<![CDATA[G N Mohan - In Media]]>Tue, 23 Feb 2016 02:58:29 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Screaming to be seen- The Hindu ]]>Thu, 20 Aug 2015 14:55:03 GMThttp://www.gnmohan.com/in-media/screaming-to-be-seen-the-hinduPicture
 FEATURES » FRIDAY REVIEWPublished: August 20, 2015 17:50 IST | Updated: August 20, 2015 19:31 IST  August 20, 2015Screaming to be seen​Imaging: M. Arivarasu
​Has television changed the way we see and think? Is news more about theatrics than honest and unbiased presentation? Archana Nathan does a reality check.“You say the farmer died because of personal problems. No, wait, you say he died because of a failed love affair. Oh wait, actually, sometimes you even say that the one who died is not even a farmer! Aren’t you ashamed?” A news anchor on television says this and freezes. Two panels with the word ‘STRAIGHT’ typed in bold hover around his face. He looks at you from between those panels as if he is posing for a photo. The text disappears and then the anchor continues: “It is hard to tell if there are potholes on the street or if the street is somewhere between the numerous potholes. No area seems to be getting continuous water supply, anyway. And, oh let’s not talk about the abysmal condition of streetlights at all.” The television screen pauses again and the word ‘UNBIASED’ appears around the anchor. “We don’t want your speech. We don’t want your stories. All we want is to know what kind of solutions you’re offering to people’s problems. That is all!” he says. ‘FOR JUSTICE’, says the screen. Finally, the anchor concludes, “The people might spare you. The society might let you go. But this channel won’t spare you”, followed by ‘NO COMPROMISE’.

This is a rough translation of an advertisement run by a popular Kannada news channel for its prime-time debate show. Rather than the show, the advertisement actually showcases the anchor for it is he that is 'straight', 'unbiased', 'strives for justice' and 'will not compromise' etc. according to the channel. The ‘you’ in the clip are the politicians, who the anchor says he will not spare.

Incidentally, as sensational as it is, this advertisement could serve as a template for most anchor-driven shows on Kannada news channels because it encapsulates the tone and tenor of anchors today and the kind of debate that is increasingly taking place on news shows. Anchors, especially during prime-time, are heard and seen speaking breathlessly, often adopting an aggressive tone, taking on the onus of speaking for the rights (perceived or otherwise) of people, sometimes even out rightly dismissing what the panelists have to say and therefore, repeatedly saying sentences like ‘we want justice or nyaya’.

“There are two types of anchors: the traditional news presenters and those who conduct panel discussions. The second kind, apart from knowing their subject well, have to also know theatrics and be aggressive,” says G.N. Mohan, Senior Editor, ETV Kannada News. “This is the demand television makes of an anchor. We cannot present news the way it is done in the print medium. Television demands theatrics and drama. Sometimes, in the heat of the argument, he (or she) shouts back too,” he continues.

What Mohan describes has indeed become a Bible of sorts, for across the 13 channels that adorn the Kannada television news circuit, the rise of the controversial, aggressive and dramatic anchor is a common sight. In fact, this form of news presentation has become the trend across languages and news networks in the country. But, consciously limiting the discussion to Kannada alone, the question is this: why has Kannada TV journalism adopted this format? What is it that drives this need for aggression and sensationalism?

Sharmitha Shetty, who is an anchor on ETV Kannada News, says that aggression is necessary to attract viewers. “People like to watch a fight on television. Mostly, when a topic is picked for discussion, the thread of the argument is laid bare by our bosses. Sometimes, we are even asked to target some panelists. In that case, we have to do enough research to ensure we stick to our instructions. Also, sometimes, panelists attack the anchors. Then, it is a matter of defending one’s brand and hence the pressure falls on the anchor to argue on the channel’s behalf. The competition during prime-time is insane. We need to be aggressive and dramatic.”

On the other hand, other anchors argue that aggression is not staged but happens because of recalcitrant panelists. “There are guests who won’t answer a question straight and will instead reply with another question. In such cases, it might seem as if the anchors are shouting. So, sometimes, it is just the compulsion of keeping a discussion within limits. We might even have to throw in our own opinions to keep the discussion balanced, ” argues Radha Hiregoudar, Anchor, Public TV.

