Express and Explore Yourself

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Innocent ‘PANKHURI’ Is Now Superhit

New Delhi : In this weekend around  Over 2000 “Deliaits” were on a track to theatre at LTG auditorium. It was the occasion of much awaited premier of Act Pankhuri. Show was houseful and there was lot of people standing for the emotional play. It was inaugurated by Dr. Sonal Mansingh (Padma Vibhushan). The house was before the start of the play and audience kept on coming even after the start of the show. It entry was open to all. The show highlighted & created awareness for social cause on Women’s Welfare i.e., “WOMEN EMPOWERMENT”. ‘PANKHURI… story of an innocent Girl’ based on the story by writer Satya Prakash, in Hindi directed by renowned Actor & Director Mr. Chandra Bhushan Singh. t was produced by Black Entertainment & Media (India) Productions.
The Play ‘PANKHURI’ was about a fantastic combination of true love, passion, innocence and hatred. The story was based on how a woman faces tortures. Every woman is getting married to another man of her caste, but not to the one she actually loves. A man, who does not understand love, but always doubts her wife that she is involved in an extra-marital affair. The story tells how he dominates and tries to restrict her in customs and traditions like what is happening in major part of India even today. It is a unique love story depicting a different way of expressing love which defines purity. It relates to common people who actually feel true love but hold back as their society/community does not allow inter-caste marriages or togetherness.
Everyone have enjoyed the show and the story kept every audience hold back their seat till the end. Other eminent & well renounced social workers & celebs who were seen attending the show were. Padmashri Shovana Narayan (Awardee, Sangeet Natak Academy).  Smt. Alka Lamba (Chairperson, Go India Foundation).  Smt. Smita Pande (Secretary, IAS Officers Wives Association). Smt. Neena Malhotra (President, FICCI Ladies Organization). Smt. Susmita Shekhar (Secretary General, PHD Chamber of Commerce& Industry). And  H. H. Sister Archna (Chairperson, Celebrating Life Foundation)

Longest 'One man' agitation against corruption and land mafia

The Limca Book of records says about him- 'Longest dharna'

Master Vijay Singh
The one-man agitation of Master Vijay Singh, a school teacher from Chausana village in Muzaffarnagar, UP entered its 16th year on Feb 26, 2011. He has been sitting on satyagraha in front of the office of District Magistrate, Muzaffarnagar since 1996. It all started once after he unearthed a fraud-illegal possession of about 400 acres of farmland and other public properties worth Rs 90 crore - by land mafias in his village. He is determined to continue the fight for justice till the entire grabbed land is restored to the government or distributed among the landless poor.”

Similarly, India Book of Records says- “His agitation is the longest ‘one man agitation’ against corruption and powerful public land mafia in his own village. It is based on the non-violence concept of Gandhi Ji. As a result of this, about 300 bighas of land has been freed from illegal processors.” Master Vijay Singh is in Lucknow these days where he has come to meet the highest authorities to get government support in his life-long endeavour. I had been reading about his being in Lucknow in the different newspapers. Hence, it came as a genuinely pleasant surprise when he called me yesterday evening saying that he wanted to meet us at our house at Gomti Nagar, Lucknow. It was going to be a privilege and an elevating experience and that is what it actually turned out to be when he came today morning. He came walking from his place of stay in the same way he has walked over 610 Kilometers of distance from Muzaffarnagar to Lucknow. 

An extremely simple, down to Earth, smiling and endearing personality, he is prone to smiling and laughing but this outwardly charm shall not let anyone assume him as being a simpleton or a fool.He is a man of steel because he knows what he wants in life. He knows that he has to fight against all those people who have illegally grabbed the government land, in the shape of Village society land, Nazul land, other government land and has to get this land freed. For this purpose, he can go to any extent. This is exactly what he has done. For the last 16 years, he has been living on a small part of Veranda in front of the District Magistrate Office in Muzaffarnagar, which is his living place, his house or whatever you might call it. His food gets cooked there and he stays there as long as something very urgent does not need him to leave this place. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Nirmal Baba banned from Maha Kumbh

Allahabad: After allegations of fraud were levelled against him, self-styled godman Nirmal Baba now faces the prospect of being barred from taking part in the Maha Kumbh Mela scheduled to be held in Allahabad early next year. Head priests of important temples from across the country have united to oppose the entry of ‘fraud’ Nirmaljeet Singh Narula alias Nirmal Baba at the Maha Kumbh, reports said on Monday.

The decision was taken during the two-day conference of Akhil Bhartiya Teerth Purohit Mahasabha held at Allahabad. The priests have also decided to boycott Nirmal Baba.Going a step further, the Mahasabha – comprising of priests from 84 important religious shrines in the country - has also decided to approach Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding that all self-styled godmen be barred from taking part in the Kumbh. The priests believe that gurus like Nirmal Baba do nothing but extort money in the name of religion.

Another FIR against Nirmal Baba 
Yesterday, a FIR was lodged against Nirmal Baba under sections 417, 420 of Indian Penal Code in Forbesganj police station of Araria District in Bihar after Rakesh Singh, a devotee, submitted a written complaint against him. Singh accused him of forgery in the name of religion. Nirmal Baba has been in the line of fire after several allegations of cheating and fraud surfaced against him. He has been accused of amassing over Rs 100 crores in just three months. As per reports, Nirmal Baba at his congregations asks for 10 per cent of the salary from all those who visit him to seek solutions to their problems. He also charges Rs 2,000 from every participant who wishes to be a part of his commune, 'samagam'.


'Fraud' Nirmal Baba's family ashamed of him!

Ludhiana : Nirmal Baba, who has thousands of followers in India, faces criminal and forgery cases against him and now his own family members seem to be ashamed of his deeds. His family members do not want their names to be associated with Nirmal Baba, who is currently famous as "fraud" godman.Nirmal Baba's family stays in Ludhiana, Punjab. His elder brother Manjit Singh Narula reportedly requested the media not to disclose their address. According to Mr Manjit, they do not have any connection with Nirmal Baba who has not even come to visit his 94-year-old mother since last ten years.

