Saturday, July 16, 2016

एस.पी के बाद टेलीविजन, दिग्गजों का जमावड़ा

एस.पी के बाद टेलीविजन, दिग्गजों का जमावड़ा



(राजेश राय की रिपोर्ट)
ऐसा नज़ारा सभा – संगोष्ठियों में कम ही दिखाई पड़ता है जब टेलीविजन के सारे दिग्गज एक ही मंच पर आसीन हों और टेलीविजन न्यूज़ पर मंथन कर रहे हों. मौका एस.पी.सिंह स्मृति
समारोह का था. मीडिया खबर डॉट कॉम द्वारा आयोजित समारोह और संगोष्ठी में आजतक के संस्थापक संपादक एस.पी.सिंह को याद करते हुए, टेलीविजन न्यूज़ इंडस्ट्री के विकास क्रम और ताजा हालात पर गंभीर चर्चा हुई. गौरतलब है कि 27 जून को सुरेन्द्र प्रताप सिंह (एस.पी.सिंह) की पुण्यतिथि थी. इसी मौके पर मीडिया खबर की तरफ से इस संगोष्ठी का आयोजन किया गया था जिसमें परिचर्चा का विषय ‘एस.पी.के बाद टेलीविजन’ था.
एस.पी सिंह समारोह की शुरुआत दीप प्रज्ज्वलन के साथ हुई. आजतक के पूर्व न्यूज़ डायरेक्टर कमर वहीद नकवी, वरिष्ठ पत्रकार राहुल देव, अल्फ़ा मीडिया के सीईओ शैलेश, आजतक के चैनल प्रमुख सुप्रिय प्रसाद, ज़ी न्यूज़ की अल्का सक्सेना, एबीपी न्यूज़ के दीपक चौरसिया और आईबीएन-7 के आशुतोष ने दीप प्रज्ज्वलित किया. दीप प्रज्ज्वलन के बाद देश के जाने – माने फायनेंशियल एक्सपर्ट कवि कुमार ने मीडिया खबर की तरफ से न्यूज़ चैनलों के अर्थशास्त्र और बाजार और विज्ञापन के बीच ख़बरों के अस्तित्व की बात की.
सबसे पहले वक्ता के रूप में अल्फ़ा मीडिया के शैलेश आये. उन्होंने कहा कि टेलीविजन स्वांत सुखाय का माध्यम नहीं है,वो बाजार और दर्शक से चलता है इसलिए टीआरपी जरुरी चीज है. विज्ञापन और स्पान्सर्ड प्रोग्राम दिखाने चाहिए लेकिन न्यूज को इसके चक्कर में रिप्लेस नहीं कर देना चाहिए और न ही इसे खबर की शक्ल में दिखाया जाना चाहिए. ये बात निर्मल बाबा के मामले में साफतौर पर दिखाई दी.एस पी होते तो वो भी विज्ञापन दिखाते, कैम्पेन करते लेकिन साथ में मुहिम भी चलाते, हमने दरअसल बहुत आसान रास्ता खोज लिया है.
उनके बाद आजतक के पूर्व न्यूज़ डायरेक्टर और वरिष्ठ पत्रकार कमर वहीद नकवी आये. उन्होंने आते ही साफ़ तौर पर कहा कि अब टीवी का रिमोट कंट्रोल दर्शक के हाथ में है. अब रीडर का हस्तक्षेप बढ़ रहा है जो कि अच्छी बात भी है और बुरी बात भी. ऐसा इसलिए कि सारे रीडर नहीं जानते कि क्या होना चाहिए, सबों को समझ नहीं होती लेकिन कंटेंट वही डिसाइड करता है.
वहीं दूसरी तरफ वरिठ पत्रकार राहुल देव ने कहा कि टीवी विमर्श का माध्यम नहीं है. अगर लोग घटिया चीज देखना चाहते हैं तो वही दिखाया जाएगा यह नाटकीयता का माध्यम है, अगर खबर में नाटकीयता नहीं है तो नहीं चलेगा. उसके बाहर हम नहीं जा सकते. अब वह मनोरंजन और मुनाफा इन दो पाटों के बीच फंसकर रह गया है. मुझे नहीं पता कि एस पी होते तो इस बाजार से कैसे लड़ते लेकिन हां ये जरुर है कि वो बहुत ही व्यावहारिक पत्रकार थे.
