Dear Ajay Jee,
I agree there is a need of a different viewpoint and criticism so that people in power don't become indifferent to people's woes. But sadly your articles seems to have lost focus and it appears you have only one agenda of criticizing and discredit this goverernment. few examples:
I won't point to any one piece of articles (I still remember how you tried to create frenzy in the Rupam Pathak MLA murder case) but an overall trend shows that:
1) When a news is favourable to the government, you show your neutrality (which is good). But when it's the opposite you forget your neutrality. This degrades the quality of your analysis and tries to create hysteria among the readers.
2) Your argument that every other news agency is sold to the government (through advertisement fund) and you are the only honest man left in the fourth estate in Bihar, looks very immature. Please note that the readers on your portal aren't so gullible and they are quite informed and also visit the 'other' sources.
3) While you criticize others, you should also bring-up some positive suggestion. Criticism merely for the sake of it can at best be termed a biased and irresponsible journalism.
4) I am really appalled at the declining standarad of your portal. Sometimes, your articles are a direct lift of the articles in PTI, national dailies, etc.
Earlier I used to visit it daily and it was mouthpiece of Bihar for me, but now I just visit it rearely like today.
Whatever the cause may be you need a serious thought on increasing the standard of your portal and journalism I guess, because people can't be fooled for long. And it is even more difficult in case of your readers across the world.
I am sure you will publish this letter in time for the benefit of Bihartimes and it's readers.
Thanks and Regards
Alok Kumar Singh
BiharTimes does not indulge in propagating half-truths
Dear Alok Kumar Singh
Thanks for reposing full faith in BiharTimes by stating that “I am sure you will publish this letter…” Believe it or not, there is a sort of self-censorship in Bihar. Even letters to editor are not published easily.
Your statement that BiharTimes “tried to create frenzy in the RupamPathak MLA murder case” is simply shocking.
We only reported what happened on January 4 morning and later on.
After all this was the first instance in country’s history where a ruling party MLA was stabbed to death in full public view by a lady principal because he and his aide, Bipin Rai, used to sexually harass her. Why this lady took such a drastic step. Have you heard any incident when a huge procession was brought out in the capital and forced govt. to order CBI inquiry. How can sensitive media afford to shut their eyes in reporting this rarest incident of revenge in the country.
We did support the good initiative of government, but after all media is the mouthpiece of the people and nobody expects it to become the spokesperson of the government. Government already has its Public Relations Department to highlight its achievement, but who would tell the readers that towns and villages outside Patna are not getting even a couple of hours of electricity, not to speak of water.
Should not we highlight the failure of the centrally funded National Rural Health Mission, NREGA, falling gender ratio of Bihar or CAG indictment of loot of money, even meant for Kosi flood etc indefinite fast of the students of prestigious institute of Bihar like Chankaya National Law University.
With a nonexisting opposition in the state the role of media becomes more important for the society. Critical media is always an asset to the govt. and sensitive political leader always take it seriously. If local
media would have highlighted the appointment of lacs sub standard teachers at appropriate time then certainly this great loss to the school education may have been averted. When govt. came into action it was too late.
We have always tried our best to present the solutions to different problems from our forum as well as our enlightened readers and some of the suggestions were discussed even in some larger forum. We have Always accommodated counter views of our readers. We prominently published rejoinders of Dy CM and district magistrates of different districts prominently. Our readers are free to react on any news story and we love to carry it. Some of the lively debate on crucial issues can seen in our archives section.
We don’t have any personalised agenda for and against the govt. We try our best to report truth if it’s not our readers are free to challenge it and moreover it’s a participatory media.
After all the news-portal is in existence since October 1999 and everyone is aware how critical were we in the past too. And our readers always trusted us and many reputed academicians have quoted the reports from BiharTimes in their research journals and academic Publications like Economic and Political Weekly.
With a very limited resource we are trying our best to present readable items to our readers that’s why we are the most popular news portal on Bihar since its inception. We have successfully organized “Global Meet on Bihar” and BiharTimes Conclave 09 & 10 with the support of our readers. We have discussed the role of Media in last Conclave. You can watch this session http://www.biharconclave.com/videos.html Hopefully that will clear all your confusion regarding the role of media.
Media’s work is to educate the common masses and not to confuse them. We try our best to put hard facts before our readers and trigger debate on different concerning issues. So that strong public opinion can be formed.
Our engineering and medical colleges do not have even half the number of teachers, yet more and more are getting inaugurated. The Aryabhatt University is running from one room and land allocation issue for all the central universities or institutions have been deliberately politicized.
When we reproduced some of the articles written on Bihar’s growth rate we were accused of being anti-Bihari. Our intention was questioned.
