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    1. October 14 2015
    2. Bring Corporates Under Right to Information: Gopal Krishna Gandhi

    3. Lecture given by Gopal Krishna Gandhi at event to mark the tenth anniversary of the Right to Information Act. The event was organized by National Campaign for People's Right to Information and the Foundation for Media Professionals. The venue was Lady Irwin College, Delhi. 

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    1. June 16 2015
    2. Telcos can Choke Websites Without Net Neutrality

    3. Telecom companies must be dumb conveyors of content. Allowing them to be tollgate operators on the Internet highway would put freedom of speech at risk.  

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    1. June 06 2015
    2. The IndiaSpend Health and Sanitation Fellowships 2015

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    1. January 06 2015
    2. Drop or Stoutly Revise Sec 66 of Information Technology Act

    3. This is a summary of the consultation with the Law Commission on regulation of online media, on 6th January 2015 from 10.30 a.m to 1.30 p.m:

       Law Commission members present: Justice (retd) Usha Mehra, Justice (retd) S N Kapoor, Mr P K Malhotra, Dr S S Chahar, Dr Yogesh Tyagi and Dr B N Mani. Justice (retd) A P Shah was in the chair. 

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    1. January 08 2015
    2. Charlie Hebdo Cartoon

    3. This is how cartoonists around the world expressed their outrage at the assassination of their French peers by Muslim terrorists 

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    1. January 07 2015
    2. Consultation with Law Commission

    3. The Foundation for Media Professionals is organising a consultation with the Law Commission on regulation of online media. This is on Wednesday, 7th January at its offices on the 14th floor of Hindustan Times House, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi. This is the second consultation. The previous one was in November, 2014. You will find reports of that consultation elsewhere in this section. 

      Participation in the consultation on 7th January is by invitation only. 

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    1. August 19 2014
    2. Big Business in Media: Do New Media Offer Independent Journalists An Escape Chute?

    3. By Vivian Fernandes

      Can Indian journalism's falling standards and ethical compromises be cured by keeping political parties, religious entities and diversified corporate groups out of news media?  Do new media offer an alternative to independent journalists who are entrepreneurially inclined?

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    1. August 08 2014
    2. Democratic Scrutiny Missing In Modi's Communication

    3. Democratic scrutiny is missing in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's reliance on social media for direct outreach to people bypassing journalists.

      By Vivian Fernandes

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    1. May 31 2014
    2. The BJP’s Lok Sabha Campaign Was Effective Because The Message Was Simple

    3. By Deepshikha Shankar and Vivian Fernandes

      Yogendra Yadav, a founder member of the Aam Aadmi Party and its candidate for the Gurgaon Lok Sabha constituency answered the title question’ Did the media swing the 2014 Lok Sabha election results?’ by rephrasing it. ‘No,’ he said in response to his own question whether the media acting in a special way was responsible for the BJP getting a clear majority in the 2014 general elections. If the question was whether the media mattered in a manner it did not in the past, then his answer was ‘Yes,’

      Yadav said there was a heightened sense of awareness at the local level. The power of the media, especially Hindi print and broadcast media was ‘astonishing.’ Yadav alleged that papers like the widely-read Punjab Kesri were indulging in, what he called, propaganda, which for him was ‘humbling, annoying and a deep eye-opener.’

      There was a ’flattening’ of opinions, Yadav said. They were derived from TV discussions and here the English media was of no help. He also thought that the discussions were rather vacuous. The AAP manifesto, for instance, was never debated.

      Yadav found the media ‘scandalous and unregulated.’ The regulation of paid news was a ‘complete farce.’ He was himself served a notice by the Election Commission and when he produced receipts, he was slapped with yet another notice!

      Yadav said the BJP created a propaganda machine that was never seen before. Politicians learn from each other, and once an example is set, it becomes a model. The BJP’s propaganda spin was sophisticated and even sympathetic journalists like Swapan Dasgupta, in his view, did not use a single word which was out of place.

      Rumors and lies were circulated in the social media and by word of mouth all the way to the voters. The rumour mongering was structured. Yadav gave the example of his childhood name Salim being passed off as proof of his supposed affinity to Muslims. Yadav said he had email apologies from editors who had publicized the rumours. The BJP’s election campaign was multi-layered and ‘amazingly powerful’ in terms of manpower and resources.
      Rajkumar Jha, National Creative Director of Soho Square, the person and agency behind the ‘acche din ane wale hain’ campaign said the BJP’s message was simplicity itself. It clicked for this reason, despite the Congress beginning its campaign 45 days before. ‘No’ the BJP did not outspend the Congress. It merely produced a more effective campaign.

      Soho Square had no prior experience in political advertising. It was associated with the Gujarat Tourism campaign. When it got the assignment, the advertising team wondered whether it could apply the principles of selling soaps and shampoos.

      It realized that it had to swing a particular section of voters and overcome ten years of anti-Modi campaign. The message was kept simple: one man, one logo, one colour and no promises. Every piece of communication was vetted with political colleagues so there would be no embarrassing slip-ups. Since there was not much news, events had to be created for the media to report on, and gave the example of Chai pe Charcha.

      Jha said that media consumption is high all over the country. There is greater awareness in small towns and a better understanding of the political system. A city person may not be able to name his own MLA but a person in village will not just know the current MLA or MP but previous ones and those that preceded them as well.

      ‘We did nothing great’ for the acche din campaign, Jha said. His boss Piyush Pandey and he were chatting late into the night, when Jha asked Pandey, ‘kya lagta hai apko, kya hoga jab Modi ji ayenge?’ to which Pandey replied after some thought, ‘kya pata, shayad ache din ayenge’ and that stuck. Jha said they changed the colour of BJP’s lotus symbol. They used local dialects and tailored campaigns to suit different regions.

      Deepak Amin, the spokesman of the Congress Party, said he had the ‘dubious distiunction of defending the Congress Party’s defeat’ in general elections 2014. Amin said being profit-oriented the Indian media had taken to ‘easy journalism and sensationalism.’ Between news and television rating points (TRPs), personalities had taken over. Event- and individual-based news was getting overwhelming coverage over issues that mattered. The panel discussions on television were structured for a pre-determined outcome which reflected a network’s bias. For example, if the discussion was on the Muzaffarnagar riots, a weak Muslim Congress spokesperson would be invited and even before the discussion had started the Party would have lost the debate because of poor defence. If the morning discussion was on a ‘decent topic’ by evening the theme would be ‘something sensational but unimportant.’

      Yadav interjected and said the Congress ‘product’ was bad and it would not be sold even with good advertising. English communications were translated badly in Hindi. If the Congress Party had requested he would have volunteered his translation services, Yadav joked.


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    1. April 05 2014
    2. Media and Evolution of Media Cover-up of 1984 and 2002 Riots

    3. By Vivian Fernandes

      Lessons have been learnt from the 1984 riots. Institutions have evolved. The Supreme Court was more active after the 2002 riots. But much depends on the personality of Supreme Court judges. The media has also done better. But  overall, the curfew culture prevails. 

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    1. January 18 2014
    2. Report of An Inquiry Into The Muzaffarnagar Riots

    3. This is a summary of a report of a fact-finding team that inquired into the Muzaffarnagar riots on 13 September, 2013.

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    1. March 09 2014
    2. Illiberality Creeps In As Law Aids Book Bans

    3. By Vivian Fernandes and Deepshikha Shanker

      Hindu and Muslim fundamentalists are using penal provisions against causing hurt to religious sentiments and disharmony between communities to browbeat authors and artistes. 

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