Citizens' Issues
Public Interest Exclusive
7 Angry Activists Boycott Times Now
Seven prominent activists, including Aruna Roy, Vrinda Grover, Kavita Krishnan and  Kavita Srivastava decided to boycott Times Now, especially the News Hour programme anchored by Arnab Goswami, in protest against alleged vilification of activists
 
Seven prominent woman activists, in an open letter, have decided to boycott Times Now, especially the News Hour programme anchored by the channel’s editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami, in protest against alleged vilification of activists and dissenting opinions. The activists are Aruna Roy (Right to Information, NREGA and Democratic Rights Activist), Vrinda Grover (Lawyer, Supreme Court), Kavita Krishnan (Women's movement and Left Activist), Kavita Srivastava (Women's movement and Civil Liberties activist), Sudha Ramalingam (Lawyer, Madras High Court and Civil liberties Activist), Pamela Philipose (Feminist and Senior Journalist) and Anjali Bharadwaj (Right to Information Activist).
 
All these activists wrote an open letter to Arnab Goswami, alleging denial to articulate their views repeatedly. Citing a specific example on 17th and 18th February 2015, during the News Hour programme to debate on the offloading of Greenpeace representative Priya Pillai, the letter says, right from the start, the activists were denied the right to articulate their views. “Not only were their mikes at times muted, they were repeatedly heckled and subjected to hate speech, with you, as the anchor, encouraging, even orchestrating and amplifying these responses,” the letter says.
 
Here is the open letter sent by these activists to Arnab Goswami…
 
24th February, 2015
 
Dear Mr. Arnab Goswami,
 
We, the undersigned, who have on many occasions participated in the 9:00 p.m. News Hour programme on Times Now, anchored by you , wish to raise concerns about the shrinking space in this programme for reasoned debate and the manner in which it has been used to demonize people’s movements and civil liberties activists.
 
On 17th  and 18th February 2015, in the News Hour show , a section of activists were invited to contribute to the debate on the “offloading” of Greenpeace representative Priya Pillai. Right from the start, the activists were denied the right to articulate their views. Not only were their mikes at times muted, they were repeatedly heckled and subjected to hate speech, with you, as the anchor, encouraging, even orchestrating and amplifying these responses.
 
We would like to make it clear here that the point to note is not our personal hurt, humiliation or the lack of respect shown to us from the other panellists, the anchor, or the channel. We also recognize that combative questions could be put to us when we participate in such a programme and that people may express their disagreements in a heated manner.
 
But we do object, and take serious exception, to the repeated branding of activists as ‘anti-national’ or ‘unpatriotic’ – words that are terms of abuse and hate-speech, and that can, when repeated ad nauseam in an influential media space, have serious repercussions. Rights activists, public figures and defendants in legal cases have been subjected to hate crimes, and even killed, in the country.
 
The media, which has a duty to conduct itself responsibly, cannot be allowed to aggravate the vulnerability of human rights activists, who are already being targeted, vilified and demonized, by the state and other vested and dominant interests.  
 
We are aware that on earlier occasions, too, many other guests at the News Hour studios have also been subjected to similar treatment by anchors like you or your colleagues. In the process, debates and discussions on important subjects of national import have been reduced to a one-sided harangue, with differing and dissenting voices being deliberately stifled. Loose allegations have been made about them, aspersions cast on their motives, and insinuations made about their patriotism, with all obligations of the media to conduct themselves in a neutral, fair and accurate manner being flung to the winds.
 
Our objection is not restricted to the occasions when activists have been subjected to this treatment. We find it equally objectionable when guests with points of view opposed to our own, are at the receiving end. We seek media space for rational presentation of arguments – our own as well as those whom we may disagree with, not for endorsement of our points of view by the media.   
 
We believe it is important to seek transparency and accountability from the media. We are concerned when journalistic ethics outlined by the National Broadcasting Authority (NBA) are wilfully and habitually violated. We would like to cite here relevant portions of the Code of Ethics issued by the NBA.
 
"News shall not be selected or designed to promote any particular belief, opinion or desires of any interest group....
 
"Broadcasters shall ensure a full and fair presentation of news as the same is the fundamental responsibility of each news channel. Realizing the importance of presenting all points of view in a democracy, the broadcasters should, therefore, take responsibility in ensuring that controversial subjects are fairly presented, with time being allotted fairly to each point of view....
 