No one in their village knows that Nirmal Baba is his own brother, claimed Mr Manjit who did not allow the media persons to take his images. The spiritual leader's brother said that he (Nirmal Baba) left their home soon after completing his studies and used to stay in Jharkhand with their sister.However, Mr Manjit, while appreciating his younger brother's talent, claimed that Nirmal Baba must have some special charm which has impressed people who have finally become his followers.

Earlier on Monday, Apr 24 a report stated that Nirmal Baba might be arrested soon as Bihar police would move a court seeking an arrest warrant against the guru over cheating and forgery cases filed against him.The "fraud" godman is accused of demanding 10 per cent of the salary from all those who visit him to seek solutions to their problems. he takes Rs 2,000 from every participant who wishes to be a part of his commune, 'samagam', though he overruled all such allegations against him.

A sting operation by a TV channel reportedly exposed Nirmal Baba's involvement in black marketing during the recently held samagam in Delhi. According to reports, a ticket of the samagam of Nirmal Baba is sold for Rs 5,000 in black market. Despite the fact that the opening and closing of ticket registration is being notified by the official website of Nirmal Baba, the aides of the "godman" offer tickets to those people who can afford to pay the huge amount of money for the tickets on the spot. The channel also showed how close aides of Nirmal Baba take money as 'donations' in a 'black bag' before providing prasad [elaichi (green cardamom), misri (sugar crystals)] of Nirmal Baba.(OneIndia)

Case against Asaram Bapu, followers for beating scribe

New Delhi: Spiritual leader Asaram Bapu was in fresh trouble after he was booked for assault and loot case under Gopiganj Police Station of Bhadhoi district. According to reports,  a journalist was attacked and their equipment damaged by followers of Asaram Bapu. Supporters of the Asaram Bapu beat the scribe because he was filming the Godman arriving at the venue in a vehicle with a red beacon.
Angered over the attack on fellow reporter, the media community raised slogans against Asaram Bapu and also demanded for an FIR. An FIR has been lodged under Section 392, 323, 504, 506against Bapu and his half-a-dozen followers, police said.

Bofors scandal: A watershed for Indian journalism

The Bofors scandal that broke in 1987 marked a watershed for India in more ways than one. It was the first time corruption became an intensely public, political issue—now the norm for most issues courtesy 24x7 television —with the Congress party and then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi eventually ending up on the losing side in the 1989 general election.

The public fury was stoked by diligent investigative journalism that uncovered the scandal, mostly by the Chennai-headquartered The Hindu and reported by Chitra Subramaniam-Duella and N. Ram. Sten Lindstrom, former chief of the Swedish police, revealed himself to be Subramaniam-Duella’s very own Deep Throat in an interview carried by media website on Tuesday.The Hindu broke its first big story on the issue on a day when Gandhi happened to arrive in Chennai on a visit. “It was seen as a conspiracy but it was pure coincidence,” said Ram, former editor-in-chief of The Hindu, published by Kasturi & Sons. The newspaper could not delay the story as rivals were on the same trail, Ram added.

Swedish radio had first reported on the deal, said Ram, but then suddenly stopped, possibly under pressure, but not before dropping hints about several people who might be involved.“We got into the act and had a team working on the story. I directed the investigation,” Ram said, adding that Subramaniam-Duella, the paper’s then stringer in Geneva, struck gold in terms of documents related to the story. That was in April 1988. There were almost 200 documents relating to Bofors that were secretly sourced. “We had to verify everything. Some documents had to be translated from the Swedish language. The investigation ran for two years,” he said. Besides publishing the documents, the paper carried several interviews and analytical pieces on the scandal. “The editor of the paper (at the time) G. Kasturi and news editor K. Narayanan were involved in the layouts of these stories,” he said.

The differences on reporting the Bofors scandal within The Hindu crept in much later in 1989 and were very “dramatic”, Ram said, referring to a difference of opinion among members of the Kasturi family that owned and ran the paper that eventually resulted in Ram effectively being exiled from the daily. Then defence minister K.C. Pant even invited Ram to dinner to try and get him to “soften” his stand on Bofors. The attempt failed and Pant eventually resigned.

N. Ram says that rumours didn’t emanate from them

N. Ram a former editor-in-chief of The Hindu, elaborated about his role in breaking the Bofors scandal story

Hyderabad: N. Ram, a former editor-in-chief of The Hindu, whose efforts in exposing high-level corruption in the Bofors deal in 1989 were recently recognized by Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, elaborated about his role in breaking the story. Edited excerpts from an email interview:

What was going on internally at ‘The Hindu’ at the time you and Chitra Subramaniam-Duella were writing the Bofors stories?

Our Bofors investigation was an unusually extended and complex exercise—fact-finding, discovery of relevant documents, making connections, drawing inferences, publishing the document-backed analysis over numerous pages and in many thousands of words. The exercise began in April 1987— the moment Swedish Public Radio came out with an explosive story about the alleged kickbacks to top politicians, military personnel, and others—and effectively ended in October 1989. We were persistent, patient, fair, and just.

It was decidedly the work of a team, not of any one journalist. Chitra Subramaniam, then our stringer in Geneva who struck gold with a privileged and authoritative source in April 1988; Manoj Joshi, who specialized in defence matters; Malini Parthasarathy, who gained vital information from a member of the joint parliamentary committee enquiring into the Bofors affair and helped us make a crucial connection with the documentation that was to come; V.K. Ramachandran, a non-staff contributor, an economist then based in Helsinki, who did a brilliant interview exposing a prevaricating Swedish Prime Minister, Ingvar Carlsson, editor G. Kasturi, who was very much involved in the decision to publish extensively; and news editor K. Narayanan who planned the layout and presentation of the documents, hundreds of them, in facsimile form on several pages of The Hindu.
I wasn’t good at layout but they were hands-on in the production and presentation of our documentation, which I think made a real difference to the impact. There were internal differences, which became dramatic in late-1989, but when I look at that heady experience today, what stands out for me is how everyone, from the editor down, pulled together in the making of a game-changing investigation. Game-changing for journalism and politically, I believe.

