Friday, 24 December 2010

In the spirit of RTI

From: Anand Bala
Date: Thu, Nov 25, 2010 at 10:37 AM
Subject: In the spirit of RTI
To: Rajdeep Sardesai

Dear Rajdeep:

I write this letter to you in your capacity as an office bearer of the Editor's Guild.

The Media has successfully used RTI to expose corruption. I wonder if the fourth estate, a key pillar of our democracy, will be willing to expose themselves to the same scrutiny that they put our politicians under.

A key defence that media has given in light of the Radia tapes is the fact that there was NO quid pro quo. This is an attempt to verify that position.

Media is not obliged to share information under RTI. However, it would be in the interest of self-regulation to have some information in the public domain related to advertising revenues. This application is in the spirit of the RTI and is aimed at adding transparency to the current debate on the media becoming an intermediary between corporate houses and politicians.

The questions are to the large media houses in India (particularly to TV18, NDTV, Bennett and Coleman and The Hindu Group) and I am hoping that each of these houses will reply individually to these questions.

Each media house is requested to provide the following information in a clearly tabulated manner -

Question 1: What is the Advertising Revenue from Telecom Companies

  1. Data to be tabulated month by month for a period of 36 months ending in March 2010
  2. Data to be tabulated for each Telecom company separately
Question 2:  Who are your ten largest advertisers and how much advertising revenue have you received from each?
  1. Data to be tabulated month by month for a period of 36 months ending in March 2010
  2. Table for each month to include the top ten advertisers for each month.

I know that there is nothing that I can do or say that will force the editors to share this information. I am hoping however, that in your capacity as an office bearer in the Editor's guild, you will be in a position to i) lead by example ii) encourage others to put this information in the public domain.

Will wait 30 days for your response.

Anand Bala

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Yes or No?

1)      They say no to reservation
2)      They say yes to tax breaks and subsidies for corporates
3)      They say no subsidies for the poor
4)      They say yes diesel subsidies for their SUVs
5)      They say no to fertilizer subsidies for the farmers
6)      They say yes to biometric tagging
7)      They say no free water supply for the poor
8)      They say yes to tax payer money being used for airports
9)      They say no to tax payer money being used for power subsidies
10)  They say yes to import subsidies for agricultural produce

They then turn around and ask me why they shouldn’t criminalise poverty and lock up a destitute after labelling him a beggar. They create poverty, criminalise it and then want to hide the evidence. Do you still need to know why I have a problem with Dr Manmohan Singh, Dr Montek Singh and Dr Nandan Nilekani?