For MCMS Students’ Reading -2

23 July. This is for MCMS (Mass Communication) students’ reading, after the first assignment reading ” India lost for words 20 years after its 1991 reforms” in the below post


India lost for words 20 years after its 1991 reforms

By John Elliot

NEW DELHI, July 23, 2011

Twenty years ago tonight, three top Indian officials burned the midnight oil tearing up old import controls and preparing a package of economic reforms that would slowly lead to the booming India that is widely admired today, with growth of 8-9%, 300-350m people enjoying the benefits of a consumer economy, and businessmen operating internationally.
But India seems to be in no mood to celebrate that momentous event, just as it wasn’t at India’s 50th anniversary of independence in 1997 when the feeling was downbeat. People then were unsure of what to celebrate, since so little had been achieved in terms of economic development, care for the poor and industrial efficiency since the British left in 1947.

Manmohan Singh and Narasimha Rao, early 1990s

Ten years later, that had changed because of the economic boom of the intervening years. But the 1997 mood is now back again. People are aware that, despite all the economic and business successes, and 800m people are still desperately poor and under-nourished and with poor access to clean water and health and education services. Public infrastructure and services are crumbling, national security and defence preparedness is woefully inadequate, and governance is sliding into a greedy, corrupt and inefficient abyss with no bottom in sight.
No 20-year celebrations or major events have been planned, though the Confederation of Indian Industry is next week beginning to pull together some conferences to examine what has been achieved and look ahead. Apart from occasional references to the reforms by prime minister Manmohan Singh, the government is mostly silent – possibly, one frustrated leading economist suggested to me, because Sonia Gandhi, leader of the coalition, and her son and heir Rahul, do not favour tough reforms. A National Advisory Council (NAC) that she heads is populated by soft liberals who prefer expensive and often wasteful pro-poor aid schemes.
Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has been briefing journalists this week on what he sees as signs of success (more pending than completed), though this has received a mixed reaction, including a damning piece on the Wall Street Journal’s India web page that lists what has not been done.
Yesterday, in an apparently desperate effort to show some signs of activity, the government approved a $7.2bn investment by BP in Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries’ (RIL) oil and gas business, and moved a little closer approving contentious foreign direct investment in general retail stores.
But that was offset by a cover story in today’s India Today weekly news magazine  (below)headedIndia goes global as government chokes economy – an over-stated reference to Indian companies’ big investments abroad at a time when Indian projects are being slowed down by government controls (often justifiably, in order to follow environmental regulations). Listed there are the mass of bills on land, mining, pension funds, banking, insurance, tax codes that India’s unruly and protest-prone parliament has failed to pass in recent sessions
Popular contrasts of India’s elephant and China’s tiger economies are being trotted out in various articles and studies, as they have been for 20 years. When this blog was created by Fortune magazine, it already had a China blog called Chasing the Dragon, so I was asked to ride the elephant.
But the contrast is simplistic because India has its tiger industries such as information technology (IT), autos, pharma, and mobile telecoms that have been spurred by entrepreneurial drive and technological change. There are also rapidly industrialising states – notably Gujarat and Tamil Nadu (despite its political corruption). These are taking the place of India’s earlier internationally lauded cities, Bangalore and Hyderabad, the capitals of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh that have been swamped by the greed and corruption of politicians and businessmen in areas such as land acquisition, mining and real estate. (The Karnataka chief minister is this week accused of facilitating multi-million dollar illegal mining).