Sten Lindstrom suggests in his interview that appeared on ‘’ that someone who had access to Bofors documents had something to do with his name doing the rounds in Delhi’s political circles as the source.

I am not going to confirm or deny who the source was. For us, protecting the highly privileged, authoritative source was, and is, important, a matter of journalistic integrity and honour. Nobody other than the few who needed to know within the newspaper ever asked me who the source was— not Mohan Katre, the CBI director who flew in to meet me in Chennai, not defence minister K.C. Pant, who met me and spoke off the record, not Rajiv Gandhi, who discussed Bofors with me, at his request, in mid-1988.

But I’m sure the Indian government and some of the others involved in the affair had their suspicions, from the nature and irrefutable authenticity of the documents published by The Hindu. We always made it clear that the documents were given to us by a privileged, authoritative source in Sweden; and that formulation was in agreement with the source. I can’t answer to purported rumours that “did the rounds in Delhi’s political circles” a quarter of a century ago. I never heard them at the time but if the rumours indeed went around, they didn’t emanate from us.

Murdoch admits that there was a 'cover up' at News of the World

Rupert Murdoch on Thursday admitted there was a “cover-up” at the News of the World over the scale of phone hacking by its journalists and said he wished he had closed it much earlier.But he denied any personal culpability claiming he and senior executives of his company News International were not told the full facts. “I do blame one or two people for that... someone took charge of a cover up we were victim to and I regret that,” said the 81-year-old media tycoon on the second day of his deposition before a judicial inquiry into media ethics in the wake of the hacking scandal.
'Permanent blot'
Describing what happened at NoW as a “permanent blot” on his career, Mr. Murdoch repeatedly apologised to the victims of the newspaper's tactics and to the “innocent” staff who lost their jobs when he finally closed it last summer. “I am guilty of not having paid enough attention to the News of the World, probably throughout all of the time that we've owned it. I was more interested in the excitement of building a new newspaper and doing other things... it was an omission by me,” he said admitting that he should have probed deeper when the scandal first erupted and the paper's Royal Editor Clive Goodman was jailed in 2007 for hacking the phones of the royal family.

At the time it was claimed that he was the lone “rogue” reporter and there were no other instances of hacking. Mr. Murdoch said he should have had a “one-on-one” meeting with Goodman and tried to find out more when the latter claimed the practice was widespread. He said the penny really dropped after the revelation that the NoW had hacked the phone of Milly Dowler, a teenage schoolgirl who went missing and was found dead.

The Dowler story got “huge publicity” and he “panicked”. He “could feel the blast coming in the window, almost”, he said. Downing Street, meanwhile, rejected calls for an inquiry into Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt's role in passing crucial inside information to News International about the Murdochs' £8-billion controversial bid for BSkyB.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Twitter posts threaten, abuse writer Meena Kandaswamy

HYDERABAD: The Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI), strongly condemns the violent and sexist abuse unleashed on poet, writer, activist and translator Meena Kandasamy, presumably in response to her posts on Twitter about the beef-eating festival at Osmania University, Hyderabad, on 15 April 2012 and the ensuing clashes between groups of students. 

After her comments on Twitter, she was threatened with various forms of violence, including gang rape and acid attacks. Some placed a price on her head. Others threatened her freedom of speech, saying that she would not be allowed to speak anywhere, and called for her prosecution for allegedly outraging religious feelings under Section 295-A of the Indian Penal Code. In over a hundred tweets, she was called a whore, characterless, a terrorist and a bitch. One of the most objectionable comments was that she should be raped on live television, this barbaric idea was put out by one Siddharth Shankar who followed it up with more vicious filth. 

Meena Kandasamy has become the target of a vicious abuse campaign on twitter and other sites for her support to the festival during which she and other students had to be escorted to a safe place under police escort. Protestors even stoned the van they were travelling in. It is highly condemnable that her support of a food festival should lead to demands for her prosecution and a bounty on her head. 

As a professional network of women journalists, the NWMI is firmly committed to freedom of expression and, indeed, supports ongoing efforts to ensure that the Internet remains a free space and is not subjected to censorship. However, freedom comes with responsibility and all those who value free speech must, at the very least, censure hate speech. 

Everyone in a democracy has a right to hold and express their opinions on current events and issues. Similarly, everyone has a right to disagree with and argue against the opinions of others. Debate - not abuse and threats - is the democratic means to deal with conflicting views on contentious topics: in this case, the right to choose what to eat and not eat. 

It appears that Meena Kandasamy has been singled out for abuse at least partly because she is a bold and outspoken woman who expresses her opinions freely in the public sphere. The fact that she is a Dalit, especially one whose work focuses on caste annihilation, linguistic identity and feminism, clearly makes her even more of a target. 

We call upon all those who value freedom of expression to join us in condemning the online attack on Meena Kandasamy and to explore ways to ensure that everyone has a right to express their opinion - on the Internet as well as elsewhere - without being subjected to hateful abuse.

India tells US to regulate Facebook, YouTube content

New Delhi: The UPA government on Friday red-flagged the need to regulate and remove India-specific incendiary, provocative, abusive and communal content on Facebook, YouTube and Google with visiting US deputy secretary for homeland security Jane Holl Lute. While Lute recognised the Indian concerns, the Indian team led by home secretary RK Singh said that inaction on the part of the US would force New Delhi to insist on service providers’ having servers based in the country. As part of the ongoing homeland security dialogue, Singh and Lute discussed critical issues like megacity policing, home grown terror, capacity building and fake currency racket. A three-day course in Washington with US the Secret Service is being organised to help Indian police tackle the fake currency racket in India linked with terror funding.

However, Singh raised serious concerns over objectionable content on these websites and wanted real time action from the US-based companies. In this context, home ministry officials suggested that US homeland security department institute an operating procedure by which mala fide content is removed within a specific time period or instantly depending on the situation priority. Singh told his US counterpart that in case operating procedures were not put in place, New Delhi will have no option but to put the service providers under the Indian law by insisting on servers being based in India. This option is apparently already in process with the union law ministry.