The truth is that some of them were written by experts for reputed journals like Economic and Political Weekly and not by the journalists with some vested interest.
If we do not highlight these issues then what should we do?
With due apologies to the concerned. The CM takes away the awards and prizes for the so called turnaround in Bihar. Why won't anybody demand his head when there is nothing sort of a turnaround ever happened?
It is easy giving statements from outside Bihar. The story in Bihar is goes on like this that when a newspaper published a vocal outburst of Patna HC against the State Govt. on the front page, its advertisement quota was slashed by more than 30 per cent.
There are numerous such examples. Bihar Times is doing an excellent work, when other big media houses have become sycophants of a despotic and corrupt regime.
These are troubled times for democracy in Bihar and in the country as a whole.
I have faith in the editor.Please,don't get perturbed by these stray sycophantic outbursts.
Thanks for publishing my letter to you. I appreciate that.
Let me clear it at the outset that I am not ‘in’ Or ‘out’ of anyone’s favor. And believe me I also do not have any such fancy of reading only goodie-goodie news about our state.
But, yes with my limited knowledge and wisdom I try to analyze the intentions of the person involved. Like, we all give our examination with full intention of getting excellent marks. Sometimes we come out with flying colors but other times we fail. This applies to all of us including politicians.
I am not in love with the slain MLA (whatever his name was). But, when you claim that you are responsible, fair and just in your profession then how on earth you can make a judgment yourself that the slain MLA was indeed 'sexually harrassing' the lady? I mean aren't the MLA and his family deserve a proper investigation and trial in the court? What if the CBI or the court finds a completely different story? You will either accuse the CBI of colluding with the government or just try to bury that news under the carpet.
Just because he was a politician you (and the so-called 'intellectuals' like you) will pronounce judgment without giving a proper hearing? If yes, will that be a response of a civilized society that we all want our beloved state to be?
You are 'socked' because you have made up your mind and just want everyone else to endorse it!! By frenzy I mean this and I demand sanity from you and the readers here.
Merely ostracizing politicians aren’t going to solve any problem. For example when you talk about electricity how many of the readers and the ‘intellectuals’ here talked about theft of electricity in Bihar? Is Nitish (or for that matter any politician) is supposed to guard every pole in this state? Shouldn’t Bihartimes or any ‘fair’ media or people shed some light on this curse when they expect the CM himself to fix all the transformers?
As in one of his comments below Mr. Pradeep mentioned regarding failure of the Talchar plant. Was it not your responsibility to bring that to the notice of your esteemed readers?
Instead, BT tried its level best to play in the muddied water of Nabinagar incident. That’s where I doubt its intention.
How many articles have BT (Bihartimes) brought about setting of power plants? Its gestation period, time it takes to be installed and the complexity involved? Earlier, I used to get some well researched article by Mr. Prateek K Anand, but that too vanished all too suddenly. If you get time please go through Sankashan Thakur’s article and decide on your own how good (or bad) this article is http://www.telegraphindia.com/1110129/jsp/bihar/story_13505508.jsp.
Criticism without responsibility is mere opportunism or a deliberate ignorance at best. That’s quite evident when you say that Government have it’s own agency for publicity. In the same vein one can say Judiciary is there to criticize and check the government, So, should you stop criticizing the government on it’s failue then? We can’t hide away from our responsibility especially so when we are pointing fingers on someone. This is the basic tenet of fairness.
BT’s conduct during and before elections were highly questionable. How can one forget BT’s attempt to paint everything on the basis of caste? Where was your conscience then knowing fully well that caste has got no value in uplift of the people other than an emotional one? You tried again at that time to create frenzy on Bataidari bill. Thank god you got a befitting reply from the Bihari people and retreated since then. Looking at this your tears on Electiricity looks a Crocodile’s one.
Coming to the readers view presented here. We all have seen a lot of this (so-called) middle class tendency just to ostracize the politicians with their acerbic comments and demand all accountability but never look inside their own glass ceiling, never do any critical analysis of their own.
I would ask the readers here how many of us pay your taxes and bills honestly. The failure is systematic not of an individuals or a group (like politicians). Hamam se sab nange hain per sab dusre ki oor dekhne me vyast hain. Just paint all politicians with black, hurl some choicest abuses and Bingo you ‘did’ your job.
People generally like to see what they want and believe into. When it suits them its justice but when it doesn’t its termed unfair and a great injustice.
Good Luck to BT and those who believe disgruntlement is the best virtue in this world :).