And yet, there are others who are quick to reprehend this trend as being a harmful one.“Aggression is attractive but it defeats the point of journalism which is essentially about balance and honesty. A hunt for TRPs is a reality and hence a lot of channels are using aggression and sensationalism as a technique to encash more ratings. But, often that results in the anchor delivering half-baked comments which can grossly mislead an audience,” says S.R. Aradhya, Chief Editor, Udaya News. With anchors becoming the judge, jury and executioner, he asks: “Isn’t the anchor’s job to act as a catalyst or steer the discussion rather than believing that his or her opinion is the public opinion?”

Perhaps, this is a passing phase. Till about a year ago, Kannada channels routinely featured anchors dressed as policemen delivering crime news (though still seen on few channels) and hosting family squabbles on State television. These have received flak and they are slowly being replaced by other programmes. Most anchors and editors contend that this format of debate came to Kannada news from national English news channels. A veteran journalist and head of a television channel in Kannada who spoke on the condition of anonymity says, “In Kannada, the electronic media boom happened a little late, especially when compared to other south Indian languages. Frankly, we were not prepared for it and we did not have the time to accept and adapt to it. So, all sorts of people entered the industry. And since we didn’t know anything we naturally took on a format that was already working.”

“The truth about contemporary journalism is that it is no longer a great thing,” he continues. “Every management wants to run it like a business. The extent and degree to which they do that is what matters and acts as a distinguishing factor,” he says.

Perhaps then, Kannada TV is yet to find the vocabulary and grammar that will assist its transition from this sensational phase to a more rational, well-grounded state. “Kannada TV is a crawling child. It needs some more years to be more mature-both in content delivery and in terms of sustaining a business model. Till this happens, channels must exercise caution and that is lacking unfortunately,” adds the journalist.

Let's go the Hindi way!
Even Kannada entertainment channels have imbibed a lot from channels up north. Take for instance, the sheer splurge in reality TV shows across Kannada channels. Popular show host, Akul Balaji, says, “We should be extremely proud that Kannada audiences have accepted reality TV in such a big way here. Back when I began, I didn’t think anchors would ever have a celebrity status as they have now. No other language has implemented the Hindi reality TV model the way we have. Kannada audience and producers have been open to experimentation.” But why copy a model from Hindi television? “Why not?” asks Akul. “When there is a concept that is already there and it is working, why not use it? We try not to go overboard with it and also try and package a message along with all the entertainment. But sometimes, we do cross the line,” he explains.
Fudged ratings?
One wonders how authentic TRP ratings are. Could it be that the rating agencies themselves are deciding what people want to see? "The agency that does a sampling for TRP is often one that knows nothing about journalism. They do a survey that is financially viable, perhaps using the mindset of people for whom aggression sells. So, they conclude that that is what the audience wants," said a journalist that did want to be quoted.

“Isn’t the anchor’s job to act as a catalyst or steer the discussion rather than believing that his or her opinion is the public opinion?”

<![CDATA[ETV News Kannada channel hits the airwaves]]>Sat, 22 Mar 2014 15:24:31 GMThttp://www.gnmohan.com/in-media/etv-news-kannada-channel-hits-the-airwavesPicture
After launching ETV News Bangla on March 10, 2014, ETV Network launched its ETV News Kannada channel on March 19.
Confirming the news, Jagdeesh Chandra, Head, ETV News Network said that the transmission of the new channel started on the same day from 6 PM onwards, along with promotional package. The first news bulletin was telecast immediately after the inaugural ceremony at 7 PM.
Speaking on the editorial policy of the news channel, Chandra said that the network follows the “news only” concept and will cover welfare and developmental news in depth.

On the reason to enter the regional news space, Rajesh Raina, Group Editor, ETV News Network said, “The ETV Hindi news channels have been functioning for more than a decade now and we are fortunate enough to gain popularity as the voice of a common man by disseminating fresh and strong content always. Therefore, this is a perfect time for us to enter into more such regional markets, where there is a strong need of delivering regional news content.”

