Sonia Gandhi’s suggestion to ban advertisements to media for two years to save money to fight Corona virus has evoked hostile reaction from journalists. PM Narendra Modi wanted suggestions from leaders of political parties to fight Corona virus. Sonia Gandhi had made five suggestions. They were:
1) Proportionate reduction in the expenditure budget of the government of India.
2) Hold on foreign visits of President, Prime Minister, Union Ministers, Chief Ministers, state ministers and bureaucrats.
3) Transfer of all money from PM Cares Fund to Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund to ensure efficiency, transparency and accountability.
4) Complete ban on media advertisements – print, electronic and online – by the Government and Public Sector Undertakings for a period of two years.
5) Suspension of 20,000 crore rupees Central Vista beautification and construction project.
News Broadcasters Association issued the following statement:
“News Broadcasters Association (NBA) strongly deplores the suggestion by Congress President Smt. Sonia Gandhi to “impose a complete ban on media advertisements – television, print and online – by the Government and Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) for a period of two years.”
At a time when media personnel, without fearing for their lives, are doing their national duty, by disseminating news on the pandemic, a statement like this from the Congress President is highly demoralizing.
On one hand there has been a slump in advertisement revenues of electronic media due to recession, on the other hand it is suffering from financial blows due to nationwide lockdown of all industries and businesses. Moreover, news channels are spending heavily on providing safety to their reporters and production staff. To suggest a “complete ban” on government and PSU advertisements is not only ill timed, but highly arbitrary.
NBA calls upon Congress President Smt. Sonia Gandhi to withdraw her suggestion made to the prime minister about “complete ban” on media advertisements for two years in the interest of a healthy and free media.”
It was signed by Rajat Sharma, President, News Broadcasters Association.
NBA is concerned about loss of revenue. News TV channels have lost revenue from private sector and are now dependent on Government and public sector. News is business. Lockdown has resulted in loss of business and income for many. Many people die due to malaria, chikungunya, dengue, TB, pneumonia and other diseases every year. Media created hysteria about Corona. Journalists did not oppose lockdown. Now if they suffer loss it is their problem. Public money should not go to save private media.
I came across one anecdote on SophieCo, RT. A pilgrim and Plague met on the way. Plague asked the pilgrim “Where are you going?” “Mecca” he replied asked the Plague “Where are you going?” “Baghdad.” “How many will you kill?” “Five thousand.” A year later they met again. The pilgrim said “You lied. You said you will kill five thousand. You killed fifty-five thousand.” Plague replied “I told the truth. I killed give thousand. The rest died out of fear.”
NBA calling upon Sonia Gandhi to withdraw her suggestion “complete ban” on media advertisements for two years is height of arrogance and against free speech. Sonia Gandhi does not have the power to decide. It is in the interest of a healthy and free media not to depend on government ads. It is struggle for existence and survival of the fittest. TV journalists lecture others about staying at home and they move about freely. Many businesses are shut down. No problem if news TV channels are shut down. Let journalists sit at home and taste their own bitter medicine.
Sonia Gandhi’s suggestion about PM Cares Fund implies she thinks it lacks efficiency, transparency and accountability. Anyway government is not short of money. It can have as much money it wants by printing notes.
Yesterday, 7/4/2020, NBA wanted Sonia Gandhi to withdraw her suggestion of media ad ban. Today, 8/4/2020, Association of Radio Operators of India (AROI) and Indian Newspaper Society (INS) want the same.
AROI statement said “The last year has been a very difficult one for Radio, especially for radio stations in small towns due to a huge gap in Government advertising…
We also request Mrs. Sonia Gandhi to please review and withdraw her suggestion and thereby demonstrate her support for one of the crucial pillars of democracy – Media.”
This letter is polite. Anuradha Prasad is President of AROI, Uday Chawla is Secretary General.
INS issued a press release signed by Mary Paul, Secretary General. It states:
“The President of the Indian Newspaper Society (INS) Mr. Shailesh Gupta, on behalf of the entire community of INS Members, expressed disbelief and condemned the Chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party – Mrs. Sonia Gandhi’s suggestion to the Prime Minister for a two year ban on media advertisements by the Government and PSUs. Such a proposal tantamounts to financial censorship…
The INS appeals to the Chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party to reconsider and withdraw the suggestion made to the Prime Minister about the “Complete ban” on media advertisements for two years in the interest of a “vibrant and free Press”.”
This letter is obnoxious. INS has the gall to condemn Sonia Gandhi.
Media is not a pillar of democracy. There is paid news. Media dependent on government ads is neither free nor vibrant. The statements expose many leeches and parasites thriving on public money. If many newspapers and radio stations go down so be it. All India Radio and Doordarshan are enough.
Justice for Jyoti Singh was delivered on 20/3/2020 to a large extent as four rapists and murderers were hanged at Tihar Jail. It was not full because one criminal escaped justice and was not hanged on the ground that he was juvenile at the time of crime.
