Under One Umbrella

MediaWatch-Image26.4.16I&B Minister Arun Jaitley recently announced the merger of several government media units under one umbrella – the Directorate of Field Publicity (DFP). The exhibition wing of the Directorate of Advertising & Visual Publicity, Song and Drama Division and the Public information campaign (programme under the PIB), among others, will now be a part of DFP. The merger is expected to increase the effectiveness of rural outreach and improve synergy between field units. » Veteran journalists, with over 25 years of experience, form the editorial team of ‘Khel Today’. To be published monthly henceforth, the Hindi national sports magazine was launched in the capital on Wednesday by eminent coaches, players and administrators. Renowned sportspersons such as former India Cricket Captain Ajit Wadekar and former Indian opener Chetan Chauhan have written articles for the magazine. » Read Bahujan activist and contributing editor Round Table India, Kuffir’s opinion on alternative media in the country here. Kuffir, in an exclusive with HT, said “All Brahminised sites wish to ‘cover’ caste issues, we (RTI) on the other hand, talk of the mainstream – the Dalit, Bahujan, Adivasi majority of India.” » Adding to assaults targeting minorities, secular bloggers, intellectuals and foreigners, a senior editor of Bangladesh’s first LGBT magazine ‘Roopbaan’, Julhas Mannan was brutally murdered on Monday. According to a BBC report, the gay rights activist had also worked with the US development agency USAID.

The New Emergence

MediaWatch-Image22.3.16The new Hindi news channel on the block – India News has emerged the fastest growing news channel according to the latest BARC subscriber data of Week 3 – Week 10 of 2016. With 61,020 impressions and 11.1% share, the channel ranked third in its category according to the eight week average. » Radio advertisers and broadcasters welcome TRAI’s consultation paper on the need to restructure the radio audience measurement (RAM) and ratings in India. Read what industry veterans have to say about TRAI’s effort to resolve one of the most crucial issues of the radio industry. » The Government might revise guidelines for online media accreditation by the PIB. A PIB accredited journalist is allowed to attend and report on government events, among other things, and one of the questions being asked is whether news aggregators should also be given accreditation. Read the existing guidelines and MediaNama’s take on the proposed revision here. » I&B Minister Arun Jaitley became the champion of the community radio cause in the capital. “Community Radio provides a value addition to the narrative by addressing the information needs regionally,” he said. Often supporting causes ignored by the mainstream radio, community radio stations are usually not run for profit. The Ministry has given the green signal to 439 such stations across the country and 191 are already in operation.

Voot’s Army

MediaWatch-Image15.3Soon to be launched OTT platform, Voot, by Viacom18 Digital Ventures, announced its technical partners. Kaltura, a global major in OTT streaming services, is the platform provider and US-based A Different Engine (ADE) has been roped in for the UI/UX design. Indian Developer Robosoft Technologies and Web Dunia will be responsible for the mobile app and website respectively. “We are focused on a world-class, differentiated product with superlative user experience”, said Gaurav Gandhi COO, Viacom18 Digital Ventures. » I&B Minister Arun Jaitley, while at the International Press India (IPI) Award for Excellence in Journalism ceremony, condemned the ‘sensational’ manner of reporting and urged the ‘conventional’ media to stand up against it. Jaitley also expressed his concerns regarding the threat to free speech and threat to a free and fair trial, in the Kanhaiya Kumar case. » India’s largest geo-targeted ad network, is now going to lend its services to the Times Network. Five of the network’s channels – Times Now, ET Now, Romedy Now, Zoom and Magic Bricks Now, will use Amagi’s technology to split ad inventory and provide regional ad spots to different brands. The flexibility with geo-targeting enables ad optimization and thus is beneficial to both big and small advertisers/entrepreneurs.

The Crumbling Fourth Pillar of Democracy

PodiumImage18.02.16Vandita Naroola, Product Manager at Skribe, blogger and avid reader takes a stance on journalists being soft targets for violence in India.

Intolerance and anti-national seem to be buzzwords in the country at this time and the definition of free speech is easily moulded to suit the reality of people in power. The open assault on journalists at JNU this week along with recurring accounts of crime against journalists reported last year in September and October are proof why India ranked 14th on the Impunity Index report by the Committee to Protect Journalists, and was Asia’s deadliest country for media personnel in 2015.

This leads us to believe that we being the largest democracy in the world hardly work at providing a safe and conducive work environment to the fourth pillar of democracy – media and press.

