Barkha Dutt and NDTV, the Joke is on You!

So Chyetanya Kunte is the latest victim of media intimidation. I’m not going to rehash the same excellent points made by other bloggers. Here’s a partial list:

The Indian media–specifically, television ranks at the top for its King-sized conceit. It bulldozes its way into people’s tragedies and increasingly, sees itself as the final arbiter of national justice. Its anchors assault the ears 24/7 with nothing but meaningless shrillery under the illusion that loudness=news. Its talk shows are crude exercises in self-aggrandizement. However, all these traits don’t even measure up to even a knee-length of Barkha Dutt epitomizes. There’s no better proof for this than the fact that a Facebook Group (Can u please take BARKHA off air!) is dedicated to her. It is by far one of the most popular groups there with over 4500 members and about 900 posts in just over a month!

Barkha Dutt owes her heady taste of fame to her “reporting” during the Kargil war. Ignoring the controversy surrounding her actual role in the reporting, she was made out to be a bigger hero than the valiant soldiers that fought in the war. I recall reading some review that Preity Zinta’s unconvincing histrionics in Lakshya was modelled after Barkha. However, for Barkha, there was no looking back after Kargil. Today she stands almost unchallenged in both fame and skill at compensating incompetence with loudmouthedness. She spins self-righteous yarns about free speech and media-professional hazards when her nonchalant reporting style is criticized. You tend to normally ignore such yarn because she has to defend her actions, etc. But then, you should sit up and give it back when she goes beyond that. In a shocking display of arrogance and strong-arm tactics, she has threatened legal action against blogger Chyetanya Kunte for voicing his opinion about her “shoddy journalism” which is what her antics on 26/11 were. Chyetanya was forced to take down his post thanks to NDTV’s threat.

Neither is this the first instance. Remember Mediaah, which was shut down thanks to a similar legal threat by TOI (aside: read an excellent piece on the whole episode). Or the infamous IIPM online hooliganism that threatened to choke Rashmi Bansal’s (also Gaurav Sabnis’) right to freedom of speech? Despite all this, the Indian media just doesn’t get it. Here’s the thing beautifully articulated:

The success of [The Times'] case depends wholly on the hope that Maheshwari will not fight back against a gargantuan media conglomerate,” said Rohit Gupta, a freelance writer and engineer in Mumbai. “That’s where the Times of India reveals its ignorance of changing times and the nature of the blogosphere. Maheshwari does not need to fight this himself — this concerns the freedom of all bloggers from Indian origin, so we will fight the battle for him.”[...] “The Times of India has simply shown how far they’ve come from being a respectable newspaper to being a common school bully. If bloggers can collaborate to provide humanitarian assistance for the greatest natural disaster the living world has seen, they can certainly tackle the Times of India, a man-made ethical disaster.

Which takes us back to the same question: why do they hate us so much? From India Today to TOI to Outlook and now NDTV, the media has on numerous occasions ranted against bloggers with undisguised contempt, which stems from their appalling ignorance of what blogging is all about. Their typical terms for bloggers: brash, 20-something, angry, furious, seething, venting, cyber-Cinderellas, pretentious, and the like. Is this because they feel somehow threatened? Or is it because some bloggers write far better prose, articulate opinions way better than many so-called mainstream observers and columnists? Or is it because bloggers are unconstrained by word-limit, editorial stance, or business interests? For all their ire against bloggers, the media doesn’t hesitate to steal content from bloggers. Here’s a lovely post that chronicles this plagiarism (scroll down till you reach this: Indian Media Plagiarizing from Bloggers [or, bloggers highlighting cases of MSM misdeeds]). TOI leads the pack in this plagiarism, the selfsame TOI that sent the self-righteous legal notice to Mediaah didn’t seem to examine the crap in its own backyard. There’s yet another angle to this. In the breath that they rant against bloggers, most of these media houses have their own blogs, or have set up a blog service on their sites–TOI, IBN, Indian Express, and the now-defunct blog service from NDTV. The main reason I think, for the Indian media’s angst against the blogsphere is the fact that till blogging caught popular imagination, media houses were used to their monopoly over news and opinion–they were virtually unchallenged–any “letters to the editor” that didn’t toe their byline were simply not published. Now that bloggers on a colossal scale have begun to call their bluff, their fragile sensibilities have taken a severe blow. While they strut around invading people’s privacy, and making grand pronouncements at random on everybody, they need to understand that freedom of speech is not their exclusive privilege.  People will exercise the same right upon them. Patrix puts it beautifully:

When the reporter becomes the reported, it is usually time to take a closer look at your life and wonder what happened.

However, if bloggers can sit alone at their keyboards, type out their honest opinions, and network with each other on noble causes, they can also fight back against such strong-arm tactics. In this, they’re far more courageous than the media, which infamously crawled when asked to bend. I’m sorry, but Barkha Dutt and her NDTV team cannot gag my right to free speech on the pretext of protecting her right to free speech. If I don’t like a newspaper, I won’t buy it and I’ll say why I don’t like it. The newspaper cannot sue me for that. While we’re on the subject, since NDTV is listed on the Stock Exchange, how about selling its shares if you have bought any?

