Tag Archives: Rupert Murdoch

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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Murdochs face the music

Murdochs face the MPs today. The Commons media committee will question the trio – Rupert and James Murdoch along with Rebekah Brooks.

In what is being viewed as one of the most anticipated session at the Parliament all eyes and ears will be turned on to what the three have in store for the committee.

A strong case has been built with media houses setting up the tone and probable question line as published by the guardian.

What remains to be seen is that how the veteran media mogul Murdoc sr. responds to the committee after first rejecting the call to respond to the committees call.

While James and Rebekah have earlier spoken on the hacking scandal and appeared to give their side of story on different occasions, it will be the first time Rupert Murdoch will put his stand after the newspaper issued apologies across in newspapers.

Murdoch sr. told Wall Street Journal(which he owns) that he’s ‘annoyed and tired‘ by the negative headlines from which News corporation will recover.

Will Rupert put what he calls minor mistakes in handling the crisis in place and ride News Corp back on road remains to be seen?

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Murdochs docked

News international is truly the international news of the moment.

With those exposing scandals being entangled in their own web, the fast developing story never ceases to surprise. All of a sudden the invincible Rupert Murdoch seems gullible like any other mortal.

After throwing the familiar I care a damn attitude the Murdochs Rupert and James have agreed to face the culture select committee. This has been described as remarkable theatre by Martin Moore, director Media Standard Trust.

If that be the case than the ensemble promises a great theatrics when they will be confronted by question s like what did they knew and when? That apart there will be plethora of questions thrown at the trio of Murdochs and News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks.

The key to the questioning will be James Murdoch who will have to defend his previous statement where he stated that he came to know of the incident at a later date. That is a string admission and will be difficult to defend.

With all parties inUKjoining the crusade to ousted Murdochs or cut them to size it will be worth watching, how the media moughal responds to one of the biggest crisis of his career.

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ipad newspaper ‘the Daily’ a game changer

I-pad newspaper the Daily is now a reality.

News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch on Tuesday unveiled the Daily at New York’s Guggenheim Museum and clicked on what many (including me) feel could be the next step for print journalists.

The $30 million product from the News Corp. stable is indeed a brave launch in times when newspaper circulations in west are heading southwards and feasibility of paid online content is being tested in the market place.

Reviewes across the world have tagged it as well designed, pleasurable, aspiring product but some are sceptical of its performance and the quality of content daily will be able to generate. Some has dubbed it to be a sophisticated version of the earlier similar products.

In a nutshell it has generated all the emotions one would usually associate with a Murdoch offering appealing, stylish and above all paid.

For me what makes the development significant is how Murdoch puts it: “New times demand new journalism.” (The Times)

Journalism is fast evolving, what matters the most is how differently same bit of news can be put across on different platforms and how quickly journalists need to adapt and learn to report in accordance with their new mediums.

Murdoch has hired 100 journalists for the new venture and given the News Corp’s ability to gather news it has kept the option of outsourcing the news open. This move signals toward a small yet interesting opportunity for exciting bunch of journalists to make a head start.

It also hints that the dynamics are changing fast and the way content is dished has undergone sea change.

Couple of days back at the Reuters headquarters in London, senior journalist John Mastrini shared that he was conducting a course for journalists at Reuters training them how to effectively report using twitter as well as reporting on twitter.

All  of this hint at great opportunities for journalists, especially print hacks. If they can mind their words, the future holds immense possibilities for them

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Coalition loses people’s support,MP’s packs punches

Politics and People of UK are yet to come in terms with the coalition government.

Seven months into the Tories and Lib Dem governance and verbal volleys, difference duets, sting stung comments are flying all over the place as people’s perception of coalition plummets.

Despite both the prime minister and deputy prime minister making earnest efforts to put up a united front, the split is evident.

Managing to see the tuition fee vote through with a reduced margin, the coalition was stung with Cablegate of its own kind. Business secretary Vince Cable opened floodgate of emotions against coalition and media czar Rupert Murdoch to undercover reporters from The Daily Telegraph and survived his cabinet berth to the surprise of many Tories.

Barely did Clegg covered up the Cablegate fiasco, there was more embarrassment for Lib Dems as four more MP’s showed their displeasure in coalition and voiced  lack of faith in David Cameron, only to reassure it hours after it was aired.

These supposed to be private surgery talks with constituents did a post-mortem of the seven month coalition.

It not only brought forth the Lib Dem’s dislike for the Tories, the few Tories on boxing day packed few punches as former Conservative Cabinet minister, John Redwood, accused Lib Dems of taking credit of the nice  things the government did.

Well aren’t both partners in coalition supposed to work in tandem?

To make matters worse an opinion poll by the guardian showed that people’s faith in coalition has fallen by 16%. From 59% in May 2010 it has come down to 43%.

This is not a healthy sign, by any yardstick.

With VAT rising to 20% in January 2011 and CUTS biting in from 2012, it’s going to be a tough ride for the Cameron, Clegg and Co.

Will the coalition complete a full tenure? Will this lead Britain back to dual party politics? Will Cameron and Clegg fight next elections united against Labour?

Interesting political times for Britain as it witnesses its first coalition in 70 years.

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