Commenting on the content strategy, GN Mohan, Regional Bureau Head, ETV News Kannada said, “ETV News Kannada will be the prime source of regional information for the local audience here, and to assure the relevance and freshness of the content, the channel has roped in a number of specialised journalists, who will explore and put in non-biased and real time information, keeping the channels’ strengths intact.”

“With this move, we will be able to provide more in depth news coverage for the region,” Subbanaidu R, Head of Operations, ETV News Kannada said.
Chandan Kapoor, Head, Marketing & Brand, ETV News Network added here, “ETV channels have turned out to be the voice of masses, assuring in depth coverage of all the regional happenings, in the region specific bulletins. By launching a new regional channel for Kannada audience, ETV will assure that the local audience here can relate to the channel in an essential and effective way.” 

<![CDATA[TV18 launches Kannada news channel ETV News Kannada-Television Post]]>Thu, 20 Mar 2014 15:17:41 GMThttp://www.gnmohan.com/in-media/tv18-launches-kannada-news-channel-etv-news-kannada-television-postPicture
MUMBAI: TV18 Group-owned ETV News Network has launched ETV News Kannada as part of its strategy to broaden its presence in the regional news space. Earlier this month, the company had launched ETV News Bangla which started transmission from 17 March. Launched in the presence of Karnataka chief minister K Siddaramaiah, ETV News Kannada, along with its promotional package, started transmission from 19 March  at 6 pm. The first news bulletin was aired at 7 pm, immediately after the inaugural ceremony.

GN Mohan is the editor of the news channel while R Subbanaidu is the head of operations. The channel started its journey with about 45 journalists and news informers spread across all the 224 assembly constituencies in the state. It will have five bureaus besides the main bureau in Bengaluru. ETV News Network group editor Rajesh Raina said that the biggest USP of the channel will be the presence of its representatives in every nook and corner of the state and the fact that it will focus on ‘people’s issues’.

“We have appointed news informers in all 224 assembly constituencies to gather news from every nook and corner of the state. We are expecting around 800 to 1,000 breaking news flashes per day,” Raina stated. ETV News Kannada will have to compete with Udaya News, TV9 Karnataka, Suvarna News 24×7, Public TV and Samaya 24×7. ETV News Network head Jagdeesh Chandra said that the network follows the “news only” concept and would cover welfare and developmental news in depth. He also revealed that ETV will launch three more news channels in Harayana-Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Odisha.

ETV Haryana-Himachal Pradesh is expected to be launched in Chandigarh on 25 March, ETV Gujarati on 30 April and ETV Odiya on 31 July. The dates, however, are tentative and awaiting clearance from the I&B Ministry and WPC. The regional news expansion became necessary as the company decided to turn ETV Bangla, ETV Kannada, ETV Gujarati and ETV Odia into full-fledged entertainment channels. Earlier, the four channels also had news component which will now move completely to the newly launched news channels.

With the launch of ETV News Bangla and ETV News Kannada, the ETV News Network now has a bouquet of seven channels that also include ETV Uttar Pradesh/Uttarakhand, ETV Bihar/Jharkhand, ETV Madhya Pradesh/Chattisgarh, ETV Rajasthan and ETV Urdu. Added Raina, “This is a perfect time for us to enter more of such regional markets where there is a strong need for regional news content.”

​ETV News Kannada editor and regional bureau head GN Mohan said, “ETV News Kannada will be the prime source of regional information for the local audience here, and to assure the relevance and freshness of the content, the channel has roped in a number of specialised journalists who will explore and put in non-biased and real-time information, keeping the channels’ strengths intact.” ETV News Network head marketing and branding Chandan Kapoor said, “ETV channels have turned out to be the voice of the masses, ensuring in-depth coverage of all the happenings in the region-specific bulletins. By launching a new regional channel for the Kannada audience, ETV will ensure that local audience can relate to the channel in an essential and effective way.” 

