within the framework of a capitalist system it is raising questions and trying to bring in a difference from within is to just have imaginations and not an imaginary. Like there is poverty of morality and poverty of sensitivity there exists also poverty of imagination. We have been tied by imagination and have not been able to imagine the imaginary to bring in a new form of activism and artivism.

Read more on his BLOG HERE

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Satyamev Jayate: Of downright manipulations and status-quoist revolutions

By Saswat Pattanayak,  Kindle Magazine

Aamir Khan claims to address the roots of social evils, engages statistics, experts and pending court cases to illustrate his findings while offering solutions to overturn Indian feudal structure, all within an hour’s televised show, intensified with tears, hopes and resolutions. And the unprecedented success of ‘Satyamav Jayate’ underlines that this tactic is effectively working. If a generation had somehow failed to awaken following Rang de Basanti, it is wide awake, this time.

Each episode is a testament to this resounding success. Aamir poses significant questions in the beginning, acknowledges the conventional answers, moves on to  dismantle those very assumptions, and the audience bursts into tears at its own ignorance and at the promise of a new tomorrow bereft of the maladies.
Just when the cynics wonder if he has turned self-righteous, it turns out ‘Satyamev Jayate’ works precisely because Aamir identifies himself entirely with the audience. He, too, learns of the bitter truths about Indian society from the very show itself, live on the stage. “Mujhe bhi aaj yeh seekh mili hai” is oft-repeated. Along with the audience, he is shocked at the barbaric, with them he sheds the tears, with them he signs petitions. The routine criticisms usually reserved for holier than thou shows simply find no outlets here.
Finally, it is the content area where the Aamir Khan effect shines. Female infanticide, dowry tortures, child sexual abuse – the themes so far – are societally entrenched as innately problematic, inherently evil and acutely in need of redress. They are so commonplace that they should have ideally lost any shock value by now; and yet Satyamev Jayate revels in the euphoric disconnect of the audience with their harmful consequences.
And yet, what goes almost unnoticed is that Satyamev Jayate is a reality television show, not a reality; that the truth has not triumphed in the show capitalizing on our national motto. What remains deeply unsettling is that the solution evinced in the show is part of the problem, that the answers gathered are critical question marks, the lulling agents are masquerading as the antidotes, the normative as surprises, and the status quo as revolution.
Aamir Khan, along with his corporate sponsors, the so-called philanthropy partners and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, have together created a recipe for unparalleled commercial venture, the most gigantic instance of private capital earning public respect, a creative collaboration that gloriously abolishes economic class as a social determinant, an immaculate shield against revolutionary restructuring.
A reality television show is entirely scripted, and Satyamev Jayate is no exception. Where it resorts to downright manipulation is where it hides behind the cloak of social change agency. What percentage of Indian children are sexually abused, asks Aamir Khan. Two percent, says one, four percent, another. All nice and dandy, except that either the reality show does not arrange for a single informed member to be present amidst the audience, or that the host chooses not to ask this question to people whose answers can upstage his assumptions. No Pinki Virani there. Does female infanticide take place majorly in rural areas or how does one plan one’s wedding could likewise – effortlessly – generate opposing views, but Aamir, bent upon cashing in on the shock value, chooses to register the answers that suit the script.
So are the ignorant answers from the audience a result of random sampling? Hardly so, considering each episode has target audience representing a certain age/gender group. Instead of facilitating a dialogue among the people representing diverse views owing to unique social locations, Aamir Khan chooses to engage in a linear fashion, as a preacher, as an instructor, and eventually as the tool of social change.
As part of the script, the critical voices in the audience are not asked for opinions independently, but only as supporting evidences that embolden Aamir’s heroism. It would have upset the stage had the members of Tanzeem Khuddam E Millat engaged in a dialogue with the young people who advocated lavish wedding in the beginning of that episode. Hence, after the unassuming audience was sarcastically applauded for its wedding preference, and after Aamir had made forceful arguments against audience perception, Mausim Ummedi is introduced as his supporting voice, whose adulations for Aamir’s mammoth sacrifices are then televised to the viewers. One wonders if becoming the highest paid anchor in the television history to showcase impacts of poverty is the sacrifice, or being a descendant to Maulana Azad itself constitutes this acclaimed sacrifice of Aamir Khan.
Turns out, neither. More disturbing is the claim on part of the elite host that women’s rights issues have nothing to do with economic class. Infanticide is a practice across classes, dowry torture equally universal, sexual abuse as well. Political economy is not the culprit, and there is no need to address feudalism, let alone capitalism. Both rich and the poor suffer equally, and even the poor are romanticized as happier survivors. There is light at the end of the tunnel because patience with the system, and not privilege redistribution holds the key. In fact, so content is Aamir in the status quo, that his constant disclaimer is his complete and unwavering faith in our judicial system and that he – on behalf of us all – is perfectly assured, justice shall prevail in each case.
That, the oppressed state of women and children is a necessary consequence of patriarchy, which in turn is unequivocally interwoven with capitalism, is entirely lost to our beloved renaissance man. While claiming to be addressing the root causes of social evils, Aamir conveniently blames it all on individual conscience without addressing a commodified society that must treat its weaker sections as non-entities. In an increasingly individualistic society where profit – and power – accumulations are ruthlessly preserved – and whose direct beneficiaries include the illustrious host himself – the next logical step is to sign the petitions in a dramatic manner and repose trust in the law and order system of our assumedly robust democracy.
So the woman continues to be worshipped as a sacrificial mother, motherhood as a moral virtue, every abortion is a killing without a word spoken on abortion rights of women, wearing jeans and miniskirts continue to be slutty, big weddings remain fine so long as the couples pay for them, child sexual abuse victims should forgive their abusers, belief in the gods and religious scripts remain the saviors, and the pending court cases shall invariably meet justice. In Aamir Khan’s troubled India, trouble is forever over, when he comes back to reassure the awestruck audience, after the break.
It is not the disbelievers, the radicals, the Maoists, the agitators, the ones who have given up on the political economic system that inherently sustains the wealth and gender gap who should be emulated. It is the pacifiers, the collaborators, the petitioners, the forgivers, the individualists who must pave the way. Contrary to the claimed exceptional values this show provides, the truth is we have continually worshipped the heroes, the successful and the glorious, the judicial system and the political democracy, just as Aamir envisages. Moreover, we have always waited for the superhero to come fix what is wrong with the system while leaving its roots intact. The role of the messiah is not to discard the god, after all; just to empower the masses into believing a tiny bit more.
When this season of televised empowerment started, Aamir outlined India’s biggest obsessions, he mentioned cricket, films and weddings. The truth would have surely triumphed, had he not overlooked the most apparent one, the one obsession he has willingly turned himself into becoming: the Messiah. Alas.

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