India’s blundering elephant is the government establishment that has refused over the past 20 years to change the way that the country is run. The July 1991 reforms removed trade and industrial licensing controls and opened India up to foreign investment, but this whittling-down of the government’s role has not been followed through.
The government still controls the mostly unreformed banking and defence sectors as well as the vast array of public sector industries and, in various ways, land useage and licensing, especially in the corrupt telecom sector. Such government controls skew development. As a simple example, with 70% of banking still government-owned, 20 banks have sought to please Pranab Mukherjeeby opening branches in his Jangipur (West Bengal) constituency, even though most do little business there. Banks did the same in Palaniappan Chidambaram’s constituency when he was finance minister.
The reforms that were announced in a budget speech on July 24, 1991 by Manmohan Singh, then the finance minister, had been ordered by Narasimha Rao, the prime minister, who a  month earlier had formed a new government in the midst of a critical foreign exchange crisis. Singh had already devalued the rupee in two stages and dramatically flown 47 tonnes of gold to the Bank of England to cover a desperately needed bridging loan. The July 24 reforms had prepared along with Chidambaram, now home minister and then commerce minister, and Montek Singh Alhuwalia, then commerce secretary, who now runs the Planning Commission.
The road to reforms had begun at least a decade earlier when, towards the end of her prime ministership, Indira Gandhi started to decontrol cement prices (1982) and commissioned L.K.Jha, a veteran bureaucrat, to loosen many of India’s tough economic controls that he had helped put in place. This trend was continued by Rajiv Gandhi when he was prime minister in the mid-1980s, but he faced too much opposition to make much progress, as did Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh by 1994, when Rao became politically nervous and slowed progress.
No reforming zeal
Singh did not demur about that slowdown. Despite his image as the “architect” of the 1991 reforms, he has never been an enthusiastic liberaliser, and India has not been subject to the sort of reforming zeal and leadership shown by Margaret Thatcher in the UK ten years earlier. But the Soviet Union, which had always supported India, had just collapsed, economic reforms had begun in China – and then the financial crisis made instant action essential.
Singh however was always – and still is – more worried about the effects of change on the poor, as he used to tell me in the 1980s, when he was the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India and I was the Financial Times’ Delhi correspondent. Later he told Gurcharan Das, for India Unbound(published in 2000), that India had “the right pace of reform and a faster pace might have led to chaos”. He has also never been in favour of wide-ranging privatisation – inexplicably telling Das: “You don’t strangulate a child to whom you have given birth”. And he favours pro-poor and politically useful employment schemes that the current government and Sonia Gandhi’s NAC advocate, even though they are often corruptly and wastefully administered. “Growth was not enough. We had to attack poverty directly through employment schemes,” he told Das.
When the Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) came to power in 2004, reforms were initially held back by Communist-led Left Front that supported the government. Since the 2009 general election, many reforms have been blocked by the disproportionate power of other coalition partners that have 20 or fewer MPs out of the coalition’s total of 262.
The main problem however is that Sonia Gandhi is not a firm enough believer in reforms to push Singh and his government into a tougher line. Consequently, a raft of reforms have been delayed including divestments of stakes in public sector businesses, increasing FDI in various sector such as defence, insurance and retail, and – most important of all – curbing subsidies
Energy, water and urbanisation
Montek Singh Ahluwalia, whose Planning Commission is currently finalising a new five-year plan to start next year, recently argued in a lecture to the ICRIER policy think tank that there is too much public focus on FDI and divestments as the touchstones of liberalisation achievements. The focus for future should, he said, be on three urgent areas that would otherwise block economic progress.
One was the use of energy, with India importing 80% of its oil, and with coal prices and the need for imports rising. Next came water, whose supply (unlike energy) could not be increased despite current inadequate polluted supplies and growing demand. Third was urbanisation, with only 150m of 300m people currently in urban areas receiving adequate municipal services, while another 300m expected to arrive in cities within 20 years.
These areas need changes of approach and implementation by the central government, and even more by state governments, that have eluded India for the past 20 years.
Expanding and controlling energy and water supplies means, Ahluwalia says, that states must accept realistic pricing so that users pay – both in order to finance development and to curb unnecessary useage. That however is the same sort of problem as subsidies for the poor, which no government has dared cut.
Coping with urbanisation – and the use of land – needs new laws and regulations at both central and state level to avoid the corruption and crony capitalism that is currently evident across the country at all levels.
Basic reforms in governance are needed – the scale of the problem is illustrated by 150 out of 542 seats in the 12009 general election being won by politicians with criminal records and by the daily spate of corruption stories involving politicians and bureaucrats that daily fill the newspapers.
It is hard to see how India can tackle these issues, given that it has failed to do since 1991. People who are well off will of course do better, and the 300-350m people now enjoying varying levels of consumerism will increase in number and satisfaction. Companies will become more profitable and will become more internationally active. But social tensions will increase, with growing battles over the use of land and other scarce resources, and it will take major reforms to reverse the trend of bad governance and corruption.
It is an irony that, though the past 20 years began and now end with Manmohan Singh, he was neither in charge at the beginning, nor is he at the end. That is not a  criticism, but in the early 1990s he could only do what he did courtesy of Narasimha Rao, and now he cannot do what he doesn’t do courtesy of Sonia Gandhi and the UPA’s coalition partners. Something surely needs to change.

