Tag Archives: india

Five points that India can learn from Hackgate

Hackgate has been one of the biggest controversies in Britain. The alleged illegal and unethical practices of the mightiest media conglomerate led to the end of a 168 year old weekly.

It saw the media mogul Rupert Murdoch being summoned by the Commons, government officers resigned so did it saw top newspapers executives and so far 10 people have been arrested. Not to mention that the Prime Minister David Cameron has been forced to cut short his Africa tour in order to attend Prime Ministers questions.

Looking at the way the system, government and media machinery functions here for almost a year it makes me feel that the we should have had a ‘Raj’ hangover of different kind.

Not denying the fact that it took eight long years and two inquires which led to nothing substantial, this one is turning out to be mother of all investigations so far. As an Indian national watching the developments from ringside I figure out five points that wouldn’t harm if we have a ‘Raj’ hangover.

Transparency

The way events are unfolding it’s all playing to the gallery, with television cameras bringing the parliamentary proceedings and that of the committee into people’s living room. Contrary to our parliamentary committee proceedings about which we the people hear via sources, reports and committee findings. The line of Q&A’s is never known. Those involved chicken out on the mention of being transparent. (the most recent being Lokapal bill meetings and the hearings in Radia tapes).

Accountability:

There is a great notion of being accountable to the people. Leaders and officials when in dock own up to their doings and wrong doings. Former Prime minister Tony Blair was summoned second time early in January before the Iraq enquiry and the proceedings were televised, neither Labour party nor Blair loyalist made a hue and cry like their counterparts in our country. Today Cameron said, if proven that Andy Culson was involved in Hackgate he would issue an apology to the house and said in hindsight the appointment was error of judgement. While our leaders hardly own up to their error of judgements leave aside appearing before a committee and that too in public view. Look at the drama over Radia tapes and formation of Joint Parliamentary committee; it stopped the house from functioning.

Etiquette

It is amazing for an Indian to see a parliament that functions, goes about fulfilling its duties and moreover the MP’s abiding by the word of the speaker. Whatever be the debate questions are raised, answered and speaker is above everyone else in the house. Full house or less attendance the house functions without failing and it has the power to call high and mighty for being questioned. Murdochs could not defy when summoned.

Speed

As mentioned it took long for Hackgate to reach where it has, but this time around the speed of investigations and committee hearings have been done at a lightning speed. That apart in the MPs expenses scandal that was brought to light in May 2009, so far six MP’s have been pleaded guilty and sentenced. Can we ever imagine this to happen in India, our Kalmadi’s still get a VIP treatment even while waiting for the cab in the prison? Common wealth game scam, Adarsh Scam, Cash for votes, Radia Tapes the list goes on without a single outcome.

Democratic

Most importantly the government doesn’t hide behind the coalition dharma disguise. Members in the coalition can voice different opinions, but the government takes appropriate action. In the Hackgate David Cameron is being questioned by both his MP’s and by those of Liberal Democrats and responding in all fairness. We can’t even dream of PM, or UPA chairperson ever being questioned, if someone does they are shown the door.

Is anyone listening?

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Will India get 11 new champion faces?

Will April 2 give India the country of 1.2billion 11 new faces?  Faces who will replace those who have reined the headlines every four years since 1983 when cricket world cup is around.

Will the cricket crazy nation get 11 men who will withstand pressure of playing equal opponents for 100 overs ensuring that the billion hopes come true?

The billion rupee question will be answered in matter of hours.

As the India team takes on Sri Lanka at the Wankhade stadium in Mumbai riding on the crest of two testing victories, last against arch rivals Pakistan most people are celebrating as if the cup has already been won.

Taking nothing away from the fans it’s their obsessive passion for the game that lends superstar status to the men in blue.

It’s not limited to India, in London the euphoria and anticipation are in equal fervour. When the men in blue with take on those in darker shade of blue, billions of hopes will be at stake.

But on the field the two teams are equally matched, for the swashbuckling Sachin and Sehwag that give India an edge when it come to openers, Jayawardene and Sangakara make the no.3/4 spot for Sri Lanka stronger. For Zaheer there is Malinga and so is the spin section balances.

