Tag Archives: BBC

Hu said ‘What’ and who interpreted ‘What’?

Hu Jintao visit to the USA has all the makings of a media spectacle.

With leaders of the two ‘competing and dependent’ economic giants of world who barely share anything apart from economic interests meet in the most cordial manner, lot is on offering for media houses at large not just in the US or China.

Browsing through reports in the New York Times, the Guardian, BBC, CCTV and The Times of India, it was interesting to observe how differently they all approached the visit and reported.

The host scribes set their eyes on the deals and sales on offer and how the Obama leadership has rolled out red carpet and given the best welcome to the Chinese president.

The focus was the deals worth $ 19 billion and oer 1,00,000 jobs in store for the US and development of the ties between two nations. There was mention of noble laureate Liu Xiaobo, but it was business first.

This reminded me about the over the board euphoria shown by Indian media when Obama last visited in September 2010.

The British media focused on Human Rights, and the BBC and the Guardian harped on their concerns about what Hu said about human rights.  Hu saying China still needed to do “a lot” over human rights was a sentiment that echoed across in stories at the BBC and Guardian.

The Guardian in one of the reports described how Obama administration recognised the meeting as meetings of equals unlike how Bush administration gave Hu a White house working lunch.

Chinese media did what it is perceived to do best, dish out information fed to it by the regimen.

As BBC’s Damian Grammaticas mentions : “Just hearing a Chinese president deal with direct questions on human rights is incredibly rare. In China the heavily state-controlled media doesn’t pose them”

The CCTV and others as the Guardian points out underplayed human rights remarks. A visit to their website reaffirms the same.

Amidst all this how can Indian scribes be far behind, a headline in The Times of India read  ‘Hu-pla around Chinese President’s visit centers on American debt’ pun intended it gave away what can be broadly considered as playing away on average Indian sentiment when it comes to doing anything with China. Add to this the copy highlighted human rights issue and how Hu and Dalai lama were both treated by the White house.

Amidst all this frenzy over the visit for me what is interesting to see is that how the tines of both parties are changing US recognising the rise of China and the red dragon too gets to face the world and get a reality check on how world looks at them.

That apart it showed how a same visit can be portrayed to the world in so many different ways.


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Ponting down, but not out

Ricky Ponting will not play in the Syndey test.

Bad news for Ponting. However, what is heartening is the way his men have rallied behind him despite the Ashes loss.

Critics, pundits and Englishmen alike wrote Australia’s most successful test captain off after he earned the infamous distinction of being only the second Aussie captain to lose the Ashes thrice in his career.

This for any proud Australian is criminal.

Despite that the hour of adversity shows the real strength of Ponting – his teams support.

From his deputy Michel Clarke, to coach Tim Nielsen to the once on field rival former England Captain Micheal Vaughan everyone has a word or two of praise for punter.

Clarke, who will be the stand in captain in Sydney has refused to lead Ponting, Nielsen says in a post match conference that the bloke has a lot left in him and Vaughan told BBC that he would like to see Ponting bat for a few more years.

This shows a lot of character for OZ as a team and shows they stand united in the worst hour of their cricketing history.

With no test match after Sydney in sight till August  will give Ponting and Australia a lot of time to regroup as a match winning squad.


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Tuition fee vote may cost Lib Dems their votes

The coalition won the tuition fees hike vote which allows Universities in England to charge up to £9000 pounds from home students.

In doing so the government’s majority was considerably reduced from notional 84 to mere 21 votes.

Rebellion marked the day both inside and outside the house of parliament in London.

No vote

Both parties in the coalition witnessed MP’s either abstaining or voting against the motion as the agitated students kept demonstrating through the day. They managed to reach Parliament Square where they were not supposed to be.

While it’s certain that the students will have to pay higher fees from 2012, what is not certain is the way politics will shape up in the years ahead.