"TV News channels must provide for neutrality by offering equality for all affected parties, players and actors in any dispute or conflict to present their point of view. Though neutrality does not always come down to giving equal space to all sides (news channels shall strive to give main view points of the main parties) news channels must strive to ensure that allegations are not portrayed as fact and charges are not conveyed as an act of guilt."
 
"... avoid... broadcasting content that is malicious, biased, regressive, knowingly inaccurate, hurtful, misleading...."
 
The television shows cited here were designed to canvas certain views held by the Government and the Intelligence Bureau and appeared as a platform for the public heckling and jeering of the activists involved, not just by other panellists but by the anchor himself. Far from maintaining neutrality and professionalism, you as the anchor were blatantly and aggressively opinionated, and never once provided the space for guests, whose views differed with yours, to voice their own opinions without continuous interruption and heckling. Apart from the fact that a fair allotment of time to them was never made, never once did you as the anchor consider the legitimate questions they raised as worthy of a response.
 
Not surprisingly then, an opportunity to question the accusations raised by the Government was not allowed. Instead, Government allegations were presented as self-evident facts by you as the anchor. You went on to claim that you had the ‘facts’ to prove the ‘anti-national’ character of one organization in particular and activists in general. While the responses of the activists on these panels were deliberately distorted, you as the anchor insinuated baselessly that the said activists were employing ‘hackers’, and that they had ‘deposed against India’.
 
We know that a similar scenario has been played out on many other occasions on the News Hour. The label ‘anti-national’ is attributed to invited guests without any basis in fact or law, as a term of abuse and hate-speech. Similar terms, used as forms of hate-speech, include, ‘Naxal’, ‘terrorist’, ‘terrorist sympathiser’.
 
It is inappropriate and irresponsible for channels to label anyone as ‘nationalist’ or ‘anti-national’ or ‘terrorist’ or the like. If panellists indulge in such terms, it is in fact the duty of the anchor to rein them in, and to ensure that such loaded and provocative words are not used to drown out the substantive points of the discussion or disagreement.
 
For moderators of the debate to allow such terms to be hurled at participants, and in fact to endorse and repeat such terms, is a gross abuse of the media’s immense power.
 
On one previous News Hour show on sexual violence in December 2013, intended ironically to mark the first anniversary of the 'Nirbhaya' rape, a prominent panellist on your programme repeatedly shouted that the two feminists on the panel were ‘Naxals who believed in free sex’. As such, the words ‘Naxalite’ and ‘free sex’ need not be pejorative. All sex should indeed be free. But in this case the terms were used as tools of abuse, equivalent to ‘terrorist’ and ‘slut’, in order to detract from reasoned argument.
 
Surely, even debates involving  panellists’ views on, or association with, the Naxalite movement in India, have to be conducted fairly and reasonably, without allowing the term ‘Naxal’ to be used as a form of abuse or to heckle a participant. Surely, even if participants and guests support self-determination in Kashmir; or are representatives of another country; or hold an abolitionist view on the death penalty; a news channel inviting them to express their views has the obligation to allow them to do so without being branded as ‘terrorists’ or ‘anti-nationals.’ If the Government can have talks with organisations who hold these opinions, or with leaders of these countries, they are surely entitled to be heard on national television with a modicum of dignity?
 
In protest against the vilification of activists and dissenting opinions, and the violation of the basic norms of professionalism, neutrality, reasonableness and fairness, we have for the present decided to stay away from Times Now debates. The purpose of this gesture of protest is to demand accountability of the television media, including Times Now, to the norms outlined by the NBA’s Code of Ethics. We take this step as an effort to promote public debate and a responsible engagement with opposing ideas and stances in order to deepen democracy.
 
