Tuesday, February 10, 2009

People want media ombudsman: Acharya

I am happy that healthy deliberations were held across the state in political, government and media circles in the past few days. "I am an ardent follower of Deendayal Upadhyaya and his political ideology which always upheld freedom of the Press. I sought for an ombudsman in the context where some journalists with `vested interest' produce concocted stories and it was my view that an ombudsman can end such unethical practices,'' he maintained.
Full text & other reports today...
Most terrified visual media Scribes snub Acharya
ತುರ್ತು ಪರಿಸ್ತಿತಿ ಕಾಲದಲ್ಲಿ ಕಾಂಗ್ರೆಸ್ಸ್ ಪಕ್ಷದ ಅಭಿವ್ಯಕ್ತಿ ಸ್ವಾತಂತ್ರ್ಯ ದಮನಕಾರಿ ನೀತಿ ಪ್ರತಿಭಟಿಸಿದ್ದಕ್ಕೆ ಜೈಲು ವಾಸ ಮಾಡಿದ ಡಾ ಆಚಾರ್ಯ...Dr Acharya was jailed during the emergency period(clamped by Indira Gandhi/Congress), for expressing his views on protection of freedom of expression...
If a proposal for Media Ombudsman generates a healthy discussion, it is a good sign in democracy! If the people do not want any such body, then there is no question of having one. At the same time, media needs to have some introspection, self regulation...or have an internal ombudsman, in the lines of Readers Editor, concept of The Hindu.
BANGALORE: Home Minister V S Acharya has been under the scanner of the Opposition and the media for his “alleged failure,” to protect law and order. The Opposition has even doubted his handling of sensitive cases including the infamous Padmapriya death, the communal violence and the latest pub attacks in Mangalore. However, Acharya seems unperturbed.
On Sunday, the Home Minister stated that the government would set up a media ombudsman to curb “sensationalising reports,” both in electronic and print media.On Monday, however, he said that he was only reflecting views of several people at a peace meeting in Mangalore. “I have been receiving calls from Bidar to Chamarajanagar and from Kolar to Malpe, to restrict the media,” he said. When quizzed by the media, he elaborated his views and defended the decision.
Q: Would you clarify your statement on media ombudsman?
Acharya: This is not my view. It is a reflection of views expressed by a cross section of people attending a peace meeting in Mangalore. Several of them wanted a ban on media, particularly electronic media after the pub attack and the recent kidnap case.
I was only summing up their views and trying to convince those arguing for a ban that it was not fair to curb freedom of press. We are followers of Deendayal Upadhyaya and never believed in curbing media. I was only assuaging the people’s feelings.
Q: There already exists a Press Council of India (PCI), what is the need for a parallel body?
Acharya: Where is PCI? Is it functioning and performing any duties? Q: What will be the role of the proposed ombudsman? Acharya: We believe in freedom of press and media. There is no question of curbing any freedom. What we want is that media should be responsible while reporting on any issue. Reports on January 24 (pub attack), February 6 (kidnap of Kerala MLA’s daughter) and the pulse polio had created panic among public. Several people are of the view that Padmapriya committed suicide because of premature reporting. Media first gives judgment and then verifies facts. To stop such premature reporting, we are considering the creation of an ombudsman.
Q: When is the government planning to create the new body? Acharya: It is still under consideration.

I will discuss with all concerned people, including the Chief Minister. We will explore all options and seek opinion of experts to create the ombudsman, probably headed by a judge.
Q: In the past 50 years, there was no need for creating such a media watchdog. What made you to decide on setting up of an ombudsman in just eight months? Acharya: It is not just in the last eight months. There has been an accumulation of several incidents (of wrong reporting and sensationalisation by media). Now the time has come to create an ombudsman.
Q: Are you satisfied with your performance?
Acharya: Yes. The crime detection rate has gone up, after I assumed charge. I have been interacting with senior officials and specialists on modernising police force. I am now focusing to ensure that detected cases are taken to the logical end by punishing the culprits

(You may recall that in the case of Pub attack, first arrest was made by Mangalore police within 10 minutes, subsequently many were arrested, including Ram Sena leaders. Ram Sena is in no way connected to BJP, in fact they had fielded their candidates against BJP canditates in the last election. The release of these leaders is as per the decision of the judiciary. However the investigations were hampered, due to "no complaint" by the victims of the attack!...Similarly, in the case of "abduction" of MLA`s daughter, 5 persons - CPIM activists were arrested, produced in the court as per the laws. However, to coverup a family issue, Manjeswar MLA Kunjambu made media statements blaming the Home Minister of Karnataka making irresponsible statements!- such statements were never made by Dr V S Acharya)
Express News Service


How do we know said...

sir.. how about a polotical ombudsman to stop politicians from giving themselves hikes every now and then? This ombudsman should also tell us why our army is so badly equipped. We need a political ombudsman as badly as we need a media ombudsman(and yes, i do agree that the media needs an ombudsman and soon)

Another Kiran In NYC said...