Are DISPLAY advertisements dominating CLASSIFIED ones?

                                                  Are DISPLAY advertisements dominating CLASSIFIED ones?
                                                                                                                                                                           By Prachi Srivastava

Thursday, July 21, 2011 

Newspaper, as an advertising medium is trusted since ages. Even today, after all technological inventions and innovations, even after the advent of mobile and internet playing a medium to deliver news, many people start their day with a cup of tea and newspaper. Newspaper is widely preferred mainly for the reach it has and also its ability to reach different target audiences. Brands still rely on newspapers because they can reach out to their target audiences.

Newspaper advertising has been explored with time. There have been display advertisements for many brands like cars, shampoo, and soap etc. classified advertisements for companies like BPOs, matrimonial, gym. There have been innovations like that of Volkwagen which had a talk machine in TOI that created a great publicity of the brand. Newspapers have also been having shampoo sachets, or small oil bottle etc attached to them creating a different recognition for the brand as such innovations attract the readers faster than normal display or classified advertisements. Also, the innovative print advertisements are spread through word of mouth and appreciated by many.

Typically newspaper display ads and are caused by larger business establishments with larger advertising spends. Display ads include retail/branding, public announcements, tender,public notice, education admission notices, UFR, special appointment Supplements etc. For Personal/ Individual Requirements such as selling Property, Automobiles, Change of Name newspaper classified ads are more optimally suited.

Display advertisements have texts, logos, graphics, and other forms of informational items that not only inform the readers about the brand but also create a longer impact than classified advertisement. Display generally appears on the same page where the editorial content is present or many times it is also present as a full page advertisement creating a greater significance and recognition for the brand. Whereas, classified advertisements generally appear in distinct section, based on their ad category in a designated newspaper classified pullout. The classified pages were traditionally text-only, and available in a limited selection of typefaces. Classified ads can either be normal classified texts or classified display ads. Classified display Ads are cheaper than regular display ads – and appear in smaller width sizes in the classified columns.

Classified ads are great at generating inquiries. Not only are these inquiries potential customers, but they also are a nice start to a mailing list that you can contact regarding future offers! Display ads on the other hand can give the information needed to make a sale straight from the page. Display ads allow you to describe your product or service, explain how to order and ideally make the sale. Display advertising is great for products that are visual and can be shown in use. People like to see what they are buying, so when possible, show them! Classified advertisements are simple helping people to search jobs too. But with time are the display advertisements dominating classified ones?

Sanjeev Gupta, MD, Global Advertisesrs, “I feel classified ads needs to be more attractive than just informational. They are traditionally text-only! All these ads look similar! Whereas, newspaper display ads have enough scope and space to be out-of-the box as well as creative. So I believe unless some drastic and interesting changes are not incorporated to classified display format, the format will become redundant”.

Pratap Bose, COO-Mudra Group, CEO-Mudra Max says “Classifieds are important for what they stand for. Display ads are there for a different purpose. If you are a print newspaper, display advertisements are always more than classifieds and this trend is not only in India but across the world and this will never change”. 

