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“In that sense Gandhi was pro-Modi”

By our correspondent, Ahmedabad, 30 June 2013

“They first ignore you, then mock you, then fight with you and finally you win, this is what Mahatma Gandhi had said. Now, these days Modi supporters on Twitter are described as abusive and idiots by a section of people. So first Modi supporters were ignored, now they are called abusive, the next step could be victory, and in that sense Gandhi was pro-Modi.”

Founder of Faking News, Rahul Roshan said this today in Ahmedabad while addressing Mashable Social Media Day event in Ahmedabad organized by Open hours in association with Simulations and webChanakya.

The logic of anti-NaMo brigade that NaMo friends are abusive is strange, Rahul said. He said the mainstream media shall need to adjust with social media, and it will not be other way round.

“I don’t blame people on social media like mainstream journalists. If there are abusive people, I have a button to block them. Why complain?”

He said, “there’s nothing like social media vs mainstream media, in fact the social media has become mainstream media for persons like me. The issue is new media vs old media.”

“The old school of journalism had no feedback mechanism. If there were letters to editors, they were about menace of street dogs barking, or lamp post not repaired or drainage pipe leakage. There was no letter to editor calling that your reporter is moron or the editor doesn’t make sense. It was a basketised version of feedback. But with twitter and blogs you can’t escape anymore. The journalism of editorial dictation shall not work,” he said.

He said, unlike the practice in mainstream journalism, on twitter platform, everyone is equal. “You are not looking down while conversing with somebody on twitter.”

However Anurag Batra, Editor in Chief , exchange4media had another opinion. He said the content on social media is not content. The social media is a distribution platform, it’s a pipeline. People will continue to rely on brands when it comes to news delivery.

When a chit was passed to Rahul Roshan to conclude his speech in next five minutes, Rahul in reaction said, “two out of rest five minutes should be spent for two minute silence for death of (old school of ) journalism.”

But contrary to this Mr. Batra said that old school of journalism shall also continue to exist.He gave an example of language newspapers that enjoy excellent hold with deep penetration. Mr. Batra accepted the power of social media, and showed a video of the song ‘ the day the media died’, but at the same time he was of opinion that people would continue to go to their choice of brand, because hones for information because honesty is in scarecity.

Dezin Brainz CEO Akshay Sethia in his presentation described Modi as the first politician who started taking advantage of social media penetration. Sethia praised Modi’s social media savviness. He said Obama’s presence is on much higher scale on social media compared to Modi, but Rahul is even far behind. “The difference between the level of Obama’s social media reach and Modi’s social media reach is equal to Modi’s social media reach and Rahul Gandhi’s social media reach.”

Reacting to Sethia’s this remark, Rahul Roshan pointed out that it was not Modi, but Mr. Shashi Tharoor who first took advantage of social media as a politician. Rahul recalled how his Faking News website got momentum on internet. ” I wrote a faking interview of Shashi Tharoor and passed it on to Tharoor’s then assistant. Tharoor tweeted it and I got a great boost through twitter. Then I tweeted that I would not write any faking piece on celebrity that follows me on twitter, and Shashi Tharoor followed me and tweeted that with this he qualifies as celebrity. Tharoor was following only 7-8 people, and when he followed me, I started getting many followers.”

While speaking to DeshGujarat on the sidelines of the event, Mr. Batra said that he was admirer of Shashi Tharoor as a politician available on social media. He said, “one would like to follow a person on social media, who has something interesting to say. You like to meet and talk to an interesting person after all, and same taste applies online. People follow Modi because he is interesting. I follow Shashi Tharoor because his life has been full of interesting things. It is one thing to get followers, but then for ultimate connection with them, you need to deliver interesting content.”

When asked about Rahul Gandhi’s absence on Twitter, Batra was of opinion that every leader should be on twitter including Rahul Gandhi. He said Modi is connecting himself directly to the people through social media which is good, but it seems he may peak too early, while Rahul is most probably waiting for proper period before the elections to come to social media.

Batra who was apparently an admirer of Shashi Tharoor, said that while Shashi tweets for himself, Modi has hired others to tweet for him, and it makes different.

In reference to Indian political scenario and social media’s role, Akshay Sethia said that social media would impact more than 150 Lok Sabha seats. He said these are the seats where more than 10% voters are available on social media, or number of people matching to the number of victory margin are located there. Sethia said there are more than 250 seats where social media has no impact at all on politics. Sethia said he asks politicians not to worry about negative feedback on their social media account. Any criticism should be treated as feedback on own weaknesses, he said. Sethia said it is an art to convert likes on Facebook into the votes in elections.

However Mr. Batra was of opinion that likes do convert into the votes. Mr. Batra said that the total advertising budget in India is around Rs. 30,000 crore, out of which the online media gets the share of only 4 per cent.

Rahul Roshan said he gets 60% traffic on his website through Twitter and Facebook. He said he had spent only 100 dollar on Facebook for his site’s promotion over there. Batra believed that online advertisement are clicked very less. However Pratik Shah of Greensmyles was of opinion that targeted local online ads offer results. Shah said there’s no overnight success on social media.

