i think the blogosphere is up in arms about this, as it was about the attack by the Ponytailed One, one arindam something, on a blogger who trashed the IIPM (which is a mysterious business school that makes very tall claims about itself and its alumni -- something along the lines of "dare to think beyond the iims and iits" and how its placement history is extraordinary. i have no idea how true the claims are, but the blogger who trashed it thought they were making it all up. it has a ponytailed fellow as its vice-chairman or something, who got pretty upset and forced the blogger to recant).
in the case of c kunte, whose right to freedom of expression has been attacked by ndtv, here is what he said. you decide for yourself if this is libelous and defamatory. this is the google cache of his page sent to me by a reader.
i think he has been browbeaten and intimidated by ndtv. poor fellow probably does not want a protracted legal battle, which we can all understand.
but this is typical nehruvian stalinism. NDTV has learned well from the fascist hangers-on of the powers-that-be (remember their frivolous lawsuit in the us which was thrown out of court?)
there are also some technicalities. if kunte ran this on a US server, he would be protected by US first-amendment rights. and he should hire narain kataria's lawyers and countersue ndtv for $100 million.
in this context, interesting article from the atlanticist about how there is a lot of 'libel tourism' in limey-land these days. trust the limeys to come up with this new market opportunity:
Radhika Sahasranaman rips the guts of that response on a 3000 strong, and growing Facebook group, whose title couldn't have sent signals any clearer:
NDTV's response is in itself a giveaway of misplaced notions: "In the absence of any instructions on site and in the absence of any such framework we broke NO rules" ("convenient transference of responsibility" or what?); and the entire argument, she concludes, amounts to "which television journalist tops the charts or falls to the bottom" (is that how they keep score?). It is important that we don't shoot the messenger but when the messenger loses the message, there is something to be done. Which is why, for once, I will take Barkha's advice. Use the remote control when emote control doesn't work.
— Radhika Sahasranaman
Do read her entire post. (Sign-up on Facebook just to read this—if nothing; I guarantee it's worth it.) She conveys it with such clarity, that I kept reading it over and over.
TV news would no doubt argue that most other critiques of 26/11 coverage have been answered, too. Shoving mikes in front of distressed people? They wanted to share. Too close to the theatre of operation? If someone told us we would have moved away. And just in case anyone still has doubts, Narayana Murthy and Suketu Mehta, among many others, rated 26/11 coverage as first class.
Maybe the Government goofed up not laying down rules of coverage. Does that end all questions on journalistic responsibility? Think about it. If journalists, especially senior editors, say they need the government to tell them how to do their business, they are opening a door many politicians would love to never shut again.
The choice could not have been simpler: you either kick the idiocy, and if that does not work, then kick the idiot out.
Update: Oh, by the way, there is a framework (Self-Regulation Guidelines for the Broadcasting Sector [pdf]) for anyone who cares—and has been in existence for more than a year.
Update 3: Presstalk: In the name of fair and balanced.
Update 4: The Hoot: "Those who argue that viewers can use the remote to not watch what they find unethical or irresponsible should note that many in India did, people went to offices and went to vote but the TV all the same managed to give important information to the backers of the terrorists who were glued to their screens. The remote is not the solution to such irresponsibility."
Harini Calamur: "Week 1 - Post 26/11 - Quo Vadis News Media?"