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Barkha versus blogger
A blogger indulged in some abusive free speech about Barkha Dutt's reporting of the Mumbai seige. And invited a legal notice for defamation from NDTV. The Hoot presents the original offending post, and its subsequent withdrawal.
Posted/Updated Sunday, Feb 01 10:46:02, 2009

The blogosphere has come out unreservedly in defence of a blogger whom they see being browbeaten by the legal clout of the mainstream press. Journalists posting on  mailing lists such as New_Media_Forum wonder why bloggers think they should have the freedom to abuse without giving the person concerned the right to reply. Here are the orignal post and the one withdrawing it.   

 

Shoddy Journalism 

Date: Thursday, 27 Nov 2008 20:39

Appalling journalism. Absolute blasphemy! As I watch the news from home, I am dumbfounded to see Barkha Dutt of NDTV break every rule of ethical journalism in reporting the Mumbai mayhem. Take a couple of instances for example:

 

  • In one instance she asks a husband about his wife being stuck, or held as a hostage. The poor guy adds in the end about where she was last hiding. Aired! My dear friends with AK-47s, our national news is helping you. Go get those still in. And be sure to thank NDTV for not censoring this bit of information.
  • In another instance, a General sort of suggests that there were no hostages in Oberoi Trident. (Clever.) Then, our herione of revelations calls the head of Oberoi, and the idiot confirms a possibility of 100 or more people still in the building. Hello! Guys with guns, you've got more goats to slay. But before you do, you've got to love NDTV and more precisely Ms. Dutt. She's your official intelligence from Ground zero.

You do not need to be a journalist to understand the basic premise of ethics, which starts with protecting victims first; and that is done by avoiding key information from being aired publicly-such as but not limited to revealing the number of possible people still in, the hideouts of hostages and people stuck in buildings.

Imagine you're one of those sorry souls holed-up in one of those bathrooms, or kitchens. A journalist pulls your kin outside and asks about your last contact on national television, and other prying details. In a bout of emotion, if they happen to reveal more details, you are sure going to hell. Remember these are hotels, where in all likelihood, every room has a television. All a terrorist needs to do is listen to Ms. Barkha Dutt's latest achievement of extracting information from your relative, based on your last phone-call or SMS. And you're shafted-courtesy NDTV.1

If the terrorists don't manage to shove you in to your private hell, the journalists on national television will certainly help you get there. One of the criticisms about Barkha Dutt on Wikipedia reads thus:

During the Kargil conflict, Indian Army sources repeatedly complained to her channel that she was giving away locations in her broadcasts, thus causing Indian casualties.

Looks like the idiot journalist has not learnt anything since then. I join a number of bloggers pleading her to shut the f⋅⋅⋅ up.

Update: In fact, I am willing to believe that Hemant Karkare died because these channels showed him prepare (wear helmet, wear bullet-proof vest.) in excruciating detail live on television. And they in turn targeted him where he was unprotected. The brave officer succumbed to bullets in the neck.

Update 2 [28.Nov.2300hrs]: Better sense appears to have prevailed in the latter half of today-either willfully, or by Government coercion2, and Live broadcasts are now being limited to non-action zones. Telecast of action troops and strategy is now not being aired live. Thank goodness for that.

Update 3 [30.Nov.1900hrs]: DNA India reports about a UK couple ask media to report carefully:

The terrorists were watching CNN and they came down from where they were in a lift after hearing about us on TV.

- Lynne Shaw in an interview.

 

 

Weblog

Unconditional Withdrawal of my post "Shoddy Journalism" dated November 27th 2008

Monday, 26 January 2009

  1. I, Chyetanya Kunte, hereby tender an unconditional apology to Ms. Barkha Dutt, Managing Editor, English News, NDTV Limited and to NDTV Limited, for the defamatory statements I made regarding Ms. Barkha Dutt and NDTV Limited, in my post titled "Shoddy Journalism," dated November 27th 2008, on my weblog at www.ckunte.com.
  2. I have come to the conclusion that my post contained untrue and defamatory statements and that I have expressed myself in a disproportional manner. As a result, I have agreed with Ms. Barkha Dutt and NDTV to publish this statement as a means of settlement. I did not have the right nor the factual evidence to accuse Ms. Dutt and NDTV of the acts that I alleged in my weblog.
  3. Consequently, I hereby repudiate and withdraw my post dated November 27, 2008 titled "Shoddy Journalism" and, more specifically, the following allegations / statements made in the post titled "Shoddy Journalism" namely:
    • a lack of ethics, responsibility and professionalism by Ms. Dutt and NDTV Limited;
    • that Ms. Dutt and NDTV's reporting at the scene of the Mumbai attacks during November 2008, resulted in jeopardizing the safety and lives of civilians and / or security personnel caught up in and / or involved in defending against the attacks in Mumbai in November 2008;
    • that Ms. Dutt was responsible for the death of Indian Servicemen during the Kargil Conflict.
  4. In an effort to remedy the damage that my aforementioned weblog post has caused to the reputations of Ms. Dutt and NDTV, I have undertaken to send this apology and withdrawal statement to all the websites that reproduced my post.
  5. I hereby undertake not to repeat the said statements or similar statements against Ms. Dutt or NDTV Limited in the future.

[26.01.09]

Chyetanya Kunte

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