ज़ी न्यूज़ की कंसल्टिंग एडिटर अल्का सक्सेना ने सवाल उठाते हुए कहा कि लोग जो ये बात कहते है कि टीवी पर दर्शकों का कब्जा है, वही तय करता है कि क्या देखा जाएगा. मेरा उनसे सीधा सवाल है कि क्या दर्शकों को कार्यक्रम दिखाने के पहले पूछा जाता है, उनसे कोई राय ली जाती है ? ये बात सही है कि टेलीविजन का तेजी से विकास हो रहा है, आर्थिक रुप से मजबूत हो रहा लेकिन कहीं ऐसा न हो कि टेलीविजन बहुत आगे निकल जाए और खबरें पीछे छूट जाए, हम छूट जाएं.
आईबीएन- 7 के आशुतोष ने अपने चिरपरिचित आक्रामक अंदाज में कहा कि मीडिया सेमिनार अक्सर स्यापा करने का मंच हो जाता है और हम बात करते हुए ग्लानि और कुंठा से भर जाते हैं जबकि ऐसा नहीं होना चाहिए. एक तो सबसे पहले हमें जो टेलीविजन का ग्रे एरिया है, उस पर भी बात करनी चाहिए, जो क्रिटिकल फैकल्टी है, उन्हें भी तबज्जों देनी चाहिए और फिर उनके संदर्भों को शामिल करते हुए सोच कायम करनी चाहिए. मुझे नहीं पता कि आज एस पी होते तो क्या करते लेकिन इतना जरुर जानता हूं कि पिछले दो-तीन सालों में टेलीविजन ने जो पत्रकारिता की है, एस पी उस पर गर्व जरुर करते.
एबीपी न्यूज़ के एडिटर (नेशनल एफेयर) दीपक चौरसिया ने कुछ हटकर बोलते हुए कहा कि अब पत्रकार का मतलब है- जो लिखता है, दिखता है औऱ बिकता है. एस पी के बाद से अब तक का टेलीविजन बहुत बदल गया है. लेकिन एक बात जरुर है कि जो काम टेलीविजन कर रहा है, ऐसा नहीं है कि वही काम अखबार नहीं कर रहे. वो सब कुछ कर रहा है. एस पी की खास बात थी कि वो अपने दर्शकों को एक निष्कर्ष तक ले जाते थे. जब सारे भगवान ने दूध पिया की खबर आयी तो एस पी ने बताया कि मोची के औजार ने भी पिया. वो सामाजिक संदर्भों को बेहतर समझते थे लेकिन अब हम ऐसा नहीं कर रहे.
सबसे अंत में ज़ी न्यूज़ के कंसल्टिंग एडिटर पुण्य प्रसून बाजेपयी बोले. उन्होंने कहा कि मैंने एस पी की बात हमेशा इसलिए मानी कि मुझे लगा कि ये मंत्री और नेता तो आते जाते रहेंगे, बदलते रहेंगे लेकिन एस पी तो पत्रकारिता में रहेंगे. हमने एक पत्रकार की बात मानी. मुझे एक बात खटकती है. वे टेलीविजन के आदमी नहीं थे, उन्हें सिर्फ टीवी तक सीमित करके नहीं देखा जाना चाहिए. वो दरअसल एक पत्रकार थे और जिस भी माध्यम में रहे, उसे एक खास एंगिल से देखने की बात करते थे. एस पी टीवी पत्रकारिता को, हिन्दी पत्रकारिता को राष्ट्रीय स्तर पर देखना चाहते थे. लेकिन टेलीविजन सिमटता चला जा रहा है, सिकुड़ता चला जा रहा है.
संगोष्ठी का संचालन डॉ. वर्तिका नंदा ने किया. इस मौके पर न्यूज़24 के मैनेजिंग एडिटर अजीत अंजुम, इंडिया टुडे के कार्यकारी संपादक दिलीप मंडल, बीबीसी हिंदी.कॉम की सलमा जैदी, वरिष्ठ पत्रकार और लोकसभा टीवी के पूर्व कंसल्टिंग एडिटर अजयनाथ झा, न्यूज़ एक्सप्रेस के प्रमुख मुकेश कुमार, महुआ ग्रुप के न्यूज़ डायरेक्टर यशवंत राणा, छत्तीसगढ़ के पूर्व चीफ जस्टिस फखरुद्दीन साहब, वेबदुनिया के संपादक जयदीप कार्णिक, आजतक के सीनियर एंकर सुमित अवस्थी और अंजना कश्यप और इन.कॉम के एडिटर निमिष कुमार समेत कई हस्तियाँ, मीडियाकर्मी, पत्रकार और छात्र भारी संख्या में मौजूद थे. संगोष्ठी का आयोजन फिल्म सिटी, नोयडा में किया गया था.


