Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Media Earthquake of the Decade

Something very secretive is afoot in the media on both sides of Wahga / Munabao and it promises to be HUGE. It would seem that the two largest media groups of both Pakistan and India are about to stage a major splash by joining hands in the new year.

Yes, you heard that right. The Times of India Group and the Jang Group - neither exactly known for their sustained efforts to promote rational dialogue on Indo-Pak matters - are gearing up to launch a far-reaching collaboration on January 1st, 2010. The Times Group which runs the highest circulation English newspaper in the world (I'm not making this up, you can check this up here), the Times Now TV channel (the top-ranked English news channel), The Economic Times (India's largest financial daily), the tabloid Mirror (published separately from 6 cities), the Hindi language Navbharat Times, the Marathi Maharashtra Times and the glamour and entertainment channel ZOOm, will be entering into some sort of "intensive partnership" with the Jang Group, which runs the highest circulation Urdu newspaper in the world (had to balance things somewhat), The News, the weeklies Mag and Akhbar-e-Jahan, the eveningers Awam and Daily News and of course Geo, Geo News, Aag and Geo Super.

What exactly this collaboration will entail, I must admit I do not yet exactly know, since it is still a closely guarded secret. But from the reports filtering in from both sides of the border, it will definitely involve shared content, shared resources and jointly organized events, apparently to encourage debate over the outstanding issues between the two countries and to foster an environment in which lowering of tensions and political rapprochement is possible. All this is set to be launched with a bang with a simultaneously published mission statement and other emotive festivities on the first day of the new year.

The stated intentions seem very noble and this collaboration could actually turn out to be a game-changer for India Pakistan relations if everything works out as planned. Media activists on both sides have long demanded greater access for each other's media and journalists, and a greater understanding of each other's points of view cannot be a bad thing in the long run.

However, a number of nagging questions still lurk in my mind:

1) Can Pakistan's establishment, seemingly so intent on scuttling any attempts by Zardari / PPP to bring India and Pakistan closer, accept this?

2) Can the Indian establishment and media put aside its patronizing tone and hostility towards Pakistan long enough for something like this to have a chance of succeeding?

3) How will the Jang Group - currently engaged in a tense and destructive stand-off with the government - reconcile its promotion of growing business ties with India when it has often beat up on politicians such as Zardari for attempting to do the same?

4) How will Times Group and the Jang Group reconcile their often hawkish stands vis a vis Indo-Pak relations with their newfound bonhomie?

5) How exactly would the collaboration between the Times of India (with a circulation exceeding 3.4 million and a distinct focus on Bollywood catfights) and The News (with a circulation of, um, slightly less and a distinct focus on Ansar Abbasi) actually work to both's benefit?

6) How the hell did Dawn get left behind? Something like this seems right up its alley.

Arnab Goswami (left) on his version of Capital Talk

7) Will Geo's Hamid Mir and Times Now's Arnab Goswami - surely the blustering mirrors of each other in tone and physique - square off in a wrestling match to the death?

Watch this space for more details. And remember, you heard it first right here.


Anonymous said...

Its a meeting of the minds! TOI's brand of journalism is selling editorial and news space to the highest bidder. They actually sold lead stories and boxes on the front page which they passed off as news! Hence TOI is no more as grand as it seems to be but a paper going downhill. One cannot forget how The News sold its masthead to Instaphone (the masthead appeared Red that day). This marriage is made in heaven. On this side, the Qazi is Shahrukh Hasan. But what both sides dont possibly realize is that their editorial content sucks - our side we have the likes of Ansar Abbasi and Shaheen Sehbai - and on that side - all you have to see the is City Section of the TOI. It would be interesting to see what they come up with - possibly more of the same!

Anonymous said...

Another news is that

"The Mumbai pictures of AK is a Bollywood Photoshop,just look at clean stylish cloth,clean floor.......where do you find this ONLY in movies".

Ahsan said...

^This chap left the exact same comment on our blog, and no, it didn't make sense on that post either.

Anyways, with regard to your post, GREAT BLOODY HELL FUCK SHIT. This is going to be awesome. Hahahahaha. Awesome.

Ali K. said...

Wow. I've had the pleasure(if you can call it that) of seeing Arnab in action. He's worse than Hamid Mir. I remember catching Hamid Mir on Arnab's show and both of them going at each other. Lets hope this means we will be seeing Arnab on Capital Talk because that will be bloody AWESEOME!

Anonymous said...

Bechara Dawn is bleeding courtesy its TV channel. There's no way they could get in on the awesomeness.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be awesome if the collaboration saw the demise (oops, nope, can't use that word lest it be seen as death threat)errr... reduction in the space given to Ansar Abbasi?

Bolshevik said...

Hamid Mir vs Goswami: DOGFIGHT!!! :-D

On a serious note, I agree with the concerns raised in this post. The basic idea of the venture sounds awesome (which of course would be an understatement), but then Indo-Pak peace is serious business -- something that neither TOI nor the Jang Group has any past record of fostering. On our side, we have Khalifahs such as Ansar Abbasi and co., who take pride in getting people nabbed under the Blasphemy Law.

We also have morons such as Ali Azmat promoting the "paleed Hindu"-hating, Ghazwa-e-Hind-promoting Zaid Hamid on Aag. How does this promote Indo-Pak peace?

Secondly, why is the establishment on both sides of the border so keen on making this project see the light of day? The media groups in question aside, both the Indian and Pakistani states (separate from the respective governments in both countries) have zealously pursued a policy of demonising the "other". I find this sudden expression of love scary, to say the least.

Lets hope that the project goes ahead as per its stated aims, and does not end up fueling some godforsaken ISI/RAW/ABC...XYZ agenda.

Anon_for_a_good_reason said...

RAW is not an ISI equivalent in terms of function,hierarchy or protocol.The equal and opposite agency of ISI is the tri-service DIA(Defence Intelligence Agency). ISI is a feeder/collation agency like DIA or an Indian JIC (Joint Intelligence Council)or Indian MAC(Multi-Agency Centre).RAW is not even an organization or agency and is almost non-existent on paper..Its just a wing of cabinet with black funds..and totally unaccountable(intangible)..fully civilian(IPS/RAS cadre).Like an informal anti-narcotics task force or a special task force(STF) in case of police.

Sohaib said...

If my sources are correct, this collaboration is titled "India and Pakistan - from pieces to peace." :D

Bolshevik said...

Bhahahahahahah from what I heard, Sohaib, an Urdu/Hindi translation of that phrase is being used. :-D

Sadaf said...

It seems like a much awaited rendezvous.It could simply be called a "meeting of minds" or to add a little more, " a bilateral transformation of minds". Whatever it is, it seems we have learnt "something" from history.This earthquake sounds to be a hallmark of a healthier mindset, protecting us from the hurricanes- all of us can foresee.

It definitely seems to be a well thougt out plan. And with 2009 bathed in red, this collabration might add happier colors to the palette of 2010:)

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