The Indian media is large & vibrant. But is it free?

KPN photo

BHAMY V. SHENOY writes from Houston, Texas: Every newspaper reader in India should be shocked at the way B. V. Seetharam, the publisher and editor of the Kannada daily Karavali Ale, is being repeatedly harassed by a democratically elected  government in the southern Indian state of Karnataka.

According to this version, Seetharam was arrested last week in a defamation case filed by Bhoja Shetty, a resident of Udupi district, in July 2007. Shetty alleged that Seetharam tried to “blackmail” him for a financial consideration of Rs 1 lakh [approximately $2,000]. When that did not come, the editor reportedly portrayed him as a “rapist” in his newspaper, resulting in the defamation charge.

The charge is certainly serious, doesn’t show journalism in good light, and deserves to be taken to its logical conclusion.

But it is the backdrop of Seetharam’s arrest (a few months after the BJP came to power in Karnataka); the timing of the arrest (after he had accused Hindutva forces of attacking his newspaper for publishing); and the manner in which he has been handcuffed and chained like a common criminal, and taken from city to city (he is currently lodged in the Mysore jail), that should make the world sit up and take notice.

We assume, wrongly, that India has a free and vibrant press with unbridled freedom.

We assume, again wrongly, that India’s newspapers have the full and unfettered freedom to expose individual or institutional malfeasance, in politics, business and other spheres of public life.

In the event the press fails to expose the corrupt practices of politicians or businessmen—like, say, the gigantic Rs 7,000 fraud of Satyam Computer Services—we think it is only because the press is not using its freedom and does not have the courage to stand against the big government or deep pocketed companies.

That is largely true, of course, but B.V. Seetharam’s plight shows that is not necessarily the full story in the minefield that is Indian democracy.

The truth is there are plenty of people who do not want negative stories to come out, and are willing to go any distance and adopt any means to ensure that. And there are plenty of people, inside and outside the corridors of power, who are willing to help them in that endeavour.

B.V. Seetharam’s case is an example.

While we may question Seetharam’s methods and targets based on our individual preferences and prejudices, it must be admitted that he also published articles exposing the wrong doings of corrupt politicians, incompetent bureaucrats, and dishonest businessmen, among others. More recently, he has turned his eyes on the growing communalism on the west coast.

What we are witnessing through his arrest is that in a surcharged milieu, this can be a lonely battle—and very, very messy.

In a political system where the use of extra-constitutional muscle power seems to sit comfortably well with rule-based democracy, an editor like him is bound to have enemies. Such individuals are harassed by the establishment to send a strong signal to others not to follow his example.

Seetharam’s victimisation is a sign of that.

This is not the first time Seetharam has been punished by taking him into custody. Many may recall the way he was whisked away to jail along with his wife in the middle of the night for publishing a story questioning the propriety of Jain monks to walk around naked in public in 2007.

While the solidarity shown by the press to Seetharam’s harsh treatment should be admired, we, the public, should wonder why only one section of society has expressed disgust at the treatment meted out to him. What is involved is the freedom of the press to boldly publish the news without fear and favour. Without such freedom, democracy will lose out as it has been happening in India.

Every citizen irrespective of his/ her ideology should condemn the treatment doled out to B.V. Seetharam.

Photograph: Journalists take part in a protest against the arrest of B.V. Seetharam in Bangalore on Wednesday. (Karnataka Photo News)

Also read‘An eye for an eye makes the whole world go blind’

Pseudonymous author spells finis to Mint editor?

‘A disgraceful assault on media freedom’

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54 Responses to “The Indian media is large & vibrant. But is it free?”

  1. sisya Says:

    >>”What is involved is the freedom of the press to boldly publish the news without fear and favour. Without such freedom, democracy will lose out as it has been happening in India”.

    kELrappO keLi! “democracy will lose out ante”… press will “boldly publish news without fear or favour” ante!! LOL :D

    Mr Shenoy.. what is this? A case of devil quoting the scripture?

  2. saami Says:

    oh yeah, we get it –
    hindutva = very bad
    modi = very very bad
    hindoos = uncouth ignorant unevolved, uncivilized life forms
    journalists = good
    journalists opposed to BJP = very good
    journalists opposed to BJP and anti-hindoo = very very very good
    christians, muslims = minority
    minority = good, very very good, evolved, civilized life forms
    pakistan = heaven
    journalists opposed to BJP, anti-hindu, pro-minority and pro-heaven = enlightened beings that one needs to be grateful for

    Journalists even though they have been accused of serious crimes such as blackmail and have received due process of the law should not be arrested or jailed (oh i forgot, journalists = good).

    This article is a good example of why one should skip reading articles on Churumuri especially when written by the trio of Bhamy, Satish or Churumuri and go straight to comments. To give credit where it is due, comments doesn’t seem to be censored.

  3. Tarikeri Yeri Says:

    Media is the epitome of honesty..Pigs fly..donkeys sing..
    Especially english language media is extremely honest..all the rest
    are liars. Only secularists and minorities speak the truth..all rest are
    blatant liars.

  4. Tathagata Mukherjee Says:

    1. Are media/journalists above Indian law? A court has issued non-bailable warrant against him. Not to follow court order is against law of the land, last time I checked. Is it different in USA :)-

    2. Worse, why the victim’s press briefings are completely missing from Indian media? Does American media behave in such open partisan way? I doubt.

    3. What would have happened if Seetharam asked some questions on Islam, Islamic culture instead of Jains? (Taslima Episode, remember? ) Or are Jains lesser citizens than Muslims of India? Legally speaking?

    4. Fact is: Press face(d) more trauma, persecution under Communists (West Bengal, Kerala- not to mention China, or USSR), or under Congress rule (emergency and attack on Ramojirao in Andhra by YSR etc etc ) than states ruled by BJP. Press can’t hide under “working to expose Hindutva” to cover up their blackdeeds. Law is fast catching up.