Read more: http://mediadarbar.com/8323/television-after-sp-singh/#ixzz4EYjyOmiG

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Tribute SP : Legacy of Ethics and courage in the media By Vidya Bhushan RawatSurendra Pratap Singh or SP as he was popularly known was one of the most iconic journalists of Hindi media at the time when it was opening up to new realities of television journalism. At the time when media particularly the vernacular media and its journalists were openly hobnobbing with the Hindutva lobby in the corporate and enjoyed the patronage, he was sharply different and committed to the profession of journalism. Yes, unlike many other veterans in the Hindi world, who crossed the thin line between journalism and politics, SP was clear about his motive and work. He never pretended to be a mass leader, nor was he a preacher. Those were the days of Indian media when many of the editors had the habit of coming to the front page under their by-line yet these temptations did not attract SP. He was happy with his contents and stood with the ethics of journalism. We all know that the vernacular journalists are habitual of political patronage and feel proud of their linkages. At the time when Hindi newspapers converted themselves to Hindu newspapers and the way they reported the entire Ramjanmbhumi-babari masjid controversy to say the least was shocking. The newspapers baron was playing tricks. Most of them owned both vernacular and English dailies and hence they cleverly allowed ‘freedom’ to their editors. So that was an interesting phase when the owners put different breed of Secularists and Hindutva sympathisers for their Hindi and English News papers. Many brought them in the name of literature. SP was not enamoured by literary figures. The fact is that after the demise of Rajendra Mathur, perhaps the most respected editors of his time, who actually was editor in chief of Navbharat Times when SP was editor, the Times Management brought a veteran Brahmin Vidya Niwas Mishra as the Editor in Chief of the newspaper and that brought a complete down fall of Navbharat Times, a newspaper who every body would subscribe. He knew how the journalists have openly joined hand with political parties and later Rajya Sabha seat was not a far away job but it was not surprising for him. He always mentioned that this has been happening since independence and journalists and writers were always ‘Promoted’ and ‘awarded’ the state for their own purposes. However, in the Ramjanmbhumi-Ayodhya matter even the owners of various newspapers jumped in and became ‘writers and journalists’. Their writing was completely irrational and unethical. They forced their reporters to twist the facts and distort the news. Even the press council reprimanded many of these newspapers. The Hinduisation or brahmanisation of Indian media is a continuation process with SP a victim of it. He stood against it and provided opportunities to budding journalists in his institution. He had faith in the youths and was that way an iconoclast who never believed in big names of the literature to be the best journalists. He always said that one can be a good writer but may not be a great journalist. And it proved when Vidya Niwas Mishra proved to be disastrous for Navbharat Times, which was a great institution before SP left it. SP continued with his writings and many of them appeared in English press also. However, his best days were yet to come. As Doordarshan allowed a half an hour news based programme Aaj Tak to India Today group with SP its head, the meaning of news changed for many of us. It was a sharply different news style than the boring faces of Doordarshan who would only report about the inauguration and death ceremonies of the political leaders and ministers. (Today, doordarshan seems to be better option than our preachy