For all your protests about this party and that party were responsible for ANY violence towards women, how about your responsibility as an adminstrator that the atmosphere where such a thing can happen is not created, tolerated or allowed.

Do not make excuses. As an administrator, the buck stops with you. Think about that awhile and take responsibility. Take responsibiliy that such a shameful thing happened on your watch.

Pub Bharo is a great form of Satyragraha. I hope every woman in the state and all over India decide on many. many different forms of satyagraha at home, in the workplace, in the streets. We need to remind people that we will not be led. We are not playthings to be beaten emotionally or physically because we may have different opinions for someone else.

Anonymous said...

We dont need anything with government involvement the less power you people in power have the better off the people are. We the youth are the future and the old should accept that. what happened in Manglore is a shame and if you delete this comment then it shows your fallacy and how much faith you have in true democracy. It is my country and i want you to run it my way. you are the servant of the people so start serving us and not the religious bigots or your own moral ideals.

Trips Reddy said...

Dear Mr. Acharya, As a journalist of Indian origin living in New York reading about the attacks in Mangalore, I am mixed with equal parts of anger and disgust. And then when I read about politicians jumping into the mix to defend these criminal acts of assault and molestation, and insisting that drinking is against Indian culture, I'm almost nauseous! Isn't is ironical that Karnataka state makes millions from the Excise Tax on liquor and yet like typical hypocrites that politicians are often labeled as, your government makes comments justifying the incident in Mangalore. This is a new low even for your government. Physically attacking and molesting outnumbered women in a bar is not justifiable in any part of the world, even in uneducated, backward places like Afghanistan. The world is watching. I hope you know the incident and your government's response to it is getting a lot of coverage here even in the New York Times. Do what's right!

JMF Saldanha said...

Dear Trips Reddy
1. The government has condemned the episodes of attack on women, swiftly arrested the culprits, including the masterminds behind the attack. The judiciary is taking its own course, in punishing the attackers- on which we have little control.
2. NY times better concentrate on the violence in its home ground.
3. Please note that, it life as usual in Mangalore/Karnataka...only some mediamen are all out to malign the government, hand in glove with out of power politicians.
4. If you are interested, why dont you conduct a survey in Mangalore, with housewives/mothers, regarding their opinion on these events, before reeling out second hand news, churned by remote control journos?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Acharya, i think enough has been said and written about 'tallibanisation' of Mangalore. and i hope u r following all thats being said and written.
Sir, before you decided to turn deaf against these actions did you realise that one of the biggest contribution of India to the world culture has been Kamasutra. Something which involves freedom of women as much as that of men.

Did you realise we boast about Khajuraho and Elephanta in our Incredible India campaigns through out the world.

Did you realize the world is watching India more closely than most of our political leaders.

Did you...

freespirit said...

Dear JMF Saldanha,

It might be easy for you to say that life is going on as usual in Karnataka. I beg to differ. I've seen that men on the street nowadays are, with increasing frequency, indulging in harassment of women and other kinds of eve-teasing with impunity because the recent issue has increased their confidence. Now they feel that it is their right to behave in any manner they like with a woman because they can hide behind the pretext of "Indian culture". As for the judiciary; just whose pocket are they in anyway? And Muthalik already has several non-bailable offences to his name; arrest him anyway on such a charge! While the Ram Sena is issuing threats right and left and the Government can only say "law will take its own course". Why are they waiting for an incident to happen? Ban them immediately!

Tarlesubba said...

Wake up free spirit...check how people in Mangalore had a galatime, inspite of media claiming otherwise...http://www.mangalorean.com/news.php?newstype=broadcast&broadcastid=112046
Everytime you cry, ban -------, remeber that you are adding a supporter to the organization...

AG said...

Mr. JMF Saldanha, You say that "The government has condemned the episodes of attack on women, swiftly arrested the culprits, including the masterminds behind the attack. The judiciary is taking its own course, in punishing the attackers- on which we have little control." - but what about releasing the culprits within a week of being arrested, including as YOU say the "mastermind". They are roaming free and announcing that they will do it again.

Also, I would like to ask you, what school does/did your child go to - a Kannada medium school or an English medium school. If your answer is English medium, then isn't that a western influence?