It took seven years, three months and four days for Jyoti Singh to get justice. Their hanging was set for 22/1/2020. Then it was postponed to 1/2/2020. On 31/1/2020, hours before hanging was to take place, hanging of 4 convicts was stayed indefinitely. Again on 2/3/2020, hours before hanging was to take place 3/3/2020, hanging of 4 convicts was stayed indefinitely. As hanging got delayed many people appreciated Hyderabad model where police had finished four persons caught for rape and murder of Priyanka Reddy in an encounter in two days. Then it was set for 20/3/2020. There were reports that criminals had appealed to International Court of Justice and National Human Rights Commission. On the night of 19/3/2020 lawyer of criminals approached Delhi High Court to stop the execution. Then he approached Supreme Court which rejected the appeal around 3.30 a.m. on 20/3/2020 just two hours before execution.
The long process exposed loopholes in Indian judicial system. Corrective measures are to be taken.
Courts should not function outside working hours on working days. Lawyers who approach courts outside such times should be punished by twenty years imprisonment.
Criminals sentenced to death for the same crime can be executed separately. No need to execute them together. Rule of executing together was used by criminals to delay justice.
Review petition should be done away by Supreme Court itself or by amending the Constitution. Till that is done review petition has to be filed within ten days of verdict. Delay in filing review petition should not be condoned.
There should be no curative petition. Constitution does not mention curative petition.
Mercy petition disposal should be quick. Now the mercy petition from President goes to Union Home Ministry for advice which sends it government of state or union territory for opinion. There is no time limit for this process. This should change. President should be free to reject any mercy petition on his own. If he thinks mercy is needed he should forward it to Home Ministry or to government of state or union territory. Their advice or opinion should reach the President within ten days. In case of no advice or opinion death penalty should proceed.
A criminal should be allowed only one mercy petition. Once the President rejects mercy petition it should be end of the matter. There should be no appeal against rejection of mercy petition. Any lawyer who approaches any court challenging the rejection of mercy petition should be sentenced to death or fifty years imprisonment.
Once mercy petition is rejected execution should take place soonest. If hanging is not possible then criminal should be shot in the head, beheaded or blown up or executed in some other way. No need to inform anyone about date and time of hanging.
If President accepts mercy petition and pardons the criminal or commutes death sentence to life any person should be able to challenge pardon or commutation in Supreme Court. If Supreme Court decides pardon or commutation was unjustified, execution should take place.
There is mass hysteria and panic about Corona Virus also known as China Virus, Chinese Plague, Chinese Flu, Wuhan Virus and Covid 19. Countries are under lockdown. Churches, schools, stadia, theatres and other places are shut. Flights and visas are cancelled. It is Apocalypse Now.
People die of various diseases. There are epidemics and pandemics like swine flu, SARS, MERS and Zika virus every few years. Many people died. Swine flu is said to have caused 5,75,000 deaths worldwide. Rio Olympics 2016 went ahead in Brazil which had Zika virus. Life went on. There was no mass hysteria and panic.
Bishops are supposed to be shepherds who defend their flocks from wolves. Hirelings run away when they see wolves. Bishops by shutting churches and cancelling masses have proved to be hirelings. Francis set a bad example by cancellation of public masses in Rome. Masses must go on. Cowards and faithless people can stay at home. In Rome and other places Christians had faced persecutions and died for their faith. They were beheaded, crucified, thrown to lions and burnt as torches during games. Now because of a disease there are no masses. Churches must open. Public masses should not be cancelled, especially on Sundays. Cowards and faithless people can stay at home.
Average age of Italians who died of Corona virus is 81. Most of them had diabetes, hypertension or other diseases. Many of them were smokers. Lockdown of Italy is over the top reaction. Corona acted as a catalyst in deaths of old people who were not in good health and would have died sooner rather than later. A few young people becoming sick does not mean we have to panic. More than half of the people who had Corona had recovered. Many more are likely to recover. Number of dead is around 3%.
Reaction to Corona virus is overblown. Thousands of people die of flu and other diseases every year. There is no shutdown. Life must go own. Shutting down churches, schools and other places is foolishness and causes more damage than the disease would have caused. It is a case of cure being worse than the disease.
BCCI wanted to hold two ODIs against S. Africa on 15 and 18 March without spectators. It had to cancel them. BCCI never before postponed IPL. When not possible in India due to elections it was held in South Africa or UAE. This time IPL beginning is postponed from 29/3/2020 to 15/4/2020. BCCI is used to throw its weight around. It is a climb down and humiliation for BCCI.
Tokyo Olympics should begin on 24/7/2020 as planned. If no spectators in stadia so be it. Sports events generate most revenue by telecast rights. Those who watch sports on TV are many times that of stadium spectators. Postponement of Olympics will result in clashes with other tournaments fixed in advance and will affect spectator interest and TV revenue. Many athletes will skip Olympics. There is money to be made in professional tournaments.
India should not have declared corona national/notified disaster. Corona cases were around 90 and two persons had died.
Corona patients who want to leave India should not be detained. Wrong for Kochi airport authorities to detain 20 passengers because one of them, a UK national, tested positive.
“Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once.” (Julius Caesar – William Shakespeare).
Life must go on.