Making Media Education More Professional – SAC MCMS Way

22 July.  Academia – Industry gap has always been a point of tension between the stake holders in any field of education. More specially pronounced is this tension and unhappiness in media education-practitioner field.

Master of Communication and Media Studies Dept has always stood for the best available media education. In its pursuit to make education more industry oriented and also to bridge the gap between media academia and industry, to have more collaborative ties with practitioners, we have three practicing journalists investing their time, experience and talent with the Media (MCMS) students of st Aloysius College. Besides, there are a number of other print, broadcast, electronic media  journalists  coming every now and then to share their experience and tips with these students.

In addition, we have two more highly experienced teachers coming up – at the end of this month.

Mr John Thomas -from Bangalore- is the first one to open this chapter from Outstation. Mr JT was the News Editor of Deccan Herald. He was also the Editor of Statesman, News Editor of AFP, and founder-editor of Vijaya Karnataka. After that, he has worked as the Asst. Dean of IIJNM, and visiting faculty at Christ as well as Garden City College!

What more!?

The Hindu Fights Spills Over – Five Quit Editorial Board

21 July. Could there be more ironic news? The Guardian, a newspaper N. Ram admires and adores and borrows heavily from, publishes an interesting news item – in an apparent sense of “fairness” and “objectivity”: N. Ravi, (N.Ram’s brother, Malini Parthasarathi, N. Murali, Nirmala Laxman, and Nalini Krishnan have put in their papers! Just yesterday!

News about the already known family feud, which the Guardian published: (in a similar action as The Hindu did to The Hindustan Times, yesterday on “baby girls turned into baby boys!'” Is this “meta journalism” coming back to square one?

Turning Baby Girls into Baby Boys – A Media Miracle – Meta Journalism

20 July. Surely you will like this: miracle by media. I appreciate the guts of The Hindu, however competition-driven it is!

Turning baby girls into boys? The scoop that wasn’t


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MISLEADING: Curiously for such a potentially explosive story, the newspaper does not seem to have done basic research.
MISLEADING: Curiously for such a potentially explosive story, the newspaper does not seem to have done basic research.

A sensational story in Hindustan Times about surgeons in Indore performing hundreds of sex change operations on children turns out to be false and misleading. An investigation.

Last month, a Hindustan Times front page report claiming that Indore doctors were converting hundreds of baby girls into baby boys sent shock waves through the system, with everyone from the Prime Minister’s Office to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to the Indian Medical Association (IMA) swinging into action.

As it turns out, they need not have bothered. Senior doctors and surgeons say the operation, described on the front page of that newspaper as “turning girls into boys,” is medically impossible.

In interviews to The Hindu, several doctors accused the journalists and editors involved in reporting, writing, and packaging the story of inaccuracy, sensationalism, and an unseemly rush to grab the headlines without checking facts. The fact that the story has generated confusion and controversy over a little-known, but hugely important, medical procedure for infants born with abnormal genitalia — genitoplasty — is seen by experts as particularly unfortunate.

“It is medically impossible to change a female child into a male,” says Santosh Karmarkar, a consultant paediatric surgeon at Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai.HT‘s description of the operation — “Penis built surgically using tissues from female parts” — carried in an information graphic alongside the article, is “completely false,” he said. “In fact, the opposite may be possible, to convert a male phallus into a clitoris. But it is impossible to build a child’s penis,” he reiterates.

S.V. Kotwal, a senior consultant urologist who has performed 32 sex-change surgeries on adult patients at the Sitaram Bhartia Institute in Delhi, agrees: “You cannot create a penis and testes on a child. No one has ever done a sex change operation on a child in published English medical literature. It is impossible.”