Justice Katju urges government to set up an expert team to check social media

New Delhi: Stating that freedom of media has to be coupled with responsibilities, Press Council Chairman Justice Markandey Katju today urged the government to set up a team of experts to find out ways and means of checking social media against its misuse for defaming people and groups.In a letter to Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni, Katju expressed distress "that a new practice has developed in the social media of its misuse for defaming people/groups/religions/communities."
"The recent example is of dissemination of a CD which even the author admitted had been distorted for defaming a reputed senior lawyer of the Supreme Court and Member of Parliament, and the threat to defame a Union Minister," he said in the letter. Justice Katju rued that the social media kept uploading the CD despite a court injunction against it and despite the author admitting that he had doctored it. Demanding legislation to check social media, he said, "Unless some curbs are placed on the social media, nobody’s reputation will be safe in India."
"I would therefore request you to set up a team of legal and technical experts to find out ways and means of checking this menace, including, if the government thinks fit, initiating suitable legislation for this purpose, for filtering out such offensive material," he said. Dwelling upon the issue of freedom of media, he wrote, "I have repeatedly said that while there is freedom of the media in our country, no freedom can be absolute, and has to be coupled with responsibilities."
The reputation of a person is a valuable asset, and cannot be permitted to be trampled upon by mischievous people, he said.Terming social media as "irresponsible" in its acts, he said, "The social media often acts irresponsibly, which can irreparably damage a person’s reputation.

Assam CM Tarun Gogoi, soon to launch his own TV channel

Guwahati: Assam Chief minister Tarun Gogoi has gone the Mamata Banerjee way. The state government is soon going to launch its own television channel in order to throw positive focus on Assam as also to effectively counter news that create a hype around insurgency.
Gogoi’s decision to start a government TV channel also has reasons similar to that of his West Bengal counterpart — ‘the existing (private) television channels do not show the reality’. Last Friday when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Guwahati, the focus was more on a bandh called by the ULFA.
“The coverage that the TV news channels did of ULFA’s bandh last Friday was such that it created an impression among common people that Paresh Barua is all-in-all and that we have no control over the situation. It was exaggerated. The Prime Minister came, and all the programmes he attended passed off peacefully. The TV channels should have some credibility,” Gogoi said at a press conference here on Monday.
Lauding Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee’s decision to launch her government’s own TV channel, Gogoi said it was a good decision that she has taken. “I realise importance of a channel owned by the government. Yes, I am following Mamata Banerjee’s step, what is the harm?” asked Gogoi. “The TV channels in Assam and outside give undue publicity and mileage to insurgent groups when reality is that insurgency is now on the wane in the state. Such an attitude not only gives a negative projection of the state but also scares away potential investors,” he said.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Singhvi sex CD goes viral on social media

The sex video allegedly featuring Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi and a lawyer has gone viral on social media platforms and on the  Internet, defeating Singhvi's legal exertions to have its telecast blocked in the mainstream media. The 12 minute, 40 second video was first uploaded around 9 pm on Thursday on YouTube, but was pulled down within 20 minutes, for violation of YouTube's terms of service on nudity and sexual content. A Facebook page too was created with links to the video. The creator of the Facebook page suggests s/he has more videos that are more incriminating – and implicating other leading politicians as well. (It's hard to say if it's true or just bluster.)

The cat-and-mouse game continued all night with netizens repeatedly  posting the video on YouTube and uploading bit torrent files on file sharing platforms, from where they can be downloaded. As of this morning, there are websites that are streaming the video as embeds. 
Feisty commentators on Twitter have been posting links and mocking Singhvi all night.The social media has busted Singhvi's efforts to stop the telecast of the CD.

The video, recorded in what appears to be a Court Chamber room, is grainy, and not over the-top explicit – although there is no doubt about the sexual nature of the activity it records. Nor do the conversations between the protagonists contain any reference to an
offer of judgeship (as has been alleged). But with all its faults, the video is almost certain to torpedo Singhvi's political career. Singhvi has claimed that the CD was "forged, concocted, morphed and fabricated", but as Firstpost noted , that's a bit of a stretch.

On the face of it, the video only depicts consensual sex between two adults, which in itself isn't a big deal. And politicians have survived sex scandals in the past. But videos of this sort have a certain permanence about them: BJP leader Bangaru Laxman, for instance, was caught on camera accepting wads of money from Tehelka reporters posing as arms merchants. And for all the spin that he put on it –claiming that he was merely accepting the money on behalf of the party– the clip was on permanent loop in people's minds.

Israeli writer deported despite pending petition in Supreme Court

British-born controversial Jewish writer Susan Nathan, who has been residing here since 2009, has been deported to Israel on court orders, official sources said today. The Kerala High Court had on March 16 last issued an order for the deportation of 63-year-old Nathan, after the state government informed the court that she had connections with banned Islamic outfits like Students Islamic Movement of India and the National Development Front, a charge which she denied later. Nathan is the author of 'The Other Side of Israel,' which explored the historical, political and cultural currents of the Middle Eastern conflict, and wrote that the Arabs were facing discrimination in Israel.
The book has since been translated into Malayalam. Nathan was also associated with the pain and palliative centre at the Medical College here.The district administration carried out the deportation order after her 'X-Visa' expired on February 21, while she was contesting the High Court order for deportation in the Supreme Court. Her Advocate Manjeri Sunder Raj said she would continue her legal battle for residing here. A case was registered against Nathan on February 27 for violating provisions of the Foreigners' Act by overstaying.

Two posters of Vikram Bhatt's 'Hate Story' banned in West Bengal

KOLKATA: The Bengal government continues to play moral guardian with an obsolete tool of the Seventies, guiding people on what posters to see and what they should not. The state has been debating 'obscenity' since the days of celebrated Bengali writer Buddhadeb Bose's novel 'Raat Bhor Brishti' that went to press in 1968. Author Samaresh Basu had to face the same censorship and went through a protracted legal battle till the Supreme Court lifted the ban on his novel 'Projapati' in 1985. 

