Media Requires Introspection.. and a Citizen Watch Dog

Free Media is considered an important pillar of Democracy. Ever since India faced the Emergency in 1975 when publications like Indian Express protested the Censorship through blank editorials where publications like Times of India went along with the Government, the differential approach of different media houses has come to the knowledge of discerning public.

But with the passage of time, the  commercialization and politicization of media houses has been on the increase. Even the loyalty of media to political ideologies have also changed significantly during the last few decades since emergency.

Indian Express is today no longer the beacon of virtue. HINDU is mostly pursuing anti-Hindu agenda. Times of India is more commercial than ever before. The role of the TV media has grown so much that today, print media has become irrelevant when it comes to shaping public opinion. On the TV, South Indian observers are exposed mainly to the  top five English News channels namely NDTV, TIMES NOW, CNN-IBN, India Today and News X. The viewership of regional news channels is fragmented and cater only to regional aspirations. Their role in National scene is more as a follower of other English channels.

Each of these channels have their own issues on conflicts of interest with owners and anchors affiliated to different political parties and leaders.

As a result, it has become necessary for public to assimilate any news published in these channels with a huge pinch of salt. It would not be in appropriate to tag each channel and the anchor with a political ideology and interpret the news accordingly.

This forum which was active from time to time would like to express its views on various issues that are in debate at a point of time.

As a matter of disclosure, the undersigned is having a bias  towards BJP ideology because no other political party appears to deserve support for one reason or the other. Individually the author has been pro-Indira Gandhi at one time, anti-Indira Gandhi later, Pro-Rajiv Gandhi, anti V.P.Singh and neutral to most others, until the current breed of Congress politicians emerged with people like Mani Shankar Iyer and Digvijay Singh as spokes persons and Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi at the helm.

However, this forum will actively comment on the media in the coming days only with a view to expose their double speak and bias. The objective is to bring back the relevance of media as a pillar of democracy rather than as a mouth piece of various political parties.

I hope the media anchors introspect on where their credibility is heading for and why the yesterday’s leader like NDTV is today languishing behind while some of the new entrants are gaining respect and TRP.

At the time of this writing, India was ranked 136 out of 180 nations worldwide in terms of press freedom in 2015.  In terms of Ranking of English News Channels, Times Now is leading the pack followed by NDTV, India Today, and CNNIBN in that order. We shall watch the changes in TRP and how they may be linked with the coverage which we may like or dislike.

I look forward to the support of public in contributing their views in such a manner that this AIFON.ORG.IN will emerge as a media watch dog which can help viewers of different TV channels from being deliberately mislead by the anchors more loyal to their vested interests than even the country.

Naavi

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Project Oriented Governance for Modi’s Government

The developmental task before the Modi Government is enormous. On the one hand, there are high hopes raised in the mind of the public and on the other hand Congress has left the Government in shambles.

In such a scenario there is a need for fresh thinking on how to tackle the enormous tasks ahead.

Usually it is left to the various Ministers to achieve the necessary goals of a Government. But the number of ministers available is too few for meeting the requirements. Also if the cabinet is not kept to the minimum, the Government expenditure will be going out of control.

In order to meet the many projects that are required to be handled, I suggest that each of the MPs are individually assigned projects for close monitoring for quick and efficient implementation. This means that if the Government identifies 100 projects for implemenation in the next one year, 100 different MPs will be assigned the task of monitoring the progress in close coordination with the relevant minister or minsters. It would be like a single window monitoring on project to project basis.

Of course this would potentially create a situation where the Project MP and the Minister may develop differences. But such differences can be resolved by the PM. The advantage would be that there would be a focused attention for each critical project and there would be a possibility of efficient implementation. This will leave the ministers to focus more on policies instead of spending time on implementation details.

The allocation of projects to different MPs may have to take into account the individual interests and aptitude. For this purpose, the PM may ask each MP to suggest suitable projects within the manifesto of BJP and take a view on allocation. By this method each MP will get to work on projects of his choice on which he may have specific expertise as well as interest (from the point of view of the good of the people).