    I congratulate present Karnataka Govt for bringing Seetharam to book at last. No more double standard.

    [If Bhami needs list of persecution of press in West Bengal at the hands of commies- let him say that- it can be provided. One of the BIGGEST Publisher in India (the ABP Group who controls many newspapers, magazines, Star India Channel, International Publishing businesses etc) was shutdown by CPIM led goons and the daily newspapers were stopped from being published for many many days. Ultimately, the intellectuals of Calcutta had to force their way to their office, printing press and rescue it from the goons. I bet most Indians never know about this, because of biased, ideological reporting by national media.

    What would have happened if journalists were treated in Gujarat half of what happened to them in Nandigram, or Singur? Huh?

  5. Bisi Thuppa Says:

    ” we, the public, should wonder why only one section of society has expressed disgust at the treatment meted out to him. What is involved is the freedom of the press to boldly publish the news without fear and favour ”
    Some queshe :
    1) Yaar ree “we the public” andre ? whodefogg gave you the liberty to include indians who are frustrated with the biased media ..especially english language media to include in we? This is the same media which
    distracted the debate against islamic terrorism, after Mumbai, into a
    tirade against politicians. The media and journalists do not allow
    any genuine debate against terrorism to happen, if it remotely
    includes the word ‘islam’ . Unbiased Journalists? My foot!

    2) “one section of the society” Pray which is this “one section”?
    Is the other section the one which keeps voting Narendra Modi or
    BJP types despite all the antics made by you journalists?

    3) “freedom of press” ..you journalists should first show evidence of condemning the violent protests against Danish cartoonists, with the same vigour you defend MF Hussains nude portrayl of Hindu Dieties and Bharat mata.
    Freedom is not a one way street.

    Finally I respect the al-jazeera journalists or pakistani journalists, who report only the sufferings of Muslims and ignoring all else, more than you indian journalists. Atleast they operate under a clear concept that Muslims come first and report accordingly without any nonsensical pontificaiton of unbiased journalism, unlike you rotten indian english language journalists.

  6. harkol Says:

    Just because someone belongs to press he can’t claim immunity from prosecution.

    I have seen how these two bit newspapers can wreck havoc in their victims lives. An uncle of mine was the target of one such artcile, where it was claimed that he was involed in a scam in a charity trust, when he is the an upright man and has donated a large amount of his own to the same trust.

    He too received a call from the ‘editor’ of the news paper in Mangalore (not this one), and they demanded an amount not to publish the story.

    Can individuals hide behind press freedom and act like blackmailers?

    Freedom of speech or expression doesn’t mean freedom to malign without adequate proof. The right solution for this would’ve been to have a speedy quasi-judicial body, which weeds out such elements from the press, instead of giving a blunt force like Police a handle.

  7. Simple Says:

    Thathaghata

    BJP foisted a dozen cases against Tehelka.

    Why?

  8. Goldstar Says:

    @Saami,

    you made a mistake in one line:
    pakistan = heaven should be
    Pakistan and China = heaven

  9. prajwal Says:

    hmmm…to add to all the points mentioned above, 2 questions of my own:

    1. we all know that almost every other govt employee in our country is into accepting bribes and misusing the perks and facilities of the employing office. Yet we see only so very few of them being publicised by the media as corrupt. Makes me wonder if this is because the rest are actually clean on the corruption level or if their corruption is decided as “within tolerable standards” by the Indian media. In other words, the media decides, how corrupt a govt. official gets to be before they “expose” the whole scam/fraud/cheat… to the public,why?

    2. we have also seen innumerable news broadcasts showing videos of politicians/politician’s families accepting bribes/ cases/stacks of money. Most of the times these videos are done by hidden cams or some such trickery. one viewpoint would be to glorify and praise the media for such an act considering it as of noble intent. But out of curiosity, doesn’t it violate the right to privacy of the politician and his/her family members. The media is not authorised to scrutinise anyone’s financial matters unless that has already been publicised by some sort of revenue body. Again, isn’t making secret videos/hidden cam videos not only morally and professionally unethical, but also legally criminal? I haven’t seen any cameraman/news crewbeing sued/jailed for this criminal act?

    So despite the author’s claim that freedom of press is at stake, I have to go out and say, if the ppl who are suppressing media are carrying out a criminal endeavour, then the media are not exactly completely honest ppl with immaculate souls, the two are just flinging mud at each other and the local junta is currently what constitutes a nice big fat BAKRA watching a tennis match between those pro and anti press freedom.

  10. Palahalli Says:

    One wonders why the BJP does not live up to the curse word used by Liberal rouges. They should act like the fascists did. At least then, will we be able to call the thuggish press, “honest”.

  11. etvraviraja Says:

    Facts Sheet for B V Seetharam
    Strange: In the court he always claims that he is neither a journalist, nor an editor! (http://tinyurl.com/7fzvej)

    Arrested: 2007(twice)/2008
    Cases pending: approx 5
    Highest Defaulter in Press club of India (http://presscouncil.nic.in/HOME.HTM, then go to Defaulter, Karnataka)
    Job Description for legality sake: Director Chita Publications
    Bakra editor to face the cases: Shivaprasad, Ramappa etc.
    Supported by: Left leaning mediamembers, naxals, communal organizations like KFD/KSV etc.,
    Good tracking of his events in:
    http://tinyurl.com/6uzbwf

  12. Tathagata Mukherjee Says:

    Simple>>Why BJP foisted a dozen cases against Tehelka?

    If Tehelka has any shame, honesty left- it should tell the world why its promoter got reprieve from jail term and major penalty even after defrauding the state of India by Congress. And present management should resign immediately.

    Journalism is a serious thing with lots of accountability.

    Its third rate yellow journalism whose expose has no leg to stand legally. People have seen thro’ this.

