[Reader-list] IHT in India

Shivam Vij shivamvij at gmail.com
Fri Jul 9 13:24:00 IST 2004

Dear Sanjay,

Let's take the IHT example, I'll later come to the foreign media as a
whole. What's wrong with the IHT being published from India? I already
have access to its site; those who don't will be able to read the
paper. Shouldn't there be greater democratisation of the media? I
firmly believe that all media are not mutually exclusive but intrinsic
parts of our urban experience. With increasing net density in India,
all of the foreign media will be accessible to millions of Indians;
the reach will be far greater than print can ever have. This is the
future we are looking at.

Yes, as of now print dominates public opinion in India. Or does TV
dominate public opinion in India? Or do the media affect 'public
opinion'? If they did, Vajpayee wouldn't have lost his job.

As for the Iraq war, I think it is a shame that the Indian media was
biased against the war and never gave space to arguments in favour of
the war. My personal view about the Iraq 'war' is that all of the Bush
administration's sins notwithstanding, the invasion will have been
worth it ten ears from now *if* the average Iraqi is happier than he
was under Saddam.

Now that's my view, but the Indian media never gave space to such a
view. All the leftists, the impassionate anti-Americanists dominated.

It is sad that we don't believe in objectivity anymore. My paper
should have told me both sides of the argument about Iraq. It just
told me how bad the war was, and then why it was bad.

If I had access to one of Murdoch's papers on the newsstand near my
house, if I could pick up and read the foreign papers, perhaps I could
have been able to arrive at a more sober, crtical assesment of the
Iraq 'war'.

But the Government of India never gave me that choice.

As for the Italian PM's control of the Italian media, I wish I was
more aware of the intricacies of the Italian situation. But I wonder
if you noticed an article in the Hindu when Sonia Gandhi almost became
our PM. The article wrote how a cartoon in an Italian paper owned by
the Italian PM, showed an Italian saying to an Indian: "Now you also
an Italian PM and I have an Italian PM. Only that yours is better than

Now I know why 90% Italians pay heed to media owned by their PM.

In other words, in all your arguments, you are neglecting the role of
public opinion. A media enterprise can be commercially successful obly
when people buy it. And people will buy it only if it makes sense to
them. The obscene Times of India is India's largest selling English
daily because people buy it.

If we were to go by your arguments, then the logical conclusion would
be to support Internet censorship, because as PC density increases...

And if we can survive the Indian media with all its biases, we can
also survive biases of the foreign press. We can still understand that
the Iraq 'war' is really about oil or whatever damage Americans did to
Iraq. Because we have Al Jazeera, which was some time ago denied
permission b the Indian government to open a bureau in India!

The leftist mobilisation of opinion against the Iraq war all over the
world - Arundhati Roy's essays included - was an example of how
alternative media is so mainstream now.

And remember it was the same American media that exposed Abu Ghraib.

Remember also that the IHT in India is being published by MJ Akbar,
whose name also appears as the editor responsible for the contents of
the paper under the PRB Act. That should make us less paranoid about
the IHT?

In a free market of words, ideas and pictures, what are we afraid of?

If we extend your arguments to their logical conclusions - blocking
all media that is held by monopolies - then we will also have to ban
Dainik Jagran and Amar Ujala, two Hindi papers of north India which
sell more than Times of India, Hindustan Times, The Hindu and the
Indian Express put together! Ujala and Jagran are papers whose role in
the rise of Hindutva is well known, and continues till today:

IHT is less objectionable to me.


I poured reason in two wine glasses
Raised one above my head
And poured it into my life

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