What makes this spectacle a match to watch out for is that batting maestro Sachin will like to sign off adding the elusive world cup medal to his innumerable honours while spin whiz Murlidharan will like to double his tally of WC medallions.

It’s the contest between the two stalwarts of the game and the roles they will play for their respective teams is something that makes this contest special.

Though India were in WC finals in 2003, this time they can feel they stand a realistic chance for the simple fact that the last time around the finalist were unmatched in terms of experience, talent and class.

While India then had seven of the eleven playing their first WC final, Australians had six players in their squad who had earlier lifted the cup.

This time around the setting is even, teams are balanced and their forms are impeccable. It’s a matter of nerves.

The  stage is set and may the best team win. Hope the best team is India.

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India-Pakistan:Against and with each other, tale of two games

Calling India taking on Pakistan in the semi finals of the Cricket World cup on Wednesday an important knock out match will be termed as understatement.

Though it is the right statement, it will be understatement.

For India and Pakistan when pitted against each other are always a mouth-watering prospect.

Frenzy has been built up around this clash between arch rivals that adds on to the hysteria that surrounds the game.

The three P’s: Public, Press, Politicians want to cash on the most anticipated game in the subcontinent. While the craze among first two is understandable the addition of third one adds (in my view) an uncalled for fourth’ P Pressure to the game.

This hurried move by the Prime Minister’s office to add diplomacy to the game of cricket is a debatable issue. We the people at NDTV raked up the issue: Can cricket diplomacy be effective for India and Pakistan relations. Does symbolism have real value?

It’s not as if this is for the first time cricket has been mixed with diplomacy both the countries have in the past used the move to certain degree of success, but is this the apt time.

It’s the semi finals of the world cup and one of the premiers will walk out unhappy.

Wonder if this will add to easing the atmosphere.

However, at the moment who wants the atmosphere to ease, certainly none of the three P’s.

From Mohali cut to Miami, miles away the same to countries are in action; this time together.

India’s Rohan Bopanna and Pakistan’s Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi playing as a doubles team have reached the pre quarter finals of the Miami Masters.

Their win might have made it to couple of columns of the last page in sports section or a couple of paragraphs on news websites.

Termed as Indo-Pak express this duo silently has been trying to show the gesture of unity for some time now. After the initial media euphoria and coining of the term the fizz has settled.

One for the obvious reason that rivalry grabs headlines, peace doesn’t. Also they haven’t been hugely successful so far.

Anyways coming back to gestures was wondering could the premiers have not made a gesture by watching a game of Indo-Pak express in action.

There the tension would have been eliminated as both play together and not against each other.

A tweet on the same generated mixed response, while many retweeted the thought others said they are like ‘Federer-Nadal’ and some said not a bad idea.

But on a practical level that doesn’t ever look likely.

As Rajdeep Sardesai of CNN-IBN tweeted, “After watching most of our news channels, feel we want to make it out to be World War 3. Jingoism ‘sells’. Sad.

Perhaps that is the harsh reality, which will take long to change.

 

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Australian era of invincibility ends

Australia won’t be playing in the finals of cricket World Cup 2011.

The second consecutive defeat in the World cup after 34 straight wins brings the invincible Aussie era in the world cup to an end.

A five wicket defeat at the hands of India packs the four-time World champions home, but they went down fighting in a typical Aussie style.

A team sans its usual superstars, Punter and Co. went about the business in typical Australian fashion and made the match out of it.

While reams of print will be consumed celebrating Indian victory and lambasting the Australians, especially Ponting writing them off, former players, journos, commentators should give it a thought that this team has held the coveted trophy more than anyone else.

Ponting is the proud recipient of three world cup medals, a feat which many other greats and so-called greats can only dream of.

On Thursday, OZ were outplayed, sometime had to happen and it happened, ironic for Ponting it happened when he earned the infamous tag of being the only second captain to lose the Ashes thrice.

This tag of being the captain, under whom Australia failed to reach a semi final since 1996, is going to add another unwanted tag to Ponting who made the most runs in the match.