Alok Singh, London, UK
This is regarding the Open Letter to The Editor by Alok Kumar Singh, castigating the editor of Bihartimes for publishing only negative news and against the government. Since I have been continously away from Bihar for long time since my schooldays and visit Patna regularly every year, I had to depend upon e-news portals. Even when i was in the USA and now in Himachal, I daily read Bihartimes. I also read Patnadaily as well as online Times of India, Patna and scan google news for all Bihar related news. Let me tell you that after following this routine for so many years, at least, I am sure to judge which news agency does what. I found only two news portals really doing good job and presented news with difference. One was Jai Bihar, which got closed or what, but now it is not accessible and second one is Bihartimes. It is to his credibility and all positive spirit that AjayJi does not shy away from publishing even letters full of criticism against him like Alok's. I too had written against him and sometime I too felt that this portal is biased and writing against government. But if you follow the things really deep and closely, you will find that almost all news agencies are engulfing the ground reality. Just scan those new papers and portals and see what kind of news they present: Marine Drive to come in Patna, International Auditorium to be built, International IT park to be built in Patna, Monorail/Metro service to be started soon in Patna, Bihar farmers sent to Andhra to learn better fisheries and Bihar to become no 1 in fisheries, an amusement park to come in Patna, Malls and Multiplexes are going to come in Patna, several engineering and medical colleges to be opened in Bihar, Bihar State Transport going to start 70 Lowfloor AC buses soon ....blah Blha Blah How many of these promises have been materialzed so far? Almost none! They paint things like if government is doing great job and Bihar is transforming. They propagate MPLD funds stopped by Nitish Kumar, but they eat the news that he bypassed a new route for their income! How many news agencies out there in Bihar have taken up the cuase of CUB's transfer to Motihari by Nitish Government? None. No matter our children and soceity there stay away from quality education and research despite of existence of a Central University,which would be running with poor quality. Who is really bothered for Bihar and it future? They will keep on sending teenagers to Delhi, farmers who could work on their own land and home will keep on working as daily labor in Punjab, Delhi, Maharstra, TN and even North East, and will keep on being harassed.
They say they curbed crime, but fact is that Rangdari taxes are still rampant, Rupam Pathak like shameful incidents happen and it appears cleanly that how much dual faced and dirty government could be that they forcibly put them behind bars, torture their families, block Rupam's communication, and very strangely not a single Media house barring Bihartimes dared to follow this news forget launching investigation. This is the condition of Media in Bihar. And if one says that they are sold out, where is the wrong? Teachers and Farmers are the most important communities of our society and a government who can't take care of them is without a doubt a characterless government. Anger with Nitish Kumar is that he projects himself as a great leader through this same media, but he is utterly different and with no clear vision and positive political will. His government seems more interested in painting rosy picture while ground reality is different.
Sametime, I will certainly acknowledge that State under him is much better than what it used to be under Lalu-Congress regime. That was the darkest Phase of Bihar, so much that we want to forget that. Without a pinch of doubt, Lalu's career is over from Bihar. Condition is Bihar has changed. But that does not give Nitish Kumar and Co the licence tostart relaxing, fooling public and underplay. The second term of this government in past one year has been damn pathetic. Nitish Kumar seems to have stopped working. He will and everyone will...because for working you need electricity, for passing exams you need electricity, for running pumps in fields you need electricity, for running schools, colleges, research isntitutions, NIPER, CUB, the legion of newly opened Medical and Engineering colleges like Parchoon Gumtis, even need electricity, and all those hypothetical investment proposals to Bihar from some big companies which the government claims too need electricity to run their gears, mills, offices. World knows that no comapny runs on charity instead of electricity and no businessman is that much fool to not understand this. This is just a single issue and it tells all the truth about this government, its efforts. One can then understand what would be the condition of other things in Bihar. Are we really going to achieve and become developed state? Or we will keep on fooling ourselves with those above mentioned quality of news full of false promises and devoid of ground reality. Do you wish to stay like an Ostrich, hiding face from the truth. Certainly you will. After all you really don't want to remember or revisit the same Old Lalu's Jungle Raj Days? So you what to stay happy with just coming out of that day and remain still backward and hopeless state. Then certainly, you advocate for something which weakens democracy, weakens the purpose of governance and media and weakens our resolution and dream to see a really strong Bihar built on action not on hollow speeches and false promises.
I will not say that Bihartimes is doing the best job. Certainly there are many desired thins to report. But I don't know if they have sufficient fund to run a full fledged news agency. This could be a big reason for their limited reach and news. Also their is a huge nexus between already exisiting established News Stalwarts, who are indulged in many things to keep their business intact with political and financial hoods (remember the transcripts of Barkha Datta conversation? And she still appears on our TV screens shamelessly). Therefore, whatever Bihartimes has been doing, in given limited space, is remarkable, and to an understandable extent, unbiased job. Crticism is must for a good growth and there should be. Bihartimes is not perfect.
