CRAZY CONTROVERSY YOGA ‘BABA’

So, he does it again! Yes, Yoga guru Baba Ramdev has again caught the eye of the nation and its media by his, relevant or irrelevant we will try to understand, comment and proposition on the economic reforms of our nation India. If we track down Baba’s previous instances of 5-6 years we will see that Baba has made such various, out of his domain, comments in his yoga gatherings. His ‘famous’ incident, where he ran away at midnight wearing female clothes when police raided on his public gathering which was against the corrupt government, got him the maximum media coverage. What is with Baba that whatever he does becomes headlines or to put in other words; controversies follow him everywhere or vice versa.

The recent proposition which Baba has made is on India’s taxation situation. Before proceeding any further, let us understand what Baba has in mind and what does it states-

The current taxation policy needs to be abolished and a new taxation system should be availed for the proper transaction of money, which will put an end or at least curb the black money situation.

The model –
On every receiving end a minimal of 2% would be deducted from the cash received via a bank transaction. For example, if we consider that person A receives a salary of rs100, then rs2 (2%) will be deducted from the cash received. This 2% will be the tax deducted from person A’s account, further person A need not pay any tax annually. The amount deducted will be distributed into four segments, for example if we consider the distribution of rs2; the central government will be receiving 70 paise, state government 60 paise, bank commission 35 paise and local body tax 35 paise.

Now let us take some facts into consideration; this model has not been implemented in any country except Brazil, which too closed down this model after an experimental failure. So, why Baba is forcing this and why does he wants this model to be made applicable on Indian citizens? So, here are a couple of concerns of Baba; first and foremost is the issue of curbing black money and secondly, collecting taxes properly from each section of the society who is capable enough of opening a bank account. Baba is, as always, very much concerned and is right but what probably lacks is, problem lies within the model itself if we introspect it minutely keeping the broader vision aside for a moment. For example, if a student stays far away from his/her parents and the parents send him/her money for his fees or rent or spending, a 2% would be deducted from his/her account even he/she is not earning anything. Consider another example, if a villager with very minimal wages of rs100 to rs200 deposits the money on a weekly basis, a sum of rs14 to rs28 respectively would be deducted from the villagers account, which will sum up to rs112 monthly. This is a good enough amount for the villagewala to put it to good use who prior to this wasn’t coming under the tax slabs.

What did the media do with this story? Well the media connected Baba to BJP and projected the news as one of the gimmick before 2014 lok sabha polls. But in this amidst of all this, I got some good two day 1 hour show on NDTV India by Ravish Kumar discussing on his show Prime Time and trying to get something out of it. Well the show was a bit noisy as all were trying to debate and prove their points and seemed less interested in listening, still the show highlighted the need of us being educated about our economic policies.

Coming back to Baba, he is completely out of his domain. He is a yoga expert and it is much appreciated that he is concerned about the nation’s future but shouldn’t he contribute via his yoga, in which he is best. He raises question, demands answers and like all other citizens protest if he doesn’t get the reply. But economic reform! Really? Baba this for sure is not your cup of tea and for your betterment I would request you to stick to your very own domain. I don’t deny the fact a measure needs to be taken to curb the black money and collect taxes but this model, which is rejected by every nation, why would an already in economic ‘not so stable’ India should imbibe this model? The model should be debated and should be welcomed by everyone for an open debate and understanding; at least this would help in economic literacy.

I want a few good open suggestions on this topic. It is good to understand economy and how it works and how any change affects us, the common man. Please pour in your opines on this topic, which surely is important for all of us to understand. And if you have any query you can write to me or ask any expert you know or even ask Baba Ramdev on this, I am sure he will clear your doubts!

WHAT DOES THESE FIVE STATE ELECTIONS TELL US

The predictions of the five state elections resulted very obvious as majority of news media, ABP, Times, Zee, NDTV, IBN7-CNN etc, already came with the survey polls that BJP will be winning the next term. Madhya Pradesh (MP), Rajasthan and Chattisgarh are BJP’s main striking areas and after the vote counting on 8th December it was proved again. Rajasthan and MP were a thumping victory for BJP, defeating congress by a mile but Chattisgarh was a close counter, the tension went right down the wire and finally BJP came out victorious by bagging 49 out of 90 votes, gaining majority and forming government.

This certainly raises concern over the Congress’s performance, I would say, worst performance. The strategies at the center have certainly affected the state elections. Delhi is by far the best example. Whatever happened to the 15 year old Sheila government was the result of common man’s agitation against the government in power, UPA-2, which so far has been unable to fulfill the promises it made.

