Sunday, May 10, 2015

Unethical journalism: Praveen Swami's reports now sully Indian Express' image of fair journalistic practices

A sensational story about an 'Islamic state cell in MP' has brought back focus on Praveen Swami style of journalism--sensationalist, unconfirmed and questionable as it has nothing to do with real journalism and ethical journalistic practices.


The report "First Islamic state module busted, 5 held in MP', made claims but there was nothing to substantiate it. There were sweeping statements and wild sensational statements., based on 'highy placed police and intelligence sources'. 

Interesting, no police officer corroborated this version though police are generally eager to hold press conferences and claim success in such cases of busting 'terror cell or module'. The story had a joint byline Praveen Swami and Milind Ghatwai.


But there was no attempt to talk to MP police top brass or its ATS wing. Still, the newspaper then went ahead with the follow-up.

Local papers clearly mentioned that there was no confirmation that the arrested person had terror links but Express went miles ahead to issue judgment that it was a terror module.

Swami has been a controversial journalist and questions were raised on his journalistic practices when he used to work for the respectable The Hindu.

However, after questions were raised over how youth acquitted by courts, had been declared 'criminals' and terrorists, much before trial in similar sounding reports, his name got into disrepute.

Why he does it? Why the reporters on national security beat do it?

Apparently, the idea is to keep 'inventing enemies', keep focus on 'IM, IS' inks, demonise people, highlight minor criminals and term them as terrorists, and 'plant stories' with a purpose. 

Now, he is in Indian Express, and again the dubious practices have begun. Jamia Teachers' Solidarity Association (JTSA) responded to the 'Praveen Swami fictions'.

The response was published in letters to editor column of the same newspaper. Later, it was carried on JTSA and other places too.

So you can write anything you want based in your home, without even the need to verify, cross-check, without the version of cops or the complainants or even the accused!

WHAT CARAVAN WROTE ABOUT THE COMPROMISED NATIONAL SECURITY BEAT

The Caravan had this to say about Praveen Swami's reporting:
Swami’s critics find this intimacy seeping out in his writing. His reporting relies heavily on generic unnamed sources—“investigators believe”, “sources said”, “according to police”—and there’s a belligerence and one-size-fits-all Islamophobia to his analyses that seems of a piece with the security establishment’s dominant worldview. In Delhi’s media circles, there are several widely circulated rumours about Swami’s relationship to the IB. One claims that the agency did him a great favour early in his career, and that he remains indebted to it. Another says the IB has a dossier with which it is blackmailing him. - See more at: http://www.caravanmagazine.in/reportage/known-unknowns?page=0,2#sthash.LOQNEcXq.dpuf

Swami’s critics find this intimacy seeping out in his writing. His reporting relies heavily on generic unnamed sources—“investigators believe”, “sources said”, “according to police”—and there’s a belligerence and one-size-fits-all Islamophobia to his analyses that seems of a piece with the security establishment’s dominant worldview. In Delhi’s media circles, there are several widely circulated rumours about Swami’s relationship to the IB. One claims that the agency did him a great favour early in his career, and that he remains indebted to it. Another says the IB has a dossier with which it is blackmailing him.

Swami’s critics find this intimacy seeping out in his writing. His reporting relies heavily on generic unnamed sources—“investigators believe”, “sources said”, “according to police”—and there’s a belligerence and one-size-fits-all Islamophobia to his analyses that seems of a piece with the security establishment’s dominant worldview. In Delhi’s media circles, there are several widely circulated rumours about Swami’s relationship to the IB. One claims that the agency did him a great favour early in his career, and that he remains indebted to it. Another says the IB has a dossier with which it is blackmailing him. - See more at: http://www.caravanmagazine.in/reportage/known-unknowns?page=0,2#sthash.LOQNEcXq.dpuf
Swami’s critics find this intimacy seeping out in his writing. His reporting relies heavily on generic unnamed sources—“investigators believe”, “sources said”, “according to police”—and there’s a belligerence and one-size-fits-all Islamophobia to his analyses that seems of a piece with the security establishment’s dominant worldview. In Delhi’s media circles, there are several widely circulated rumours about Swami’s relationship to the IB. One claims that the agency did him a great favour early in his career, and that he remains indebted to it. Another says the IB has a dossier with which it is blackmailing him. - See more at: http://www.caravanmagazine.in/reportage/known-unknowns?page=0,2#sthash.LOQNEcXq.dpuf


Read the recent Praveen Swami report
Read JTSA rebuttal to Indian Express report
Read Caravan's report on Praveen Swami's journalism in CARAVAN

Read more...

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Credibility Crisis: News website Speisa.com publishing fake reports!


Journalism has been in crisis and the credibility of journalists is increasingly under scanner because of the bad apples.

The question of credibility is increasingly been raised as false news reports are increasingly been planted and shared, to get more traffic.

A relatively new site, Speisa.com has suddenly begun aggressively putting forwards its content on internet.