and self conscious anchors of the private channels). Aaj tak became very popular and SP synonymous to it. People would wait every night to here his voice and analysis. The best quality in him was that he was not judgemental and always left to his viewers to decide. As he said many time, his did not do journalism to fulfil any fixed agenda. He was committed to journalism and its ethics. For him, news should be ethical and should not promote mass hysteria. At a time when the entire country witness the ‘drinking of milk’ by Ganesha, SP had the capacity to send his reporter to a very ordinary shoemaker in Delhi and seek his opinion and explain the science behind the Ganesha drinking milk. He never appreciated such acts which were being promoted in the name of news. Upahar cinema tragedy in June, 1997 at Delhi, shook every one of us. We waited that night to listen to him. As he started speaking and narrating the entire sequence and we saw dead bodies, burnt corpus of young old being taken, people in distress, SP’s voice was choked on TV. He became philosophical too how the administration could be so callous that such kind of things can happen in the capital city of the country. The trauma of the cries of people was too much for him to bear. He struggled for life many days and finally succumbed to it on June 27th. SP is not there but his smiling face always remind us that news can not be just for sale or production. News must be ethical. One important point that our friends must learn from his experience is that not everything that brings crowd is great. It can make great news but there must be news behind the news too. Therefore, he not only showed the news of people queuing up to offer Ganesha milk but also exposed it showing how a common Dalit does not believe in all these miracles by showing an interview of a shoemaker. When Delhi was burning against Mandal Commission report, SP stood strong and refused to toe line of his peers in the media who came out openly asking students to come on the street and immolate themselves. Today, when we remember SP for his immense contribution to India media and how he changed the perception of media and how important it is for the budding journalists not to worship their elders but believe in getting into the depth of the news. He started various products right from Ravivar from Kolkata to Aaj Tak in Delhi and converted them into credible brands. People read him and watched his channel out of deep respect for him and credibility that he brought. You can not build credibility on compromise. It is built on ethics. Nobody ask you to have a particular ideology but commitment to truth and values and SP believed in it. Yes, whatever one say, he proved with his hard work that nothing is invincible and age does not matter. At a young age his left behind a credible legacy to us and hope those who worked with him or read him will actually take forward his legacy of commitment and impartiality to the news.
CHAPTER RIOT AFTER RIOT BY MJ AKBAR
A Split-level War in Jamshedpur

The steel city of Jamshedpur has witnessed communal strife ever since the first steel mill was built. It is now a nouveau riche city with different communities competing for as much of the trade and commerce as they can. Wealth breeds crime as well as prosperity; the city has its share of the underworld. Tension has many causes. many faces. Religious festivals and processions lead to rioting which politicials are quick to exploit to their own advantage. Early in April 1979. Bala Saheb Deoras, head of the Rashtriya Swayam-sevak Sangh (RSS). a Hindu fundamentalist organization, visited Jameshedpur and exhorted Hindus to assert their rights in a Hindu country. Ten days later the city went up in flames. reducing entire localities to ashes and leaving scores of innocent men, women and children dead.