Now, the scenario of Delhi was considered as the semis before the 2014 lok sabha election. There is another wing of experts who support the other theory, according to them; the elections were in states which already has the high influence of BJP compared to the rest of the states. However nobody denies the fact that the result of these five states have proved that UPA-2 is at big loss prior to the 2014 lok sabha polls.

The center’s role on various issues like, 2G, Coal-gate, CWG (common wealth games), Robert Vadra property, has put them under the scanner of all- the opposition, the media and the citizens. The media has played its part by making us aware on such issues. So, what does all this tells us about the 2014 elections? There is certainly a wave of majority of people who are not content with the UPA-2 government. On the contrary, the UPA-2 government always seems t be complacent with its decisions.

This certainly is injurious thinking for the congress government. They don’t have much time left though, but if they can pull out something in these few months time hopefully they would be able to save their government. Orelse, it seems pretty clear that what happened to the four (MP, Rajasthan, Delhi & Chattisgarh) out of the five states, the rest will be followed soon on the national level.

5 states election
States were elections were held during December 2013.

Would really like positive feedback and suggestion or if you have any queries go ahead and put it in the comment box, I would try to revert as soon as possible. Just don’t make any comments supporting any political party; we are here to understand the mechanics of politics and media and not to crib about the good or the bad.

LESS CRACKERS THIS YEAR

Well, each year a lot of campaigning for noise and pollution free Deepawali is done by the media in the interest of the people of our nation. This initiative is really a brave effort by the media for which they should be applauded.

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Now it is we who need to understand the importance of noise and pollution free Deepawali. Hope all will be a part of this initiative and lead in a prosper and happy festival.

Eat sweets, light diyas (lights) and enjoy! Happy Diwali to all! Cheers!

MAMO – NAMO

What is going to happen when the two giants of the opposite parties, Mr. Prime Minister & probably future Mr. Prime Minister, will meet and might be sharing the same stage. Will ‘we’ see any hand shakes? Any smiles? Any chit-chat? Or on the contrary they both will ignore each other, which for the media will certainly be nothing much.

So what if they say hi to each other and discuss about the lunch or dinner ahead, ‘we’ want stories to run, to fill the space for tonight’s debate. Will that be possible? Of course yes, because there are many who will derive their own conclusions and will say how that is going to impact the 2014 general elections.

 

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As audience, we have to come out of all this sensationalism and watch the news as NEWS. It is a content. A meeting doesn’t matters but what comes out of that as decision or conclusion matters. Will that affect my pocket? My decision making? My mindset? My future plans? Well, this should be the points of highlight. And, this can go endless.

Start watching content wisely and choose your subject smartly!

RAHUL – MODI & NO ONE ELSE

The way media is giving coverage to Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi, it seems soon their coverage content will become cliche. Media will have to look for a new angle everytime, which certainly will not be easy. Considering the fact that elections will be conducted in May 2014, this leaves six months time span. If the content is given the same treatment again and again then it certainly would bore us.

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The media itself has made the style of news giving so entertaining that any plain news will not do. The media will need to come up with new sides with every story. This may even lead to something else. But the mood the media is setting could backfire. The audience in India is still learning and adapting the television viewing and such cliche news may give the audience an excuse to switch to some other channel.

Hence, i personally feel that the media should definitely consider it’s options of projecting news in more than one or couple of ways to avoid it from being cliche.

FINALLY JUSTICE DELIVERED

‘Chara ghotala’, the infamous fodder scam of 900 crores finally comes to rest. In a long 17 year awaited judgment the CBI court of Ranchi announced Lalu Prasad Yadav, then the CM and the main convict in fodder scam a 5 years of imprisonment in Birsa Munda jail. This judgment was announced on 3rd October 2013. Before 2014 elections this is considered to be one of the most important decisions which can alter the future of RJD (Rastriya Janta Dal) in Bihar. Well, let’s look at how media reported all this news, what was their approach?

The media reported the news being very balanced. Their approach seemed neutral. The main focus of all news houses was, very obvious, targeted towards 2014. All the news houses talked about the possible future of RJD and next Loksabha polls. The talk shows too conducted shows on Lalu, his party and 201 elections. Although, most of the media houses focused on partie’s future and the ties with congress, very few were seen talking on the Lalu ji’s imprisonment part of the story though.