  13. Tathagata Mukherjee Says:

    Interesting info from the Hindu:

    http://www.hindu.com/2009/01/12/stories/2009011258730300.htm
    Seetaram is being politically victimised: writer

    The protest meeting was organised by the Karnataka Dalit Sangharsha Samiti, Karnataka Komu Sauharda Vedike, Dalit Mahila Okkuta, Udupi District Working Journalists’ Association, Zilla Alpasankhyatara Vedike, Zilla Muslim Okkuta, Students Islamic Organisation, Karnataka Forum For Dignity, Progressive Journalists Association, Bharatiya Christa Okkuta, Udupi Zilla Nagarika Samiti, Udupi District Congress Committee, District Janata Dal (Secular), and Zilla Vicharwadi Vedike.

    What exactly is “Students Islamic Organisation”? What is the take of Jamat-E-Islami (parent of ISO), the worst Islamist, Jehadi group on freedom of press, of expression?

    From the names of associations involved its evident – jehadis, islamists, missionaries, assorted naxalites , some casteist groups are united in this.

    No wonder, they will help BJP grow even more because of their fundamentalism, anti-hindu polemic and selective approach to freedom of press.

    Supporting MF Hussian and opposing Rushdie/Taslima EVEN AFTER HIGH COURT UPHOLD TASLIMA’S BOOK- actually helps BJP consolidate even further.

  14. Ahmed Palladka Says:

    I am relieved at reading the comments that no one has agreed with Mr.Shenoy’s assertion that freedom of press is threatened in India.

    Freedom of media is very important issue – but B.V.Seetharam is certainly not the poster boy for this. He has misused freedom of media to build a lucrative blackmail business.

    Even if that is questionable, the way he poured fuel during communal riots was inexcusable. He aligns with Hindu fundamentalists when his newspapers need to sell and trashes them when he does not get his hafta from goons.

    Even if we take Mr.Shenony’s assertion that freedom of press is under scanner, then please look who ordered his arrest – it was a judge in a court. (and not some politicians or cop)

    Does this mean Freedom of press and Judiciary at odds in India?

  15. kannadiga:) Says:

    Look no further for these imbecile, honest(?),corrupt Journos than our own Ravi Belagere, who started publishing his rag Hi Bangalore, around 15 years ago and has made fortunes out of blackmailing every tom dick and harry in the state using this rag magazine. Probably this in itself a Guinness Book Record achievement. :). Bhamy as usual is smoking something very strong while writing these articles

  16. Bhamy V Shenoy Says:

    Instead of analysing the article by pigeon holing the author into secularist or non seculairst or some other category can we look at facts and analyse the main thesis that we in India do not have press freedom as claimed?

    Let me also agree in the beginning that news papers should also be free to be critical of all the religions and not just Hinduism as is happening today in India. Those who have read my articles on ineternational Jihadi terrorism, would know that I have been critical of Islam and given a call to their moderates to deny such antiquated ideology which has resulted in millions of killings. I was also one of the first ones to support Sonal Shah against the criticism of “progressives”.

    Let me also state that if Seetaram has been indulging in any kind of blackmail, there are better and more humane ways of settling in the court of law and not the way it is handled through mafias and high handed manner of handcuffing him. Was there a need to handcuff him? Was there a need to take him into custody when he was travelling away from his house? Was there a need to take him into custody for the same offence that he was charged earlier? Was there a need to threaten those shopkeepers who are selling his news papers? Was there a need to harass his employees?

    Let me come back to my main thesis of not having press freedom.

    Why are news papers not exposing the huge amount amassed by many of our political leaders? Just talking in general terms that all of them are corrupt is no use.

    Why are news papers afraid to publish shenanigans of many corrupt business houses? I have not come across one well researched book on the “success” of Dhirubhai Amabni in buidling Reliance? How often do we read about corrupt pracices of bureaucrats? We all know the reason.

    Seetaram was bold enough to publish stories even at the risk of offending the powerful ones and set an example for others to follow. If the government succeeds in harassing him and silencing him, then we are all the losers. If he was indulging in blackmails, we should definitely try him in a proper way and not this way. The goal of the government seems to send a message that editors and reporters should “behave”.

  17. Bangalore Boy Says:

    One more ‘Chilre’ article!!

    Shenoy says “………and the manner in which he has been handcuffed and chained like a common criminal…………”

    a criminal is a criminal… he wont become ‘special criminal’ just because he is a journo and he should not be treated ‘Specially’

    The defamation case by Mr.Shetty was filed on his individual ground, why the hell are you bringing in BJP or Hindutva?

    Because these types of distorted journalism, Seetharam ended in Jail…. Shenoy is lucky he is sitting in America!!

  18. prajwal Says:

    @bhamy v shenoy

    the question here is not of analysing the above article thru a pigeonhole. Assuming what you have said is right, and assuming that Seetaram should be praised for going out and publishing stories at the risk of offending the “powerful ones”, then why is the media and pro media supporters using this as an EXCUSE to rant about a fictional statement “freedom of press is at stake?

    I use the word fictional because not many of these people/journalists/supporters have actually come out and tried to publish something in the way Seetaram has done; So unless they have published something and then they all have gotten the same treatment and suppression, they cannot claim that the freedom of press is being threatened; Not because of any other reason but the plain and simple reason that they haven’t even tried to exercise their right of “freedom of press” in a constructive/critical/legally correct manner!

    So instead of ranting against “elements oppressing the free press”, they should as u say, take Seetaram as an example and then publish more against these undesirable “entities in power”, Unless they do, they won’t gather any sympathy/support from the common citizens, not for their cause of “free press” nor for support of honest journalism.