What’s next, Barkha Dutt and NDTV, are you going to sue the entire Indian blogsphere, and Facebook?

Crossposted on Desicritics.

28 comments for “Barkha Dutt and NDTV, the Joke is on You!

  1. Murali
    July 5, 2011 at 11:44 AM

    I just want her banished from all the common indians’ memories!!

  2. Barry Richards
    December 3, 2010 at 2:01 PM

    Vanity, thy name is Barkha Dutt….Poor Pronoy Roy. He is like Neelkantha – neither can he gulp her nor can he spit her out!! Whatever was little credibility was left in NDTV after a big exodus, BD had done the hatchet job. Roy, please do something about her. Good bye NDTV.

    Your reputation is harmed the most by what you say to defend it. -Nassim Taleb

  3. yogesh
    December 1, 2010 at 6:40 PM

    Brakha dutt must apologizse for that and it would be better if she leave this profession

  4. Malavika
    November 21, 2010 at 9:31 PM

    Barkagate reaffirms the fact that 24X7 news is either PR for Congress or entertainment. I haven’t missed a thing by not having NDTV/Times now/whatever. Tweedledee, Tweedledum, no difference at all.

    Stop watching those PR pushers and power brokers moonlighting as journos. Barkhagate is just tip of the iceberg.

  5. Writer
    November 21, 2010 at 10:59 AM

    I request anyone who has with him/her the video clipping of Barkha Dutt reporting the Mumbai terror attacks by Kasab and associates in Nov,2008, saying – sadly anti-Pakistan slogans are being raised- when some angry Mumbaikars shouted anti-pakistan slogans and cheered the Indian security forces after they cleared the terrorist from various areas in Mumbai, to post it on this site or any other responsible site so that the mindset of Barkha Dutt is known to all those people in this country who still think that Barkha Dutt is a patriotic secular angel. She should not be allowed to fool the Indian public again.Which patriotic Indian will feel sad when anti-Pakistani slogans are raised,that too in the backdrop of a shocking event like an attack on Mumbai,India’s commercial hub?

  6. Devi
    May 24, 2009 at 12:22 PM

    Stop watching NDTV. Idiots like Barkha Dutt do not deserve an audience.

  7. February 27, 2009 at 11:13 AM

    I have stopped all 24/7 channels from long time after seeing the hypocracy of media specially english media.
    It is totally biased and one sided …
    for the current affair there many regional channels n international which u can watch decently if not holy.

  8. sathish
    February 18, 2009 at 8:43 PM

    I have stopped watching NDTV. Formerly, it was my daily routine. My day started with logging on to NDTV. Recently, there was a disproportionate reporting of the incident of the pub attack in Mangalore and certain other seemingly related incidents. While those incidents could never be condoned, a similar incident had happened in Mumbai where a Pakistani girl was assaulted for sporting a tattoo in Urdu on her body. This news went completely unaired! This was an equally condemnable incident wherein the assault was directly on our culture of ‘athiti devo bhava’. The poor lady had come to India for some course and she went back out of fear. Her name, reportedly is Saba Najam (Please correct me if I am wrong about this incident). When I tried to type a comment on these lines on their website, to my utter disappointment, I found that my comment was not posted. I tried once again and no need to say, I failed. While they reserve the right to decide what to air and what to allow as comments on their site. I reserve the right to decide whether to boycott their channel or not. It is as simple as that. As the saying goes, they cannot fool all the people all the time. I am sure that Mr. Kunte’s case will be the beginning of the end.

  9. Ajeya Mehta
    February 15, 2009 at 1:51 AM

    Great Response! We all need to unite & put such anti Bharat, anti Nationalists in place! How do we help people like Chyetan Kunte, do suggets at hotmaleajayg@yahoo.com

    thanks!
    Ajeya

  10. Satyam
    February 10, 2009 at 12:51 AM

    Fellow Bharatiya:

    Why not all boycott that channel? Is that too hard? Are they going issue fatwas for not wathing their rubbish? Simply boycott and ignore them.

    In the west, such channels will die a natural death. We must emulate westerners at least on this aspect and boycott and isolate them.

    And be brave and bold. Don’t get intimidated by long-hand english medias, supported by sickular parties. Fatwabazi has no place in Bharat, be they jihadis or sickular medias.

  11. Gaurav
    February 2, 2009 at 1:02 AM

    I think it was in response to such attacks on media that they came up with self-regulation rules in December 2008 (http://ibnlive.in.com/news/news-channels-make-it-a-rule-restrained-reporting/80876-3.html)

    But honestly, I think was only a cover up job… I dont think they can ever give up sensationalism. I think what is more important is for the govt to tighten its noose on them… But then again they will start crying about media/press freedom! I am beginning to wonder what defines press/media and if blogs can be included in it? If it can, then we have a case against the bullies!