It invests in advertising to push its content up on social networking sites too.  In the online world, it is the hits that count.

Recently, the website came up with a report that grand mufti of Saudi Arabia has issued a fatwa as per which a man can eat his wife in extreme condition.

The story created a stir. Soon, the flabbergasted clergy also issued a denial. But the damage had been done to a large extent. That was not the first such story by Speisa.com that has been wrong. It keeps coming up with similar reports, especially, about Middle East.

Then there are no apologies either for publishing fake content. Isn't it serious? The more 'eyeballs' or more hits, the more is earning through advertisements. Hence, bizarre stories are being projected by news websites these days. Forget hard stories, now sensational stories are being promoted so that people are tempted to click even if there is no substance.

Of late, many new groups have entered 'media' though they have no past association with journalism or journalistic practices. This is affecting journalism over all, and the credibility of journalists is also under serious threat because of such malpractices.

Read more...

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Indian media's indifference to 'fake' encounters: 20 killings in Chittoor, five 'murders' in Telangana

When 20 persons were killed in an 'encounter' in Chittoor, it didn't create a flutter in national media.

The Tamil Nadu police said they were 'smugglers' and their version was immediately accepted.

Media didn't raise a single question that if they were hard-core criminals, how all the 20 people were killed on the spot, without injury to policemen.

They were termed as 'Red sanders'. Even if they would be suspects of smuggling, this sort of MASSACRE isn't justified. It didn't seem 'encounter' from any angle. The clothes on the victims' bodies, shows that they were poor people, possibly wood cutters.

This is the treatment our police give to wood cutters. Are we becoming a police state where courts don't matter at all? 'Suspects' are killed in cold-blood, 'under-trial prisoners' are killed even before there is a verdict.

TV channels didn't bother much as the victims were POOR. No TRP!!!. Channels who show live reports over nonsensical and trivial issues, had no interest, there was no anger or special programmes to raise the issue of such injustice.

The same was the attitude of the media in the encounter of suspected SIMI operatives, Viqar and four others, near Warangal in Telangana. The initial reports were about police versions. Later, photographs emerged that the persons killed were all handcuffed.

Elitist Indian media's new 'values': Don't question killings by police, army

But, there is no interest in our media, to question the police version. There is a serious concern towards the way journalism is heading in this country. Society, the influential upper and vocal middle class, has developed certain 'values'.

The values indicate that anything the police and army does is not questioned. This is a dangerous phenomenon. So there is hardy any effort to look at the other side of the picture, these days. It seems 'unpatriotic' to them, perhaps!

The attitude of Indian media towards police excesses is a serious issue. Media is supposed to be the 'conscience keeper' of the country, but it has gone astray, big way, in India. This is really very, very serious and senior journalists must do introspection.

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Rajat Sharma, Naqvi and Uday Shankar responsible for turning Hindi news channels into a circus, journalists into jokers

Many are wondering how Rajat Sharma could be awarded Padma Bhushan?

This post is about the fall in standard of TV news and journalism in India.

While Arnab Goswami is accused of killing English TV news [as Outlook claims], who is responsible for the death of Hindi TV news?

This question has been raised by Senior journalist Dilip C Mandal who has written a series of Facebook posts on it.

Mandal, who was managing editor, India Today (Hindi) till recently, names three journalists for their role in bringing down credibility of Hindi news channels.

The names are Uday Shankar, Qamar Waheed Naqvi and Rajat Sharma.

Read the English translation here:

Dilip C Mandal

Under whose leadership did the Hindi TV channels enter the 'circus mode'? In prime time, instead of news, TV channels began showing stories about naag-nagin (snake) superstitions, call girl who charged the most and about cars moving without driver.

This journey continued to such an extent that everybody kept slipping, even falling into gutter, and no one bothered.The three leaders who are responsible for turning Hindi media into Peepli Live and its journalists into jokers are Uday Shankar, Qamar Waheed Naqvi and Rajat Sharma.

I will write a detailed paper on it, sometime later. I have no personal issues with any of them. But they are responsible for the situation that today there are jokes on media. Talk about reporters and kids start laughing.

These channels got audiences addicted to such humour that ultimately TV News channels began showing half-hour laughter challenge shows. If this trio won't be there, may be other leaders would be around, doing the same. But they were leading the three major channels in the era.

There was a time when Ganesha idols were sipping milk but SP Singh countered superstition on TV and used the cobbler's tool and showed that it could also sip milk in the same way, and also demonstrated how TRP can be generated by going against superstition.

There is tamasha in Indian English news too but that is mostly around news. In Hindi news channels, tamasha is foremost and there is no need for news at all. Uday Shankar, Qamar Waheed Naqvi and Rajat Sharma drove Hindi TV news to the superstitious age, even though all of these three persons are modren people. However, news was brought the lowest common denominator.

Read the posts on Dilip C Mandal's Facebook Timeline

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