  19. etvraviraja Says:

    Bhamy Shenoy, please note:
    1. For derogatory articles, B V Seetharma has been issued Non Bailable warrant by Honourable court, police have just carried out the directive of the court. (if you did not know: arrest warrant means, arrest the person and produce before court- order is issued by court, not politicians/hindutva leaders)
    2. On previous occasions, BVSeetharam, wriggled out of cases in the court, by simply saying he is not a journalist/ editor, meanwhile his “editors” went missing!
    3. Press council: is a spineless organization:To complain against any newspaper on unethical reporting/writing: it requires
    a. Transcript of the newspaper in english
    b.whole paper (not cutting)
    c. copy of the clarification written to the concerned paper
    d. proof that the clarification was not published!
    when this is the reality, who has the time to go to press council?
    Also note that, the person you are now defending is the “biggest” defaulter of Press council of India- not paid fees!
    4. Blackmailing, defaming others, if termed as “bold journalism” God save us from these intellectuals.
    5. Journos from mainstream media have given up on BVSee long ago. How come only the journalists with a particular leaning only are interested to keep this “BVSee” issue alive
    WHEN THE FACT IS: BV SEE HIMSELF REJECTED THE LEGAL OPTION OF SIGNING THE BAIL BOND? He is also wasting tax payers precious money by getting free food and blocking one precious bed at KR Hospital? (remember that he himslef was driving from Mangalore to Bangalore via Shimoga, when he ws arrested, then suddenly falls sick after the arrest…his name can be suggested for the directors post at Rangayana!)

  20. yeno ondhu Says:

    TM. URA is missing in the list of protesters. He was ignored i guess. He shud change his name from ananthmurthy to anaathamurthy. :P

  21. saami Says:

    @Bhamy

    You seem to be missing the point. Being a journalist doesn’t confer any one any special rights. You didn’t argue that any under-trial person shouldn’t be handcuffed or generally inconvenienced when arrested. You seem to be arguing that that Seetharam needs to be treated differently since (a) he is/was a journalist (b) he was “bold” enough to publish articles against the rich and powerful. If current charges against him has merits then (a) or (b) is not enough reason for him to be treated differently. He should be treated exactly the same way any one else would have been treated. Now you could have argued that any prisoner or detainee of the state should be treated in line with the spirit and letter of the law, then at least my response would have been different.

    Now to your thesis on press freedom – For the most part Indian press is very free to the extent that they tend to abuse their freedom over and over again. Best case in point is the ISRO spy case where two newspapers in Kerala, Mathrubhumi and Malayala Manorama actively collaborated with corrupt policemen to destroy innocent lives and derailed Indian space program by more than a decade. Of course the news papers haven’t had the courage to apologize for the damage they have caused.

    Freedom of the press is a two way street, no respect no freedom – responsible exercise of its freedom will allow the press to gain respect and the two will build on each other. Unfortunately Indian media has long lost its credibility and any sympathy and it is a situation that they created entirely on their own (The Hindu, Tehelka, Times of India, Sardesai etc..), most “national” newspapers are a joke and and less said about the TV channels the better. A functioning media is a key for any truly liberal (not “progressive”) society, and a dysfunctional media is bad for India. But media needs to dig itself out of the hole, otherwise it essentially will be irrelevant and society will create other ways to keep itself in check.

  22. Bomma Says:

    Bhamy,

    Dont take the comments by the hindutva-comment-nazis seriously. They tend to congregate and take cowardly snipes on India related blogs. Doesn’t mean much in real life. Most live abroad and enjoy the comforts non-Hindu society has to offer. Or work for companies which do work for non-Hindu businesses. That is not in touch with the reality of what they are commenting about but yet acting like they are men on the field ready for action.

    A bunch of casteist morons trying to be tough and badass in their comments. Most likely in real life physically unfit, ugly and sad to interact with.

    :)

  23. Simple Says:

    Thathaghata

    All the cases foisted against Tehelka were fraudlent. None of them were ever proved in court.

    Get your facts right. As usual you are high on rhetoric and zero on substance.

    You call tehelka’s journalism as third rate? hahaha….what a third rate comment you have made!

    Educate yoursel first before shooting your mouth off.

    Third rate yellow journalism for telling us the sordid truth behind the glamour game, cricket? for exposing the sordid cricket match fixing (remember Prabhakar)?

    Third rate yellow journalism for exposing the corrupt face of BJP?

    Third rate yellow journalism for exposing Congress’s minister son Manu Chabria’s complicity in Jessica Lall case?

    Third rate yellow journalism for ensuring that Zaheera Sheikh got a jail term for her series of flip flops?

    Third rate yellow journalism for exposing the foreign sex tourism racket in Goa?

    Third rate yellow journalism for revealing former Congress CM, captain Amrinder Singh’s corrupt transactions?

    Third rate yellow journalism for exposing how Christian missionaries funds of Bush adminstration are being abused in India?

    Third rate yellow journalism supported by India’s best brains?

    For your ignorant information, Tehekla has been certified as the best source of news by Guardian, one of the most respected publications in the world.

    Shame on you for defending the BJP’s ex President, caught on camera asking dollars!

    You fail to see the message given by tehelka, but you shoot the messenger itself.

    Tehelka is the rare publication which has got the balls to take on the mighty. while other publications are content on being servile to those in power, it is Tehelka which has taken on the biggest in cricket, films, politics (both BJP and Cong)

  24. cold benne Says:

    @Bhamy Shenoy…

    ” there are better and more humane ways of settling in the court of law and not the way it is handled through mafias and high handed manner of handcuffing him. Was there a need to handcuff him?”

    DOES THE NAME JAYENDRA SARASWATI RING A BELL ? THE MEDIA DEMONISED HIM..and when NOTHING was proven in the court of law…after a prolonged trial….these journalist low lifes have no decency to update the public about the courts observations.

  25. Tathagata Mukherjee Says:

    Hehe…

    Bhamy: A Court has issued non-bailable warrant against this journalist. Why you want to protect him?

    Mahatma Narendra Modi is hanged by a significant section of media, even though not one case against him exists anywhere in India.

    And here we have a court issues NBW, and you want ‘justice’?

    Kuch to sharam karo yaar. Heads I win, tail you loose?

    Bomma>>A bunch of casteist morons trying to be tough and badass in their comments. Most likely in real life physically unfit, ugly and sad to interact with.

