A war has been waged by the Indian Blogsphere against NDTV Journalist Ms. Barkha Dutt.
Recap: Certain Mr. Kunte wrote this blog post against Barkha Dutt. Note, I said against Barkha Dutt as a whole, not just on her reporting style. He called her an ‘idiot.’ Soon he followed it with a public apology and withdrawal. The language of the withdrawal post was very legal so Indian blogshpere went ahead and assumed (may be rightly) that Ms. Dutt might have threatened him with legal consequences.
A huge uproar followed, on blogs, twitter, suddenly Kunte was a famous victim of coercion from Mainstream media, blogger’s favorite enemy, invoking large amount of sympathy. Facebook groups are being floated in his support, ‘we support Kunte’ kinda virtual slogans are being raised, there are talks of comic strips being made on the incident to malign Ms. Dutt’s image even more. Somebody even said something about a candle light vigil. In no time we have another blogging martyr first being one Mr. Sabnis.
I am the sole dissenting voice in this whole chaos still holding on to my position that I am neither in favor of Kunte nor Dutt, I just think that the Bloggers are blowing it out of proportion, bloggers don’t have the right to judge the journalistic ethics of mainstream media. If at all they do they certainly don’t have the right to call a leading professional with considerable repute an ‘idiot’. That word alone would give Ms. Dutt a reason to drag Kunte to Court, which Kunte probably have realized either on his own or after a meeting with Ms. Dutt’s lawyers, which is why he apologized.
The blogsphere should understand that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Before going all out making a Bhagat Singh out of Kunte, they should find out from their lawyer friends if Ms. Dutt does have a case or not. If she does, that alone is a proof that Kunte isn’t so innocent after all.
I intended to write a much detailed post but I didn’t sleep last night making this post and its 2.20 am right now. So I am gonna simply copy paste the comments I left on the various solidarity blogs written in support of Mr. Kunte.
My comment on Shripriya’s post:
Idiocy according to Indian law is a valid condition for nullification of marriages, for denying contractual rights, but hey Barkha Dutt according to Mr. Kunte is an idiot and so the entire Indian blogsphere, is clueless for the life of their’s, just what can possibly Ms. Dutt be upset about, and lo you have the new Blogging Martyr of the country.
Mr. Kunte’s post was far from being responsible journalism. He could have made the same point in much respectable tone. He used rude language not to forget specific use of the word ‘idiot’. If it was only a constructive criticism and not an attention seeking inflammatory exercise, he could have also avoided taking names altogether. I am not saying he can’t make an opinion, sure he can, but he was so not justified in name calling.
I am sorry to say this but suddenly the bloggers of the nation have started thinking too highly of themselves when they are just as much guilty of cheap publicity as our MSMedia. You can’t expect responsible behaviour from others if you can’t show the same yourself. Take for example people like one Harshad Joshi on this comment thread, who is going about calling Ms.Dutt a Maggot an ugly face and the rest of the blog readers are simply reading the objectionable comments and moving on. The blog owner also doesn’t bother to remove such commentators who use foul language.
I understand I am the only dissenting voice here and following this comment name calling would start against me. Just in case people forgot freedom of expression does NOT include name calling. But in my defense, am neither against Kunte nor NDTV. I just think we are making too much noise about it. Because us bloggers are no spotless minds. We are part of the circus just our means are different.
While the above debate was on, Rohit of the National Interest blog chose to attack me of all the people because of the above comment. There were 23 odd comments on that thread on Shripriya’s blog but he found mine the most objectionable. You can find his post here.
I started writing a response to him on his blog itself but it became too long so I am posting it here, he’ll get a pingback.
Ok lesson learnt from this episode: there is a thing called sarcasm, people don’t get it. So you should label your post with a *sarcasm alert*
Now since you, Nitin and rest of the team belong to the elitist camp of bloggers and I am a mere mortal my criticism is obviously unworthy, never mind my freedom of speech. Elitism at its best.
Now, this post of your is such a great example of how you can adhere to any irrelevant non contextual means to simply malign a person’s credibility to even hold an opinion. And look at the heights of snobbishness, only Mr. Nitin Pai is worthy of criticizing someone. What an incredible mutual admiration society you all have formed.
1st) you quote me from a comment which is made on Kunte v. Dutt issue. In order to dismiss the credibility of that comment you take support of things I have written in a completely different context and in completely different tone. Isn’t it one of the most basic rules that you stick to the topic and don’t dig out non-contextual facts to malign your opponent at a personal level? What an immature way of engaging in a debate. Can’t believe it is coming from you.
2nd) If at all you have to dig off topic statements from me, why don’t you go back to everything I have ever written and then decide how polite or impolite I am in my disagreement. Do you think you know my writings enough to compare me with Mr. Pai and pass such a strong judgment?
Let me tell you, it is this particular nature of harsh, disrespectful loud expression of disagreement that I am against and I find both you and Mr. Kunte guilty of that. Like I already said Kunte could have very well made his opinions, could have given a constructive criticism on how mainstream media is behaving without having called Ms. Dutt an idiot.
Another sarcasm you missed, I never dismissed entire blogsphere as clueless. If you’d read all 23 comments on Shripriya’s blog you’d see how they all said the same thing, to quote comment no. 7 by Sameer, “For the life of me I cannot see.” They cannot see why Barkha has a case, how naive and clueless are they. Of course they can see, they just won’t admit.
I am not someone who is fond of being disrespectful to anybody whether big or small bloggers or mainstream journalists. Not even to anonymous commentators. Only exception probably is Modi or Thackray and even they are always addressed with courtesy. I don’t call names. I simply don’t think myself of so highly that I can pass judgment on others.
Note the most basic difference between my post and Mr.Kunte’s post against Dutt or your present post against me, I didn’t take specific names or attack any body personally. If am saying “Die dear nation” it is pretty obvious that I am being sarcastic isn’t it? If in spite of being a lawyer I am talking about a “shoot at sight orders” isn’t it again obvious that I am being angry and cynical about the hopelessness of the situation. Is it really so hard to figure that I don’t actually mean the whole nation should die?
Add to that, I already admitted in the comments section of that post on Mutiny (Die dear nation) that it was made in a state of anger and was not logical.
But you conveniently avoided all that bit of info. You chose to focus only that bit which would make me look bad.
Your bias against me and pretension of not being able to see the truth never seem to end. You chose to pick my comment from that comment thread and made a big blog post out of it most of which was a digression from the main debate anyway. And you turned a blind eye to such comments as made by one Dr. Zen:
Sanjukta, here’s a haiku for you
An empty mind
Illusion or peace
I think you should stop targeting others Each time you comment on someone’s blog, you just show up that you have a crooked mind. It shows that you are just desperate to settle your personal scores with people. Please dont wash your dirty linen in public. You seem to have your own worthless blog running somewhere…
If you dont cease your failing attempts at targeting people, we will take strict action against you by marking your blog(s) as spam. And no court will save you from it. Thats a promise.
I can’t even explain how funny this comment is. The immaturity and unprofessional behaviour in Blogging community is aptly proven by the above comment. Proves my point. Kunte was no different in his criticism. I have said enough.
The only question I want to ask all of these freedom fighters fighting for their right to freedom of speech (as if they don’t have enough of it already) is that why was the Indian Blogsphere so silent on Saturday when the Mangalore incident happened or when the Nasik incident happened. What are they trying to achieve anyway?