Hafta letters: NL Legal Fund, media partisanship, and Shekhar Gupta

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

ByNL Team
Hafta letters: NL Legal Fund, media partisanship, and Shekhar Gupta
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Hi team,

A huge fan of Hafta and A&A. Your ground reports are the need of the hour in the Indian journalism space.

Accusations are being made against Arvind Kejriwal for crying over the NCT bill, with people pointing to his tweet from two years back about the J&K situation. I too was shocked by his attitude towards the abrogation of Article 370 and the stripping of J&K's statehood. He never realised they were coming for Delhi next. He has, in fact, turned out to be someone who becomes nationalist/jingoist/secular/religious as and when it is required and never stands his ground ideology-wise. What the union government is doing to Delhi is unacceptable and can be done to any state in future as they have a substantial number of MPs in Rajya Sabha too now. This is what I felt when J&K happened, and it hasn't changed with Delhi either. Would like the panel's thoughts on this.

Thanks,

Mathivanan S

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My regards to the entire team of Newslaundry, special mention of Abhinandan & Manisha. Just finished Hafta 320. At the end of the discussion, Abhinandan mentions these houses we get in the Army, that's very true. Since you also have an Army background, kindly do some piece on the kind of news being watched by people in uniform and, further, the discussions among the men. Ideally, people in uniform should be apolitical but ground realities are very much alarming. The leaning of senior officers towards a particular party is clearly lowering the true image of the Army, the rush for contesting and getting nominated as ambassadors is bringing down the ethos and unity.

Bhagat

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Over the last few months, there have been consistent appeals to contribute to the legal fund to help NL effectively defend and contest the cases that have been slapped by the likes of Times Now.

Though I myself haven’t made any contribution towards this fund, I have some suggestions:

1. Particulars of litigation, legal notices, along with a copy of the court petition, replies, etc should be made accessible on the NL website under the Legal Fund tab to enable subscribers to make informed decisions regarding contribution.

2. Apart from indicating the amount collected or topped-up, the NL Fund should also have particulars of the lawyers engaged, details of payments made towards legal fees, total amount agreed with the lawyers and disbursed, court fees paid, miscellaneous expenses incurred, etc.

3. From time to time, contributors and subscribers should be informed of the steps taken to mitigate litigation costs.

4. In case you don't want to display the above information on the website then such details can be emailed to all NL subscribers with an appeal to come forward and contribute to the Legal Fund.

Hoping my suggestions will be considered and implemented.

Vaibhav Dang

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Hi Hafta team,

I am writing this email just to say how wonderful the E Sreedharan interview, aka "Dosti bani rahe interview", was. Kudos to Nidhi Suresh for handling it so well. He can't handle a simple interview, how the hell is he supposed to handle the state as the chief minister?

A question to your panel: do you think that the reason the BJP is in power is because it is exploiting the innate Muslim bigotry among the majority of Indian Hindus? This hate, no matter how small, trumps everything else, like jobs, education, and employment.

A yearly subscriber and admirer of your work.

Karthik

PS: Karare le channe!

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Dear NL team,

I'm writing this as a response and acknowledgement to Mr Keyshav Mor's letter from Hafta 321.

My mother is from the Chitpavan Brahmin community and I agree with the points Keyshav makes about the Peshwashahi, the ongoing hegemony of Brahmins over other castes in the name of religion, culture, or meritocracy, and his assertion that the RSS is a "Brahmin organization" more so than a Maratha one or any other. The Kokanastha Brahmin clans are located along the coast of the Arabian Sea from Pune-Nasik-Ratnagiri region to Udupi-Mangalore and Dakshina Kannada in Karnataka, and all the way down to Kasargod in Kerala. This entire region is an RSS stronghold. I'm glad to see a fellow person who stands up to their immediate family and calls out their BS.

More people need to realize it's not enough if they live in urban centers and consider themselves "woke", it's harder but much more important to start calling out bullshit of their elders and family.

Thanks,

Abhishek

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Hi NL team,

This is in response to the subscriber email from last week and some previous Hafta episodes criticizing Shekhar Gupta. I view his Cut the Clutter series as a mix of an explainer and an opinion piece, not a news report. I’ve not seen any rhetoric or misinformation being peddled on his platform unlike in the legacy media, and he has pushed back on several issues like CAA or, more recently, the handling of the vaccine rollout, new OTT platform rules, Disha Ravi’s case, etc. I don’t agree with a lot of Shekhar’s analysis either but that’s ok, it doesn’t make him a bad journalist.