    Actually it proves those days of bashing BJP, Hindus, Hindutva by a section of press without any logic, reason is over. People used to keep mum elsewhere, which emboldened these facists. Now, they are being confronted everywhere.

    Media without facts, furthering vested interest, propaganda is not a media. Its facism.

    ___

    Simple>>All the cases foisted against Tehelka were fraudlent. None of them were ever proved in court.

    Go and educate yourself on Tehelka, its promoter, how he was saved by UPA. First know all facts- and then speak pls…

    I am not defending Bangaru Laxman (by the way what was the result of the court case? Nothing so far).

    People have seen thro’ Tehelka and we know what happened after their latest expose on Guj 2002. And we know the result of that- Modi’s margin increased.

    >>Tehekla has been certified as the best source of news by Guardian

    Yaar, this 2009- not 1947. Don;t let Guardian guardian you :)- ok?

    Guardian will cease to exist as a print newspaper after 10 years. There are 50-60 newspapers at least in India who circulates more than guardian. Why not accept what these media saying? why guardian ?

    >>let me say people of India believed Tehekla story and dumped NDA ino the trash can in 2004

    Lies, even if repeted, does not become white.

    Minus Andhra (Muslim reservation) and Tamil Nadu- Congress is below 100. And BJP at least 50-60 seats more than Congress, still ruling India with Sharad pawar, paswan….as central minister of NDA.

    >>Modi won Gujarat for BJP and lost India!

    hehe…Which India? Does it include Ratan Tata? Nano? breakneck speed of industrialization? Broad band in every village? Disconnection of electricity if one doesn’t pay electricity bill? …..Every Industrialists dream…60 countries attending Modi’s programme in Delhi?…certificate from MS Swaminathan, Lee Kuan Yew…Davos….?

    Keep on babbling- nobody gives two hoots.

    Mahatma Modi is THE future of India.

    BTW, one journalist lost his job in Kerala for questioning why Prakash Karat’s photo was being used as Screen Saver in Party newspaper office. Remember?

    Ask those CPIM fundoos who are now agitating for Seetharam – freedom of press is secured under CPIM, or in Karnataka( under BJP)?

  26. Simple Says:

    Thathaghata.

    I noticed you did not say anything about the several honest investigative stories done by Tehleka.

    If not for Tehelka we would not be aware of so many sleazy scams. So many ugly skelteons have come out of our holy closet because of Tehelka.

    Tarun Tejpal wasn’t saved by UPA. NDA was behind him for almost three years…yet they could do nothing. False case after false case, but NOTHING WAS PROVED

    In india rarely do politicians and corrupt beaurecrats get jailed. No surprise Bangaru got away lightly.

    Ok, you are entitled to your view on Guardian. But Guardian has more respect in the world for its credible stories. I take Guardian’s views rather than yours.

    If Modi came back to power, may I remind you that BJP was booted out of power in 2004?

    If you think Tehelka was trashed by people of Gujarat, let me say people of India believed Tehekla story and dumped NDA ino the trash can in 2004

  27. Simple Says:

    Modi won Gujarat for BJP and lost India!

  28. Not A Witty Nick Says:

    Did he resist the handcuffing and conveyed it to the police officer?

    That gentleman seems a little too happy on being handcuffed!

  29. etvraviraja Says:

    ==ಸೀತಾರಾಂ ಅವರ ಹಟಮಾರಿತನದ ಪರಿಣಾಮವಾಗಿ ಕರಾವಳಿ ಅಲೆ ವರದಿಗಾರರು ಕೆಲಸಬಿಟ್ಟು ಹೋಗಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಬೇರೆ ಪತ್ರಿಕೆಗಳಿಗೆ, ಛಾನಲ್ ಗಳಿಗೆ ಸೇರಿಕೊಂಡಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಸೀತಾರಾಂ ತಮ್ಮ ದೃಷ್ಟಿಕೋನ ಬದಲಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲಿ. ಪದೇಪದೇ ಜೈಲು ಸೇರುವುದನ್ನು ಅವರು ಹೋರಾಟ ಅಂದುಕೊಂಡರೆ, ಅದು ಅವರ ಮತ್ತು ಅವರ ಪತ್ರಿಕೆಯ ಆರೋಗ್ಯಕ್ಕೆ ಒಳ್ಳೆಯದಲ್ಲ.
    ==ಅವರು ಹಿಡಿದ ಮೊಲಕ್ಕೆ ಮೂರೇ ಕಾಲು, ಆರೇ ಕೊಂಬು.
    ==ಒಮ್ಮೆ ಸೀತಾರಾಂ ಅವರ ಪತ್ರಿಕೆಯನ್ನು ಯಾರಾದರೂ ಬಿಡಿಸಿ ನೋಡಲಿ. ಅದರಲ್ಲಿ ಅತಿ ಹೆಚ್ಚು ಬೈಯಲ್ಪಟ್ಟವರು ಇತರೆ ಪತ್ರಕರ್ತರೇ ಆಗಿರುತ್ತಾರೆ.
    read more
    http://tinyurl.com/9eerkk

  30. CHURUMURI Says:

    Comments to this article bearing screen names “Uday Bellad”, “Yogish Bhavi” and “Bari Olu” are currently awaiting moderation. Emails have been sent to your email IDs to authenticate authorship of the comments. Send a return email to churumuri to pass muster.

  31. Simple Says:

    Thathaghata

    Chandrababu Naidu had the press fawning over him. industrialists rated him as the best ever. He was the poster boy of a resurgent India. he was known as the CEO of hyderabad.

    And we know what happened to his party in the last assembly election.

    Don’t get too carried away by the hype of Gujarat success.

    Remember it was under Congress that a legendary entrepreuner of the stature of Dhirubai AMbani was born.

    Gujaratis are genetically predisposed to do well in business.

    On the other hand, Andhra, Maharashtra and several other states are better in SEZs than Gujarat,

    People from all over India and the world come to Bangalore for healthcare, and education.

