So the Indian media has latched on to the ghastly and extremely tragic tale of the murder of Sheena Bora with a zeal that falls somewhere between what responsible journalism and savagery of a lynch mob screaming for punishment at a medieval trial. The latter part is of course disguised in more civil and self-righteous statements and opinions but criticism by various eminent and less eminent members of citizenry now and then rip off parts of this disguise. But then there always two sides to a story. It is true that without media coverage, it is highly unlikely that investigation into this crime would been as prompt but the way it has been handled by the media can be described in milder terms as cheap and immature. However some television channels, especially vernacular news channels have indeed removed all stops and gone all facetious, dishing out murky details hour by hour. After all, this sordid story has more ingredients than a typical Bollywood potboiler and prime time soap operas combined. A mysterious murder in a rich and influential family, a web of lies and deceit and purported evidence of sleazy activities are things these news channels would give anything for and in Sheena Bora murder case, they only have to sacrifice a little journalistic ethics.
Vir Sanghvi's book Mandate: Will of The People was quite a revelation to me. I expected it to be yet another book chronicling post-independence Indian political history, but it turned out to be something entirely different and delightfully so. For those of us who became politically aware in the 90s and later, there is a clear disconnect when our political leaders talk of the Emergency, Operation Blue Star, Indira Gandhi assassination, the genocide that followed and many other past events . Sure we can read it up in history books, look up Wikipedia and hear stories about them but frankly there is too much information to process and more importantly, it appears to have little value in the present age. But can we really ignore the past and still hope not to commit the same mistakes all over again?
China's state-owned CCTV showing a map of India without Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh on backdrop of Prime Minister Modi's visit did create a controversy but not a significant one. The usually hyper-ventilating hyper-nationalist twitter users, television anchors/journalists were silent, perhaps assuming that any outrage would put the Prime Minister in an uncomfortable situation and not embolden him and that the issue has nothing to do with national interest. After all, these maps do not represent the ground realities. But then, why would China, which is not known to indulge in vanities when it comes to state policies, let this situation develop. Everything about maps in China is supervised by a special committee in coordination with 13 ministries, so the broadcast of this map being entirely the decision of a news channel producer or executive seems bit of a long shot. Especially so when seen in the context of China's history of cartographic aggression.
In my previous post I have discussed about Internet censorship in India, in this post I wish to discuss bandwidth throttling and how to find out if your ISP is slowing down transfer speed despite you paying for it. According to The Hindu, Airtel and BSNL have been found to throttle Bittorrent traffic. However, this data is couple of years old and probably doesn't include your ISP information, so here are some tools to find out if your ISP is cheating you.
The Times of India report says "telecom and information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad backed an open internet three days ago" which makes one wonder whether the minister really backs open internet or there was some shoddy reporting on part of the Times Group. But let us not get into the semantics now (though I will come back to it eventually), so as not to dilute the issue at hand. The current debate raging on has more to do with the concept of net neutrality, which thanks to the efforts of online activists, seems a certain victory now. If you are unaware of what net neutrality means and why it is under threat, the video created by AIB explains it best.