Read more at: http://www.televisionpost.com/television/tv18-launches-kannada-news-channel-etv-news-kannada/ | TelevisionPost.com

<![CDATA[Media has lost the practice of verifying news-Udupi Today]]>Tue, 02 Jul 2013 15:05:24 GMThttp://www.gnmohan.com/in-media/media-has-lost-the-practice-of-verifying-news-udupi-todayPicture
Udupi: Media has lost the practice of verifying news, G.N. MohanBy Raj Udupi 
Udupi Today Media Network

Udupi, 02 July 2013: Media today has lost its practice of verifying the news for truth and analyzing whether the news which they are publishing is right or wrong, said senior journalist and Avadi editor G.N. Mohan. He was speaking upon inaugurating the Newspaper Day program organized by the Udupi district Journalists Association on Monday in Udupi.

Speaking further he said that, after the foreign media stepped into our country the view point of the journalism has completely changed. Instead of conveying the news of the people to the politicians, they are now conveying the news of the politicians to the people, he said.

The media has turned commercial and today they are looking for the customers and not the readers, said G.N. Mohan. If we become the bridge between the government and the people then we can make a big change in the society. Now our media has to become the bridge once again, he hoped.

On this occasion senior journalist of Kundapur and Kundaprabha newspaper editor U.S. Shenoy was conferred with the district newspaper day celebration honour. Journalism student Prema was given the College fee on behalf of the Association.

The program was presided over by Association President Kiran Manjanabailu. Association Chief Secretary Jayakara Suvarna welcomed the guests and the gathering. In the program the Association members, journalist students from various Colleges were present.

<![CDATA[Pathbreaking works- THe Hindu Book Review]]>Fri, 24 Aug 2012 14:54:27 GMThttp://www.gnmohan.com/in-media/pathbreaking-works-the-hindu-book-reviewPicture

August 24, 2012
Leafing Through Kannada translation of P. Sainath’s Everyone Loves a Good Drought, and eminent writer U.R. Anantha Murthy’s very first work
Bara Andre Ellarigu Ishta by P. Sainath, Translated by G.N. Mohan
Abhinava, Rs. 350
“ yahan admi aur bail me kya pharak hai?”