    Karnataka is far ahead of Gujarat in education, higher learning, healthcare, Information Technolgy, B.T. hospitality and several other industries.

    Bangalore is a welcoming city. It provides opportunities to everybody.

    Congress made Bangalore what it is today. Bangalore is famous all over the world because of Congrress. Jobs are known as Bangalored, and certaily not Gujarathed!

    West Bengal was the first to woo Ratan Tata. Cheap politics of Trinamool forced tata out of Bengal.

    Congress did not play dirty in Gujarat. Congress could have done a Trinamool in Gujarat and opposed Nano. But they did not.

    Trinamool mindlessly opposed Nano
    BJP mindlessly opposed Nuclear Deal.

    But congress has always been a constructive opposition.

    And that.

    That is the difference between Cong and UPA

    If you believe Gujarat people trashed Tehelka and voted BJP to power, I can use the same logic to say Indians believed Tehelka story and threw NDA out of power.

    Whats good for the goose is….youi know the rest of it.

    As far as the media goes, which Indian media has said Tehelka story is false? show me evidence.

    If you quote Davos and Swaminathan for Modis achievements, I can quote Guardian and BBC for Tehelkas credit.

    What do you man minus Andhra and TN cong is below 100?

    You must know that minus Gujarat and Madhya Pradhesh, BJP is below 100.

    Muslim reservation in Andhra? Do you know BJP JDU govt is giving crores of rupees to Madaras in Bihar>

    Do you know BJP and fundamentalist Muslims in India opposed the nuclear deal?

    Do you know Cong went ahead and signed the nuclear deal, although Mullahs in India were against it? That is because Cong does not care about vote politics.

    It cares about nation. Your children will be enjoying clean , uninterrrupted energy 15 years from now, thanks to Man Mohan Singh.

    Like you are enjoying the fruits of liberalisation today, 15 years after Cong opened up the economy

  32. sumakani Says:

    BVS is not a saint. A well known yellow journo. He doesn’t carry much weghtage among the public. It is also a fact that the arrest was done at the behest of court orders not by the Government. There was a non bailable warrant in his case. So I dont see what is that BVShenoy wants to see in the whole episode. If journos are out on the streets in this case, it is because their one of the main source of income(Blackmailing) is getting affected by active judiciary.

  33. Tathagata Mukherjee Says:

    Simple>>Like you are enjoying the fruits of liberalisation today, 15 years after Cong opened up the economy

    hehe…Indian economy was opened up by PV Narshima Rao(whom Sonia tried to pull from behind). Manmohan Singh was not even the first choice as finance minister. He got the job after IG Patel refused to take it.

    Credit, if any, goes to PV for giving political cover to Manmohan. Today, MMS is prime Minister, but can;t push forward the economic reform because he is controlled by Sonia Maino from behind. MMS as such has ZERO political base, and was chosen for precisely that purpose.

    MMS is NOT considered even as a class economist- he is more like technocrat. There are many Indians – Bhagwati, Sen, Desai, Kaushik Basu……who are real economist who have done work. MMS does not belong to their class.

    Your rants are product of confused mind. I had been a CPIM supporter for OVER 2 decades (so, don’t preach me please…I know all those stuff )! No more.

    And what has Indian National Congress has to do with present congress? Founding fathers would have done SUICIDE if they were alive today and seen that it has become a Nehru-Gandhi-Maino limited company.

    (Economic rise (creation of middle class) and cultural nationalism are always interlinked. whether it India since the days of bankim chatterjee, or in England, or france, Germany…Italy.)

    Follow some priciples- even Naxalites have some. Support them. But don’t support Congress, specially today’s.

  34. Tathagata Mukherjee Says:

    Hey simple: Why you are against Modi?

    For death of 700 odd Muslims during Guj 2002?

    You want to hang him irrespective of judicial process, reason?

    Great. Then what happens to Sharad Pawar(Bombay 1992-93), Rajiv Gandhi (1984 Sikh, 1988 Bihar),VP Singh (Kashmir) Indira Gandhi(Neille…), Nehru(Jabalpur)?

    Under each of these persons period- 10s of 1000s of minorities died (much more than guj 2002).

    Law applies equally to everybody, or not? Public is sick of these and the more fundoos like you and media attacks modi, the more Mahatma Modi’s stature grows.

  35. sisya Says:

    Dear Mr. Shenoy,

    But for the downright dishonest “pigeon-holing” you and your ilk invented and have indulged in ever since the BJP rose to power in the early 90s, your puerile piece wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.

    When was the last time you or your ilk wrote a dispassionate piece about a Shourie or a Bhairappa without the ad hominem banter — without obfuscating the issue with such things as VHP’s bashing up Valentine couples or without asking us to believe that SLB (of all people) was a “hindutvavadi” pandering to political bosses? When was the last time you or your ilk wrote anything — really ANYthing — about the BJP without resorting to the loaded use of the words like “communal”, “right-wing”, “extremist” etc.,. You didn’t even think twice before massacring the pious connotations of the word “saffron”, something we celebrate on our national flag!

    otoh, when one of the largest and most respected vernacular newspapers in the country Vijay Karnataka the same S L Bhairappa to write couple of the best researched pieces in Indian media in living memory, it got hauled to court. By a nobody. And yet, we didn’t see you mouthing your cloying vedanta. The only thing churumuri graciously afforded the issue was this!!! –>http://churumuri.wordpress.com/2009/01/04/eye-for-an-eye-makes-the-whole-world-go-blind/

    And now, we have a two-bit editor/publisher/journalist/owner/reader (what is he?) of a two-bit tabloid being hauled to court and all of a sudden your self-righteous self wakes up from slumber?!!

    >>>Let me also state that if Seetaram has been indulging in any kind of blackmail, there are better and more humane ways of settling in the court of law and not the way it is handled through mafias and high handed manner of handcuffing him.

    Please enlighten us what “better and more humane ways” you have in mind other than the rule of the law taking its course?