So what is the “controversial” operation that the doctors of Indore are actually performing? It seems to be a corrective surgery, regularly recommended by paediatricians and urologists when faced with a child with congenital abnormality of the genitalia. For example, the penis may be small or seem missing because it is buried under the skin due to abnormal curvature.

“It is about making a male child a better male, functionally or structurally. It’s not about converting a child’s sex,” said Dr. Karmarkar.

Ironically, the HT article quotes the Indore doctors also saying that the operation is performed on children with ambiguous or abnormal genitalia. “They say these operations are done on children whose internal organs do not match their external genitalia — most commonly, girls born with some internal male organs,” says the article.

But there is no explanation of why these babies are to be arbitrarily considered “girls” if they have male organs; in fact, sexual identity is determined by a wide range of factors, including genetic and chromosomal make-up, external appearance, and the rearing of a child.


Asked for an explanation of the discrepancies in the front page story, HTEditor Sanjoy Narayan referred this reporter to the newspaper’s Bhopal Resident Editor, Abhijit Majumder. “We never said anywhere in the article that they are perfectly healthy girl babies which are being converted,” said Mr. Majumder, defending the Indore report.

However, the headline and lead of the HT article certainly read as though Indore’s doctors were converting healthy baby girls into baby boys by the hundreds. It is only much later in the story that the reporter bothers to inform readers that there is a medical reason behind this operation, rather than parents blindly demanding a boy child.

Mr. Majumder admits that the story left this as an “area of ambiguity.” He attributes the faulty description of the operation to the Indore doctors themselves, quickly pointing out the corrections in subsequent coverage. “The media are not medical experts, we will go by what the doctors say,” he said.

Both the Indore doctors quoted in the initial article — Milind Joshi and Brijesh Lahoti — say that they never described genitoplasty as “turning girls into boys.” Asked if the paper had misquoted him, Dr. Joshi replied: “Misquote? They printed a completely made-up story and kept harping on it for several days to top it [all].”

In an email letter to HT sent on the day the story was published, the Indore chapter of the Indian Association of Paediatric Surgeons refuted the article’s basic assertions. “We the Pediatric surgeons of the city have never ever performed any surgery to convert a normal female child into a male child because it is not possible even to think about it practically, technically, medically anywhere in this world,” said the email, shared with The Hindu by Dr. Joshi.

The letter goes on to explain how patients are scientifically evaluated by a team of doctors, clearly describing some of the abnormalities and how they are surgically corrected. The email says the number of surgeries and the supposed cost published in the newspaper were also false. The newspaper did not quote from this explanation in any follow-up coverage.

Curiously for such a potentially explosive story, the newspaper seems not to have done any basic research. In fact, a simple Google search for genitoplasty throws up a peer-reviewed study by All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) doctors at the premier institution’s Paediatric Intersex clinic, offering a clear description of the operation, destroying the newspaper’s assumption that it should not be performed on children, and offering the facts and figures so badly missing in the article.


At least one figure — which sparked off much of the national alarm — is provably dubious. The article said that “genitoplasty experts of Indore say each of them have turned 200 to 300 girls into ‘boys’ so far,” listing seven such experts.

“Well, three doctors told us they had done about 200, 300 surgeries,” Mr. Majumder told The Hindu, not explaining how that figure was then extrapolated to include the remaining four doctors. He then admitted: “Initially, the doctors may have thought our article would be a good advertisement for them, so they may have exaggerated.”

“The reporter has not done enough homework,” said Amar Jesani of the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics. “She has not found a single girl actually converted into a boy. It’s a very general, vague story which only casts suspicion due to the large number of such surgeries that are being claimed.” Once that “large number” is questioned, the premise of the story could collapse. Dr. Jesani now suggests that the Medical Council of India force the Indore doctors to open up their records to produce the hard facts that are missing in the HT story.

The problem is that those facts may end up telling a very different story.

