Sunday, June 26, 2011

Arindam Chaudhuri sues the Caravan, Google, ect.

In making an actual list of the articles I read about India, I realized I was not reading any Indian publications.  Ever since I've been making a point to seek them out.  One of my favorites, The Caravan, along with Google India, Penguin Books, and  the author of the article, Sidddartha Deb, is being sued by IIPMHere is their press release about it.  I'm honestly very upset about the whole thing, but it is a fascinating conflagration of issues. 

Firstly the Caravan is great and I have to admit I've had a hard time finding Indian publications I like.  Arundhati Roy talks about some of the problems (sensationalism, corporatization, censorship, lack of integrity, whathaveyou) with the Indian media in an interview at Guernica (another fine publication, but not Indian).  I don't feel qualified to pass judgement on these matters.  I don't like say the Oregonian much or any American TV news either.

Although the plaintiff and The Caravan are located in Delhi, the suit was filed in Silchar, Assam (and they have used the same tactic in similar suits).  That is just bizarre and seems like a gross abuse of the justice system.  What, they've got a judge in their pocket in Silchar?  And they'll just be allowed to file wherever they want?  That is messed up.  An injunction has already been issued and The Caravan has taken down the original article (but you can read it here).  And corruption scores another point. 

There's been a lot of chatter lately about new internet regulations here.  I'm afraid I haven't been following it much.  But the fact that Google is included in this suit and individual bloggers in previous ones, highlights that some of the new regulations will make censorship even easier in India.  Media Nama has good coverage of these topics, in particular this post calling out some of the more troubling language in the new legislation.

I hope people get all riled up over this stuff.  But it's also funny that I am so up in arms about it.  One interesting side effect of moving to another country may be a renewed interest in politics and what not.  I was pretty cynical about all these issues back home and didn't pay a lot of attention.  I haven't been burnt out by the futility of the machine here yet.  Or maybe it's more about India being a developing country and there really is more opportunity to shape things.  Either way, it's welcome.

So go post about this nonsense on Facebook.  Make jokes at Arindam Chaudhuri's expense on twitter or at least read them and have a chuckle.

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