Thursday, January 29, 2009

Throw the Constitution away

Thursday, January 29, 2009 Share: Digg Technorati Delicious StumbleUpon Facebook

Never Criticize NDTV and Barkha Dutt again

A blogger, Chyetanya Kunte, recently published an “Unconditional Withdrawal” of his blog post where he had criticized NDTV and Barkha Dutt. On reading Chyetanya’s opinion (Cached copy from Google), it seemed like one of the many blog posts during those 60 hours where an angry, upset citizen strongly voiced his frustration and disappointment at how the Media handled the situation.

After the attacks, all news channels absolved themselves of anything sensationalist or irresponsible. But it seems like NDTV has decided to go a step further and shut down any future challenges to its reporting style and content by extracting an apology from this blogger. The language of his retraction suggests that there was a threat of legal action and like any average guy, it would have been too much for him to handle.

News channels are not selfless charitable organizations. We expect objectiveness from them but also understand that there will be some bias, a little sensationalism for TRPs and we apply our filters to see through it. We rely on the information they provide and over time, form a relationship with them. I have always had fond memories of NDTV, Prannoy Roy, The World This Week and for its in-depth election analysis.

Not anymore. Not after knowing that an average guy’s opinion has been suppressed, ironically on 26th January, the day we adopted our Constitution that assured Chyetanya Kunte his fundamental right to Freedom of Speech and Expression.

I will leave you with the lyrics of a song, “Freedom of Speech” by Ice T

Your opinion is yours, my opinion is mine
If you don't like what I'm sayin'? Fine
But don't close it, always keep an open mind
A man who fails to listen is blind
We only got one right left in the world today
Let me have it or throw The Constitution away

Other voices:

Shripriya – Shame on NDTV and Barkha Dutt:

the very bodies who owe their survival to free speech, the very organizations that used free speech to report on the Mumbai attacks, and defended their content as necessary for information dissemination are now against a blogger’s right to free speech

Venkatesh Sridhar – Why NDTV lost my respect:

There are many instances where other people said far more worse things to her, like Rahul Easwar who called her a fundamentalist, extremist. I never heard or read about Rahul Easwar being sued by NDTV or Barkha.

V.P Jaiganesh – Shame Shame NDTV:

it pisses me off totally when they indulge in sensational journalism that potentially puts people's life in peril and then arm twist their way out when a concerned blogger mentions it in his blog

Patrix – Muffling a Blogger:

This behavior is part of the larger malaise of Indian mainstream media who has inculcated the worst from their Western counterparts

Prem Panicker – When ‘free speech’ bears a price tag:

How does Barkha Dutt reconcile her stated respect for criticism and her intention to learn from it with the suggestion that those who don’t like what she does and the way she does it can say it with the remote?

Vijayendra Mohanty – :

You won’t achieve anything by getting one blogger to withdraw what he typed in the heat of anger. Just like the government of India wouldn’t have achieved anything by blocking one TV news channel.

Labnol - Indian Blogger Apologizes to NDTV for Quoting Wikipedia

Barkha has earlier covered topics like "regulating blogs" but I sincerely hope that she would also consider making this latest issue a topic of discussion during her next "We The People" debate on NDTV.

Seriously Sandeep – The Joke is on you:

While they strut around invading people’s privacy, and making grand pronouncements at random on everybody, they need to understand that freedom of speech is not their exclusive privilege. People will exercise the same right upon them.

Rajtilak – Freedom of Speech:

Freedom of Speech had always been under attack from various sources in the past, but it hurts all the more when it comes from people whose battlecry should be Freedom of Speech

29 comments:

Priya Shah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sunshine said...

@TCP: Hey, I'm not gone for a 'longish' time, ok? Just for a 'shortish' time. He he. Yes, I know why Cloudy chose that nick. She told me (before she told you :D). And I've listened to that song too:)

@Cloudy: Good to have you back :)

And I'm first again!!

@ Rafiq: You can claim first even if you are not technically first. What's more important is 'cliaming' :)

Priya Shah said...

This is not only hypocrisy at its best - but this is also plain command control mode.

1) NDTV's website has a section where their journalist blog. Yes blog - though well versed with the technological aspects of a blog (seo - more people on ndtv website - more ads - more money) They do not understand the essence of it.