Though on a losing side his century after 13 months ensured he lives to the reputation of big match performer.

As they take the flight home and Cricket Australia think tank ponders over the issues, its time they give their domestic cricket serious thinking.

Former Australian cricket Dean Jones pointed out on NDTV that the standards of domestic cricket have fallen for the international players no more play in the Sheffield Trophy. “When I was playing we would play four to five games for our state, which would allow local players to have a go at us and give selectors a chance to spot talent, this is not the case anymore,” says Jones.

At the moment the once reliable Australian middle order is vulnerable, the firepower and variety in their bowling is missing, they still field well but despite all odds the it’s the Aussie attitude of never say die that holds the team.

As the world of cricket gears to welcome new champions, the early break gives the ex champions time to get back to winning ways.

With Ponting not throwing his towel, they have it all to rise from the Ashes.

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Australia rises from the Ashes, India faces stiff Porteas challenge

Cricket is in.

With Australia rising from the Ashes to make a strong comeback at Perth in the game’s biggest rivalry to Jacques Kallis slamming his maiden test double ton to challenge India’s no.1 spot in Test Cricket and the likes of Rahul Dravid and Irfan Pathan failing to make it to the probable’s for Indian squad for 2011 World Cup, there is a lot for a cricket crazy fan to be glued on to the internet.

Internet for watching any of these events live is a distant dream for me right now, but nevertheless the World Wide Web keeps fans like me posted in a football crazy nation like England.

Unpredictable game

Barely 48 hours back had the Britsh media ‘almost’ declared that their team was going to reclaim the urn.  As the OZ put up yet another lacklustre performance the bait was enough for the British scribes to paint the town red.

However, the age-old cliché the game is far from over till the last delivery held good. True to its nature the game turned on its head with out of form Mitchell Jhonson coming to the party, invaluable 62 runs and six Englishmen to his name, the Queensland pacer brought the five-day format back to life.

It’s the sheer unpredictability that stumps players and fans alike; you never know what can happen in a test match. I remember listening to a spirited NDTV journalist stating “England is all set to win the Perth test.”

Stick to basics and never jump the gun, sports is such a great leveler.

No.1 challenged

While OZ has brought life back to Ashes, in South Africa the Porteas yet again showed why they are one of the most challenging sides in world cricket. Riding on a high of victories Indian team got a wakeup call.

Kallis, with his maiden double ton once again showed his class, though I wonder why he remains the unsung hero at world stage.

Even after this performance if he is not counted amongst the league of extraordinary batsmen like Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting, there is something wrong with the pundits of the game.

All eyes now on the formidable Indian batting line up to prove their mettle, batting on two days will be a test of their Test skills and testimony that they are worth the no.1 slot.

Wall sidelined

After all that seeing the likes of Munaf patel ahead of Irfan Pathan in the World Cup hopefuls makes one wonder the acumen of Selectors. As for the wall despite being an ardent fan I think it’s time he hangs his boots as far as the ODI’s are concerned, tough I’ll miss the  ever reliable sheet anchor at no.3.

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West reaches out to East

Western bigwigs reach out to rising Easterners.

A day after US President Barack Obama left India, premier of UK landed in neighbouring China.

Some sort of timing.

Other than timing there were a few more similarities.

Obama landed in Mumbai, India’s financial capital ahead of the national capital. He addressed the business leaders of India Inc.  The president took home exports of USD 10 billion for majors like Boeing, General motors in addition to the 50,000 jobs.

He preached win-win formula, but in the near future its double wins US. Never mind our time shall come with the United Nations Security Council pitch.

While striking the deals the impeccable orator never uttered the P(Pakistan) word, something that majority of Indians would have loved to hear. (we) Mind (y)our business was the unsaid message.

Cut to Mr. Cameron’s visit. He kick-starts with Tescos in Beijing, ahead of the state guard of honour. Well the company wants to open up more stores in China than it has in entire UK(as per BBC report).

Attends bilateral business deals being signed and raises a toast to the growing trade as artistes and human rights activist urge him to raise his voice for the acquittal of Nobel peace prize winner Liu Xiaobo.