The city of Jamshet’s (Jamshetji Tata, the founder of the House of Tatas) dreams has developed some ugly warts. It is an adolescent city, immature, vigorous, energetic, even rich; it wears fancy clothes and uses a good deal of cosmetics; but a disease has entered its lungs and heart, and its face breaks out in a hideous rash every now and then. Cosmetics and ugliness; the first does not hide the second, they exist side by side, in amazing complacence. The contrasts are startling. You see young engineers with their beautiful wives, the women laughing at some private joke as they motor home in the late afternoon, perhaps after lunch and tennis at the club. But ,in the city, down a broad, paved road lined with trees, fanned by cool breezes from the hills of Chotanagpur, is the posh and antiseptic Tata Medical Hospital where the more fortunate of the victims of communal violence are suffering, the sores now bandaged, but the wounds of the heart festering, and hate oozing from the eyes like a malignant pus that will contaminate all that it touches. The rose garden of the Jubilee Park is a square of red on flowing green; charming, very charming, so soothing that you could sleep forever on the grass; why, so pretty that even Bombay film producers use it as a venue for songs that echo into the blue hills as macho hero and pneumatic heroine race into each other’s arms and cling hard till the camera pans to two flowers making love. But the perfume is overwhelmed by the stench of the burnt, mutilated, shot, wounded, dying, dead, men, women and children at the Government hospital. The walls of this hospital are splashed with the black soot of age and carelessness; the atmosphere is septic, and the stench wafts out and onto the road, the nurses work hard for little reward, and on a bed sits a man injured in the head and leg, staring into space; beside him is his mother, also staring into space. Their world has burnt down. In the recesses of the hospital lie the dead, in hideous shapes, and each of them, each man, woman and child, has written a will in the presence of a hundred witnesses, and the will says that each member of the dead person’s family receives a legacy of hate, an equal share each; and this legacy has no limits, no boundaries, so each member of the deceased may take what he or she can carry away.

Have you ever heard the silence of a city? Curfew time is five o’ clock but long before that the silence has been building up. The city stopped roaring on 11 April 1979, but now as the sun enters the last quarter of its daily journey even the half-raised voices of the morning have hushed. The daylight is strong still. A cat drops quickly from a parapet onto Masjid Road and the eye, in reflex, catches the soundless movement for nothing else stirs, nothing else moves, there is no one on the street. Our car moves on, a window quickly shuts, soundlessly. Even the huge, squat, serried factory structures that fill the skyline of Jamshedpur seem afraid of making any noise. Dogs, scampering in the rubble of destruction, do not bark so much as whimper. The one sound that follows us is of the police; they are present at each street corner, neat and deadly guns in their hands, each picket with a plainclothes magistrate, and each picket stopping our car to check our curfew passes : the bold “Press” signs taped on the car are not sufficient proof of our innocence, and rightly so: stranger things are happening here than gun-running by fake journalists. A Muslim was nabbed carrying weapons in a Marwari’s car; traders have no religion, as we have all heard, particularly traders in illegal arms. Chickens, owned by nobody now, are wandering about busily in deserted, broken, burnt and looted homes. Jagged bricks pockmark both sides of the road, bricks which are witnesses, weapons and finally victims of battle. A single slipper lies in the middle of the street. A lone cyclist, a Sikh, passes us, stares at us; he is on his way from work. The street lights are on; they have been on for the last few days as no one, in fear, has gone to switch them off; they become a little more noticeable in the gradually weakening sunlight, as dusk seeps towards this silent city. From the boundary walls of Agrico factory, Rajesh Khanna and Rekha promise Prem Bandhan. A bunch of crows sits on a speedbreaker; as our car nears, the crows trot off together, literally trot off. Now to less deserted streets; or seemingly less deserted — the shops and signs on either side make this street less forlorn. But in the shadows there is movement; beggars, without a home, stuck against the drawn shutters of the shops, wearing black rags, staring at the empty roads. Beggars and guardians of the law and a handful of journalists; that is all that moves in a curfew.

