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Ghost of paid news

Guilty as charged
The ghost of paid news has struck for real in the run-up to the Punjab elections. First, 523 cases of alleged paid were registered against candidates. Out of these 339 were issued notices. Now, in 201 cases candidates have acknowledged that they did pay for news. These candidates have agreed to add these amounts into their expenditure accounts. In 74 cases, candidates have denied the allegations and in 38 cases among these, either the candidates or the media houses have challenged the allegations. (The Indian Express)
On the wrong track
The GOI thinks its media management, rather than the quality of its governance, is the problem. A team of eleven officials from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry are in the UK for a two-week course on media management. The government sent the group to sharpen their skills at the Thomson Foundation, a leading media training agency. The officials will be learning about managing print, electronic, Internet and all other formats. (HT)
Olfactory attack
A reader writes: Last Sunday morning, Times of India readers experienced a strong odor emitted by the newspaper. It was supposed to be the coffee smell, perhaps a requirement from Bru, which had paid for the front bottom half page advertisement. However, far from smelling anything like coffee, it smelt like tobacco. Innovative advertising in newspapers is not new. In the past, readers have been given sample sachets, green tinted front pages and even heard a mini-recorder stuck to an automobile advertisement, which got activated when it was exposed to light. After the olfactory attack, I wonder what other senses are left to be exploited by the advertisers via print media.
EC detects paid news
The committees set up by Election Commission at district levels in the poll-going states to detect paid news have reported 42 cases of suspected paid news. Notices to 38 candidates have already been served among which 37 are yet to reply and one candidate has denied the allegation. No notices have been issued to any media houses allegedly involved in the reported cases. All the cases against the media have been forwarded to Press Council of India. (The Hindu) 
On Sale
News X and Nai Dunia are up for grabs. A "leading broadcast network" is interested in buying NewsX. This is the second time the English news channel is on the market. Jagran Prakashan is a prospective buyer for Nai Dunia, which is also on sale. Both deals are reportedly in the second stage, with "no guarantee of buyout" by the current prospective buyers. (BestMediaInfo)
The Economist does it again
The Economist has done it again, for the third time within a year: this week's edition carried a map "showing the disputed territories" between India and Pakistan which India objects to. An email to subscribers said that the Indian Customs had seized the copies. There was no word about obscuring the maps and delivering them, for it said "they "would not be able to deliver" the copies.
SEBI on Twitter
The Securities and Exchange Board of India is hiring specialist IT officers, whose role would include keeping track of social media platforms like Twitter and blogs for all market-related information, comments and discussions. TOI reports that this is to snoop on discussions at these platforms as part of its investigation and oversight activities.
Two Bangladeshi journalists -- a husband-wife duo -- were found murdered at their home in Dhaka on February 10. Meherun Runi was a reporter for ATN Bangla while her husband Sagor Sarwar worked for the Maasranga TV channel as a news editor, and was also correspondent for the Bangla service of German media group Deutsche Welle. Dhaka Metropolitan Police commissioner Benazir Ahmed told Xinhua the couple were found dead in their house and the reason was still unknown. (IANS)
A notable first
The Assam Tribune Group has decided to implement the recommendations of the Majithia Wage Board for journalists and non-journalists with effect from January this year under an agreement with its trade unions. The group, which has about 450 employees on its rolls, thus became the first newspaper to implement the award. ( PTI )
Now pesky mobile ads?
Facebook ads were only seen on computers but now Facebook will start showing ads to users on their mobile phones as well. They are supposed to begin next month. So far Facebook has done a good job of displaying ads on computers without annoying users but mobile advertising could prove be tough. The growing market of mobile internet is being seen as the reason for this step taken by Facebook. (FT, ET)
Suddenly social
The PMO is delighted with its Twitter debut. It found that the PM was trending, after Anupam Kher and Ritesh Deshmukh. A taciturn PM now has his words being tweeted as he speaks at public events, to cut the time lag ievitable if the PMO were to rely on the government's press information system. And while on the subject, it is being clarified that PM will not be following anyone on Twitter. "We lead, we do not follow."