The debate still continues - this time it's over two posters of Vikram Bhatt's 'Hate Story', releasing on Friday. One has its main protagonist Paoli Dam sowing her "bare back" and another in a "compromising position with a man." A ban has been imposed on these two posters under the West Bengal (Compulsory Censorship of Film Publicity Materials) Act, 1974 (only Tamil Nadu has a similar law). The West Bengal Board of Censorship allowed six posters only after Paoli's bare back was covered up in blue paint. 

The Act was passed nearly 60 years ago in the Bengal assembly for primarily two expressed reasons - and another unsaid. The Cinematography Act 1952 does not directly cover "obscene" posters and hence a local law was required. The other was to stop the seemingly obscene B-grade film posters flooding Kolkata in the '70s. The unsaid reason, many believe, was to give the government control over what posters can be "shown in public places" and what not. 


Broadcast Editors Association says Parliament should frame media rules

New Delhi : The Broadcast Editors Association (BEA) on Tuesday opposed before the Supreme Court any move to frame guidelines for media for reporting sub judice matters saying that such a measure could be undertaken by Parliament only. Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for the body said that the apex court had taken “enormous liberty with the Constitution of India. But you (judiciary) need statutory powers to take any or dilute the provision of the life and liberty guaranteed under Article 21.”
He was making submission before a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia set up last month to determine the extent of media coverage of pending cases after leakage of some documents in a section of media in the case of Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Ltd and others versus Securities and Exchange Board of India and another.“Backing of a law is necessary to make any guidelines and if the freedom of speech is restricted in any manner, it requires Parliamentary legislation,” he said.

The apex court Bench could invite suggestions from different quarters and send its recommendations on the issue of guidelines to the Parliament which could be persuaded to pass the guidelines as legislation, he said.Jethmalani said that the Article 21 of the Constitution has been held to be a guarantee of fair trial while Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code gave enough power to the courts to ensure fair trial of an accused.

He also contended that an order to “further publication and pre-publication restriction” for media in the form of guidelines would be ultra vires. During the hearing, the Bench raised the question as to what should be the outcome when instances came before the court where the presumption of innocence of accused was infringed or where the media went on to analyse the evidence even prior to the court doing it.

The senior advocate, however, said that the court should exercise its inherent power under Article 142 of the Constitution not for framing guidelines for media but for disposing of pending matters.He also contended that had the court used its power of contempt effectively, there would have been no need for framing any guidelines for media. Earlier, the Bench observed that the power of defamation and contempt were no more efficacious as those could not be used by an ordinary citizen in case of violation of his fundamental right under Article 21 (life and liberty) of the Constitution. 

Dawn's Senior Assistant Editor Murtaza Razvi found murdered

KARACHI: Murtaza Razvi, senior assistant editor (head of Dawn Magazines), was murdered in the DHA area of Karachi during the early hours on Thursday. 
Police said that the body was found from an office flat in DHA. There are reports that the crime scene has been sealed by the police. According to a Dawn statement, the body bore torture marks and the hands were tied. It appeared that Razvi had been strangled to death, but police have said that the real cause of death will be established after the post-mortem.
The body was found by his wife and artist Shahid Rassam in the latter’s studio. Razvi’s body was shifted to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre for an autopsy. He was reported missing by his wife when he did not come home on Wednesday night. Razvi’s family has said that he did not have any personal enmities and have requested that the media not speculate till the police has apprehended the killer(s).
Razvi is survived by his wife and three daughters. His funeral prayers will be held at Jama Masjid Yasrab in DHA Phase IV, after Friday prayers on April 20, 2012. He was a well-known columnist and political analyst who served as as a resident editor for Dawn, Lahore from 2005 to 2007. He also authored two books, ‘Musharraf: the years in power’, a political biography of former president Parvez Musharraf, as well as ‘Ordinary People’ which comprised interviews with ordinary citizens of Pakistan about history, society and culture. Razvi held a master’s degrees in Ancient Indian and Islamic History from the University of Punjab, Lahore and Political Science & International Relations from the US.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Nirmal Baba offers to undergo lie detector test

New Delhi : Controversial godman Nirmal Baba has said he was ready to undergo a lie detector test to prove that he was not duping his devotees. Addressing the 'samagam' (gathering) of his devotees at Talkatora Stadium here on Thursday, the baba replied to all charges being levelled against him and his followers, and offered the challenge to undergo a lie detector test.

Nirmal Baba said "the first plan (of  my opponents) failed when it was alleged that I had asked people to deposit their shiv lingams in temples. They wanted to rouse religious sentiments. Shiv Lingam is sacred and one should offer water or milk with full sincerity and sanctity."

"This baba has told his devotees the worth of the power of Shiva, who is present in all living beings. The devotees who have come here know, the shiv lingams they keep in their homes are not being properly cared for. So I told them, if a shiv lingam is lying uncared for in your homes, it will cause disrespect to Shiva. I advised them it would be better to offer the shiv lingams to the temples. After all, Shiva is the God of gods. Try to understand the force of Shiva."

On the issue of duping his devotees of their hard-earned money, Nirmal Baba challenged his opponents to subject his devotees to lie detector tests. "The truth will then come out in the open", he said. He also offered to undergo a lie detector test himself. Meanwhile, cases against Nirmal Baba are mounting in law courts in different parts of the country. Inflow of donations from his devotees to his bank accounts, particularly in Jharkhand, has declined to a trickle.

In Uttar Pradesh, SSP Jhansi has ordered police to interrogate Nirmal Baba, after Dinesh Kumar Mishra, an assistant district government  advocate (criminal) complained that his sister died four days after she was advised by the baba following a severe stomach ache.The lady did not go for medical treatment, while the govt advocate used to send "ten percent" (dashvand) of his income to Nirmal Baba's bank account.  He had also booked tickets for the samagam of the baba in June.

In Nagpur, members of the All India Andha Shraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (Committee for eradication of superstitions) met the Nagpur Police commissioner Dr Ankush Dhanvijay and demanded probe into the activities of Nirmal Baba. "People believing in superstitious practices are sending ten per cent of their hard earned income to Nirmal Baba, who is spending this money on his own lavish lifestyle.  If the baba really has supernatural power, the government should set up a team of scientists to check his supernatural powers", said Harish Deshmukh, national secretary of the committee.