  12. swabhimaan
    February 1, 2009 at 12:37 AM

    wow Sandeep! well written…

  13. ego
    January 31, 2009 at 10:40 AM

    @Goofy mumma:

    There’s a discussion on facebook where one Mr Gagan Saini raised this same issue to which Barkha Dutt herself replied as follows:

    “you may want to know that the author of this email- a certain Mr. Kunte who lives in Holland.. has been sent a legal notice by NDTV for the rubbish and lies peddled in this email.

    Best Regards

    Barkha Dutt.

    You can find it here –> http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=52492265639&topic=5983

  14. January 31, 2009 at 2:53 AM

    Hi, I have written a post on this myself, and soemone left a pertinent comment, so passing it on, is there any concrete evidence of any lawsuit against Cheytanya?

  15. krishna
    January 30, 2009 at 10:02 PM

    MSM will discuss the non-related issues months together.
    There are so many problems faced by the aam aadmi and they don’t even bring to notice. They need money to run the channel.

  16. jai
    January 30, 2009 at 12:13 PM

    Hamen apno ne mara gairon mein kahan dam thaa!!
    Hamari Kashti wahan doobi jahan Paani kam Tha !!!

  17. Vasuki H A
    January 30, 2009 at 11:26 AM

    Another “me holier than thou” kind of trash from Barkha and NDTV. Incidents like this outline one more dimension to the commies’ perennial dislike of the West, and the US in particular. “free speech” in the West is universal. And that is what they hate so much. Anything like that here would be a hurdle to advace their “secular” cause. That is when they make “offers that cannot be refused”. They try for sure. And once in a while they net a victim too.
    Imposters like these are being shown their place in Karnataka atleast. In the past couple of years “secular” messiahs like Girish Karnad, U R Ananthamurthy, the roguish Chandrashekhara Patil and the likes have seen their bluff called. It is time Barkha gets similar treatment.

  18. sajith
    January 30, 2009 at 10:23 AM

    well said. but as per fame point of view chaithanya did make a mistake by withdrawing his command. if he stood firm on his stand he might have been the first one who go through the case against a blogger in india. after all controversy is the easiest way to shot in to stardom !!!

  19. January 30, 2009 at 1:01 AM

    Well said.

  20. RS
    January 29, 2009 at 10:02 PM

    Burkha Dutt the less one says about it the best. I was watching a programme “we the people” following orissa hindu christian episode. I vividly remember her giving plenty of time to a christian intelectual harping about freedon to practive free speech AKA conversions but when Mark Tully upon being ask to comment, when critical of chtritian attitude and conversions, he was stoped in his tracks with typical barkha’s OK! OK !OK. I have stoped watching the programme which is a great shame.

  21. Sudhir
    January 29, 2009 at 9:34 PM

    Burkha after the Mumbai Tragedy had said that she would sue Admiral Suresh Mehta. But we do not see any news on this front. So it means that what Admiral said is true and she indeed killed Indian armymen. Here’s a link which gives some info about the incident.

    http://www.askenni.com/archives/2004/07/barkha_dutt_-_a.html

  22. Ot
    January 29, 2009 at 9:24 PM

    >>While we’re on the subject, since NDTV is listed on the Stock Exchange, how about selling its shares if you have bought any?

    If you hold stock in NDTV, your goal should not be to sell it.

    You own a piece of the outfit, and you have rights.

    Present yourself at their AGM, and state vocally that their reporting is hurting their profitability, and therefore _your_ investment. Demand explanations. State that their managing editor is extremely unpopular and ask the CEO to see her out.

  23. ego
    January 29, 2009 at 9:14 PM

    Barkha Dutt’s legendary thick-skin appears to be only skin-deep. Of all the people who criticized her, she chose to go after an independent blogger. If she didn’t agree with his criticisms, she could have written about it on her blog. Or better, she could have left a comment on Chyetanya’s blog and enlightened us with a civilized discussion. But she chose the easier way out. Is this all we can expect from journalists who claim to go to any lengths to report the truth ? They can’t even walk a couple of steps to defend themselves.

  24. January 29, 2009 at 7:25 PM

    It seems that they have underestimated the power of bloggers, or maybe they have overestimated themselves.

  25. Sai Ram
    January 29, 2009 at 6:07 PM

    Simple guys, Post 26/11 I have stopped watching That Channle Completely. I hold them in such utter contempt that even uttering their name is not on for me.

    Thank you

    Sai Ram

  26. Sandeep
    January 29, 2009 at 5:38 PM

    N Shah,

    I don’t know if she’ll really ever go off air, but I’ll be content if she’s put out of harm’s way.

  27. N SHAH
    January 29, 2009 at 5:36 PM

    well said! Barkha needs to be cut in size and be shown her rightful in place. She’s crowned herself as the supreme agent of righteousness in the Indian Fourth Estate and the arbiter of arbiters in the national media. But, how do you think exactly she will be made to go off air?

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