Lalu Prasad yadav who once gave the slogan, ‘jab tak rahega samose me aloo tab tak rahega Bihar me lalu’, is now facing 5 years of imprisonment, which he would have never thought of. The media certainly did a much softer side story towards lalu ji. Unlike the case of A. Raja, Telecom scam, the media seemed more interested in RJD’s future (Agenda of media).

Unlike the case of Kanimozhi or Asaram, where all the details of their prison cell was described in detail by the media, Laluji found some sympathy by the media. Expect Laluji will teach Political science and Management to the students nothings else was made available by the media about Laluji’s living condition in the prison cell. This certainly indicates something, doesn’t it? If you have any doubts or suggestion please mention in the below comment box, I would surely reply to you.

TALK SHOW ON NEWS CHANNELS

The trend these days is talk shows on televisions. And certainly talk shows are in Demand. And what makes me say this is the fact that, all the channels run this during the prime time. Name any channel and they have a talk show running in between 8 to 10 pm. Various guests are invited, no need of on field reports, some information is gathered and guests give their opinion on the agenda decided by the news corp. Now, the issue is, where does this leads us to? Is it really the big news, just some conversation between some experts or mere an entertainer? What exactly is a talk show and where does it lead us to? We will try and understand in this post what a talk show is.

There’s no denying that talk show does provide us the inside fact on a particular story. We get to know different perspectives of different guests on a particular issue. But, is that enough? Any talk show generally start with the anchor giving a brief about the story, introducing the guest panel and then starting with the questions related to the issue. Now, recently the shows have become loud. Most of the talk shows have aggressive mode on. Guests are quizzed by the anchor, but what is the outcome?

For example, if we consider the talk shows of Deepak Chaurasiya, India news, we all saw that he was being very aggressive in his approach (talk shows related to Asaram case). Chaurasiya said he was asking the questions of a common man. Many guests targeted Chaurasiya and his channel is asking such questions for TRP only.

For most of the channels, it has become just another show. Since the X channel is doing we too should do that. This is the first attitude. Secondly, most of the shows only focus on getting the byte of the guests, especially if it’s a major political issue. Now, what’s the outcome of this all? Other than providing information it is very less, it is more of an entertainer and we are accepting these shows without any objection. That means the agenda set by the channel is the biggest issue?

Most of the shows finish without any outcome, without any conclusion. We, the audience, seem happy with the content. Is it how the content of the talk shows should be? Give your opinion and put down your comments.

CHASING ASARAM

I, like the media, couldn’t resist myself on writing about Indian religion guru Asaram (now the guru word can be wiped off his name). The whole nation is talking about the Asaram case, where he is alleged to have sexually abused one of his devotee, who is a minor aged 16. Well of course, the credit goes to the Indian media. Even if Asaram wanted to leave everything and run, the media didn’t left ‘bapuji’. The media chased and chased him, till it made all Indians aware that this is the most important issue in the country right now. But is it really? This post will deal with this and other issues on similar lines with respect to Indian media.

First let us take the case of Asaram running away and the media chasing him. The media picked the news and stated showing it 24*7 when the minor girl filed the FIR (first information report) against Asaram. The media understood the gravity of the issue and hence the sequence of ‘catch me if you can’ from Asaram started. Media certainly had a clear agenda behind this. Again, this also happened because media got a back to back story on sexual assaults on women.

First in Mumbai (for more read my last post), second the Asaram case and also the verdict of the criminal, who is a minor in Nirbhaya case, was to be declared. All three cases coming out at a single point certainly grabbed media’s attention and thus the nations, also the influence makers in society played a role. Their speeches were heard carefully and decision were made amongst people (two step flow theory, for details on this please refer my previous posts).

As my concern is with the media portrayal, I also would like to point out some of the angles I derived from this story. I ask you all a very simple question- hasn’t this story suppressed other important stories, which diminished somewhere down the way in media? You all certainly can relate to some of the stories. One is the hike of petrol and diesel prices. Like other time reporting, media didn’t reported that effectively this time on this issue. Asaram issues is important emotionally to all of us, but isn’t the petrol price hike by rupee 2.75 important to us economically?

Well, this certainly depends on the gatekeeping of the media organization to give space to which story more (gatekeeping thory, for more please refer my previous posts). But, the Asaram story is crucial too. It has put the safety of women in question again. The media, very sensationally, has chased the story but I feel they have done right this time. It was required, don’t you think?

Drop your comments and views on this. Also, if you have any questions go ahead and write it down in the comments box, will answer you.

