Saturday, May 15, 2010

Trysts with MSM - Part 6: Vikram Chandra's reply

For 53 days (twice a day), I was asking NDTV folks a question on twitter.

" Hi @
BDUTT @vikramchandra @prannoyroyndtv Is NDTV planning to clarify on the "summoned on March 21"fiasco raised by d CM of Gujarat? "

Barkha Dutt is the Group Editor of NDTV English News. Vikram Chandra is the CEO of NDTV networks (non-news, according to him). Prannoy Roy is the Chairman of NDTV.

So what is this fiasco I was referring to?
This letter to Editors Guild has all the details, so there is no need to write about the fiasco again in this post. IBN's Editor-in-Chief replied to that letter. The Hindu clarified on the error, pointed out by the CM of Gujarat. NDTV has not, and the intention was to ask if they would want to clarify the error.

After 53 days, Vikram Chandra replied last night. Warning: There is a danger of you falling off from your chair after reading the reply!

ssudhirkumar was waiting for half century! Issue addressed on Big Fight on 27th March. Didn't you watch?? What a waste of effort!"

Now, when you read that reply, one would assume that the Big Fight show on 27th March talks about some clarification from NDTV, for otherwise one wouldn't expect a senior person like Vikram Chandra to get down to such mockingly childish replies. So then I decided to go through the troubling experience of watching the
Big Fight show of March 27, to see where the "issue was addressed".

Guess what - at no place does Vikram Chandra clarify NDTV's stand! 15 minutes into the show, Vikram Chandra asks Siddarth Varadarajan about why the CM made it such an issue with respect to the date, and Sidd said the date is not an issue. That's it folks. That's all about the date. Nothing more. Nothing less. "The date is not an issue". That's how the "issue was addressed".

This obfuscation by the media that the date is not an issue is comical. A whole bunch of debates and theories centered around the Gujarat CM "non-appearance" on this date. Obviously there was an error in reporting. Why couldn't NDTV just say "Yes, we got the date wrong,we regret the error and any incoveinience thus caused" ? And then what is stopping them to go and take on the perceived intentions of the Chief Minister. You want more proof?

Look at
the website people. Three lines stand out. The first one attributes to the sources that " Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is likely to skip appearance on Sunday ". The 5th line says "SIT had summoned Modi to remain present before him tomorrow ". And the 9th line says this "Modi has a week starting Sunday to appear before the SIT "

Now if in the same report, three contradictory lines are dished out, questioning that is wrong? Wait - when this discrepancy was pointed out to another NDTV anchor Nidhi Razdan, I was
told that I don't understand English!

That is not all - Attached to the post below is a snapshot of NDTV scroll on the 27th of March saying "Narendra Modi served summons last week" - another factual error.

My issue here is quite simple - Media has done an error, and it is just not forthcoming to say, yes there is an error. When questioned, you have all seen the kind of responses some folks have been giving. There are many other instances where TV media has shown abject disrespect to the policy of accountability. In one instace, this same Vikram Chandra
told me this; "what gives you the idea that I owe you any explanation for anything?? You don't like the site, don't log on! Bye! "

Again, the questions posed were not on design of the website, for me not to "like it". All questions were on the content. Now is it their contention that content cannot be questioned? But that is how hard questions are dealt - discredit the questioner in an attempt to flaunt intelligence.

Vikram Chandra's answer is a joke. So, while he is free to gloat under the misconception that he gave a super intelligent answer to a basic question; that by pointing out to a fact that I didn't get watch his show, he can get away with "issue has been addressed"; it is imperative that NDTV clarify on the points raised above, and till then the questioning will continue!

Perhaps, something can be learnt from The Hindu. They run a daily Corrections and Clarifications column - I wonder when TV will even dare to have such a show/column.

PS: The icing on the cake is this: Teesta, in the same show, says this - Modi was given a window of 10 days, from March 21 to March 31, to appear. Howzatt, Mr. Vikram Chandra!

PS2: No, I am in no way disrespecting those who were brutally murdered. Bring the perpetrators to justice. Hang them. However, the issue I am raising here is Media's obvious sense of "we can do no wrong" and "we are beyond questioning" attitude, which is detrimental to the growth of our democracy.


kppradeep said...

How do you expect people with vested interests to act fairly. These are all pseudo secular people who shed tears for the muslim community. These jokers look at the religion of even the dead ones. they will bring the kith and kin of post godhra riot victims etc. Have they ever thought about the Godhra victims or have they brought on their show any Hindhu victims relatives?. We need be apologetic and if a crime is done by any person let the law take on him irrespective of his religion.
We have all forgotten the Kashmiri pandits and that foolish lady Teesta is a social terrorist who does not like harmony and peace between the different communities. So are all these jokers who call themselves PRESS. Arrogance is their birth right.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the fault is with BJP wallahs. There are enough of them and if they are willing to sacrifice a bit and work in cocert and bycott serially NDTV, IBN, TOI, IE, HT one at a time, you will soon see the results. We do have econ power to bring these media whxxx to knees if we can act in concert. A big IF.

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