There is curfew too in the narrower lanes of Jugsalai, the business centre of the city, but here there are signs of life. This is where the merchants live and earn, and they are spending these unproductive evenings chatting on the verandahs, looking at the streets. It is getting dark now, and our car winds through lanes and bylanes in search of mood and battlefields. At one turn a loud ‘Halt’ stops us abruptly. Police scamper down from a rooftop. We are on the border of a Muslim area. The officer of the law is sceptical about our verbal assurances. He demands to see our curfew passes, and is not totally convinced by them. S. P. Singh, the editor of Ravivar is in our car. The policeman looks hard at S. P. Singh who wears a beard; ‘Are you S. P. Singh?’ he asks, and his voice has disbelief in every syllable. The editor of Ravivar has to show his identity card with his photograph to prove his point, and then the policeman almost reluctantly gives us back our curfew passes. We are two Muslims and two Hindus (purely by chance) in the car, and the two Hindus both wear beards that would do a Muslim proud. The picket thinks we are carrying arms for the Muslims. And in case we have any doubt that their attentions are only routine, one of them calls out as we depart: ‘I hope there is nothing lethal in the boot’.

In memory of Surendra Pratap Singh


About the helpline
The Hoot launches a helpline for all those who work in the media, as well as those who use it and are affected by it.
 
It will have a two-pronged approach. First, it will respond to   media professionals who face intimidation, harassment, threats or assaults in the course of their work. Second, it will respond to complaints from readers, viewers or Internet users. These could relate to the following: the misuse of the media through unethical practices like paid news, blackmail or extortion, the failure of in-house (within media companies) complaints redressal mechanisms, such as the refusal of media houses to publish letters to the editors voicing legitimate grievances against published or broadcast news, or the refusal of television channels to address complaints regarding fairness of treatment, violation of privacy, or defamatory coverage. 
*In memory of S P Singh, magazine editor, broadcaster, creator  of Aaj Tak on Doordarshan before it became a news channel. He created a popular  Hindi idiom for TV news, and was a role model for many younger journalists. He passed away in June 1997. The Hoot has been supported in its early years by the S P Singh Foundation.   
  
   
   

The positive interventionist

 

MEDIA WATCH | New Delhi, May 6, 2011 16:20 
Tags : Ashutosh | Managing editor -IBN-7 | a small town boy | UPSC | Philosophy and International Relations | Saptahik Hindustan | Aaj Tak | Mirzapur |
 
Namassssskar, main hoon Aaaaashutosh”. This familiar refrain, first heard on Aaj Tak and now echoing at the IBN 7, is the signature tune of the man who is now at the helm of affairs at one of the biggest channels in India.
The name itself is an introduction for Ashutosh, the Managing Editor of IBN 7. A small town boy born to an Income Tax Official, Ashutosh says he never dreamt of being a journalist. “The first time I ever contemplated penning my thoughts was in 1989 when in China, Tiananmen Square was making news and in India, the Ayodhya issue was on the boil. I wanted to write and got an opportunity at Saptahik Hindustan to write occasional columns.” And this small step of giving words to ideas on paper led him to the towering heights.

Ashu’ to his friends and colleagues, he says he did have a wish to be able to make a positive intervention in society, to be able to say what he felt at the top of his voice and from the bottom of his heart. The man who never hesitates to call a spade a spade on TV, says the more he got attached to the medium, the better was his career progression, blossoming day by day.
Did he ever think he would be the Editor of a leading media organisation? The answer is a resounding ‘No’. Ask him about his ambitions and he tells you that all he ever wanted was to be able to earn Rs 10,000 a month, own a Maruti and a two-bedroom flat that he could call his own. Delhi gave him that and much more. But the capital itself happened to Ashutosh by chance. His father wanted him to be a doctor. He even appeared for the CPMT but failed. And that helped shape the scheme of things to come.

A science graduate from Allahabad University, Ashutosh applied for Masters in Philosophy from the same varsity. At this point someone suggested UPSC as a brilliant career option and his father became excited at the prospect. Ashutosh was told that Delhi is the place to prepare and arriving in the national capital he chanced upon a JNU advertisement offering admissions in various courses. Confesses Ashu, “I had not heard about JNU till my graduation. And here was a marvellous place in the heart of Delhi which offered hostel facilities as well. What more could I have asked for? I applied for MA in International Relations as well as in Political Science and got through both.” Ashutosh took up International Relations as it was the only place in India where International Politics is taught as a subject. Since the session in Allahabad was running two years late, Ashutosh could afford to obtain a double MA degree – Philosophy and International Relations.
Meanwhile, he tried for the UPSC exams but could not go beyond the prelims in his first attempt. In his second attempt, he cleared the prelims but did not sit for the main examination.