Additionally the projects would provide a means of measuring the performance of the MPs over a period of time and be a performance evaluation tool.

Hopefully this would make each MP accountable. If instead of 100 MPs and 100 projects if we can identify 250 projects and assign it to 250 MPs who are not ministers, then all the 336 NDA MPs will have some task to do in the coming days.

Hope Mr Modi will consider the suggestion.

Naavi

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Political Strategy for BJP for the coming years

Now that the 2014 Loksabha elections are behind us, BJP has to now focus on how it will look at the future electoral strategies.

In the next elections, will it be possible to retain  283 seats even if the Government functions well? We can hope it does. But if it again requires 71 of 80 UP seats again, it is necessary to consider the difficulty particularly if there is a resurgence of BSP.

As a contingency plan it is necessary for BJP to try and increase its share in states such as West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Orissa. In particular, it is necessary to ensure that BJP gets a substantial foothold in West Bengal and TN since otherwise the “Third Front” threat will re-surface.

I hope BJP puts Mr Amit Shah in charge of these two states to set up party infrastructure before the next assembly elections in each of these two states and fight it all alone if required.

Naavi

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Dear Modi Ji, Beware of the Mischievous Media like Headlines Today

Yesterday (16th May) at 11.00 pm, Headlines Today ran a program anchored by Mr Rahul Kanwal in which Mr Nitin Gadkari participated. There was also Mr Pirzada supposed to be a security analyst from Pakistan. The topic was supposed to be the “International Response to Modi’s victory”.

The way this program was conducted by Mr Rahul Kanwal and the way Mr Gadkari handled the provocation left one in doubt as to what was the intention of the channel and what was the maturity of Mr Gadkari in handling such sensitive topics.

I want the media managers of BJP to view this program once again and see how damaging it can be on the image of BJP in general and Mr Modi in particular. At a time when the whole world is looking at M Modi’s policies with an eye of suspicion, such interviews are likely to spark further doubts and make it difficult for Mr Modi to soften the current impression circulating in the media about Modi’s foreign policy.

All media observers in India are aware that Indian TV channels have been running a relentless anti Modi campaign for a long time. Headlines today with its editorial team of Rahul Kanwal and Javed Ansari have been in the forefront of a misinformation campaign to discredit Mr Modi through out the campaign time Now Head Lines Today appears to be continuing its mischievous propaganda against Mr Modi as indicated by yessterday’s interview and hence it is essential for Mr Modi to watch out.

In yesterday’s interview, initially the discussion was on US response and the US representative was reasonable and stated that Mr Obama will call sooner than later and try to mend the misunderstandings if any between Mr Modi and US on the VISA issues.

However once Mr Rahul Kanwal invited response from Mr Pirzada, as expected he started with a rhetoric on muslims being harmed by Mr Modi etc.  The discussion was on a sensitive Indi-Pak relationship issue and at a time when the world is eager to know the views of the yet to be formed Modi Government.

Mr Gadkari was introduced as one of the confidants of Mr Modi and one of the “NavRatnas” and hence his views were blown up in importance by Mr Rahul Kanwal. His RSS connection was also highlighted.

It was necessary for Mr Gadkari at this point of time to be discreet, and a measured diplomatic response was called for. However MR Gadkari showed complete immaturity in handling the sensitive situation and started accusing Paksitan and its support to terrorism etc.

The discussion then went on to show case that Pakistan and India are nuclear powers. Mr Rahul Kanwal took advantage of Gadkari speaking in Hindi and made some wrong translations further provoking MR Pirzada with statements such as BJP would pursue hot chase to destroy terrorists in Pakistan like what USA did. Mr Gadkari fell into the trap and  kept insisting that India would give a strong response etc.

This was unwarranted and undiplomatic. The Pakistani coutnerpart warned that Delhi will be destroyed if they pursue aggressive policies and Gadkari continued to match the slang saying that we are also a nuclear power etc.