2) Lets get to the chase Burkha has a bloody huge ego - she tried replicating the kargil coverage. I give her credit for the courage she had for standing at the front line and reporting. I also probably understand how she must have felt. It was Mumbai after all. But You and I are allowed to get fanatic and allowed to get absolutely freaked about what is happening. She is paid/trained to handle such situations.

3) Lets just put it this way - if she can have an opinion about the world. she better learn how to take an opinion. She is not above any1 nor is she below. The faster she understands that , the better it is.

4) Thanks to all this renewed nonsense - i have renewed hatred for her :)

at the end of it all Great post :)

Mr. D said...

I think that NOW, it's actually worse for Dutt and NDTV. Everyone's talking about it, and no one is exactly praising them.

More power to the interwebs.

TO TOUCH THE HORIZON said...

well this is nothing new..before press used to write words of apology..now bloggers do....the term freedom of speech is very much a cliched term today.

ANAND said...

This 'end' was like the one in RDB...
We can's accept 'ends' like these!
Not now on!!
Never!!!

Rafiq Raja said...

Atleast the Blogger community is unison in fighting over the oppression on Freedom of Speech. Is that term only reserved to the news channels and not the blogger community.....

@ sunshine: I will remember to claim "first", next time around :)

The Comic Project said...

Oy! 7 comments including 1 deleted.
@Sunshine: no excuses. I blog more often than you comment grrrrrr :-) Good "claim" lesson for Rafiq too
@Priya Shah: Lots of views expressed on this subject since last night. Head reeling but what I liked is how people are keeping it clean, no abuses.
I used to watch We the People till 2004, and then it started getting to me. I too have admiration for Barkha for the courage she shows at the front line, but she gets hysterical. Contrast that with how Sreenivasan Jain reported from the Taj.
2 months ago, I realised how important it is to have a voice. With this incident, I realised how important it is to protect it.
Thanks. I had warned in a post that I found what I was looking for :-)
@Mr.D: Oh yeah, this blogosphere thingy is like an iceberg..there is more than what you see. Welcome to TCP.
@To Touch the Horizon: I don't know if it is a cliche as the reactions for the incident seem to think differently. But when we start thinking of it as a cliche, there is all the more reason to protect it so it doesn't end up as that. Thanks
@Anand: The reactions across blogosphere is clear this time. This is like the elephant underestimating the ant.
@RAfiq: I guess we are all offended when we are the affected party :-) This is like a preemptive strike so that future opinions cannot be threatened.

Rajtilak Bhattacharjee said...

@Priya : Thanks for pointing out this link to me.

@The Comic Project : Have tried my best to spread the word. Today it had happened to Kunte, tomorrow it might be my turn! NDTV and Barkha Dutt have underestimated the power of blogging I guess.

http://www.rajtilak.net/2009/01/freedom-of-speech.html

The Comic Project said...

@Rajtilak: Thanks for the link. You make a valid point when you say "
Freedom of Speech had always been under attack from various sources in the past, but it hurts all the more when it comes from people whose battlecry should be Freedom of Speech"
After an initial reaction, I am also realising how important it is to weigh our words when we blog. Feel bad for CKunte but also learnt a lesson.

Cloudy said...

Sad :( Barkha has always gotten on my nerves. Oops! that's not defamatory is it?

Good to have you back too Sunshine! Now if only the keeper of the rules came back, it would (kind of) be like old times...

Claiming second! PS: Rafiq - you could've claimed second y'know?

Solilo said...

I had written a post on it yesterday. Added this link just now.

Now media is playing goons too? What happened to their shoddy reporting courtesy "sources"?

I don't know why only one blogger is targetted? Is it to warn others?

Thanks for that Tinkle suggestion. I will check that comic blog now.

The Comic Project said...

@sunshine: LoL that's your opinion but will be considered fact only if you prove it :-)
@solilo: There have been more blog posts in the last day, that have presented a far more balanced view than mine. I will link to them in this post. In my opinion, ckunte didn't overdo it, but apparently, some words can be considered for suing him and hence all this. You have hit the nail on the head - this IS to warn others and the medium in general. They want to make the rules so they can control this medium. Too late.

Quirky Indian said...

So, the same people who scream themselves hoarse about freedom of the press, and therefore, by extension, freedom of expression, now believe that not everyone should have that right.

She might be in the right legally.....but that does not make it any better. There was a lot of unhappiness about the coverage of 26/11...and Chetanya articulated what a lot of people felt.