The Police Commissioner said, he has received the complaint from the committee members and action will be taken on the complaint. In Ranchi, an NGO Youth for India has filed a PIL against Nirmal Baba in the Jharkhand High court alleging that the baba has amassed huge amount of money by duping his devotees, and the matter should be probed by the Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax department. The PIL filed by Archit Kumar called for checking the sources of this money.

PTI employees demand implementation of the Majithia wage board

Employees of the Press Trust of India (PTI), the largest news agency in the country, went on a 30-hour countrywide strike Friday demanding implementation of the wage board notified by the government over three months ago. "All employees of the PTI across the country are on strike -- from 2am Friday till 8am Saturday. The only demand for the striking employees is that the government implement the Justice Majithia wage board recommendations," MS Yadav, general secretary of the Federation of PTI Employees’ Unions said. The 63-year-old agency with bureaus in major metros in India and abroad is witnessing a token strike by all its employees based in the country.
The Labour and Employment Ministry November 11 notified the recommendations of the Justice GR Majithia Wage Boards for journalists and other employees of newspapers/news agencies to increase the levels of salaries paid to all staffers.The wage board recommended that salaries be increased, in some cases to 200% of prevailing rates, causing an uproar from publishers. The notification is issued subject to the final verdict of the Supreme Court, which is hearing the petitions filed by some of the newspaper management challenging the recommendations of the wage boards.The wage boards, led by former Mumbai High Court Judge Justice Majithia, were constituted May 2007 and gave their reports to the central government December 31, 2010.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Nirmal Baba fled home in Baharagora without paying rent

Ranchi: Richie rich Nirmaljeet Singh Narula alias Nirmal Baba fled home in Baharagora without paying rent, a report said on Monday.The Jharkhand family, whose home Baba had rented, said Nirmal Baba left without making the payment. Baharagora is a small town in East Singhbhum, which is one of the 24 districts of Jharkhand. According to Prabhat Khabar, a Jharkhand-based Hindi daily, Nirmal Baba rented a two-room home in Baharagora from 1998 to 1999. There, Baba used to carry out mining of kyanite mineral at Jyoti Hill.

After staying at the home owned by Nagendra Nath Rai, Nirmal Baba went missing and never came back. The home, which was rented for Rs 300, was also locked. “The Baba had not paid rent for five months," the report claimed. another report in Prabhat Khabar claimed that Nirmal Baba, who is under scanner for his immense wealth, has purchased a hotel using donations from his followers.The popularity graph of Nirmal Baba has nosedived after reports in the media about his wealth and assets.


Three cases filed against fraud Nirmal baba

Ghaziabad: Three cases have been filed against controversial godman, Nirmal baba alias Nirmaljeet Singh Narula in Uttar Pradesh for alleged fraud and cheating, police said on Tuesday. A case was filed against Baba and his wife in the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate in Meerut for alleged fraud. The complainant, Harish Veer Singh, claimed that on Baba's advice he ate 'kheer', which led to a health problem.

The court has fixed May 1 for hearing and recording the statement of applicant and issuance of summon. In another police case filed at Indira Puram Ghaziabad, Jai Ram Singh alleged that Nirmal Baba cheated him of Rs. 31,000 by promising cure for his ailment, but he found no relief. In a third case, Jitender Singh filed a police complaint against Baba for allegedly cheating him of Rs. 11,000 for curing his health problem. He claimed that he developed regular pain in his body after he ate 'Pani-Poori' for months following Baba's advice.He alleged that he had deposited Rs. 11,000 in Baba's bank account, but when he demanded more money, he decided to lodge complaint against the controversial godman.


India's Worst Journalists 2012

10. Nidhi Razdan, NDTV : She has come to prominence more for many reasons other than journalistic skills. ‘Left, right, centre’ is her signature programme and happens to be one of those mindless debates on every topic under the sun. She is proof that you can be an expert on everything with specialisation in nothing. The best part of Nidhi? Now, don’t get me wrong, she likes everything large. Whenever confounded by a brilliant argument or point by a panellist she quickly jumps to her favourite line “let’s look at the LARGER picture”. One would have thought that debates are meant to look at the finer small details. No, not with Nidhi, the larger picture is a convenient exit. Training from NDTV helps. My prediction for this debutant is that she is likely to go higher up in the list in the future.

9. Kumar Ketkar : Somewhere a brief bio about Ketkar says “He started his life as an active communist worker of the Lal Nishan Paksh (Red flag party)”. Now why is that not so surprising? And that also explains Ketkar somewhat. He is also reported to be a former speech writer during elections for Congress members. Isn’t that an accomplishment any journalist would be proud of? He has been mostly a Marathi journalist and last heard he is editor of Divya Marathi. A respected veteran, he was one of the privileged Five invited to a private press meet of PM Manmohan Singh around June 2011. Ever since, it has been downhill. He achieved his right to be on this list through his performances as a panellist. What can I say? I hope being a veteran he doesn’t appear here in the future.

8. Arnab Goswami, TimesNow : There can be no denying that Arnab is one of the rare patriots among journalists. Almost every one wishes our judiciary could be as quick and decisive as Arnab is. Which is the reason I conferred him the title ‘Justice Arnab’. His performance on TimesNow has definitely battered ratings of NDTV and CNN-IBN. Pick up any scam, any scandal Arnab can throw the documents at you. IB, RAW, GOI have no escape – all documents and papers have to pass through Arnab. Sometime back I remarked: Most of us wake up in the morning and want Coffee or Tea! Not Arnab, he just wants ‘answers’. Such are the never-ending questions he has. Much before Arnab became a journalist the rock band U2 wrote a song for him – “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for”. They were the only ones to anticipate all the unanswered questions he’d come up with. Undeniable fact is that Arnab has dropped from #3 in 2010 to #8 in 2012 on this list. That is proof of his ever-growing popularity. He can out-shout anyone in this world. Anyone, except Meenakshi Lekhi and Smriti Irani.