Sincerely,
 
 
Vrinda Grover, Lawyer, Supreme Court of India
 
Sudha Ramalingam, Lawyer, Madras High Court and Civil liberties Activist
 
Pamela Philipose, Feminist and Senior Journalist
 
Aruna Roy, Right to Information, NREGA and Democratic Rights Activist
 
Anjali Bharadwaj, Right to Information Activist  
 
Kavita Krishnan, Women's movement and Left Activist
 
Kavita Srivastava, Women's movement and Civil Liberties activist

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COMMENTS

Bosco Menezes

2 years ago

It's a trash show & a trash anchor. Unfortunately so far Subramanium Swamy is the only one who has paid him back in the same coin.
But i disagree with some if the comments on this thread .... i dont feel it is an anti BJP show .... i feel rather that it is anti every sensible point of view :-)
And being liberal or standing up for tribals is not being anti-national.
I fully agree with the sentiments expressed in the letter of the activists, though I might not agree with all of their views.

milind

2 years ago

News as the ladies have said has to be fair and the channel should not side with one side. Nowadays we can see that Arnab is partisan and conducts the programme in such a way that everybody does not get a fair chance.
I would say that the panel selection itself is biased.
Anyway, the ladies have taken a good step and hope more people follow so as to teach Mr. Arnab some humility and bi-partisanship.

SAMUEL WARBAH

2 years ago

Everyone deserves respect irrespective on which side of the spectrum He or She believes

Ashok Gokhale

2 years ago

I agree with the activists. The News Hour anchor does not allow panelists, who hold views contrary to his, to adequately express their views without being constantly interrupted or otherwise discouraged. In fact, the News Hour debates are not debates but shouting matches in which the anchor cheerfully joins in! The anchor needs to introspect on how a debate should be conducted.
Ashok Gokhale

Mahesh S Bhatt

2 years ago

We are living on the fag end of Value Based systemic Governance.

Money talks Bull shit walks.

World & India are on the edge of great Economic depression & this shall surely support quicker precipitation.

They didnot allow helicopter attacks on Naxals.

There was writer Mrs Maheshwari who was interlocutor between Bengal government & Naxals.

She was offered Rice with Tamarind water & she due to habit of eatong dal/fish mentioned there is no dal/fish.

Naxals told Didi this is what is available.

Mrs Matateshwari was shocked at state of Naxals food buying capability.

We have grave situation in Land Bill too.

Property is available with constructions costs is Rs 1200/sqft but shamelessly tons of ads are coming everywhere promoting sale prices of Rs 5000 per sqft in Virar & Rs 40000 per sqft in Worli as per latest Fadnavis Ready reckoner rate update.

Its shocking how corrupt Politial class wants land the only common man's security hedge to be lost.

Gita says as you sow so shall you reap.Government officials from SRA to rich people each one is paying for corrupt land procurement processes & when Government goes through the same we have Ordinance.

This is true ruling crisis.

Enjoy & watch the fun times Mahesh

vinayak mahajan

2 years ago

There is indeed some facts in this letter.. I frequently watch this show.. the anchor many times pushes his views and his behaviour seems prejudiced... But this is not an alone example.. many tv shows and news in indian channels are pushing their own views without any facts... The main issue is media is not bound to follow the ethics laid by any organization... No agency ( autonomous or govt) has any power to take action as misconduct on media... whenever this point comes media make a cry that their freedom will be paralysed ... but time has come to laid down certain ethics for media.. make it accountable .. and some agency to monitor the ethics and regulations are followed and system to takedisciplinary action...

Suketu Shah

2 years ago

I love the way Dr Subramanium Swamy cut Arnab to his size and gave him a taste of his own medicine in the way he understand it most 2-3 months ago.Just decimiated him and his channel.

Vimala Manoharan

2 years ago

Arnab is a hypocrate..his debates look more to increase trp rating..with no constructive outcomes. I dont understand why politicians keep coming to his panel despite being insulted by him on many occasions.. if he is so brave and great journalist(he thinks so )will he speak in the same tone to jayalalitha or modi or mamta or mulayam or other big shots...

Anand Vaidya

2 years ago

These "activists" are not exactly angels. Just read their views on twitter or watch the TV. Best outcome (for us, citizens) is for these people to stay away. If they sign off twitter that will be double bonus.

REPLY

Navnith Krishnan

In Reply to Anand Vaidya 2 years ago

I am sorry.Nobody said these activists are angels. All these seven are either leftists or anarchists, but all Sonia's chamchas. The question is the way Arnab conducts the debate.

suruchi

2 years ago

That's how people behave when truth is told on their face. It takes a lot of courage to stand against all the odds and raise your voice which most of us can not even think of due to the fear of consequences. Arnab Goswami Sir, truly respect you and with you.