    >>>Was there a need to handcuff him? Was there a need to take him into custody when he was traveling away from his house? Was there a need to take him into custody for the same offence that he was charged earlier? Was there a need to threaten those shopkeepers who are selling his news papers? Was there a need to harass his employees?

    May be there was. May be the IPC requires it and mandates it. What makes you think there wasn’t?

    >>> Let me come back to my main thesis of not having press freedom.

    Sorry to call your bluff. Your frantic backpedaling notwithstanding, that was never your main “thesis”. Not even close. Or you would have had something more substantial than the sorry case of a pathetic BVSee to show for it!

    >>> Why are news papers afraid to publish shenanigans of many corrupt business houses?

    Disregarding the feigned sincerity in your question, let me answer: The papers are surely not “afraid” to publish the said “shenanigans”. Or we would not have had the spate of ‘stings’ in the last ten years.. nor would we have had reports in the mainstream media about, say, a Kharge getting caught with wads of currency in his car the night before elections.

    It is just that they sorely lack the intellectual honesty and moral conviction that you seem to credit them with, with a wave of your hand.
    Or else, how come the press never prints a follow up of any of those stories? Never takes any of them to their logical conclusions? I’ll tell you how: hand-in-glove as they are with the criminals, the press just extract their pound of flesh and let such issues pass. I’m sure my theory is infinitely more plausible than yours.

    Also, how is it that while the press is quick to hold up imagined brickbats for public display and consumption, it does not so much as gloss over how the Bs and the Ss land Padmas. How about the Indian English Television media give us an ‘investigative inside view’ of how people who land Govt., awards land them? Surely it doesn’t have anything to do with licking the behinds of the powers-that-be or with hiding behind technicalities (like “we respected the police perimeter at all times”) to absolve themselves of irresponsible journalism in the wake of terror attacks! I’d still imagine there’s a scam-scam or even a scam-scam-scam lurking there.

    Indian English media, particularly television, is today lower than the lowest. The worst of politicians display greater intellectual fiber and honesty than all the Indian English media put together. Stop taking your readers for fools. Stop using your defense of a personal friend as a fig leaf to cover up for the dishonesty you betray in every sentence and every word of your write up. The scam scam is not in a Sri Sri making a few millions out of white lies. And robes. It lies in the kind of pompous, self-righteous, intellectually dishonest, misplaced-elitist and many-a-time uninformed discourse the Indian English media has engendered and indulged in, particularly in the last decade and a half.

  36. Sandesh Says:

    Simple
    Don’t make this post a platform for pro and anti congress. The topic is about media and it’s “rights”. Stick to it please. You can carry out your congress stuff in other posts.

  37. etvraviraja Says:

    @ Simple
    You must have been born after the great “emergency” period of India. Those who know about it, know how the Congress treated media during that period. Less said the better.

  38. VALALE SUBBANNA Says:

    Is Thehelka dead or just stopped its operetion or the present UPA governance is curruption free.Only where and when BJP was in power there are scams and scandals,how much money changed hand between UPA and Tehelka.

  39. Simple Says:

    Thathaghata

    When there is an information overload the system crashes. I suggest, you have overloaded yourself with so much information, that you don’t know A from B

    The topic here is of the media. Look at how tangential your argument is. I was talking about Tehelka’s hounding by NDA and you landed up talking about Naxalities and Bankim Chaterjee…

    What is the connection?

    Come down to ground zero.

  40. D P SATISH Says:

    I am posting this reply to udupipressvictims.wordpress.com here on churumuri because that blogsite, with the avowed aim of exposing “victims of the media”, doesn’t seem to know the basics of journalism or believe in following them.

    I am posting this reply here also because that blogsite which wants to lecture the world on the ethics of journalism (as it believes must be practised), seems to mistakenly believe that its anonymity gives it a licence to do what it pleases.

    It has selectively quoted from my full reply to it. I do not want them to give them the cheap thrill of twisting my reply a second time round to suit its ulterior interests.

    1. The headline for my CNN-IBN story on the arrest of B.V. Seetharam said, ‘Editor arrested for criticising RSS’. That is a headline given by our web editorial staff. That headline may be right or wrong. If udupipressvictims thinks that our headline is wrong, that is its choice and it can question it by all means. But it has no right to malign my image and cast aspersions on my professional and/or personal integrity. It certainly cannot intimidate or blackmail journalists. Several other television channels and newspapers have carried similar headlines and similar stories with similar conclusions. How come udupipressvictims has not found the time to catch them “red-handed”?

    2. My story was not only about B.V. Seetharam’s arrest by the BJP-led government in Karnataka and the protest march of journalists in Bangalore. It was also about how the media is being hounded by the Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy-led Congress government in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. Between a faceless blogsite which twists my response (while claiming to protect “press victims”), and a television channel which covers the violations of media freedoms in two different states ruled by two different parties, I am sure discerning readers of churumuri will be able to appreciate the difference and the objective.

    3. If udupipressvictims doubts the contention that B.V. Seetharam’s was arrested because he criticised the RSS, on what grounds does it fully and completely trust a school teacher’s allegations of blackmail made in a press conference or in a newspaper report of the same? Only the courts can decide if Bhoja Shetty’s claims are genuine or not. If genuine, the law will take its own course. Till such time, neither udupipressvictims nor any other blog, website, newspaper, magazine or TV channel can sit in judgment over the case.

    4. If B.V. Seetharam’s character is not above suspicion in the eyes of udupipressvictims, it has has no business to tarnish the image of other professional journalists merely to settle personal scores with Seetharam.

    5. A blogsite which claims to champion “victims of the press” took five days to react to my mail, and when it did so, it twisted the facts. If this is its concern for the other side, god save the victims of udupipress.wordpress.com. True to its record of twisting facts to suit its interest, the blogsite now claims that I am threatening them. Can they produce any evidence to attest this claim? What I have demanded is that they carry my version of the story and an apology. Instead of admitting to its mistake, it is now trying to defend its malicious campaign against me and CNN-IBN by its own twisted explanation/ posts. In fact, they are the ones who are actually threatening me and other professional journalists from carrying out their duties.

