Short Story: "Hypocrite Radar - EmpTy-TV and Parkha Strutt"


The Story


I am a blogger - I do not wish to disclose my name in the interest of privacy. There were terror attacks in my country (again I would prefer not to disclose my nationality either) on the 52nd day of the 22nd month last year (lets call this incident as the "52/22 attacks"). Most of the news channels in my country were irresponsible in their coverage of the event; but one particular channel - EmpTy-TV, was outstandingly shoddy.


I had put forth this opinion is as many words in a blog post immediately after the 52/22 attacks. I had singled out one female reporter of the channel - named Ms. Parkha Strutt (how apt, since all she does is strut her half-baked sense of journalism in front of the camera) for severe criticism. This was not the first time that Ms. Strutt had violated journalist ethics and pure common sense in pursuit of TRP's. In an earlier incident, she had reported LIVE from a battlefield (when my country had been in war with a neighboring country). Her news feed had given away the location of my country's army bunkers and had resulted in casualties in my country's army too.


Well, apparently, Ms. Strutt could not digest this criticism. The recent turn of events (including a legal notice to me by EmpTy-TV) have culminated in me tendering an unconditional apology to Ms. Strutt; and withdrawing my said blogpost.


What is really sad about the whole event is the unabashed hypocrisy on display - on part of EmpTy-TV and Parkha Strutt in particular; and my country's mainstream media (MSM) in general. The media had come under fire from all quarters after the 52/22 attacks. The national Government in my country wanted to regulate the media, at least during times of national emergencies. However, the MSM lobby had vehemently opposed any such move, arguing that it would be detrimental to the idea of "freedom of speech". I, at that time, had silently sided with the media. Allowing regulation of media by Governments is dangerous - It is very easy for the Govt to misuse the power.


Well so MSM and EmpTy-TV did have their way and retained their freedom of speech. But, wait a minute. Do I not enjoy the same freedom of speech and expression as they do? Let us for a moment forget about everything else in this episode - MSM's downright unethical coverage of the 52/22 attacks, or my blog post bashing them up for it. My point is - why one set of rights for MSM; and another set for the general public (bloggers included)? If one cannot handle criticism, one should not indulge in criticism either, should (s)he?


The Appeal


I appeal to the readers of my blog to protest against this act of hypocrisy by EmpTy-TV. Some of the means of protest:


  • Stop watching EmpTy-TV; or even unsubscribe from EmpTy-TV if you are in a position to do so.

  • Inform others who do watch EmpTy-TV about this incident. Let them take the decision whether they wish to continue watching this channel.

  • If you are an advertiser on EmpTy-TV, then pull out right now.

  • Start (or help me in starting) online petitions for this cause. You can consider petitioning EmpTy-TV itself (showing the channel how much resentment there is against it); or petitioning the national Government (demanding an explanation/justice from EmpTy-TV); or even the petitioning some of the companies which advertise on the channel (requesting a pull-out - the advertisers have ample avenues anyways).



Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. All entities mentioned in this story (including, but not limited to, countries, places, dates, names, incidents and controversies) are imaginary. Any reference or similarity to any real entity is purely coincidental. Further, any reference or similarity to any person or news channel, living or dead (literally dead; or dead in conscience, professional ethics, or spirit) is purely coincidental too.


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Update (01/02/09): MadMomma has linked to this post. Head over to her post and you will be astonished at this unbelievable coincidence - Just after I write this short story; I stumble upon an almost exact real-life incident! Its a good thing I put that disclaimer there!!


Update 2 (01/02/09): Apparently, the "war incident" which I mentioned above also closely resembles a real-life incident which occured in India in 1999. Thank God (or whoever invented them) for Disclaimers!!!


Update 3 (01/02/09): This one takes the cake. And it altogether redefines the term "coincidence". It has come to my notice that a similar incident has taken place in a far-away galaxy on the planet of Massomedia too!!! I am dumb-founded and really do not know what to say!


Update 4 (02/02/09): This post has featured at BlogBharti.


Mr. Professional Seeks My Counsel

Guess what? I recently got a call out-of-the-blue from my old pal Mr. Professional (I encourage you to read this previous post about Mr. Professional - i'l call him Mr.Pr in the rest of this post - to get introduced to him, and to put the current post into perspective). I am glad to inform my readers that Mr.Pr has since gotten himself a life outside of his "professional duty".

Ok, so he surprised me by giving me a ring after a long, long time. He breathlessly told me that he had got a new job sometime mid of last year. And, to my horror, I realized that he had called me up to seek my advice on a pressing matter. Ya, I know - ME!! of all people! And what exactly was he seeking advice on? To put it in his own words:

Hey Kiran, what would you rather do? Romance Katrina Kaif on-screen in return for nothing? Or get beaten up on-screen by Salman Khan in return for a FilmFare Award?

Here he goes, I thought! You see, Mr.Pr has had a history of losing his marbles every now and then :). But I had no clue that he was so blinded by Katrina that he even dreamt of acting with her (if you can call what she does as "acting" .. hmmph). I just dismissed this as one of his bouts of craziness; and changed the topic - ignoring his repeated and vociferous pleas to "discuss". Imagine his cheek - calling this a "pressing matter". Ya right!

It was only a few days later, when I was flipping my way through some old blogs on my blogroll (this one in particular), that I discovered how profound this crazy-sounding Mr.Pr really is. Reading through that blog, and linking the opinions of the author to the conversation with Mr.Pr, the tube light in my head slowly lit up (after flickering several times of course). What Mr.Pr. really was asking me was:

Hey Kiran, what would you rather choose?

  • Doing what you really like - even if it is thankless and with no reward whatsoever? Would the satisfaction you derive out of such an activity be reward enough?

OR

  • Doing something that you hate from every artery, vein and capillary in your body, provided the returns are substantial?


I'm totally stumped by this thought process from who I've been thinking of hitherto as "Stupid ol' Mr.Pr". I have now started seeing him in new light. And no - I have no answer to his question. Even after losing sleep over this matter for quite a few days, I am still unable to decide what I'd rather do. All I can do is come up with more questions, like

Would I get involved today in something that is against my principles/goals, provided it will lead to my goals being achieved in the long run? (2 examples I can think of are - Business Risks and "eradicating" the corrupt politicians from my country).


Like i said - why ME of all people?? All Mr.Pr has succeeded in is unsettling me with this train of thought! Anyone care to counsel him?

IndiaUncut nominated for 2008 Weblog Awards


One of my favorite Indian blogs - IndiaUncut - has been nominated for the 2008 Weblog Awards. In case you have not read this blog, I suggest you do it right now.

Here's what I like about IndiaUncut:
  • Most of the posts are short and to the point. Why, many of his posts are no more than 3-4 lines long.
  • 10 stars out of 5 for humor.
  • In spite of being sarcastic, many of the posts also convey a message, or an opinion worth analyzing.
In short, you could say that IndiaUncut is the desi version of Dilbert, sans the comics though!

Do vote for IU here.

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Disclaimer: This is my personal blog. All the views and opinions expressed on this blog are entirely my own and do not reflect the views of my employer, organization, relatives, friends, acquaintances or any other person/entity.