People like Medha Patkar, Baba Amte, and Teesta Setalvad are very different from others – because they choose to tread a ‘path not taken’. Palagummi Sainath is one such in the field of journalism: he gave up prestigious jobs and during 1993-94, toured two of the poorest districts in the states of Orissa, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttara Pradesh, and Tamilnadu. During this challenging tour lasting 15 months and, roughly, 80,000 km, he filed a series of reports based on his experience, published in theTimes of India . Later, he undertook another trip to some of those and other districts in order to write a book based on those reports; and the book, Everybody Loves a Good Drought, was published by Penguin Books in 2000. Immediately, it became a best-seller and got translated into many other languages. G. N. Mohan, another committed journalist and Sainath’s friend, has ably translated this book into Kannada.
The book contains 68 reports, divided into ten sections, and the long article on “Poverty, Development and Media” concludes the narrative. Though each report narrates an ‘incident’, Sainath is interested not in ‘incidents’ as such but in the ‘process’ which bred these incidents. Through these reports, Sainath intends to demonstrate that while ‘India shining’ is true only for a small chunk, about ten per cent Indians, for the remaining 90 per cent. consisting of mostly tribals and dalits, “India is dark and nightmarish”. Sainath drives home the hard truth that the majority taken for granted by the bureaucrats and ignored by the media, are not merely numbers in reports, but are human being struggling to eke out an existence. As instances of muddle-headed planning and bureaucratic apathy, we can consider a few ‘stories’. The very first story narrates the introduction of jersey cows into Nuapada (Orissa) and mass-sterilisation of the local Khariyar bulls to ensure the ‘purity’ of the breed, only to realise later that these cows do not yield any milk or calves while all the local bulls are impotent. The ‘Duruva’ tribe in Malkangiri (Orissa) cannot get any benefits earmarked for scheduled tribes because, in official notifications, that tribe is spelt as ‘Daruva’ and none is willing to change the single vowel. The teacher in Adro (Godda, Bihar) hasn’t seen his school for two years; but he regularly gets his monthly salary and the school is used as a storeroom for corn and tendu leaves.
The most appalling are the stories of ‘Development-refugees’—a phrase coined by Sainath to refer to those unfortunate tribals and dalits forcefully evicted to acquire land for some project or another. According to Sainath, since 1951, 21.6 million people have been displaced in the name of development ; if one adds to this number the 2.1 million people affected by mining, it amounts to the entire population of Australia and Canada. The most heart-rending instance of forceful eviction is the 400-500 families of Chikapar (Koraput, Orissa). This entire village was first evicted in 1968 to make room for MiG Fighter Project; after they were resettled in another place (which also they named Chikapar), they were evicted again in 1987 to make room for a multi-purpose Hydel Project; and, in 1993, again, they were evicted from Chikapar-3 so that Military Engineering Service could be established there. ‘Arguably, no other village anywhere in the world has been evicted three times, in the name of development,’ comments Sainath ruefully. To add insult to injury, most of the promises of ‘resettlement’ are never fulfilled.
However, even amidst such gloom, a ray or two of light is visible, says Sainath. Total Literacy Mission has ignited sparks of awareness and protest, here and there. The poor and backward women, working in the quarry mines in Pudukottai (Tamil Nadu) have formed a society which runs these quarries on lease, thus driving away the old, corrupt contractors; another women’s organisation at Pudukottai has begun a movement against illicit liquor. Members of the local forest committee at Latehar (now Jharkhand) have risen against illegal timber business; organised farmers at Nuapada (Orissa) have begun to grow Babul tress in the place of Nilgiri trees. A poet-journalist, Mohan has done an excellent job as a translator; though he hasn’t taken any liberty with the original, he has found a style suitable for Kannada – precise and emotive. Kannada readers are indebted to both Sainath for his daring ‘counter journalism’ and Mohan for making it available for them.
C.N. Ramachandran
Preethi Mruthyu Bhaya by U.R. Ananthamurthy
Ankita Pustaka, Rs. 100
The publication of this novel, written in 1959 and resurrected accidentally, has generated considerable interest among the cognoscenti, because of its historical significance as well as its contemporary relevance, even though the former would be restricted to academics. The introductory remarks by the author describe the novel as a creative attempt aimed at purgation from the trauma caused by intense experiences such as death and love, as also the emotional and intellectual responses released by them. It delineates the journeys undertaken by Shekhara into his past and the inner recesses of his psyche. It also deals also with the alienation of the protagonist from his social and familial moorings; it also interrogates his relationship with Shyamala – is it physical, is it ideological or is it love itself. However, this oft repeated theme acquires an added dimension because the novelist perceives the problem as cutting across generations and cultural idiosyncrasies.
Ananthamurthy, among the most important writer of our times, has maintained a critical distance from the protagonist. This is the portrayal of a predicament rather than a worldview. Shekhar’s inability to understand the inner compulsions of other characters and the consequent intolerance should be perceived as lacunae introduced by the novelist himself. The interface that is created among primal forces such as love, death and fear leads to the evolution of Shekhar’s psyche. The sudden death of his younger brother propels him to transcend his limitations and make the ‘right’ choices. He feels that his relatives and friends are denied this privilege because they are sentimental and exploitative. This of course is typical of the Navya (Modernist) writing.
Hatred and intolerance often borne by ‘sensitive’ persons towards an ‘insensitive’ world result in various reaction patterns such as renunciation, struggle, masochism, compromise, resignation and unwilling participation. Shekhara exhibits all of these at various junctures in the novel. His self righteousness is tempered by an untold respect for others and a genuine awareness of his limitations. Surprisingly, his ire is directed more at his mother and other women in his life, rather than male characters with whom he vibes reasonably well. Most of these characters serve a functional purpose – they foster the evolution of Shekhara.
The novel employs the stream of conscious technique with certain modifications. Chronological narration makes way for discrete units of experience that are held together by emotional and cerebral continuum created in the protagonist. The novel may not entirely satisfy artistic expectations, but its disarming honesty and intensity captivates the reader.
This novel is historically important for two reasons. Firstly, it contains within itself the birth pangs of the modernist fiction in Kannada. It illustrates the process of transition from the realistic modes of structuring and narration to the modernist mode which is characterised by panache for poetic quality, foregrounding the narrative and relegating the story to the background, and being richly symbolic.
Secondly, this novel contains many major preoccupations of Ananthamurthy’s oeuvre in their embryonic form. This represents a stage at which the individual and the family are at the nucleus and society forms a peripheral backdrop. Later on, Ananthamurthy focused on the philosophical and socio-political dimensions of life, although never at the cost of sacrificing the sanctity of individuals. In celebrated classics such as “Samskara” and “Avasthe”, an artistic merger of these concerns is manifested very competently and artistically. The intellectual positions taken in this novel are genuine because the author was bothered neither by a desire to be politically right nor driven by compulsions to cater to the reading public. The fact that the novel ends rather abruptly may also indicate the tentative nature of the author’s ideological positions at that temporal juncture.
However, the significance of this work lies in the fact that it reflects on the angst indigenous to youth. However, the travails undergone by other age groups, as furtherance to what sets in during youthful years are given ample representation. It creates a sombre and contemplative mood in its readers. It could become a perennial favourite, evoking similar responses in decades to come because it addresses issues that are for all times.

