Saturday, January 31, 2009

Don't Mess with Barkha Dutt

And what if you do? You might ask "What are you gonna do? Charge me with libel?" as Ms. Catherine Tramell did ask in Basic Instinct, when told not to smoke in the interrogation room, albeit with a puff of white smoke. What follows this is history, as they say. If you don't know this part of the story, I advise you rent the CD/DVD from the friendly neighborhood video store and get ready for some unexpected insights (pun intended). Whatever, leave Sharon Stone now and come back to our heroine here. Yes, I am talking about Ms. Dutt.

If you are not aware of the ongoing extreme anti-Barkha storm raging in Indian blogosphere, just give a search in Google blog search (or better click here).

What did she do to earn the wrath of the bloggers? Bloggers, as we know are rather harmless souls. Well, one poor soul named Chyetanya Kunte, gave his opinion about Barkha Dutt's coverage of 26/11 in his blog. Barkha and NDTV threatened him with legal action and made him withdraw his post (Google cache, scroll to very bottom) and publish an unconditional apology.

Desipundit is an aggregator of interesting indian blogs (it's great!) and they have two marathon posts linking all the major blogs commenting on this issue. Here and here.

Ms. Dutt was mainly enraged because, Kunte mentioned the allegation that she crossed the line while covering Kargil war and gave away Indian artillery positions (Kunte quoted it from in her wiki-article, which has now changed a little bit by now).

Funny thing is, our Navy chief Admiral Suresh Mehta shares the same opinion about her. Wonder why she has not threatened him with legal action so far!

It's funny when our media claims the right to criticize each and everybody and becomes so defensive while someone else do it to them. They cry about less government control, denies the necessity of censor and when blamed for irresponsible behavior during 26/11, they tell govt. hasn't made any rules. Like small children caught stealing sweet... "Nobody told me not to steal".

Also, this is not the first Barkha vs. Blogger clash. Last year (or in 2007) she did an episode of "We the People" on "Blogging in India". To quote GB,

In a 45 minute program that I felt squeezed in every journalistic no-no possible (sensationalism, poor research, blatant bias and lack of objectivity), the presenter, motivated no doubt by her antagonism towards blogs which she said had spread malicious rumors about her, presented “English language” blogs as exclusively frivolous “web graffiti” that are created to spread gossip, discuss people’s personal lives and to make confessions of a prurient kind.

Naturally, bloggers didn't take it well. And there were posts criticizing the show and how she conducted the show. Maybe it started at that time... Man she keeps grudges for long!

I wish she does an episode of her show based on this very topic and see what the people think about her. I know it's just a wish, still I would love to see her face. Will it show 'genuine' concern like always and "Oh my God.. I'm so sorry, aren't you angry/worried/grieved!!!" comments.

More than that I am apalled at the apathy and lack of understanding from NDTV, in a topic like this. A channel where they have a show called "Newsnet 2.0", and the website which is one of the most popular news sites among Indians, they should understand internet in general and blogs in particular is here to stay. It is a platform where people can talk freely, where nobody is spared, where people of any kind of background/interests can have a conversation (not chat shows with talking heads). And that's what make it so great. And mainstream media must learn how to live with that. The sooner the better for them.

Update : This post found a place in Blogbharti. Blogbharti is another aggregator of indian blogs like Desipundit. :D


  1. Hey Avik superb post! about time somebody exposed her for the pain in the ass she is!

  2. Hey, Thanks for the comment...
    pain in the ass!! Yes that's what she has become...