Cameron so far maintains that aim is to strengthen the trade ties for UK companies in order to create jobs back home and boost the economy.

“We have an important relationship with China and want the trade to grow,” he told the BBC. He did touch upon the issue of Human rights but in the customary address, no special thrust, just like Obama’s speech included Pakistan.

The picture this paints to me is that with a booming economy and over billion people each both these Asian countries promise a thriving future market for West. The deal is to come out of the economic crisis and East certainly is the agent of change.

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Boom time for Media in India

I feel it’s one of the most interesting times to be a journalist, in India.

Despite lagging behind on the technological front the country offers immense possibilities to both media companies and professionals (including Journalists).

Convergence is the name of the game, with media houses embedding all their platforms together and dishing out to customers in various modes. From mobiles, to Facebook to tweets to print portals telecasting TV broadcasts of the media house it’s all happening sans 3G.

I am stressing on 3G for the fact that in UK 3Gis a passé and most catch their daily bit of news on their cell phones. This is yet to come to India, but still there is a lot of buzz in the media market sphere.

Going through the KPMGMedia&EntertainmentIndustryReport 2009 I chanced upon interesting   numbers.  70% of population is below 30 years, only .47 % is advertising to GDP ratio( where as in USA its almost double at 0.9%) and there are 359 million people who can read but are currently not reading any publication.

To that add Wireless subscription reaches 670.60 Million(according to http://www.trai.gov.in)

The four together put forward a great opportunity for media marketers to expand their base.

The Indian Media Mougals are going full throttle to expand their base beyond their traditional boundaries.

In the last five years The Times of India has added seven new editions taking the tally to 16, of these four have come in last three years, not the most favourable of times. The Dainik Bhaskar group has raced to 48 editions in 11 editions including two English editions. The two are some examples which hint at the growth.

Attracting Foreigners

The growth signs have attracted conglomerates from west and there are trial tie ups. Daily Mail of the UK joined hands with India today group and launched Mail Today, the Wall Street Journal has a Joint venture with Hindustan Times dishes out Mint, whereas the Flagship brand HT has contact sharing agreement with Washington Post.

Forbes in arrangement with network 18 launched its India edition.

Reuters started with Bennett and Coleman Co. Ltd and came up with Times Now, but the venture lasted only for a year, CNN’s tie up with network 18 launched CNN-IBN. The rules governing the Foreign Direct Investment in media are under a watch for a long time and once relaxed will see more foreign players enter the market place.

Integration

Also there is a lot of integration of resources; most newspapers are vying for a television space and vice versa. The TOI has a news channel Times Now, The Hindu has tied up with NDTV to come up with NDTV Hindu in Chennai, the living media group despite having two news channels and a news weekly, came up with a newspaper Mail Today. The same applies in regional media, Dainik Bhaskar group has got Bhaskar TV in Rajasthan, Rajasthan Patrika runs a state channel 24news to name some.

All in One

Then there is a fight to put all these offerings at one platform, synchronise resources internally while converging them on a common platform. www.timesofindia.com is a neat example of the BCCL putting every offering of its on one platform.

One can read most of the 16 editions as they appear in print by logging on the paid epaper, see what the news channel has to say on developing stories, read blogs by various reporters,   and be updated with current news on the portal. The same website links the readers to other offerings of the brand.

Other media houses are trying the same.

Not many trained hands

With this growth there is a demand for Journalist.

Many youngsters are drawn to the filed, some fuelled by passion, others driven by the perceived glamour that overshadows the prime job.

Having trained few aspiring journalists over the years I can say that the supply to fuel the demand is not passing through strict quality control. Many media houses have opened their own media schools where in the sole aim it seems is to get more students and be money wise.

These institutes are producing desktop journalists who don’t want to sweat it out in the field, for these ‘churnalists’ reports are all about dialling few people from the office number and getting quotes stacked up in a pre-set format.

If along with churning out new editions, focus is also given on developing good professionals, India will have much more in terms of quality and quantity to offer.

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