Also, please point out where in the religious books does it say that women do not have the right to do whatever a man can. If thats your stand, tell all women in India to stop working, then lets see where all the politicians will go!!

And on the point of promiscuousity, it was very much present in ancient India, so it is not a western influence!!

Venkatesh said...

Dear Sir - Have some suggestions to improve to protect our women folks from Sene-type guys>

A separate ministry should be carved out of the Home portfolio for the protection of the women (in Karnataka). It should be headed by a women for any male member would have scant respect for women protection, exception being his family members.

Alternately you can suggest that the citizens who want to live in Karnataka shall be armed with a pepper spray or pen knife so that when their modesty is challenged they will be able to protect themselves.

Ask for the DNA test for the so-called moral policemen to check whether they are really kept strict morality in place in their family. Those who fail the test, should be barred from the being a member of these organisations. Trust me, good lot will be failed and hence barred.

Rajkiran Panuganti said...

@Trips Reddy,..

You should rather be ashamed of your journalist brothers that they were happily recording the event instead of stopping it.

And, secondly, we will react based on what is right (needless to say, here Ram sene is wrong!) not based on what is written on NYTimes by Somini sengupta... She is another author who writes articles like that of Slumdog millionaire, just catering to what west wants to see..

I'm sure that you are not based in Mangalore. Such scary situation for women can happen only in New Delhi. I'd suspect you are from Delhi...

Both of you, the atmosphere is created by the Media.. not by the govt. The govt. took action,..and if you want a ban on Ram sene, it is upto the Central govt... You guys must at least know the laws as to who can ban..

It is ridiculous to call Pub Bharo as Satyagraha... It is an insult to Gandhi's ideals...

@freespirit, There are so many innocent women being killed every year in villages....and you dont care because Media doesnt sensationalize it for you!

Sir, you are doing a good job.. Keep both the ill-elements of the society like Ram sene and the ill-elements of elite media like NDTV at bay!

Max said...


a) Politicians with millions swindled in Swiss Banks..

b) Almost every alternate govt officer indulging in blatant misproportionate of assets (poor, poor Lok Ayukta..)

c) Public resources blatantly misused by those in office, and power vested to those in office also blatantly misused (ever seen parking outside Hotel Chancery opp Bangalore club during party meets? to quote a microscopic example...)

d) Manhandling at the hands of Police (I ride at night and work in an IT Co., I dont drink and carry all documents, but I have been routinely harassed, once even arrested for drunk driving by a completely drunk inspector.... to quote another microscopic example..)

e) Criminals roaming free on the streets (no? Again, I travel at night, I can point out shady places, which the cops themselves are very well aware of...

f) Ever been to MG Road (Bangalore) between 7 pm to 11 pm? You'll see at least 30 prostitutes standing in revealing clothes... isnt it illegal in India? Or am I missing something...they need to be removed and rehabilitated, not a pub going girl who probably works and doesnt trade sex for cash

g) Your latest comment is "Parents should take care of their own children"... EXCELLENT... Start issuing Gun licenses, Me and my family will be the first to apply. We dont want to ever have to enter a Police Station anyway (ever spoken to a cop as a common man? Try it, there wont be much saluting and "saar'ing" I assure you..)

h) We dont mind paying taxes, and supporting corruption, you know why? because how else will thousands of incompetent fellow indians progress? How else will the corrupt make money? (They obvioulsy cant slog 9 hours a day to make an honest living..) Its social service, for which we want NOTHING in return. People ask me what I do for my country? I support thousands of corrupt politicians and govt officials by paying Tax. Because their kind wouldnt last even 2 days in my world (company with policies, rules, 9 hours of work, monthly salary...)

I think the above FEW deserve much more attention than a woman going to a Pub, or parents taking care of their own children.

Issue gun licenses so that ordinary, tax paying, law abiding, god fearing, helpless people like me and my family can protect ourselves.

Please make your money, please stay in power forever, frankly, very few educated people give a damn, but at least do some good, make the arms and ammunition licensing procedure easy to obtain. So that the next time people like me and my family travel to a resort, we need to fear harassment at the hands of people belonging to some political party, so that the next time we are on a road, train, or bus, we need not have to fear the rowdyism of any registered political party worker, again to quote 2 or 3 very microscopic examples...



by the way, very nice typical politically correct blog.

Anonymous said...

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Radhika said...

JMF Saldanha,

I am a housewife and a mother..this is my opinion...and I hope you are reading -very attentively..