At one level it looked like a battle of words between two immature persons. But the intention of Mr Rahul Kanwal in instigating such a virulent discussion appeared doubtful. It appeared that he wanted to discredit the BJP Government. I am sure that this interview will be further played up from time to time in future and will be used as a reflection of Indian policy on Pakistan. In my opinion, the damage has already been done and what is now required is to do a damage control.

I wish to bring this interview to the attention of the media managers of BJP and seek their immediate intervention both for issuing necessary clarification as well as prevent recurrence of similar instances in future. It is necessary that leaders of BJP should realize that the elections are now over and their interaction with the media now should be as a party in power. People like Ms Nirmala Sitharaman are very diplomatic despite being firm when interacting with the media. People like Mr Gadkari donot seem to have the necessary expertise in handling the media more so when they handle mischievous and motivated anchors like Rahul Kanwal. They should refrain from participating in discussions especially when high image stakes are involved.

BJP should also set up a cell for  “Media Watch” which should be able to monitor such programs and intervene proactively in real time when required so that the image of BJP and Mr Modi which is still fragile in the international media is not damaged.

A word of advise to Mr Rahul Kanwal. Assuming that you did not have any mischevous intention of sparking off a Indo-Pak nuclear war through a TV debate, I would like to state that you appeared to be incapable and incompetent of handling the sensitive discussion without being inimical to the Indian national interests.  Introspect.

Naavi

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Good Days are Here..for the first time

It has been a great news for the Modi supporters with the election results exceeding the most optimistic expectations. While the best estimates for NDA was around 300 with BJP at around 260, the actual results seem to take BJP past 272 on its own.

Now it is open to Mr Modi to fulfill his promises so that the aspirations of the people will be fulfilled.

Our best wishes to NaMo for a successful stint..as predicted by Nostrodamus !

Naavi

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What happens to Aadhar?..Upgrade to Citizen ID based Aadhar?

One of the projects which UPA has hoisted on the incoming Government is the Aadhar on which lot of money has been spent. NDA needs to take a view on how to deal with the sunk investment.

While scrapping Aadhar is an option, it would be better to consider options whereby the Aadhar infrastructure can be put to better use.

During the Vajpayee regime the idea was to use the Aadhar as a “Citizen ID Card”. This idea needs to be explored even now. Since projects like national Health Assurance etc need to be dove tailed to Citizenship of India, we still need a Citizenship ID.

For this purpose a modifed Aadhar scheme needs to be implemented where the current IDs are augmented with a Citizen ID. For this all Aadhar holders may be asked to apply for linking their aadhar to a citizenship proof such as the passport. This will create two classes of Aadhar namely the “Ordinary Aadhar”, “Citizen Aadhar”.

This can be further linked to the PAN card so that “Tax Payer-Citizen of India Aadhar” may be another class of Aadhar.

These different classes can be called “Bronze”, Silver” and “Gold” types of Aadhar.

This will help people feel proud to upgrade their current “Bronze Aadhar” to “Silver Aadhar” and “Gold Aadhar”.

We can retain the option of issuing a “Platinum Aadhar” to citizens based on their contribution to the nation over a period of time.

Naavi

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Exit Polls Predict an NDA Government

All 5 exit polls/Post poll surveys announced on 12th May 2014 after the deadline set by the Election Commission predicted that NDA will form the next Government. The polls predict anywhere between 250 to 341 for NDA.

Over the last two days the stock markets had given an indication that the exit polls would turn out to be positive for NDA.

Let’s now wait for the actual results on May 16 and hope that the actual results turn out to be even better for NDA.

Naavi

As a Citizen of India

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Is there a Modi Wave or Not?

I had the occasion to attend the Election Express meeting of Rahul Kanwal (Head Lines Today) at Bangalore last week. One of the main discussions during the meeting was “Is there a Modi Wave or Not”?.