Dr. Kotwal says he was interviewed by an HT correspondent in Delhi before the original story was published. “I told them that if you want to do investigative journalism, then do it,” he said. “Don’t just go by rumours. Find the records, find the children, do a case study.” His advice was not taken, nor were his quotes used. “But [the correspondent] told me that they could not wait, because there was such ‘cut-throat competition…They were in such a rush to have a sensation.’”

By design or coincidence, the story was front-paged by HT on the same day that DNA, one of its competitors, launched its Indore edition. Mr. Majumder says the story had been worked on for over two weeks — during which a case study could not be found as parents were unwilling to talk — and denied any knowledge of the interview Dr. Kotwal had given to an HT correspondent in Delhi.

With medical criticism of the piece increasing, Dr. Kotwal was asked to present his point of view in an op-ed article two days later. Meanwhile, the newspaper continues to publish follow-up stories lauding the “impact” of the original article without any attempt to plug its factual holes.

In fact, HT does not seem to have gone back to the Indore doctors it originally quoted for any of its follow-up stories. When The Hindu asked Dr. Lahoti if he had been questioned by NCPCR after the HT story came out, he said: “They asked us several questions and seemed determined to confirm the HT reports but they couldn’t find anything.” Dr. Joshi added: “All the paediatric surgeons of Indore were asked by NCPCR individually about whether this surgery was done or not by us. Our answer was this is not possible anywhere in the world and hence we also did not perform any such surgery. Our records were also very clear.” He warned that both doctors and innocent patients would suffer from HT‘s coverage. “This malicious story has caused immense damage to our professional reputation and is beyond repair. This will create problems for the patients and will HT bear their sufferings?”


“Our intention was not to sensationalise, or to do a sting operation to ‘expose’ doctors,” said HT‘s Majumder. “We genuinely wanted to raise awareness about the grey areas, move the conversation from the closed doors behind which it is between a doctor and the parents and create public debate about the need for monitoring or legislation.”

There are genuine issues that need to be discussed in the public fora. For instance, doctors say that corrective surgeries are more often needed for common male defects, leading to the false impression the newspaper gave that “girls are being converted into boys.”

However, in cases of extreme ambiguity, where the child is considered “intersex,” the doctor must “assign” the sex of the child before deciding how the genitalia are corrected. The AIIMS study admits: “The gender assignment takes into account the prevalent social factors in a community and the parent’s desire.” This could well mean that in some cases, the desire of Indian parents for a boy could be influencing the doctor’s assignment of sexual identity.

There is also a wider international debate on whether corrective surgeries should be done at all on such children, or whether “intersex” children should be left to decide their own sexual identity upon reaching adulthood.

Unfortunately, an alarmist and misleading headline, some glaring errors, and the sheer absence of any hard facts may well have undermined any journalistic intentions of raising awareness and generating an honest debate.

(With inputs from Mahim Pratap Singh.)

(Note to readers: The Hindu competes with Hindustan Times in North India.)

(In the print edition and an earlier version of this article online, the name of HT’s Bhopal Resident Editor was incorrectly spelt as Majumdar)

Keywords: sex change operations




Post Graduate Classes Begin at St Aloysius College Mangalore

18 July. The freshers had a taste of St Aloysius College (Autonomous) and its post graduate studies. It was the inauguration of the new academic year for the freshers, even as the senior students were busy with their regular classes.

The day -for the freshers- began with a video presentation – a guided tour of the St Aloysius College Campus, so to say- for the new comers. After the prayer, Frs Rector,  Principal and all the Heads of the Departments sat on the dais at the inaugural. Fr Rector introduced the students to the Aloysian Ethos! After a few other speeches and a lunch break, the freshers got back to their

Mass Communication (MCMS) students (freshers)  had an introductory session -both with their staff and among themselves. The brief introduction was an interesting one! The fire-filled-for effective academic-year- students looked keen to make it a meaningful year.

In the meantime, the senior MCMS students were introduced to their dissertation paper. And what more, had a foretaste of their research work – with some good research works! Well, that can make things really easy and meaningful! eh?