Of Conspiracies and Crackpot Theories.

Maybe I should add a subtitle: Did you have to get me started?

This guy I know from high school accused me of being overly pessimistic and of often writing in a way that belittles the country. Or something. He also pointed out that the Indian media tend to do this as well.

Then he sent me this email with a subject line that said:

Who Owns the Indian Media? The ownership explains the control of media in India by foreigners. The result is obvious. Please pass this on to everyone you know.

This collection of distilled nonsense can be found here. Why do I think pretty much everything this article says is brain-meltingly stupid? Here are just the first two claims the article makes:

Let us for a moment see the ownership of different media agencies and their alignments:

NDTV: A very popular TV news media is funded by Gospels of Charity in Spain Supports Communism. Recently it has developed a soft corner towards Pakistan because Pakistan President has allowed only this channel to be aired in Pakistan . Indian CEO Prannoy Roy is co-brother of Prakash Karat, General Secretary of the Communist party of India . His wife and Brinda Karat are sisters.

CNN-IBN: This is 100 percent funded by Southern Baptist Church with its branches in all over the world with HQ in US.. The Church annually allocates $800 million for promotion of its channel. Its Indian head is Rajdeep Sardesai and his wife Sagarika Ghosh.

Now, anything that says something like ‘this is 100 percent funded by…’ is already suspect. Add to that the paranoia and the raging xenophobia in the article, and one would rather believe a preacher at the pulpit than this nonsense. If you’d rather check that this is indeed dumber-than-wood dumb, here’s a rediff news article reporting that Prannoy Roy has gifted 15% from his 50% share of NDTV to his daughter. And here’s the Wikipedia article for CNN-IBN that says that GBN, an Indian company owns and runs Network 18, with Time-Warner having a 26% share.

Now that I’ve said that two and two are four, I’ll say this about the charge that the Indian media are not below exploiting tragedy to get ratings: I’d rather listen to Anusha Rizvi and Aamir Khan make this point, thanks very much.

More importantly, though, I think the media in this country are much too sheepish and not nearly critical enough of what goes on in this country. Here’s an example:

Did you watch the Commonwealth Games opener? Did you think it was good? It was? How good was it? 70,000 crores worth? Or perhaps a little less than that? Would you be able to tell how good the opening ceremony should have been if we’d spent 10,000 crore rupees on CWG-2010, as opposed to the 70,000 crore rupees we’ve spent? Would any of us?

In the light of this, does it seem surprising to you that Suresh Kalmadi and co. look like they’ll be let off the hook? Are you worried that the media, the people who’ve been covering the mind-altering corruption in the run-up to the games, have stopped saying anything critical of anybody in relation to the games?

I am.

I’m worried that the people running the games seem to be getting away with throwing two lakh families out of Delhi, disallowing places like the Jantar-Mantar from being used for public protests, and “spending” more money on the CWG than London is going to spend on the Olympics (CWG-2010: 70,000 crores = 16 billion USD. London-2012: 9.3 billion GBP = 14 billion USD) .

I’m worried that we, the people, seem to be all right with letting some fuckers get away with robbing the country blind if they can put up a decent show with some part of the money. And even to hail these people as heroes. Even if they think that Princess Diana attended the Commonwealth Games opener. Even if they can’t stop themselves from mixing up APJ Abdul Kalam, a rather popular President of the country, and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, one of the biggest leaders of the Independence movement.

3 thoughts on “Of Conspiracies and Crackpot Theories.”

  1. I agree. I too have been hearing a lot of nonsense about Indian media being funded by vested interests. While it’s true that the media has a long way to go, some of these claims are outright ridiculous.

    I came across your site cause I was searching for the original source of this ridiculous email – I got it in one of your links. Thanks!

    A few weeks ago, I had written a similar piece challenging the myths that surround the Indian media – I’ll be writing another one linking to this post and adding some thoughts of my own…

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