<![CDATA[Two freelance reporters win Counter Media Award]]>Mon, 02 Jul 2012 15:29:21 GMThttp://www.gnmohan.com/in-media/two-freelance-reporters-win-counter-media-awardTwo freelance reporters win Counter Media AwardAuthor: Express News Service
 Jul 2, 2012 10:44 AM
Indian media had developed a structural compulsion to lie, and there was a national obsession with the elite, says noted journalistThe Counter Media Award for Excellence in Development Journalism, instituted by renowned journalist P Sainath, has been given to freelance reporters T K Dayanand and V Gayatri here on Sunday.
Dayanand has been selected for the award in recognition of his relentless work on abolishing manual scavenging in Karnataka. Gayathri has been chosen for her contribution in the field of rural and agricultural reporting and campaigning for farmers issues.
The award carrying `50,000 and a digital camera was presented by writer Devanoor Mahadeva on the occasion of Kannada Journalism Day.
Speaking on the occasion, Mahadeva said: “We have made even beggars rise above poverty line. In such a scenario, we need valued journalism.”
Counter Media Awards have been given to encourage rural and moffussil journalists, who work for the upliftment of the downtrodden.
Sainath criticised mainstream media, and said: “Despite reluctance of the mainstream media to publish their works, the two awardees have done an excellent job. We need to honour such people.”
On the occasion, ‘Bara Andre Ellarigoo Ishta,’ the Kannada translation of Sainath’s ‘Everybody Loves a Good Drought’ translated by G N Mohan, was also released.
Commenting on the book, Mohan said Sainath had made a transition from a glowing world to a dark one. Today’s journalists needed to move in that direction, he added.
Justice Nagmohan Das, who released the book, said the present media had been drifting away from social obligations for commercialisation and the economic policies were going in a different direction.
“We need bright out literature, which enlightens people about the issues and policies, and we should not let sex, crime and sensation take over media,” Nagmohan Das said.
Journalist and media critic Ammu Joseph and senior journalist and environmentalist Professor Nagesh Hegde were present on the occasion.
Documentary Screened
Nero’s Guests, a documentary film on India’s agrarian crisis and the growing inequality seen through the work of renowned journalist P Sainath was screened on the occasion.
The documentary discusses how the issue of farmers committing suicide in India over the last 10 years was ignored by the mainstream media.
Interacting with the audience later, Sainath said today the Indian media had developed a structural compulsion to lie, and there was a national obsession with the elite and the poor were being ignored. “Though the media is politically free, they are imprisoned by profits. Media may be a business but it is not journalism,” he said.
On bailouts and corporate packages given by the government, he said Iceland was recovering well from financial crisis by punishing their Prime Minister and bankers who were responsible for the crisis. “But we support the corporates and let them decide who can be a Cabinet minister. This is a dangerous trend,” he added. He also noted that broadband penetration in India was absolutely zilch, and hence the print media was flourishing here, unlike the US and other countries. “There is a growing disconnect between readers and media, and ‘zones of silence’ have been developed within the media. Paid news is an industrial phenomenon and not an individual choice,” he said.
“As readers, people need to indulge and intervene in media matters,” he added.]]>