I was surprised with the importance given to this question and the vehement denials of Congress supporters. Even the educated Congress supporters like Mr Rajeev Gowda were keen to make a statement that there was “No Modi Wave” as if making such a statement before the public gave them a sense of satisfaction.

In my opinion, this is an irrelevant question. Whether there is a Modi wave or is it a Tsunami etc is immaterial as long as voters seem to keep the Modi focus. Karnataka has been a BJP bastion in the past and hence BJP getting support in Bangalore is not a great event. Even if BJP wins all the three Bangalore seats as it is expected to, is not a great thing. Only if BJP gets 22+ seats in the whole of Karnataka, it confirms a wave in favour of BJP/Modi.

However, I was in for a surprise when I checked for election sentiments in Tamil Nadu with some of my friends. In fact I was  pleasantly surprised to see the expectation that NDA may get between 12-18 seats in Tamil Nadu. Whether it becomes true or not the opinions reflect a sense of optimism and that was more indicative of a Modi wave than any thing else.  Once there is a wave in favour of BJP it is immaterial if we call it a BJP wave or Modi wave.

It is ironic that the so called Modi wave is actually being created and maintained by Congress than any body else. Every time Congress says there is “No Modi Wave” they remind people about the “Modi Wave”. In marketing this is a great situation where even the competitors help sustain the brand focus. There have been a few “Competitive” campaigns in the marketing of consumer goods but experts have always felt that it is double edged sword. Particularly when the campaign is conducted by a brand which has low credibility on another strong brand, the possibility is that the strong brand becomes stronger. I hope the ad agency working for Congress educates Congress leaders about this.

After the Varanasi rally of Modi, Congress is so rattled that it has upped it’s criticism on Modi.  The Vadra issue is also making them extremely uncomfortable since it irritates the top family directly. But each time his reference is taken, Congress ends up revealing its own anxiety and strengthens the sentiment in favour of BJP.

A confirmation of the Modi wave can be also seen from the fact that from the days Congress was talking of its own Government it has come down to the point of saying that it is looking forward to a Government in alliance with the entire “Third Front”. This means that they are now working towards reaching 272+ only as a UPA+Third front combination. This in other words means that on the other side NDA is expected to fight for 272+. Thus Congress has conceded that BJP is good enough for 272+.

The desperation of Congress is on its last legs and hence it it trying to fix top positions in the Army as well as CBI so that its scams can be protected. We need to see what more is in store during the last fortnight of the elections.  We can expect some dirty tricks from Congress especially in Varanasi to upset the last leg of UP elections.

Hope everything goes on smoothly as we wait for May 16.

Naavi

As a Citizen of India

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Vote for Modi to Save India from Congress

Bangalore South goes to polls tomorrow. For the first time voters would be exposed to “Verifyable Voting System” which the undersigned had recommended some time in 2004. It would be a good experience which I hope the voters would not miss. As per the proposed system, after the voting a print out showing the vote would become visible in a kiosk like device by the side of the booth and the voter can see the name, and symbol of the party to which his vote has been registered. After 7 seconds the slip will drop down to a box.

The choice for Bangalore South voters is between Mr Ananthkumar of BJP and Nandan Nilekani of Congress. Nandan has been trying to reduce the battle to the personal level hoping that his personal image will be able to help him to win. But Ananthkumar rightly has been focusing on the national issues and “Modi for PM” as the decision before the electorate.

I am surprised that many people including organizations such as BPAC have been focusing local administrative issues as the sole issue on which voters need to vote. I completely disagree with this narrow view.

The issue before us is whether BJP should be voted to power in sufficient numbers so that an efficient administrator like Modi can become the PM in place of the irrelevant Man Mohan and the childish Rahul or the corrupt Sonia.

I hope the voters of Bangalore would take the right decisicion.

Simultaneously I urge voters in all other constituencies of Karnataka also to vote for Modi’s BJP and ensure that BJP gets at least 24-25 seats in Karnataka.

Let’s not allow the corrupt and divisive Congress to have any foothold in the national administration.

Naavi

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Message for Election 2014

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