REPLY

Navnith Krishnan

In Reply to suruchi 2 years ago

I do agree that Arnab Goswami’s 9PM debates look more like a fish market.He takes half the time pontificating.If any opposite view is expressed he goes on interrupting repeating the same sentence again and again.It appears that he wants every one to talk at the same time creating a cacophony and then silences every body by his interventionist pontifications.Some spokespersons like those of Congress uses it to stop others from talking by constant chanting.As far as Pakistan is concerned,he brings in the same geriatric ex.army men who have an axe to grind because of the 1972 rout,to appear on behalf of them,one geriatric even threatening India with nukes.First of all Arnab should understand that he does not represent the Indian publicmbut only his marwadi bosses.

a mehta

2 years ago

good beginning. The Times now news hour with Arnab Goswami is more like a fish market than like a panel discussion. Arnab only allows those who agree to his line of thinking to talk. His shows are more like public arguments than like discussions.

K. V. Manjrekar

2 years ago

This channel can be bought over by lobbyists or political parties as was evident during the last Lok Sabha elecitons.
As rightly said by the activists the debates are totally biased and most of the time the "facts" that Arnab talks about are just allegations and he really conducts them in a way to stiffle voices which contradict his views or that of the lobbysts.

REPLY

Sreekanth Yelicherla

In Reply to K. V. Manjrekar 2 years ago

I thought it was already bought by UPA!

Navnith Krishnan

2 years ago

Arnab Goswami infarct does not allow any body to articulate by his constant interruptions. He goes on prompting every one to talk making a cacophony. I always avoid his debates since listening to it,I get headache.

K. M. Rao

2 years ago

We stopped watching the so called debates thrust on us in the guise of "News Hour"at 9 PM and switched over to channels which give us "plain news" not views of anchors.

Suketu Shah

2 years ago

Well done,high time.Utter nonsense channel total anti-BJP and talking unadultered biased thrash all the time.

What’s in a Name?
A lot actually, as we see how a missing ‘s’ in the name can have dramatic consequences
 
Alot, Mr Shakespeare. Especially if your company is named Taylor & Sons Ltd.
 
Taylor & Son Ltd was a company in Cardiff. Did readers get that right? Did they notice the difference? Therein lies the rub.
 
How often do we mistake Phillip for Phillips? The latter is on our tongue. A Bombay lady advocate, a Mrs Phillip, gets the raw end of the deal ever so often. She continues to be Mrs Phillips to the world.
 
To those who have had to deal with registrar of companies (RoC) and trust matters, the process of having a name accepted can be tortuous. It is done with good reason. Mohammed Ali and Ali Mohammed. Ram Laxman and Laxmanram. Whitefield and Whitfield. All so similar that mistakes are inevitable. Even pronunciations can play havoc. Glaxo is often called Glasgow!
 
So it is the duty of the RoC to ensure that similar names are weeded out. If one were to try for Tata Steels Ltd, he would be asked to think again. Something original. More different! 
 
The purpose is simple. The public should not be misguided. Surely, Tata Steels Ltd would be able to raise ample funds from gullible and not so sharp investors. Cheques might go to the wrong account. Quality problems would redound to the other company. Not a comedy, but a tragedy of errors.
 
In the case of Taylor & Sons Ltd, the disaster was of gigantic proportions. Their whole world came to an end, thanks to a mistake. A company called Taylor & Son, mind you ‘Son’, NOT ‘Sons’, had gone belly-up. As is required by law, this information was duly sent to Companies House, something akin to our RoC. There the trouble started.
 
The public is informed of such an undertaking being in trouble. It is done to protect the various stakeholders that interact with the fallen company. Creditors begin to stand in line on the first-come-first-served principle. Workers try to secure their dues and look for other jobs. Banks clamp down on accounts. Clients begin to look elsewhere. White knights, vultures in shining armour, circle overhead. Shares tumble. Bankruptcy proceedings begin.
 
There is, simply, no silver lining. No dawn on the horizon. The pit looks bottomless. In short, the whole world comes crashing down.
 
Now, what if you are mistakenly targeted? In our instant study, that is exactly what happened. Taylor & Sons tumbled. The Companies House announced that Taylor & Sons was on the brink. And Son took massive hits.
 