Monday, April 16, 2012

China opens doors to Indian entertainment, gives landing rights to Zee TV

Zee TV has become the first Indian television channel to be granted landing rights in China, following a long six year wait and a concerted campaign to win over Chinese authorities long reluctant to open the door to Indian entertainment in this country. China’s State Administration for Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) gave the green light for Zee TV Asia Pacific to sign a landing agreement with the country’s only agent that is allowed to distribute foreign channels, CTV-STVP, on March 27, 2012. Zee TV, which has already been selling to Chinese television channels its popular Mandarin-dubbed Indian dramas which have garnered wide following here, will begin by broadcasting in three star-plus hotels all over China, Angela Lin, the head of Zee TV in China, told The Hindu in an email interview.
“More and more Indian visitors will be able to choose hotels with Zee TV Asia Pacific Channel during their stay in China, to watch India-centric and rooted-in-Indian-culture Hindi programmes,” she said. Zee TV Asia Pacific was launched in 2004, and is seen in 18 countries in the region including Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. The channel’s content in China is expected to offer similar content, including prime-time comedy, dramas and Bollywood movies. Zee TV’s arrival in China follows a more than six year wait. Chinese authorities initially refused landing rights saying that there was “no space” on the airwaves, according to officials.
That Zee TV is an Indian channel raised particular anxieties with SARFT, which was concerned that programmes with religious content, or even any references to the Tibetan religious leader the Dalai Lama who is in exile in India, may be broadcast.India granting approval to the State-run China Central Television (CCTV) in January 2008 raised pressure on Chinese authorities to reopen Zee TV’s application, which had been lying ignored for more than a year and a half. Zee TV’s application was helped by two developments in 2010, officials said. As both countries marked the sixtieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations that year, Indian officials raised the case, suggesting that the timing would send a positive signal. Zee TV also organised a Bollywood troupe to tour China, part of its effort to win over Chinese authorities.
The unexpected success of the 2009 film ‘3 Idiots’, directed by Rajkumar Hirani and starring Aamir Khan, also played a part, officials believe. The film took China by storm in 2010, becoming a hit among college students and a sensation on the Internet. A Chinese-dubbed version was also released in theaters nationwide in December 2011, one of the few Indian films shown publicly here since the 1970s when Indian cinema was widely popular before censorship restrictions barred screenings. “The film entirely changed mindsets, of even Ministers and entire Ministries,” said one official. “It mesmerised people and convinced them that there was a lot in common between both countries, and that Indian entertainment did have a market in China”. 

I&B issues advisory on news of troop movement

With the Allahabad High Court banning both print and electronic media from publishing and broadcasting any news related to the movement of Army troops, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry on Wednesday issued an advisory to all “private satellite TV channels” to “scrupulously and strictly follow” the directions of the court. In the advisory issued to the News Broadcasters Association and Indian Broadcasting Foundation, the ministry said that “any violation in the matter shall not only amount to contempt of court but also violation of the Programme Code” laid down by the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994, “inviting strict action”. 
The letter quotes the relevant clause in the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994, which states that “no programme should be carried in the cable service which contains anything amounting to contempt of court” and says that “all the private satellite TV channels are advised to scrupulously and strictly follow the... directions of the High Court... and desist from telecasting any programme pertaining to movement of Indian troops”. The Lucknow Bench of the HC had directed the Union Home Secretary, I&B Secretary, and UP Principal Secretary (Home) to ensure compliance of its order.

Troop movements: Press Council will challenge HC’s gag order in SC

Underlining the media’s fundamental right under Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution, Press Council of India chairman Justice Markandey Katju today said that the council would challenge in the Supreme Court the Allahabad High Court order issuing a blanket ban on the media reporting troop movements. The High Court should have taken a more “balanced approach”, Justice Katju said. On April 10, Justice Uma Nath Singh and Justice Virendra Kumar Dixit of the Lucknow bench directed the secretary, Home Affairs, and secretary, Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, and the principal secretary (Home), Government of Uttar Pradesh, “to ensure that there is no reporting/release of any news item by the print and electronic media, namely the movement of troops”.
Yesterday, the I&B ministry issued an advisory to all “private satellite TV channels” to “strictly follow” the high court’s order.That order came on a PIL filed by a social activist relating to a report in The Indian Express on April 4, 2012 — “The January night Raisina Hill was spooked: Two key Army units moved towards Delhi without notifying Govt”. “With great respect to the High Court, I am of the opinion that the order of the High Court is not correct. The media has a fundamental right under Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution to make such publication, as it did not endanger national security... The Press Council of India will be challenging the order of the Allahabad High Court in the Supreme Court of India very shortly,” Justice Markandey Katju, Chairman, Press Council of India (PCI), said in an official statement today.
“I may add that the Indian Army is not a colonial army, but the army of the Indian people who pay the taxes for the entire defence budget. Hence the people of India have a right to know about army affairs, except where that may compromise national security. The media did an excellent job in exposing the Adarsh and Sukhna scams in which senior army officers were involved, and they were well within their right under Article 19(1) (a) to do so,” the PCI chairman said. The PCI is a statutory body set up to “preserve the freedom of press and for maintaining and improving the standards of newspapers and news agencies”.
Defending The Indian Express article, Justice Katju said: “The Indian Express is not a fly-by-night newspaper, but a responsible one. They took 11 weeks to complete the investigation of the reported troop investigation before deciding to publish the report. Hence I do not see how they can be faulted.”The PCI chairman rejected the HC’s blanket ban on reporting troop movement, citing national security. “I am of the opinion that reporting troop movement near the Indian border or during war time should be prohibited as that may aid the enemy and cause harm to our armed forces, by compromising national security. However, in my opinion there can be no general prohibition of reporting of all troop movements,” Katju said. He said the prohibition imposed by the HC was “not valid” as The Indian Express story did not deal with war time or border troop movement. 
“As regards the reporting of alleged troop movement by The Indian Express, I am of the opinion that without going into the question whether the news reporting was factually correct or not, there could not have been a valid prohibition of such reporting, because the troop movement was not at the Indian border or during war time,” he stated in the release.“On the other hand the allegation in The Indian Express report was that there was some convention written or unwritten, that troop movements towards Delhi should not take place without notifying and getting consent of the government, and it was alleged that the troop movement in question took place without notifying the government. The further allegation was that this caused panic among the civil authorities, and the troop movement was abruptly stopped,” Katju said. (Indian Express)