Are we so comfortable in our echo chambers as a society that we don’t have patience for any counter view? How can people from both sides of the aisle come together and discuss complex issues without making it personal? It feels like the space for rational arguments is diminishing.

Thanks for all the great work you do!

Best,

Shrijal Shah

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There has been a lot of news about "vaccine diplomacy" and I have a question for the panel.

Some companies in Europe and the US researched and found a vaccine for corona. A private company in India is doing contract manufacturing for them in India.

And someone is picking packets from there and sending them to other countries saying it is their gift to the world. And no one is calling out this bluff.

So, if the Chinese premier gifts an iPhone to someone who visits China, is it a gift of a Chinese smartphone to the world, or is it an iPhone being gifted?

Would like the panel's view on this drama.

Regards,

Abhilash John

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Dear NL panel,

I enjoy listening to Hafta every week.

Though sometimes I feel like we only discuss gloom and distressing news of the week. I understand we are witnessing dreadful days for democracy, and the focus should be on news related to the common person’s suffering and holding governments accountable. Still, I would advocate taking out 5–10 minutes every episode to discuss what news of the week made the panel happy or hopeful. Because you all seem to be (on camera, in correspondence, etc) less pessimistic and less cynical than you sound on Hafta.

I know I can get “cheerful news” from other news platforms or sources, but I would like to hear the panel’s views on the week’s encouraging or constructive developments, be it any news topic.

I recommend a book called Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About The World — And Why Things Are Better Than You Think by the Rosling family. We live in a world with lesser violence than at any time in human history, where people live longer than ever before, and science and tech are making extraordinary developments. I think we should regularly comment on society's progress because that is news too.

Please continue with your honest and inspiring journalism.

Best regards,

Abhijeet Dangat

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Hello Newslaundry team,

I'm a new subscriber and have come to love the NL podcasts and TV Newsance (of course!). I would like to know your take on Rana Ayyub. I proofread her book Gujarat Files as a publishing trainee and found it to be more about her than the "truth" she set about seeking. The nightmare she gave us over proofs and edits added to my jadedness when it comes to her.

My skepticism for her writing found resonance in Abhijit Iyer-Mitra's piece titled "In Rana Ayyub, the White West has found its next Arundhati Roy" where he writes, "She is both the story and the storyteller". Last week, a college-going cousin shared her latest Washington Post article titled "India's degraded and downgraded democracy" with me, asking me to upgrade whatever 2016 opinion I have of her. I officially feel old at 28. Jokes apart, I thought of running this by you since you're a media critic platform. Needless to say, you people are doing a fantastic job because who else could I have gone to with this question!

Congratulations Jayashree on becoming Newslaundry's Grievance Officer. Abhinandan, please consider a separate short-little segment for Lakkhu and Gareeb Das, love the concept.

Cheers!

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Hello panel!

I am a subscriber from Raipur, Chhattisgarh. I am an entrepreneur working in IT.

I have been following Newslaundry for the last two years and have been a subscriber since December 2020, and I will continue to be.

My question to the panel is:

1. How should one consume news since there are many news outlets and news pours out from so many sources 24X7 that there is a rush to know everything. How do I decide what is essential for me to follow and read?

2. Is there any reason for not covering the business and technology section of the news? It would be great if business and tech are also covered. And if business-tech information can also be included in Daily Dose, that would be great.

3. Do you think any geography decides the subscription, or is it more about a viewpoint that decides the subscription or something else?

Thank you all for putting in so much effort for bringing in insightful and honest news. I love recommendations from Raman sir, especially the videos and documentaries.

And I would also like to thank the backend team who work constantly to keep everything running smoothly.

Aaditya Khandelwal

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Hello NL team,

I have been listening to Hafta regularly for the last one year. The Hafta panel has discussed the economy only twice or thrice as if there is no impact of Covid on the Indian economy. The panel often comments on media coverage (in both print and broadcast) but you guys did not take cognizance of such frontpage reportage as this. I was amazed that this report was not among the Hafta headlines. On the contrary, 10-12 minutes of an episode were spent subjecting this report to scrutiny. I would also like to know from the panel what should be the yardstick to judge a news organization – ideological partisanship or ground reportage. If ideological partisanship is the yardstick, then in the last episode while criticising the Print on the basis of Shekhar Gupta’s commitment to free market ideology, you guys did not utter a single word about portals like the Wire whose editor Arfa Khanum Sherwani is completely partisan to the Left and who on Hafta a few months ago tried to absolve Lalu Prasad Yadav of his legacy of Jungle Raj. I hope that my letter will be read out because I'm not a typical NL subscriber who is a postdoc based in the US.

Koshik Singh

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