    6. If udupipressvictims.wordspress.com has nothing to hide or fear, if it really believes in exposing journalists, if it really believes in protecting “victims of the press”, it needs to demonstrate it on its website, instead of indulging in anonymous character assassination of the very nature it decries and claims to champion against. Being a blogger doesn’t give immunity from the law. Nobody has the right to malign others in the name of exposing the black sheep in the media.

    8. As a blog udupipressvictims.wordpress.com has every right to ask questions, but it cannot intimidate, threaten or tarnish individuals or institutions, or impute motives, or twist and contort their stand. If they do, they will have to face the long arm of the law, sooner if not later.

  41. Sandesh Says:

    Satish,

    You said:

    “nly the courts can decide if Bhoja Shetty’s claims are genuine or not. If genuine, the law will take its own course. Till such time, neither udupipressvictims nor any other blog, website, newspaper, magazine or TV channel can sit in judgment over the case.”

    Pray, tell me how did YOU (or your “editorial staff”) decide that BVS was arrested for writing against RSS ? Are you not doing exactly what you are advocating not to do ? How does it make you any different from udupipress ?

    You also claimed that

    “That is a headline given by our web editorial staff. That headline may be right or wrong.”

    WTF is this ? How can a factual headline be right or wrong ? It can be only one. Either it is right or it is wrong. Decide which one it is and stick to it. Don’t do this “addagoDe mele deepa” business.

    Are you telling that if your name appears on the article as the correspondent or whatever but the “editorial staff” plays around your story it has nothing to do with you ?

    “it has has no business to tarnish the image of other professional journalists merely to settle personal scores with Seetharam.”

    Wow. How do you know that udupipress is trying to settle any personal score with BVS? Can you provide any evidence? If not, aren’t you making empty accusations ?

  42. Tathagata Mukherjee Says:

    DP Satish:

    The less is spoken about your CNN-IBN, its better. Frankly speaking, most of the the channels (including yours) have trivilized the whole press and have done great damage to institution of press , media in India.

    Kindly answer to these:

    1. Did you protest when your editorial staff ‘fabicrated’ the headline to sell it?

    2. Was it made clear in the news item that an Indian Court actually issued a NBW against Seetharam?

    3. That State Govt was implementing court order?

    4. There was a victim who approached court & it issues the NBW. Was that part of the story adequately covered in your news item?

    This is not the first time happening. Biased media coverage , half truth, suppression of truth, distorting the whole picture have become norm of the day.

    Change soon before Indian Press self-destructs itself.

  43. VALALE SUBBANNA Says:

    @DPS
    1.Where were you when another blackmailer and yellow journalist of Udupi, Hitendra was killed .At that point of time congress was in power.
    2.Eventhough BVS is arrested in accordance with law you people are up in arms just bcoz BJP is in power.

    @Simple:For your kind information,L.R.Shivarame Gowda ex cong MLA is the killer of Kanchanahally Gangadhara Murthy reporter of Lankesh Patrke.

  44. Tathagata Mukherjee Says:

    Hey Simple: Arrange a live televised debate between Rahul/Sonia/MM Singh with Advani/Modi. And let the people decide for themselves.

  45. etvraviraja Says:

    Kumbal Kai Kalla..andare Hegalu yaake mutti nododri…DP Satish!
    ==================================
    You have exposed yourself naked (not even threadbare), by your rantings You have also proven the arrogant nature of mediamen…inspite of your blatant goof ups, you are still trying to hide the truth..nor you are publishing any clarifications to your original news post in CNN IBN…

    May you have the same fate as TV9/Satyam!

  46. sisya Says:

    DPS,

    What is this “basics of journalism” you’re referring to? Is it suppresio veri; suggestio falsi by any chance? It certainly seems to be so, going by your report (forget the headline, you at least wrote the report, didn’t you? Or did the ‘Web editorial team’ also write the report for you?).

  47. Simple Says:

    Thathaghata

    I agree Modi and Advani are much better communicators than the other people you have mentioned.

    The topic here is is the indian media free.

    You are obfuscting the issue.

    Come down to ground zero.

  48. Tathagata Mukherjee Says:

    >>Come down to ground zero.

    What is this ground zero? That you fanatics will keep on hitting Modi.

    What about VP Singh, Rajiv, Indira, Nehru under whose leadership 10s of 1000s of minorities got killed. WHY YOU GUYS ARE MUM?

    People understand who does what. And no wonder, Modi is #1 popular politician in India today. And destined to be PM of India after Advani.

    You may not like it. But that’s how it works in a democracy.

  49. Simple Says:

    Thathaghata

    I repeat: you have gone off track.

    The title of this blog is: Is Indiam media fair?

    What gobbledegook are you talking>?

  50. CHURUMURI Says:

    A comment to this article bearing the screen name “Bari Olu” is currently awaiting moderation. An email has been sent to your email ID to authenticate authorship. Send a return email to churumuri to pass muster.

  51. larissa Says:

    India is run by a bunch of Criminals–the sordid PC media which silences any worthwhile opinions is but a reflection of this—

  52. Bangalore Boy Says:

    some funny/comic releif reading comments from DPSatish!!

    People from CNN IBN are talking about ethics of journalism…..wat a joke!!

    its like ‘Boothada bayalli bhagavadgeethe!’

  53. B.N.Gururaj Says:

    Indian media seems free to oscillate for China, North Korea, Cuba and often for Pakistan, but not for India and Indian concerns. Most of the media is in the cotnrol of lefties or their cronies. Commies who are the most adept at gagging free speech must not grumble when they get a dose of their own medicine. Yellow iournalists like BVS who abuse the social status as a journalist are reprehensible and do not deserve any sympathy.

  54. pravin mantri Says:

    required press pass

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