BBC restricts access to historical Indian content

The Beeb is opening its archives on India and Pakistan on the occasion of 60 years of India and Pakistan’s independence. Among the archives, I’m told, is rare radio footage. It’s a closed archive trial, and being a history buff, I thought I’d sign up for it. Then came the shocker: Access to the archives is available only to UK residents.

Here’s a screenshot of the too-bad-you’re-accessing-this-from-India page:


I think it’s rather stupid to restrict access to archival content by region, unless they’ve sold rights to this content to people outside the UK…and strange for a company that spoke about aggressive plans for India at the end of FY06 (can’t find the link). Maybe they intend to open the archives on August 14th.

I just checked, and BBC allows access to broadband content only to UK residents, citing bandwidth costs as the reason. Well, why not upload it on YouTube or Twango?

I’m going to write I have written to the BBC to suggest that they allow access to this content from India as well. In case you want to, here’s complaints,

Update: For the text of the response, click more.

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On the editorial reasoning behind TV’s entertainment focus

At at time when every f’in news channel is focusing on the wedding of two Bollywood stars – even CNBC-TV18 had updates yesterday…ridiculous – here’s someone who tells it as it is:

Most channels fill up airtime based on a series of assumptions that some smart management cookie dishes out to gullible television programmers, producers and editors. Fact is there is just no credible benchmark in this country to evaluate either viewer choices or opinions. Second, there is no accurate data of profiles of people who regularly switch to news television everyday. Third, there is complete absence of any reliable and authentic study of viewer expectations from news television channels. Fourth, there is just no research of what the opportunity costs in the television industry are. For instance, will a corporate executive or a BPO employee ever watch news television when there is an opportunity to catch some sport action or a movie?

Read the entire blog post, titled “Moronic Media” by V.K. Shashikumar of CNN-IBN here.

It’s one of those “gosh, I wish I had written that” kind of posts, though I think have said pretty many of things he has, in bits and pieces, over the years. I think TV News’ entertainment focus is largely advertiser driven…at times it appears that stories are advertorials. What’s incredible is that this criticism also covers the channel CNN-IBN, and is up on IBNlive. Looks like they don’t censor their bloggers. Good stuff.

P.s.: Among my half written posts is: “On HR Issues and editorial evaluation in the media”. Had begun writing it after attending the Human Capital Forum organized by FMCC, on the 3rd of Feb. Wasn’t covering it, but had just been made editor, so thought I’d get some gyan. What I found strange then was that while senior editors sat and discussed how difficult to evaluate editorial performance, and how marketing can quantify their returns, but editorial can’t — no one spoke about integrity in reportage, and the issue of editorial selection of content.

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Those dumb questions…

Sevanti Ninan’s The Hoot takes apart the Indian TV News Media’s tiresome coverage of the Pramod Mahajan crisis in Those Dumb Questions.

My favourite is:

One reporter demanded to know why a mentally unstable man was given a licence for a revolver. “he is mentally unstable now. When he was given the licence he must have been ok. The police gives the licence after due enquiries. It doesn’t go to a mental hospital and give out gun licences.”

Reminds me of a cousin telling me yesterday that he finds that there really isn’t anything worth watching on TV. Watch CNBC and Sports, I tell him. There really isn’t much else.

CNN-IBN did a story on a polling booth in Kerala where only one voter is registered, and how the election commission has to send 6 people every elections, in case he decides to vote. We’re told that the ‘This one voter has brought the entire election commission to his knees.’ Yeah, right.

Then they tell us about the difficulties that CNN-IBN had to go through to get us the story – walk through leech infested jungles. They show us images of the reporters pulling out leeches and tell us patronisingly that this is what the reporters had to go through to get us that story, and CNN-IBN is a channel that’ll do ‘Whatever it takes’. Quite a sacrifice, innit?

Crossposted @ CSF II.

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What does ‘creative’ mean to you?

Languages change: they grow, diversify and adapt. Like people. Gay referred to things bright and pleasant once. Chutney was only a Hindi word once. I remember being told in school that Hindi evolved as the common mans language, and eventually took over from Sanskrit because Sanskrit did not change or evolve. English survives and grows because it continues to absorb words in everyday use, albeit slowly.

Arun Verma of Creativegarh has an interesting blog called Cre8ive Ignition where he, alongwith posting rather nice photographs, also blogs about creativity – the how to and why not of it, how freedom inhibits creativity (and how inspiration is better than random, wayward thinking), targeted creativity and more. One post, titled “Don’t say you’re not creative“, caught my attention.

While I agree that everyone can be creative, I didn’t quite agree with Arun’s examples:

Ajit, a 20 year old Engineering student and my neighbour uses his deodorant as a room fresher whenever his parents have to visit him. And he says he isn’t creative.


Gautam, my investment banker friend says he is in a boring and ‘uncreative’ profession. Everyday he spends all his time thinking and implementing new ideas to invest his client’s money and give him maximum returns. And he says he isn’t creative.

Arun reasoned that “Creativity is about finding solutions. And that is something that we all are capable of.” I wrote that “Someone who invents a paintbrush is creative, the person who paints an original painting is creative, but the one who uses the paintbrush for scratching his back is not.” Arun quoted a ‘Reapplication Theory’ which is about “going beyond labels, conventional uses, removing prejudices, letting go of expectations and assumptions and discovering how something can be reapplied.”

I guess ours is a difference based on perspectives: Arun in looking at it from the utilitarians and theorists point of view, whereas I’m looking at it from the language perspective. I thought I’d look it up.

According to the 1969, and possibly out of date edition of Reader’s Digests ‘Use the right word’:

  • Creative suggests the entire process whereby things that did not exist before are conceived, given form and brought into being.
  • Original is more limited in its scope and more specific, pointing to the creator not as a maker but as source: the new idea, the different approach.
  • Imaginative has to do with the imagination. Great literary works are produced by the creative imagination, but these people are themselves called imaginative, not creative. Creative is used pretentiously to mean novel, new or different. Imaginative is related more to visualisation
  • Inventive is like imaginative, but the inventive person works out how to put things together in a new way so that they will function
  • The resourceful mind solves its problems despite limitations, finding whatever means are available and adapting them to its ends.
  • The ingenious person is both inventive and resourceful, but above all, he is briliantly clever.
  • But that was in 1969, and I’m sure the language has evolved. Possibly, a person scratching his back with a paintbrush is creative in today’s world, where synonyms blend into each other.

    What does creative mean to you? Does it mean all of the above listed synonyms, or only some? Do tell.

    (do you scratch your back with a paintbrush?)


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