This is a country which I am helping to build and I am hoping that my daughter can live her life as SHE chooses when she grows up without having to look over her shoulder.For that matter, neither do I.I believe I have the right AND darned well EARNED the right to be living life on my own terms.So, make no mistakes, no woman with an ounce of self respect will support what has happened in Mangalore.By the way,I am talking about the women that read this blog and are bloody aware about what you choose to say..or else, which segment are you hinting at when you're talking about a poll?

Speaking the truth is now maligning the government? funny THAT is.

Johnson said...

Hilarious to read comments here, especially Max and Radhika - you guys think minister personally went and attacked girls LOL

Culprits have been arrested within days and hours in all reported cases, still you Times Of India wallahs want to paint minister in bad light. Keep doing it because all said and done city wallahs hardly matter when it comes to polls.

S Kerlapur said...

Either deliberately or ignorantly people are thoroughly diverted from the main issue.

I understand the stand point of those who are against women drinking and 'almost' soliciting in bars. I would suggest those parents who think their children (especially daughters) have birth right to be free and choose their own ways what seem to be right to them, must give their daughters a surprise visiting them at the pubs. If you aren't careful about them, you never know what hands they fall into. We have known such stories all our life and yet in the dirty name of modernization you are all blinded by the media and 'culture' to believe THIS IS THE WAY TO LIVE!

Today you know the 'modernized' girls are the ones who have fallen into the dungeons of illicit drugs. The men who are after them, the underworld who is after them, are after their money. Even when you know the girls who are entirely 'saint'like at home, might even be changing boy friends often, smoking pots and weeds or even just cigarettes, and you will never get to know it. Because you are blind to all that. Do you want proof of this? If you really care about those girls who fall into such traps, have a detective check on many of those girls living in paying guest houses. This is absolute truth. They are the ones who put the others on competition mode to live up to the 'western standards' of social life, with whatever money they earn.

I don't say all the girls in PGs are the same. One who do not vouch for such life, will move out of such places. They seek safer places anyways.

But why the parents deliberately want to be blind to the harm that this social life brings in?

Women in jeans and t-shirts, smoking is simply a taboo. A lifestyle. A measure of 'modernity.' If they arent there then they feel 'uncultured Indian' which is a shame! We have had men smoke through many ages in India and it never appeared to any that its something we detest. Its a different issue that they are learning from the experience after they fall severely ill and helpless at some point of time, because of heavy smoking. With all due respects to the women (this is part of our Indian culture) do not just snub those who try to stop you from falling into such traps. If only you stopped for a moment and tried to see other side of the view too, you would probably have a constructive debate on the point.

Whatever said and done, Indian mindset is designed and tuned to believe that everything and anything that Americans do or the English do, is absolutely fine with Indians. Just copy it ditto to the last dot. The media is helping you to completely forget everything that you COULD HAVE BEEN as an Indian and to BECOME COMPLETELY pseudo-Indian.

Sampath said...

People who attacked here are real hypocrites...
If Naxals with left ideology goes and kills inocent civilians, there is no connection between naxals and Communist parties,,, Fine
If Some people who are right ideologists takes law in to hands attacks some one in PUB..then there is BJP hand in it...!!! What a finding huh...
Please carry on the fight sir...we are with u

Dr. B V said...

Dear Mr. Home Minister,
First off, I won't call you sir like some of the servile respondents of your blog have. And why? Because YOU are the public servant that people like me elected. And we did not elect you so that you could get on with your petty games.
It is your responsibility to look into the safety and security of your people, not to further your divisive and propagandist agenda. If you can't handle the responsibility, step down please and hand over the job to someone responsible and capable.

And if you want to send across an honest message, please get your stooges off this blog. We know that JMF Saldanha and others are merely your own people posting under false names.

Shame on you

freespirit said...

Rjkiran Panuganti,

1.Your pointless speculation on my place of residence just shows how deluded you are. I speak as a citizen of Karnataka.

2.I'm well aware about all the atrocities against women. For instance, the issue about widows being sold like cattle in and around Bangalore; I did post a comment about the issue anonymously but the chose not to publish it. How come Dr.Acharya is not commenting on the negative aspects of such regrettable practices? He only chooses to speak about pub culture's ills-strange! This is another such crime; there the widows have no freedom, here they are trying to take away what little we have.

3.If the centre is not acting to implement a ban it is the job of the state Government to initiate it, and propose such a ban to the Centre.


I'm sure that the people like you must be having a gala time. However there are women who feel unsafe. You speak with a link from some website, I speak from personal experience.

Rajkiran Panuganti said...

Acharya ji,

I believe BJP must promote Compulsory Civil Defense program for everyone (esp. Women) so that they can fend off themselves and gain confidence to tackle such hooligans.

It will also help in the them that Every civilian is a policeman without uniform.