March 09, 2005


For the second time in its short-but-controversial existence, Mediaah!, which portrays itself as "The Media's Media" in India, finds itself troubled legal waters. Even though I find Pradyuman Maheshwari's style to be a bit too over the top at times, it has always been worthy read, especially due to the fact that it is written by someone who belongs to the industry, with a better appreciation of the troubled state of affairs in it, than by the ever-so-eager-to-nitpick crowd who seem to have become a favourite with the blogosphere.

On the other hand, I am slightly baffled how Pradyuman thought he could sail away to the Poynter shores, steering the ship the way he was doing it. Reproducing internal memos, verbatim or otherwise, is not really the best way to become a media think tank. In fact, it is a surefire way to ask for trouble, especially if you are not a brawny entity with plenty of legal and monetary clout to back you all the way. Also, you would be better off sticking more to well researched analysis and commentary than controversy, to steer clear of the legal eagles.

A large part of this problem can also be directly attributed to the old school type of thinking that is still a key aspect of the way India media functions. Even in prominent online firms, the people who are in the know are often less than a handful. Other than the fancy bits that accompany every online set up, the thinking in most media places is still archaic at the best. So, asking for mercy as the emerging face of citizen journalism on the net is really asking for way too much. I wish there was a better way for Mediaah!, but I am afraid there really is not much hope.

The above mentioned reason is also the reason why, even after considering it a lot of times, I still shy away from blogging under my real name. The company I work for, not being a darling of the Internet community, also increases my chance of being an unwanted attention magnet. To make things even more complicated, a lack of policy related to blogging and my not being in a capacity to comment on behalf of the firm only serve to make things tougher. Even though I would love to interact with end users of products I am involved with, the risks outweigh the benefits by way too much for my comfort to go ahead and do something like that.