Probably destiny had chalked out a different path for Ashutosh. He got an opportunity to write for Saptahik Hindustan, thanks to a reference from his JNU teacher Pushpesh Pant to Editor Mrinal Pande and UPSC soon became a thing of the past.
Ashutosh vividly remembers the headline of his first article that came out in 1990 as a cover story and fetched him a handsome sum of Rs 300 – Aatankvad: kab kyun aur kaise. Soon he was offered a position with the magazine and his first article was on Nelson Mandela.

If there is one person he shall always remain indebted to, it is Pushpesh Pant, who took him under his wings during his early days in Delhi; later the role of mentor was taken up by his Editor Mrinal Pande. After spending around three-and-a-half years with Saptahik Hindustan, Ashutosh got the urge to move on. Mrinal Pande suggested him to try his luck at BiTV. And TV happened to Ashutosh by compulsion. Ashutosh did not stay at BiTV for very long and senior journalist Shailesh told him that celebrated late anchor SP Singh, the man at Aaj Tak, was looking for him.

A year before that S P Singh had rejected Ashutosh’s request for a job, and here he was seeking to meet him! Ashutosh went to see the man whose ‘Eklavya’ he calls himself; and Aaj Tak opened its door to him. “At Aaj Tak, I was never SP’s Pandava. It was me who took him as a guru. From him I learnt how excited you should get with news. I learnt how news should be covered, and spread,” says Ashutosh.

And it was during the coverage of government formation in Uttar Pradesh that Ashutosh became famous; he was slapped by late BSP leader Kanshi Ram, which also catapulted him to the centrestage of news makers. Ashutosh was on his way to becoming what he is now. He says modestly, “I was at the right place at the right time.’’
Ashutosh’s reaction to news is akin to a drug addict getting a high after his fix. He quips, “If news does not excite you then you are not a journalist and cannot do justice to your job. Journalists are trespassers in the corridors of history. On the way, they contribute their own in the making of a nation itself.”

As Managing Editor, his routine is gruelling but disciplined. He gets up at 6.15 am, goes for a 45-minute walk, comes back to read 10 to 12 newspapers and leaves for office by 9.10 am. At office by 9.30, he begins his hour-long edit meet at 10.00 am sharp. After that, he “flows with the flow of news where the agenda is-news, news and news”. In between he finds time to read and be with his friends, where during gatherings, fish fry is his favourite and green chillies a must.

The boy from Mirzapur, who made it big in Delhi was born in Benaras. He had not seen electricity till he was in class four, lived in Lucknow in a one-room accommodation with a family of six, used a public toilet as a child, the verandah in his house served as a kitchen and he studied under the lantern. Quite overwhelming actually.

Ashutosh’s memories of his childhood are of Mirzapur, where he spent his formative years. He studied in a government school from class five onwards and completed his graduation, no mean achievement for a boy whose ancestral village Badhaulipur, 40-50 kms from Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh had its first graduate in the form of his father. Today, Ashutosh’s family includes his wife and his boys – two lovely canines who live with him and two others who are adopted and live outside the house. Needless to add, they remain his greatest stress busters. 
The Hinduisation or brahmanisation of Indian media

The Hinduisation or brahmanisation of Indian media is a continuation process with SP a victim of it. He stood against it and provided opportunities to budding journalists in his institution. He had faith in the youths and was that way an iconoclast who never believed in big names of the literature to be the best journalists. He always said that one can be a good writer but may not be a great journalist. And it proved when Vidya Niwas Mishra proved to be disastrous for Navbharat Times, which was a great institution before SP left it.