Davison-Sebry, the top dog at Sons, was holidaying at the time. Concerned that he was escaping the fall-out and shirking his responsibilities, many spewed venom. Orders were cancelled and one of those was our own Tata Steel, a customer giving Sons a monthly business of Rs4 crore. They say that troubles never come singly. For Taylor & Sons, they were enough to break its back.
 
So what did Taylor & Sons do? It sued. Who did it go after? The Companies House, the perpetrators of that dastardly mistake. And rightly so.
 
The court was told of the cascading effect on Sons. How in the span of three days, a once thriving company was reduced at ashes. How a 130-year old family business was destroyed. The court, rightly, sympathised with the company. It pointed its finger at one Mr Davies. Not Davy. No wonder, he made that ghastly error.
 
Taylor & Sons Ltd was awarded nearly Rs90 crore in damages. Which leads us to an intriguing thought. What would the storyline be, if Jeffrey Archer had thought of it? A sinking company. Finds a pliant clerk. A SMALL  mistake. A big upheaval. A court case. And rich dividends. No one would have believed him because truth is stranger than fiction. 
 

 

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COMMENTS

Sreekanth Yelicherla

2 years ago

I did not understand what exactly the article is saying though I sensed something to do with the "Sons"! And then I Googled and just read the first link in the search result and then I understood.
The way this article is presented confused me though I do not know whether it is just my lack of creative intelligence or everyone feeling the same.

New York City Lays Out Limits on Restraints and Suspensions
Amid recent calls for reform, New York City’s Department of Education is introducing new restrictions on suspending and restraining kids in city schools
 
New York City educators will face new restrictions on handcuffing students or suspending them from school, as part of regulations proposed earlier this month by the city’s education department. If the proposals are adopted as expected, schools will also have to begin tracking the number of times students are tied down or otherwise restrained.
 
Last year, an investigation by ProPublica and NPR showed that restraints are frequently used in schools across the country. Hundreds of students are injured each year. Our reporting also found that many of the nation’s largest school districts, including New York City, do not report the number of restraints to authorities despite being required to do so by the federal government. Los Angeles and Chicago, the country’s second and third largest school districts, also reported zero restraints.
 
New York City’s new regulations would require school safety agents to file monthly reports with the mayor’s office on the use of restraints. It would also aim to reduce schools’ reliance on 911 calls to manage disruptive students. The city’s education department plans to give de-escalation training to more than 1,500 educators across the city.
 
“We need to try to establish a system that both improves safety for teachers and kids in schools, and increases decency and learning,” Vincent Schiraldi, senior advisor to the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, told ProPublica. 
 
Restraint practices would change, as well. The city’s specialized school safety agents and police officers would no longer be able to restrain students under 12 in handcuffs, except as a last resort. For children of all ages, school security agents will not use any restraining device when alternatives are sufficient.
 
New York’s reforms are part of a wider nationwide move to decrease the use of restraint in public schools. Over the past several months, a number of states have proposed changes to their schools’ discipline policies. 
 
In late 2014, Massachusetts set new limits on the use of restraint and seclusion in schools. By the end of this year, state educators will be prohibited from holding students facedown on the ground in all but the rarest instances and they will need permission from principals to give students “time-outs” that are longer than 30 minutes.
 
Virginia legislators also approved a bill earlier this year that will require state leaders to set limits on the use of restraint and isolation in public schools. If approved by Virginia’s governor, the state education board will be required to enact new regulations that align with the federal guidelines on these behavioral interventions.
 
Aside from restraints, New York City’s proposed code would also reform suspension policies, requiring schools to get permission from a central office before suspending a kid for “defying authority.” During the 2013 school year, more than 8,800 kids were reportedly suspended for defying authority, which can include talking back to a teacher or missing several days of class.
 
The city has committed over $5 million dollars to support the reforms. The Department of Education expects the changes to go into effect soon after a public hearing in early March. 
 
Education attorney Nelson Mar of Legal Services NYC–Bronx told ProPublica that while he applauded the reforms, their value will depend on how they are implemented. 
 
“You can put a lot of good things on paper but at the end of the day, if there are no structures put in place to ensure compliance or enforcement, it could be meaningless,” said Mar.
 
Related stories: For more, read ProPublica’s investigation into the widespread use of restraints at public schools across the country. And meet the players fighting to keep the tactics legal.
 
Courtesy: ProPublica.org

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