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Commercial Media Workers and the “War on Mumbai”

As much as the terrorist attack on Mumbai has exposed India’s unpreparedness to respond, it has exposed the Indian media’s lack of ethics and the death of journalism in Indian television.

The commercial media workers have been screaming at us continuously for about four days now, conveying opinions and impressions rather than facts and figures. Bringing us, and to the terrorists, minute-by-minute updates on what the over-burdened, blundering, ill-equipped “security” forces were up to. They did not leave anyone alone – not freed hostages, nor the families of those who were still trapped. They kept beating their breasts once in a while, proclaiming that they were “standing sentinel” and performing a yeomen service, even going so far as to call themselves heroes. Two channels were even going at each other, claiming how their live coverage was actually live and not five minutes delayed like the other channels.

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Free Speech Bullshit

Here is Sevanti Ninan engaging in some jingoistic breast-beating of the worst kind.

She claims that Free Speech is protected and guaranteed more in India than in the US. What makes this assertion laughable is that no blogger can even take action against any ISP for so hamhandedly implementing a unilateral ban decision by the State. She goes on to state, at the end of her article that what she, along with some luddite bureaucrats (who had the temerity to ask how one’s quality of life was affected because of the ban on some blogs) calls “hate mongering” should not get the protection of free speech. read more

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Botch Up at the BBC

Guy Kewney is pissed off, and rightly so. After being asked to appear on BBC News 24 to comment as an expert on Apple’s recent legal woes, he was left waiting in the reception while a job applicant from Congo, Guy Gomo, was interviewed in his place.

“Those producers don’t care much about the fact that my reputation was completely shredded by the way they put up an ignoramus and claimed he was me,” says Kewney. Read his account of what happened on his blog here.

The Beeb’s account of it can be seen here, and the original news clip can be seen here. read more

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NASSCOM Animation India 2006

I had the wonderful experience of attending Nasscomm’s Animation India 2006. I spent two days learning loads of stuff and getting a lot of perspective on an industry about which I had the sketchiest of ideas. There were world beaters at the conference – people who were involved in the Simpsons, Teletubbies, the Rugrats, Shrek, Madagascar, Hanuman… There were also game builders and TV channels.

Here are a few quotes I jotted down – these are just sound bites I managed to remember long enough to take down, and are not representative of what the speakers spoke. Again, almost all the quotes are remembered, and therefore may not stand up in a court of law! I quote from memory, and mine is notorious for remembering only what it wants to!

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Star Wars and Top Slip

Vibhu points to this piece on Slate, and calls it an interesting read.

If you are not overly fond of Star Wars, or do not want to take the time to read a long-winded treatment of the Star Wars sextet as “the greatest postmodern art film ever,” don’t bother reading the Slate article. It is Aidan Wasley spending about 1500 words of sentences like

the much-deplored dependence on computer animation in the prequels, which opened up spectacular vistas at the expense of feeling and characterization, can be seen as Lucas tilting dangerously toward the Dark Side. There’s no place for serendipity in a pixilated galaxy, since every digital detail must be planned and plotted and programmed. read more

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IIPM and the Blogosphere

Finally, I get off my backside and write about the ongoing plastering IIPM is getting from the Blogosphere. I was about to write war, but it hardly seems that, does it? The blogosphere is consistently proving itself one step ahead of IIPM, but what one fears is the establishment, which has not proved itself very tech-savvy in the past.

So much has been written on this that anything I say will be mere repetition. Kaps’ call to action and Zuckerman’s concise version of the events, along with Desipundit’s painstaking chronicling of the whole fiasco should suffice for a primer. Of course, Desipundit has also linked to many blog posts on this topic. read more

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Real World Rita Skeeters!

Karthik narrates an interesting tale.

Only a few days ago, Magesh and Murali were regaling me with such stories – commonly called kisu kisu. When I pressed them for their sources, they came out with a list of real-life Rita Skeeters – gossip columnists who wrote under particularly well-known pseudonyms. Maybe each pseudonym was used by a team of writers, but is it more exciting to think of them as Rita Skeeter-like individuals.

What started off this thread of thought was the name used to sign off the story Karthik narrated – Vamban, which means (very loosely translated, of course) one who indulges in loose talk. Other similar names, according to Magesh, include Mister Kazhugu (Mr. Eagle) in Junior Vikatan, News Poochchi (News Insect) in Vannathirai and Karuppu Poonai (Black Cat) in Dina Malar! read more

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Asian “Unready-for-reality” Age

Amit points out that the Asian Age web site is not accessible to any browser other than Internet Explorer. When I tried accessing it with Firefox, it said: “This page can only be seen in IE” Compatibility: Your web browser needs to support HTML4.01, CSS2 and JavaScript to correctly view this page.”

It is surprising, not to mention horribly head-in-the-sand, that in this day and age, a media organisation could be so insular.

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