Rawalpindi to Indian Express

"Journalism of courage” shows us how to pull off a coup, sort of, not really…

ByAbhinandan Sekhri
Rawalpindi to Indian Express
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The IPL kicked off yesterday and I’ll miss Shoaib. If you thought the Rawalpindi Express launching into American-accented gibberish was hysterically funny, The Indian Express should be your newspaper of choice today.

Ordinarily India’s biggest English dailies displaying full front page IPL 5 advertisements instead of news would attract the lion’s share of media-directed criticism and condemnation. However today, The Indian Express has managed to direct that ridicule towards itself – a coup of sorts.

Enough General comments, onto Major points.

They pulled it off with a single, full, front-page story with a three line headline.

What makes this even more of a Mission Impossible-type manoeuvre is that www.rediff.com had reported this story on March 13, 2012 without the Army-flexing-its-muscle-intimidating-Govt spin, but instead as a fog vs para-commando piece.

The Indian Express’ version kind of alleging, but not quite suggesting, while sort of insinuating, but not really spelling out the “C” word – has sparked off an online debate.

The “C” word I’m assuming is Coup but then again any good non-committal spokesperson could deny that C had anything to do with Coup. C for Cat or Commando or Coalition. Who knows?

News watchers are drawing for and against lines and the more emotional are wondering if this is a threat to what India stands for (not just Barkha). Since I got that from twitter not sure if that melancholic thought has been sparked off because:

–       A coup is being contemplated – not quite, sort of, not really, but kind of.

–       Some people have imagined a coup is being contemplated – not quite, sort of, not really, but kind of.

–       That a ridiculously thin story suggesting that some people have imagined a coup is being contemplated (not quite, sort of, not really, but kind of), was published on page one.

–       That a ridiculously thin story suggesting that some people have imagined a coup is being contemplated (not quite, sort of, not really, but kind of ) was published on page one of a newspaper like the Indian Express with a history to be proud of – not quite, sort of, not really but kind of.

Among other tweets:

Navdeep Singh, a lawyer and military reservist.

A welcome, fun outcome of this bizarre news is the string of jokes about soldiers and coups that chirped on twitter.

My personal favourite – “coup coup coup coup… choli ke peeche kya hai.”

What is also clear today is that the distance between ridicule reserved for Shoaib Akhtar-type attention seekers and the critique reserved for serious journalists is not very much.  It’s a fine line – one front page thick.

The only thing more fun would be the Rawalpindi Express reading the Indian Express front page out loud.

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