Future tense

Thursdays vote will go a long way in shaping the political landscape, with fears of Liberal Democrats suffering grave consequences for being party to the decision.

Facing the dilemma of keeping the pledge or going ahead with the government decision of the 57 Lib Dem MP’s 29 either voted against or abstained from the vote.

That is little over half the party votes. The step poses serious concerns for those who formed the 29 include Tim Farron, the party president and Simon Hughes, the deputy leader.

It’s going to be a tough walk back to the next elections for Nick Clegg and his party. As Steve Richards, the chief political correspondent, The Independent wrote in his opinion piece on Tuesday: “There is no easy way through for a party that had one unequivocal policy at the election and another now. So much is obvious. The longer-term political consequences are nowhere near as straightforward.”

The party is facing severe criticism from its voters particularly the students with whom they signed a pledge to oppose the fee hike of any kind.

Looks like Clegg miscalculated the risk when he signed the no fee hike pledge and left no stone unturned to publicise it.

Its payback time now.


Alex Barker, Political correspondent FT writes in his blog Clegg knew the move was not going to work but he went ahead.

Despite Clegg making an earnest effort to clarify his position and pose a united front as a party. He is losing ground.  As Richards mentioned at the talk at City University on December 2 that Irony is people can change their decision about politicians in the election and convey their message, politicians can’t do the same.

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Time for England to move on

After Hysteria, ennui.  With England suffering a humiliating exit in the first round of voting for the 2018 FIFA World Cup it’s time for some serious introspection for football’s mother country.

Fans are disappointed, experts are irked, and some blame it on the British media’s revelations of corruption in FIFA.

What is hard to digest is the fact that despite the Prime Minister, Prince William and star footballer David Beckham pitching atop a £15million campaign cost England could manage only one vote apart from their own.

This humiliation I think hurts more than the exit.

A dejected Cameron told the Guardian: “In the end it turns out having the best technical bid, the best commercial bid, a passion for football, that’s not enough. It’s desperately sad.”

A desperate remark by a dejected PM who gave the bid his best shot, unlike his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin who did not even turn up for the final results.

As an anticipated result either WC is not the lead or if it is mostly FIFA is rubbished for the decision to give games to countries which are not developed.

Media mood swings

Watching this story unfold for most part of Thursday it was interesting to observe the unpredictable mood swing of media.

Till 15.45 BST they were raving and rooting about the chances England had, the kind of build up was unparalleled. The BBC did mention Russia and Madrid in their reporting, but it was namesake. It was England all the way and bid hijacked every other development and the story.

Seconds before FIFA president Sepp Blatter opened the envelope to announce the winner BBC ran an unconfirmed strap England Bid rejected in first round. It just killed the suspense and ended the story. What followed was on expected lines.

By evening WC news fell way below on the BBC page, most newspapers either hit out on FIFA or underplayed the story.

It will take some time and thinking for football’s mother country to come in terms with this humiliation and the only way they can do it by proving their mettle on the field, which they haven’t been able to do in the recent memory.

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Day II Wikileaks, whats in it?

Day two of Wikileaks cable expose did manage to keep world media at large interested.

Most media houses across the world were busy to figure out what was in for their local leaders and in turn audience as they flipped through the 250,000 files leaked by the whistleblower website.

For me two statements stood out on Day II.

First, Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton condemns the leaks and secondly the editor of the Guardian Alan Rusbridger stresses that it is not the job of the media to worry about the embarrassment of world leaders.

Politically correct

Clinton in her address to the media condemned the Wikileaks and I quote excerpts from the video of the same uploaded by the BBC website.

Will bring forth the lines as I understood, the secretary of state mentioned: “I condemn the illegal disclosure of classified info.” (Lets bear this in mind for the following lines) . “It puts people’s life in danger, threatens security and undermines effort to solve global issues (Quite out of the book).

In the end Clinton says: “I will not comment or confirm on what are alleged to be states stolen cables and US deeply regrets to the disclosure of any info that was indented to be confidential.”