Murdoch empire to be sued in US

A high-profile British lawyer who has been closely involved in pursuing the hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch’s British tabloids was quoted on Thursday as saying that he planned for the first time to sue on behalf of alleged victims in the United States, the centre of Murdoch’s global media empire. The lawyer, Mark Lewis, said he would take legal action on behalf of three people — a “well-known sports person,” a sports person not in the public eye and an American citizen — the BBC reported.“The News of the World had thousands of people they hacked,” he said, referring to the Sunday tabloid that Murdoch closed down last year as the hacking scandal engulfed it. “Some of them were in America at the time, either traveling or resident there.”
It was not immediately clear how or whether the action would affect News Corporation, the parent company of News International, the Murdoch family’s British newspaper subsidiary. News International declined immediate comment on the cases. In September, Lewis said that he had held discussions with American lawyers about the steps necessary to open proceedings against News Corporation in New York, and that he expected the process to begin soon. In an interview at the time, Lewis said that the legal action in the United States would focus on the “News Corporation’s liability for actions by its foreign subsidiaries,” including The News of the World. Lewis’s clients in the hacking scandal include the family of Milly Dowler, an abducted teenager who was found murdered in an outer London suburb in 2002, and whose voice mail was said to have been hacked after she disappeared. (New York Times )


ABP to promote it's own brand name as it parts ways with Star

Star News will soon be rechristened ABP News; Star Ananda becomes ABP Ananda; and Marathi news channel Star Majha will be called ABP Majha  
Star India and ABP, the principle shareholders, have agreed to discontinue the Star brand affiliation with MCCS. Media Content and Communications Pvt Ltd (MCCS) today announced that its Hindi news channel, Star News, will soon be rechristened ABP News. India’s No. 1 Bengali news channel Star Ananda becomes ABP Ananda and the No.1 Marathi news channel Star Majha will be called ABP Majha.
The three 24-hour news channels are owned by (MCCS), a joint venture between the Ananda Bazar Patrika Group and Star India Pvt Ltd. Both Ananda and Majha are No. 1 channels since inception. Going forward, Star wishes to focus on building their brand on their core business that is general entertainment.
The core business of ABP is news and it wishes to promote and establish its own brands in the broadcast news space through its subsidiary company, MCCS. MCCS has sustained its affiliation with Star brand for eight years and both have benefited from this association.
In these years the three news channels have evolved into respected market leaders in their segment, which has helped MCCS become a strong and respected company in the broadcast news space.
It has quality resources in its employees and built good equity among its stakeholders – loyal viewers’ base, clients, distributors and vendor partners. Content on all three channels are managed by some of the finest editors, journalists, anchors and technical professionals who have consistently maintained the highest standards of honest and ethical journalism. They would continue to maintain high standards of news quality, with same integrity, transparency and speed.(BestMediaInfo) 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Nirmal Baba bought Rs 1.80 cr flat & hotel using donations

New Delhi: The controversy surrounding Nirmal Baba seems to bring out shocking revelations everyday. In another revelation, the spiritual guru has been accused of purchasing a hotel while using the donations from his followers, a newspaper report claimed. He also bought an Rs 1.80 crore flat from devotees’ money, the apartment seller confirmed.

The shocking reports about Nirmal Baba have led to the degradation of his popularity graph amongst the followers. According to a Jharkhand daily, he bought a hotel in city’s Greater Kailash area for a whopping Rs 30 crore. The daily claimed that the hotel was bought using the devotees’ money arising out of Samagam and Daswant.

The former owner of the hotel revealed that the godman wanted to open a chain of hotels. The market value of the hotel currently is valued at Rs 35 crore. Meanwhile, the owner of the Rs 1.80 crore flat, bought by the godman, has stepped forward to confirm that it was purchased from devotees’ money. The former owner of the flat, Neelam Kapoor, was tracked by STAR News who later confirmed the purchase by the godman. According to a Jharkhand daily, Nirmal Baba had transferred money in her account to seal the deal. Nirmal Baba also owns a massive home in the city. His family has chosen to keep mum about his transformation from a business man into a wealthy spiritual guru. 

An Interview with punya prasoon vajpayee

Punya prasoon vajpayee, Consulting Editor, Zee News talks with 'newslaundry' about the attempt of the government to limit coverage on Team Anna, the need to have a media watchdog, corporatisation and corruption in journalism, and why journalists should stay away from politicians.
Punya has more than 20 years experience in both print and electronic journalism. Prasun received the Indian Express Goenka award for excellence in journalism for the year 2005. The Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh, conferred the award.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

30 Interesting Facts about Fraud Nirmal Baba

1. Registration fee is Rs 2000/- per person. Children over 2 years also need to be registered this means Nirmal Baba charges Rs 2,000 from every participant who wishes to be a part of his commune, 'samagam'. This amount is transferred directly into Nirmal Baba's three bank accounts one each in Punjab National Bank, ICICI Bank and Yes Bank

2. Publicly displayed bank account numbers: ICICI A/c Number: 002-905-010-576
Account Name: NIRMAL DARBAR PNB A/c Number: 1546-0021-0002-3105 Account Name: NIRMAL DARBAR

3. Real Name of the Nirmal Baba is Nirmaljeet Singh Narula

4. Name of the wife - Sushma Narula

5. He was born around 1950 in a Sikh family

6. Nirmal got married to the daughter of Dilip Singh Bagga in Jharkhand and has two children (son & daughter).

7. Nirmal Baba is the brother-in-law of former speaker of Jharkhand Legislative Assembly, Inder Singh Namdharee

8. According to Namdhari, he married Baba’s sister in 1964 when Nirmal was only 14-15 years old. After the murder of his father during his childhood, his mother sent him to Daltonganj, Jharkhand in 1970’s

9. during the seventies, Nirmal Baba owned a cloth shop and after a few years he shut the shop. Later on he tried his luck in the bricks business and laid the foundation of 'Nirmal Bricks' but failed 

10. 1980 - He went to Delhi.