SP continued with his writings and many of them appeared in English press also. However, his best days were yet to come. As Doordarshan allowed a half an hour news based programme Aaj Tak to India Today group with SP its head, the meaning of news changed for many of us. It was a sharply different news style than the boring faces of Doordarshan who would only report about the inauguration and death ceremonies of the political leaders and ministers. (Today, doordarshan seems to be better option than our preachy and self conscious anchors of the private channels).

Aaj tak became very popular and SP synonymous to it. People would wait every night to hear his voice and analysis. The best quality in him was that he was not judgemental and always left to his viewers to decide. As he said many time, his did not do journalism to fulfil any fixed agenda. He was committed to journalism and its ethics. For him, news should be ethical and should not promote mass hysteria. At a time when the entire country witness the ‘drinking of milk’ by Ganesha, SP had the capacity to send his reporter to a very ordinary shoemaker in Delhi and seek his opinion and explain the science behind the Ganesha drinking milk. He never appreciated such acts which were being promoted in the name of news.

Upahar cinema tragedy in  June, 1997 at Delhi, shook every one of us. We waited that night to listen to him. As he started speaking and narrating the entire sequence and we saw dead bodies, burnt corpus of young old being taken, people in distress, SP’s voice was choked on TV. He became philosophical too how the administration could be so callous that such kind of things can happen in the capital city of the country. The trauma of the cries of people was too much for him to bear.  He struggled for life many days and finally succumbed to it on June 27th.

SP is not there but his smiling face always remind us that news can not be just for sale or production. News must be ethical. One important point that our friends must learn from his experience is that not everything that brings crowd is great. It can make great news but there must be news behind the news too. Therefore, he not only showed the news of people queuing up to offer Ganesha milk but also exposed it showing how a common Dalit does not believe in all these miracles by showing an interview of a shoemaker. When Delhi was burning against Mandal Commission report,SP stood strong and refused to toe line of his peers in the media who came out openly asking students to come on the street and immolate themselves.

Today, when we remember SP for his immense contribution to India media and how he changed the perception of media and how important it is for the budding journalists  not to worship their elders but believe in getting into the depth of the news. He started various products right from Ravivar from Kolkata to Aaj Tak in Delhi and converted them into credible brands.  People read him and watched his channel out of deep respect for him and credibility that he brought.  You can not build credibility on compromise. It is built on ethics. Nobody ask you to have a particular ideology but commitment to truth and values and SP believed in it. Yes, whatever one say, he proved with his hard work that nothing is invincible and age does not matter. At a young age his left behind a credible legacy to us and hope those who worked with him or read him will actually take forward his legacy of commitment and impartiality to the news.

(The writer is a full time human rights activist )

आजतक के पहले संपादक एसपी सिंह की मां का निधन


रविवार और आजतक के संपादक रहे सुरेंद्र प्रताप सिंह की मां का आज निधन हो गया। वो लगभग नब्बे साल की थी। पश्चिम बंगाल के उत्तर चौबीस परगना जिले के गारूलिया में मंगलवार की शाम तीन बजे उन्होने आखिरी सांस ली। आज तक और रविवार की शुरूआत करनेवाले सुरेंद्र प्रताप सिंह यानी एसपी सिंह की मां ने तीन बेटों को जन्म दिया था। सबसे बड़े बेटे नरेंद्र प्रताप सिंह गारूलिया में ही रहकर ग़ाजीपुर और कोलकाता में खेती बाड़ी और घरेलू कारोबार देखते हैं।
मंझले बेटे एसपी सिंह का देहात 27 जून 1997 को हुआ था। तीसरे बेटे सत्येंद्र प्रताप सिंह एक न्यूज़ चैनल से जुड़े हुए हैं। बलिया में जन्मी एसपी सिंह की मां की शादी जमींदार जगन्नाथ सिंह के साथ हुई थी। एसपी सिंह की मौत से ग्यारह महीने पहले जगन्नाथ सिंह की मौत हो गयी थी। इनके सबसे बड़े पौत्र चंदन प्रताप सिंह दिल्ली के टोटल टीवी के राजनीतिक संपादक हैं।