Interesting time to be an internet citizen
Amidst the continuing wikileaks saga, we Indians have had a bit of a foobar here in the media with a corporate lobbyist and a corporate titan airing (a bit more clearly) the various metaphorically-incestuous relations that abound between media, business and the government. it’s like an art-imitates-life version of paddy chayefsky’s network, summed up best by my favourite english language journalist, P. Sainath
Whether it is gas, spectrum, or mining, luxury private townships or other dubious land deals, the last 20 years have seen the consolidation of corporate power on a scale unknown in independent India. It would be wrong to disconnect the Radia tapes from this background. From pitching for licences, mines and spectrum using money and media power to pitching for ministerial candidates and portfolios by the same methods is not a huge leap. The same period has also seen the emergence of media themselves as major corporate entities. Today, we often have seamless movement between the personnel of some economic or financial newspapers and non-media corporations. An assistant editor goes off to Company ‘A’ as a PRO, returns in a more senior post to the same newspaper. Next, goes on as chief PRO, or maybe even as chief analyst or a business manager to a bigger corporate. But the newspaper’s door is open for his or her return, perhaps as resident editor.
The dominant media are not pro-corporate or pro-big business. They are corporates. They are big business. Some have margins of profit that non-media outfits might envy. Media corporations are into hundreds of businesses beyond their own realm. From real estate, hotels, mining, steel, chemicals, rubber and banks to power and sugar. Even into private treaties with other corporations in whom they acquire a stake. On the boards of India’s biggest media companies are also top corporate leaders. Some who find places on the Governor’s Forums of the World Economic Forum. Others heading private banks. And then there are top political leaders who directly own vast media empires. Who can hold ministerial portfolios (affecting these domains) while running their media fiefdoms. The dominant media are not pro-establishment. They are the establishment.
emphasis mine, though there is a bit in the article that my tinkering overshadowed.
to add a bit of context, these tapes have come out in the investigation into the sleazy actions of a recently excommunicated member of the Cabinet of Ministers, who handed out favours in charge of the telecom portfolio.
It’s a rather unhealthy time for our politicians, seeing as the Chief Minister of the state I live in also quit after a year of doing nothing, and members of the recently sworn-in state cabinet providing additional drama by quitting a bit later. and one of the richest and most corrupt politicians in the state has split off from the government to form his own party. And later on towards the end of the month is awaited a report that has kept this place uncomfortable for a year – the decision to carve out two states out of what now exists as a single one.
Happy December, everyone! If I’m alive, I will see you on the other side (and maybe make a few posts along the way!)
today’s news headlines in india scream for war(or at least some sort of military action) with pakistan. with provocative headlines and molehill-into-mountain-making galore, with pak army supposedly ‘defying’ india or some sort of warmongering bullshit like that… while they conveniently ignore that the indian government is so incompetent that it can’t provide hard evidence about the terrorists though we have actually captured one. this is the same approach that led the US to a criminal and now utterly cruel and despicable war in Iraq. we are being led down the same garden path by similar assholes in the media and government.
Nearly a month after the Mumbai terror attacks, India has not provided the evidence needed for Interpol to help identify and apprehend the suspected masterminds, the chief of the global police agency said Tuesday.
Ronald Noble, speaking in Islamabad after a visit to New Delhi, said Pakistan has agreed to work with the agency to help investigate the attacks that killed 164 people in India’s financial hub last month.
But he said India has provided no names or information that would allow police in other countries to check their databases, calling it “not acceptable” for New Delhi to provide those details to the media first.
of course the pakistani establishment wants to use the indian one’s incompetence to bolster it’s own (rather weak) standing, but that does not mean it is grounds for war.
i am reading a lot about pakistan this and that, the pakistani army is such and such. surely, the best thing that the Indian govt. could do to destabilize the Pak. army is to withdraw all it’s forces from the border areas and Kashmir and do it very very publicly. that eliminates most of their(Pak Army’s) raison d’etre, and would give strength to those voices in Pakistan calling for a reduction in the power of the military. Plus, reduce expenses on military spending in India itself.
unless of course, the aim of the indian state is to maintain the status quo so that all political parties involved can continue to exploit the fears of people to their benefit. but then, as peace-loving people we would NEVER do that, right?
The Supreme Court of India has upheld legislation for dramatically increasing the affirmative-action quotas at institutes of higher learning. the legislation effectively takes the quota to 49% and encompasses all sections of society that belong to scheduled castes and tribes(22%) and other backward classes(OBC’s who get most of the new 27%). This does not include those who are economically well-off, for obvious reasons.
Given the treatment meted out to the so-called ‘lower’ castes in India over the past few centuries at least, this is a reasonable first step towards social justice. now if only they could bring the same attempted fairness into agricultural policy and foreign relations, we’d be well on our way to a just state. i’m not holding my breath on this front, however.
For all the furore raised by certain sections of the news media about the system in institutes of higher education in india, the fact remains that the government has rather consistently stated that this will not affect the ‘general’ category and that the quotas will be met through increased capacities rather than restricting entry. of course, whether the government is willing to spend the necessary amount to bring the same quality or pulls a u-turn on this, effectively crippling the quota system, will determine the final outcome of the legislation.
if i had any stocks in India right now, i’d cash in and take a nice long vacation before they find somewhere else to send their money.