Friday, April 01, 2005

Times apologises. 'MD' admits legal eagles over-reacted 

Last month, Mediaah! had decided to hang its boots. Pran jaaye par self-respect nahin jaaye. For the benefit of our international readers, this means that we'd rather die, but wouldn't sacrifice our self-respect. However, in a rather unexpected turn of events, late last evening, the biggies at the Times contacted us through their lawyer and then directly and requested we smoke the peace pipe. "Apologies," a terse email bearing the subject "From the MD" told us. "We agree our legal eagles over-reacted. We take back the notice, and welcome you to continue blogging. We didn't realise that bloggers are so powerful, and could influence public opinion so very much. We appreciate that what you offered was constructive criticism though we were piqued that it was often directed at us."

The mail then went on to talk about Times's supremacy in the media and said that it is in its DNA to be the leader in every segment. Also, if any competitor attempts to enter the fray, it would launch several sub-brands to fight the challenger. "Hum se jo takrayega, mitti mein mil jayega!" (anyone who tries to fight us will be thrashed to bits). And then in a veiled threat it said the dictum applies to us. However, it ended on a conciliatory note yet again: "We offer a unqualified apology." We tried to figure what the reason for this sudden twist in the tale could be.

Our sources told us that it may have happened possibly because the Times has pitched to do a magazine for the United Nations and couldn't be seen in indulging in human rights violations itself.

Please scroll down for detailed report.

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!

It was all a joke, yaar. It's All Fools' Day today. April Fooooooooool!

The Times is not the Times you think, but the Dreamland Times. And MD is none than Mr Debo Nair, the managing director of Dreamland Times. After all Times is as much of a suffix as, say, Road and Street and doesn't belong to a single publication. Example: Hindustan Times, Navhind Times, Shillong Times etc etc etc. This was just an April Fool's prank. The kind of stuff you would expect from a Mediaah!

Regrettably, the joke's still on us. We know that. The biggie in question has still not buckled under the pressure and better sense hasn't yet prevailed in its boardrooms.

This email wishes to thank each and everyone of you who have mailed, IMed, smsed, called to express your solidarity and convey your condolences. Mediaah! would also like to thank all those who have written good and bad things about us.

We have been overwhelmed. Our eyes moistened every time someone came forth. A young researcher-journalist from Delhi even went on to set up an online petition for us which has till date generated some 400 online signatures. There is someone who got hold of the legal notice we received (we had sent it to a few friends to seek their advice) as also the posts and put them up on a different site.

There are a few who took their names and many others who called us to say they don't want to be seen as our supporters. There are some who found fault with Mediaah's editorial line, but then everyone has the freedom to express his/her views. Mediaah! respects that, and welcomes a debate on whether there is room for honest criticism of the media. The biggie in question has been successful in silencing us, but we are distressed to find that some of the celebrated members of the editorial and publishing team who work there couldn't get the management to retract the notice.

By doing what it has done, the biggie in question has exposed itself. It has shown its true colours. As for us, we believe that truth, not might, always prevails. Satyameva Jayate.

PS: We are missing bringing you a ringside view on all the media action that's happening in Bombay. Two hundred hoardings reportedly taken by Dainik Bhaskar, ambush marketing by Times on the Bhaskar hoardings (copied by Loksatta of the Express group yesterday), HT announces its entry by way of ads for circulation execs, the Mid Day editor switches camps to Times as head of the new paper where CP Surendran was to be editor until last week, Deccan Chronicle launches in Chennai. Yes, it's boomtime for the media. But it's also boomtime for print journalists. They should finally be getting paid better...

As for Mediaah, we are making plans to mummify it possibly with some lessons from the land of the Pharaohs later this month. The spirit of Mediaah! though will continue to live on. If all goes well, we'll be back by June 7.

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