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Editor Unplugged by Vinod Mehta

I bought this book because it was written by editor of Outlook, one of the best English magazines in India. Is it also because recently he has expired? I am not sure. Or is it also because the author is self proclaimed pseudo secularist - at a time when the word - secularism is ridiculed or frowned upon.

And the book is really good. The author gives us an in depth view of the world of journalism, media and politics. And the narration is detailed without ever getting boring.

Consider an essay about should newspapers be owned by big industrialists. In India and in world over, it is difficult for a newspaper to survive without financial backing of a rich industrialist. Because running a news paper is costly and most often lossy business. Industrialists run this business and in return they expect the paper should support their causes. An editor will always have to struggle between the duty to tell the truth and need to obey his proprietor. Honest editor will often be fired and will have to search for another place. Vinod Mehta himself had to quit so many newspapers before he joined Outlook.

So he says more than industrialists owning the media, monopoly of the media is very bad for the country and democracy. Here he takes the case of Rupert Mudroch. This owner of Start network here and Fox channel in USA, owns more than 30% of media in UK, is a major player in USA and Australia. He would send shivers in the hearts of presidents and prime ministers of these countries. They knew that opposing him would mean losing their post.

But a very small paper "Guardian" brought a scoop on Mudroch showing how his papers would tap the telephones of politicians, industrialists and even common people. This scoop caused terrible loss to Mudroch's company and he is still fighting legal cases in USA and UK.

So media monopoly is terrible. Media owned by Industrialists is OKayish evil.

And in another essay on AK, the author explains how he had believed that Arvind Kejriwal is one person who can change the politics of our country. How he had supported AK in Outlook. And how after a brief period of government in Delhi, AK started putting one wrong step after another. And the worst of all, he called media as criminals and when he comes to power, he will send them to Jail. I think by making that statement, he digged his own grave.

I was a huge fan of AAP and AK and am a fan even today to some extent. Because he had the courage to oppose our PM when most politicians, common men and intellectuals all were blinded by his spell. And he has some honesty in him at a time when Politics has become synonymous with corruption. And he influenced honest and intelligent common men and women to join politics. And brought down the price of onions :). May be if he had read essay about him before I read the rest of the book, I would have discarded the book.

But we need to accept the reality and try to accept the limitations of our heroes. After the second Delhi election victory, AAP is always in news and always for in-fight. And the party appears to become less and less transparent.

But as Vinod Mehta puts it in epilogue of the essay - AK has his heart in right place. So let us wish him and his party luck and some smartness.


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Someshwara shataka

ಚರಿಪಾರಣ್ಯದ ಪಕ್ಷಿಗೊಂದು ತರು ಗೊಡ್ಢಾಗಲ್ ಫಲಂ ಈವಿದಾ
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ಕೆಲವಂ ಬಲ್ಲವರಿಂದ ಕಲ್ತು ಕೆಲವಂ ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರಂಗಳೋದುತಂ
ಕೆಲವಂ ಮಾಳ್ಪವರಿಂದ ಕಂಡು ಕೆಲವಂ ಸುಜ್ಙಾನದಿಂ  ನೋಡುತಂ
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