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  1. jawahar says:

    Ashok Malik in Asian Age -
    What does one make of the selective leaks and the motivated reportage in sections of the media on the Ishrat Jehan case? It is fairly clear there is a systematic and downright political attempt to implicate Narendra Modi, the Gujarat chief minister, in still further controversy, without the legal case necessarily getting anywhere.

    The evidence cited — one accused turned witness turned would-be approver, having allegedly heard another person refer to two people with beards and then concluding the reference was to Gujarat’s chief minister and home minister Amit Shah at the time — is scarcely compelling. It is not going to convince anyone other than the usual suspects in television studios. If courts began pronouncing judgments on such hearsay and allegedly overheard loose talk, three-fourths of Parliament would have been behind bars by now.
    Second, it is not even as if the Union government, the Central Bureau of Investigation and the chosen media outlets are running a conscientious campaign against police actions that are alleged to be fake encounters. It is nobody’s case that these don’t exist and don’t happen. They do, in India and elsewhere, and in principle, each such case is one too many. In 2012, the National Human Rights Commission told the Supreme Court that there had been 191 proven fake encounters all over the country in the past five years. By one reckoning, there have been some 400 alleged fake encounters in this period. These involve a variety of state governments, cutting across parties.
    It is a fair suggestion that some sort of inquiry needs to be conducted into the culture of fake encounters in India and the reasons some policemen actually advocate them. The failure of the criminal-justice system to deliver quick convictions and in some cases of the courts to resist pressure — this happened in Punjab in the 1980s and 1990s — have often been cited. Fake encounters may be a frustrated, short-term response to such lacunae, but cannot be a long-term solution and certainly cannot be welcomed as part of everyday policing and criminal justice.
    Yet, it is not as if those 191 cases — or 400 cases, depending on which number one fancies — are the subject of public activism or that politicians and police officers from several states are being targeted. The indignation is decidedly selective and limited to one or two cases in Gujarat. Logic is being stretched to suggest the chief minister and home minister fabricated an Intelligence Bureau report, masterminded the kidnapping of four innocent citizens, got them killed and pretended it was all part of defeating an assassination plot.
    This conflation of bazaar gossip with a rigorous legal process will continue till the 2014 elections, unless the CBI and its current leadership suddenly — and perhaps equally expediently — discover there is no case at all. In the interim, the episode would have had its consequences. When spoken to, officers of the IB are blunt in admitting the mood in the organisation is angry and sullen following what the IB feels is an attempt to frame a senior official.
    An input of a Lashkar-e-Tayyaba assassination squad, comprising Ishrat Jehan and her accomplices, is being sought to be rubbished as made-up. An entire mythology of how the officer in question was close to
    Mr Modi across several years and several postings in several locations is being planted on whichever media practitioner is willing to play unquestioning stenographer. An officer on the verge of retirement is finding his entire career and reputation tarnished and mocked, without giving him an opportunity to answer.
    The point is if this officer was such an unrepentant, bigoted crook how did he go this far in the Indian Police Service? How was he given due promotions? How were his annual confidential reports unaffected? Alternatively, is it the case that his career was picture perfect till Mr Modi became a contender for national office and then he simply fell by the wayside, as collateral damage? In the IB, they are not asking these questions; they have already drawn their conclusions.
    The issue goes beyond merely a battle between the CBI and the IB or even the prospects of individual officers. The manner in which a major assassination attempt against a top political leader is sought to be mocked and dismissed — despite the LeT embracing Ishrat Jehan and her accomplices as its “martyrs” in the days following their killing — speaks of an unconscionable irresponsibility. That the Congress, which has lost two Prime Ministers to assassinations, can resort to such methods makes it all the more unfortunate.
    Consider an analogy. On October 31, 1984, Indira Gandhi was shot by two of her bodyguards. One of the assassins, Beant Singh, was gunned down within minutes by commandos of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), a paramilitary force that was part of the security arrangement in the outer perimeter of the Prime Minister’s house. By all accounts Beant Singh and the other assassin, Satwant Singh, put down their weapons after Mrs Gandhi fell to the ground. So why was Beant Singh shot? It would stand to reason that ITBP soldiers lost their heads and took recourse to an extrajudicial act (firing upon somebody who was in all probability not armed).
    Was this an encounter death? What if somebody now says the murder of Beant Singh was a cover-up to hide some political conspiracy? What if the same coloured camera the Congress and its propaganda auxiliaries are deploying in Gujarat is used as a prism with which to cast a post facto glance upon the events of October 31, 1984? What if somebody demands an inquiry into the exact circumstances of Beant Singh’s death and the identification of the individual commando whose bullet killed him, and asks for clarity on whether Beant Singh was armed at that stage or was murdered in cold blood?
    It is nobody’s case that any political party should take recourse to such gimmickry. It stands to reason no wider conspiracy was being masked by Beant Singh’s death and it was only the response by an ITBP posse in the heat of the moment. This should not obscure us from the larger tragedy of a Prime Minister’s assassination and the security gaps it revealed. In New Delhi, the Congress would find this logic extremely persuasive. What happens to it in Gujarat?

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