This is bit confusing, firstly condemning the illegal disclosure of the classified information, implying it was something to do with the state and ending it by saying won’t confirm or comment on what are alleged to be state secrets? In the end she regretted the entire episode for disclosure of what was indented to be confidential.

When something is not confirmed why regret on it or make an issue out of it?

Hard Talk

Secondly the editor of Guardian Alan Rusbridger told BBC Radio 4 defended the publishing of reports. “I think newspapers should bring these things in public arena. It’s not the job of media to worry about the embarrassment of world leaders.”

A clean stand and he back its saying its good newspapers bring  these conversations wherein world leaders have been caught saying  different thing s in public and private arenas.

With journalists upping the ante, its time leaders and bureaucrats watch their words.

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Tale of two broadcasters

A month in London and I safely say that I have become BBC addict. I catch my quota of news on http://www.bbc.co.uk, watch the news programmes and clips online, and if I miss out on something the BBC news alerts on twitter keep me in sync with what is happening around me and elsewhere in the world. If it is newsworthy it ought to be on BBC.

It’s the way the public service broadcaster (PSB) in the ‘ad-mad’ world has ensured that it remains in sync with changing times in terms of content and technology has taken me by surprise. If it’s on BBC, it must be accurate, objective and balanced. It gives one the sense of news which means free of speculations and taking sides.

Most of its revenue is generated from yearly license fee levied on each television set sold in the UK. The other streams including commercial businesses, overseas content providing and government grants, which do form a small part of the funding, BBC’s is in no way obliges those in power.

Its due to an approach like this, browsing through the BBC has sort of become second nature.  The more I dwell into the ethos and way news is handled at the BBC, the more I am fascinated by it.

During a discussion with my wife last evening news was a regular milieu and she asked how’s it compared to our public broadcaster Doordarshan(DD). The question took me by surprise, for last I have thought about the existence of DD must have been in the last century. How can the BBC establish itself across the boundaries of UK, was the next question.

The question set me thinking, for back home news to majority of urban Indians is anything but what is shown on DD News, despite having everything going for it and being one of the largest public service broadcasters in the world in terms of infrastructure, nothing seems to be working for it.

Seeking an answer after spending nearly eight years in the business of news I visited the DD news website for the first time and it looked like an amateur piece of creativity by some like me. The news was dished out as if there were no readers, in the era of flash players we were happy with the Jpeg images of smaller resolution and all it had was government speeches and news without any treatment. This was about the website and of whatever little I have seen of its news channel the same can be applied there.

The broadcaster has been marred by propaganda obligations of the ruling forces and has been merely reduced to be the mouthpiece of the incumbent government.

She asked can the national PSB be transformed. Well in theory yes it can, for the charter establishes it to be a public service unit, but the apathy that we viewers and those who run the show at DD show towards the channel is such that in less than two decades it has lost most of its viewers to private broadcasters.

Despite having an autonomous body prasar bharti as the governing body the management hasn’t done something to revive the fortunes of DD. Concerns are that while BBC can be objective for it is funded by the public hence owns its responsibility to them; DD can’t have such a privilege owing to low average Indian household income levying a license fee won’t work. But DD is free to take ads which the BBC isn’t taking. Owing to its reach and network the national broadcaster gets rights to cricket matches and other ad cash events being held in the country.

At the helm of affairs at DD are country’s senior journalists, who I wonder have turned a blind eye to the agenda of development. Breaking news, or seeking exclusives have become a thing of past (I wonder if they were ever).

In my opinion there is no dearth of funds, or talent with the broadcaster, which still has the highest reach (If reports are to be believed).   But the security that it gets from government aids and compulsory obligations it gets from broadcasters makes it placid. There seems to be no threat to its existence and as long as that is not going to happen, the sleeping giant won’t simple wake up. But , this seems to be just wishful thinking right now.


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