In the case of JNU students shouting anti-Indian slogans at a meeting on February 9th, expressing solidarity with Kashmiris, which had them booked on sedition charges, freedom of speech was found deeply compromised.

Even though the Student Union and all leftists groups at JNU strongly criticized the sloganeering, the Delhi Police decided to make a statement by arresting Student Union President, Kanhaiya Kumar for sedition, based on complaints by BJP MP Maheish Girri and BJP’s student wing ABVP.

The Police, law enforcers, did nothing to uphold the law, when several journalists reporting at the Patiala House Court on Monday, where Kanhaiya was presented, were beaten up and abused by a group of lawyers. Top editors of national media and hundreds of journalists staged a protest, walking from the Press Club to the Supreme Court, demanding action against the clear violation of democratic rights. The journalists submitted a memorandum to the apex court’s Registrar seeking cancellation of licenses of lawyers involved in the assault.

Not easily extinguished, the fire bellowed stronger yesterday when Kanhaiya, who has been detained in judicial custody till March 2nd, was battered by some lawyers in court. A journalist and a student were also alleged collateral damage in the repeated violence.

Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Arun Jaitley, tweeted in support of the media saying they have an unhindered right to report and attacks against them are highly condemnable. Still, the appalling state of affairs in this matter needs immediate rectification.

The two critical instruments for preserving harmony – the State Police and the Government need to take firm action against this absolute abuse of power and public sentiment. We will not be walked over by people bowing to the whims of politicians. Don’t be a mute spectator, make your voice heard.

PM Changes Game

Trending-Image05.02Narendra Modi seems to have changed his outlook towards the media. According to sources, the PM is now telling his cabinet colleagues and bureaucrats to interact with the media and convey the work accomplished by his government in the last 18 months. His colleagues are however, continuing to stay away as they are wary of a fallout should they speak what is not in the script. » The Ministry of Finance is now on YouTube. The channel was officially launched yesterday with an aim to strengthen the online presence of the ministry by Arun Jaitley. It will feature videos of major schemes, meetings, events and press conferences exclusively related to the Ministry. » Actor Irrfan Khan has joined the bandwagon on the intolerance debate. Expressing that shutting one’s mouth is not a healthy sign of a growing society. “I find it very strange when few people say that actors should act and they should not express their opinions on issues. Everybody has the right to speak their mind and concerns” he said during the NDTV Indian of The Year Awards.

We Got Your Back

^C13DF058552F32F1D7FF31AF7B2AD5271A8ACFD2CA438DBEEE^pimgpsh_fullsize_distrArun Jaitley’s friends veteran journalist and India TV Chairman & Editor-in-Chief Rajat Sharma and senior journalist Swapan Dasgupta, had his back in court. They reportedly deposed before the Patiala House court in the DDCA defamation case. “(I am) aware that such false allegations (against Jaitley) can cause harm and destroy the reputation of any respectable person”, Sharma told the court. » Despite 6 states having gotten a two month extension on the DAS Phase III deadline, MIB granted provisional licenses to 30 MSOs in just one day – 1st January. This brings the total provisional licensees to 412. The Ministry seems to be aggressively pursuing digitization goals with a sharp focus. » A radio ad for Birla Sun Life Mutual Funds has rubbed IndiaPost the wrong way. The ad, though intending to imply email’s superiority over physical mail in terms of speed, ended up terming ‘registered post’ and ‘speed post’ services as lethargic. The Department of Posts, obviously upset, served a notice this week to Aditya Birla Group with regards to the ad in question.

Jaitley Crossed Again

Trending-Image06.01.16.jpgArun Jaitley was mocked on Twitter after his statements made at Patiala High Court were publicized by the media. Making his point before the magistrate for the defamation cases he filed against Arvind Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders after the DDCA row; Jaitley said that members like Raghav Chadha have defamed him by retweeting Kejriwal’s tweets. Hashtag #RT2DefameJaitley making its way into the trending list, have a look at what people had to say. » According to Syrian Media, ISIS has executed a female journalist for the first time for reporting inside its territory. Ruqia Hassan, an independent reporter continuously challenged the ISIS and often reported on air strikes as they happened in the city of Raqqa. Her execution marks the fifth journalist who reported on ISIS to be killed since October according to Syrian Journalism Organization, Syria Direct. » Mark your calendars for The Hindu Lit For Life. The three day event from January 15 – 17, 2016 will include conversations, debates and keynotes from a bunch of renowned journalists, writers and artists. To be held at Lady Andal School in Chennai, Tamil Nadu; know more about the event at www.thehindulfl.com.