Quirky Indian

hitch writer said...

what about the news channels being asked to sumit proof all the times when they put SOURCES : and write whateer they want to ??

Falkor said...

BD and NDTV obviously thought no body will cover an obscure blogger in Netherlands ha ha ha

Santosh said...

The best way to respond to this heavy handedness is to ask your cable operator to cut off NDTV. NDTV and other such media needs to learn that if they can freely peddle their opinion, the same law gives others the right to have an opinion on the way media conducts its business. Time to pull the plug on NDTV - less viewership, less ratings, less ad, less money, more senses.

Colonel Worobu said...

I think everyone in the blogging world should reproduce the original content that offended that journalist. Let them send out 100s of legal notices to every blog in the world? The more they try to suppress, the more the word should spread.

Priya Shah said...

http://tinyurl.com/aupmdw

This is a must read - regarding the Dutt issue .

It is hilarious but true

The Comic Project said...

@QuirkyIndian: I read this post http://ego.randomwalk.in/blog/2009/01/30/the-level-playground/ and the blogger makes a very valid point that the internet levels the playing field. IMO, that's something people can't handle. The print media must have felt similarly about the TV people when they came in first, except this is a lot more different. I have updated my views further on another blog post. Thanks for visiting TCP and hope you keep coming back
@hitch writer: different rules for different people. A lot of people are talking about how the media handled the Arushi case as an example.
@Falkor: I think they don't understand the medium :-)
@Santosh: The media also peddles its opinion as fact. And the show is getting a bit too self-indulgent. It's about stories, egos, loyalties and not about news. Do you blog anywhere?
@Colonel: That's what is happening although no one is quoting the original content for the concern of getting Chyetanya Kunte into any trouble. This is not how we want to be reminded how precious freedom is, but now we know.
@Priya: It is super hilarious. Linked to it in a follow up post. Thank you.

Chris said...

Who sees NDTV anyway? In my place, there are three or four channels which we have stopped watching, NDTV, CNNIBN HEadlines Today and Times Now.

Read the internet and the blogs, far more interesting anyway!

FreaKo said...

Freedom of speech?? Bollocks to those who believe in that! Is india attained freedom? Check this out:
1. You are not free to go to the mall the way you like, you are subject to frisking, meaning, you are a suspected terrorist, until proven not guilty.

2. Every aiport treats you like a terrorist, again until you are proven not guilty.

3. I cang gout with friends and sit by a lake, since I am suspected of being a terrorist.

4. I cant go to thirupati, with my head tonsured and sporting a beard, I am questioned "Which country."

5. People cannot express or have access to food and water - Who cares about this, havent you seen sharukhs six packs? oh man it was there for six weeks on the news...

Freedom... mind fuck!

Rajtilak Bhattacharjee said...

I would like to point out one thing, if I may. I think we have overlooked a very important thing out of this situation, the trend. Have you noticed that a great number of people did protest to what Barkha and her NDTV henchmen did to Kunte. And we did this without any political motivation, without any so-called 15th August patriotism. So in a way, we, Bloggers with a capital B, have grown out of boundaries and the usual debauchery of the society. We should make all the efforts to let it remain this way.

The Comic Project said...

@Chris: last bastion of free speech, isn't it? Blogs are a lot of fun, so many opinions, amazing
@FreaKo: It's what we have and the point you mentioned about SRKs 6 pack, that was over the top, i guess most of it is. News has become entertainment. About security, it sucks but what's the alternative.
@rajtilak: To be honest, I think we all gather together when "one of our own" gets attacked in any form. Supporting equals, or those above us in the pecking order. Lot has to do with knowledge of what we belong to. The interesting thing about blogs is that people from every possible (literate) walk of life is getting onto it. that in itself can make a difference in a few years. Let's hope.

Anonymous said...

keep barkha in a burkha.. ROFL..

ashok pai said...

avoid NDTV, TIMES, CNN-IBN, AAJ tak - the sensationalist media of our times! they have more dirt and breaking pop than some genuine attempt at being a sane news reporting agency. hindu commands respect again!

these tabliod channels are rabble rousers

ashok pai said...

keep barkha in a burkha.. ROFL..

LOLS!!!

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Anonymous said...

Barkha dutt is an idealogue and not a journalist. And of course her idealogies are reaping benefits

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