[Note: Do checkout the video, it shows Asaram dancing. Nothing wrong in that though! :)]

MEDIA DOES BRING REVOLUTIONS

I have written about the limitations of Indian media reporting in my previous blogs. But, one thing to notice is that, the media does certainly bring issues into focus or to our attention. The ‘August Kranti’ is considered to be media propelled protest against corruption. The social media too played a role. Hence, the media is capable of reporting and bringing about changes in society. In this particular post, I will be writing about the anti rape campaign or reporting started by the media.

The media brought a very powerful representation of these rape cases after the Delhi gang rape case. The victim, Nirbhaya, was made a symbol and any women who had gone through such victimization was connected with Delhi gang rape and seen (the symbol used can be related to semiotics, a theory by Ferdinand Di Saussure, where Nirbhaya is that lady who has gone through the atrocities). Nirbhaya was not only a name but it brought about a revolution amongst the people of our nation. There where candle light march’s in support of Nirbhaya also on the other side, protest against the parliament and protest against the police. Now, what the media did?

The media certainly didn’t keep quiet. It reported all the facts and kept us updated from second to second about the case. They broadcasted all the major rallies, all the frustrated reactions of the people and also the situation of Nirbhaya. The stories did affect all of us. The media made the nations agenda. All the households in India started talking about Nirbhaya, this was all possible because of the media reporting (Agenda setting theory and framing theory; for details on these theories please refer my previous blog posts). Also, the news of Asharam Bapu being accused of raping one of the girls attending her ashram has added fuel to the fire (will write about this issue in a different post).

Now, the recent sexual abuse was reported in Mumbai. Considered to be one of the safest city for women’s, this accident has certainly raised doubts. The victim sadly was from the media industry, a young 22 year old photojournalist. This time too, the media is doing their work. Now, comparing both the reporting, I had my doubts on the latest reporting. With many other issues going on, Ayodhya issue, Food Security Bill issue (refer my blog for more), 2014 elections, I was certainly curious to know how the media is going to report on this sexual abuse incident. But the media did give a good healthy coverage to this news story. It is still being reported. Also, this incident has evoked some serious discussions in the parliament and hope we will be seeing a stricter law for the criminals of sexual abuse.

So far the reporting has been positive. By positive, I mean the coverage has been balanced with respect to other news reporting. The nation’s roar against the sexual abuse of women’s has once again raised concern on their safety. Media is doing their part in not only reporting the incident but following them up too. In a part by showing the news they are trying to make the news available to everyone and it does have made revolution.

I know you all too have something to say for sure. So put down your views and if you do have any queries related to theories or want to add up anything please go ahead.

MaMo’s & NaMo’s INDEPENDENCE’S DAY SPEECH

I remember waking up early and preparing myself for the school parade- I was in scout and guide- on Independence Day. After the school program I used to rush to my house to watch the national parade on Doordarshan. Now, I have completed my school but still on Independence Day I never miss the parade show on Doordarshan. On this 66th Independence Day, I witnessed something unusual, not in the parade show but what the media did with the speech of Prime Minister.

The nation witnessed an out of context thing this independence day. Soon after the PM’s speech, a speech was delivered by Narendra Modi, nothing special just a speech by the CM of Gujarat. The speech was fine, but what the media did, was it required? The media started comparing both the speeches. Right at 9am, a zee news anchor started the show with the question- whose speech was more effective? And who overpowered whom? Was such question required on this day that too soon after the parade show?

I believe and support the fact that it was news and was needed to be reported but in such a fashion that it created a controversy for no reason. The media certainly made their agenda clear. Not many took this sportingly, Javed Akhtar was on the same show as one of the guest and he replied to the anchor- atleast leave this day to sell your news! Why did this even happen? A strong reason could be the 2014 elections, which both, the media and politicians are targeting.

The news anchor too was not at fault here. It surely was prepared well before by the editorial team, gatekeeping theory (about this theory refer to my previous blogs). We know the media too has to compete with each other, but choosing the way to represent news is important. Also, if the media picked the speech news, then why didn’t they carry it, why leave it just like that, in the mid way. Well, the media always works on deadline but in that process they should not leave the ethics behind.

Now, the media alone cannot be held responsible. The political parties too know the importance of the coming elections and made full use of this opportunity to blame eachothers. But yes this blog is not to discuss about the bragging of political parties.

Well, I know this post doesn’t address much about communication theory and media reporting, but I felt a need to share this message with you all. It sometimes does hurts when such issues are raised on a day when the nation unites as one to celebrate. Still, if you feel like sharing any thoughts do comment and if you have any query ask it, I will surely address it.