Bihari subnationalism is very much needed for the future of Bihar without any political motive. It should run in our blood so that our eyes could see only Bihar and not any Tom, Dick or Nitish Kumar!
I have been following your news portal from the so called "Lalu Era", I do feel that the viewers response to your articles has really gone down in the recent times, now the question is where are those readers who use to comment on the articles criticising govt in past. Were they just unhappy with "Lalu" or his governance ? Assuming that they had nothing person against Lalu, why are they not commenting on the failures of the incumbent government.
Six years in government is good enough time for anyone to start showing the results, I do agree there has been progress in many areas but shouldn't stop us from applying constant pressure on the govt. for the performance, another 10 years will pass by and we will then ponder what have we really achieved and how far others have gone ahead during this time. Not to forget, as correctly mentioned by Ajay Jee, there is literally no opposition party at this stage, though I would say they are in no position to oppose as we have seen what they have been doing in the past.
I feel our readers who are sitting abroad and outside bihar are too happy reading only good news about the state, though this helps in projecting a good image about bihar outside, but the truth will be always the same and we would be fooling ourselves.
There can't be a parameter like 2 bad news and one good news or the other way round, whatever is happining should be reported in the manner as the events are unfolding.
I would request readers to comment on the articles even if they don't like the articles atleast we can debate..
At the end everyone wants to see a prosperous bihar.
I have been reader of Bihar Times for last 7-8 years and developed emtional chord with this portal.
I strongly feel that Bihar needs this kind of Media. 'Sarkar ki Wah Wah karna patrakarita nahi hai... Sarkar ko katghare me lain aur janata ke sawalon ko Uthayen.'
In last six years why media failed to raise any issue forcefully. Friends don't be euphoric talk to your relatives in Bihar if you have sometime visit your village. When you will send 4-6 hours on Gandhi Setu on traffic jam which is regular phenomenon for us you will have a different opinion. Any way say 'Bhaiya all is well"........
At this point, being many miles away from Bihar, it is very difficult for me to analyze your partiality towards Govt or opposition. But, in reference to Rupam Pathak's case, I would like to support your report because no one will murder any one in public unless there is survival/ existence issue. With these lines, I would request and encourage you to do just keeping in view for the welfare of Bihar. We want a platform to raise our voice, which I find in your enews portal. In addition, I want its expansion to university level. Please, report irregularity and problems with research institutes. Why is research condition not developing in Bihar? Why is no one working on RND of electronic chips, robotics, polymer science, weather prediction, brain research (Alzheimer, Parkinson's disease), cancer, pathogenic infection, chemistry (drug formulations) etc. Unless we don't start research, Bihar can not compete with others on the basis of other's benevolence for technology. People are arguing about location of one central university, why do they not raise their voice to open 5 or more central universities or equivalent one in every corner of Bihar? Is one central university enough to prove existence of Bihar in present competitive era where USA, Germany, Japan etc are already leading with world class institutes? We all have expectations from your news portal, so please go ahead be voice of common men.
Piyush Behari Lal
Unfortunately, I also agree with Alok Kumar Singh, especially in his first observation and in his last observation. The quality of your analysis at BiharTimes has definitely deteriorated over the years and henceforth the standard of your portal has declined tremendously.
Let me first point out two deficiencies with your rebuttal. By any standards, Chanakya National Law University is not a prestigious institute. Just because its name has Chanakya or National Law University, it does not mean that it has attained a high level of excellence. Can you count the achievements of CNLU? To be precise, it has not delivered any thing at all so far. Let it function for couple of decades, and watch its performance, and only then one can judge whether CNLU is prestigious or just like any other institute around the corner. No matter what its name is, no matter who the director is, no matter whose brainchild the institute is, no matter how many students are currently enrolled in the institute, and no matter how much funding the institute has, until and unless it continuously delivers high level of performance over several years, there is no rhyme or reason to label it as prestigious. Therefore, your use of the adjective "prestigious institute" before it in order to put tonnage on your argument is unwarranted. I am not arguing that you should not report the plight of students of CNLU. They are only fighting for their sustenance, and it must highlighted. But, their plight should be more important than the institute being prestigious or mediocre. There are many other institutes in Bihar where students go through the same ordeal (they may not go on Anna Hazare style fasting, but they do suffer from lack of jobs at the end of their engineering/medical/legal/science/art/commerce/pharmacy/biotechnology degrees), and it should be highlighted as well.
Similarly, your argument that "Government already has its Public Relations Department to highlight its achievement, but who would tell the readers that towns and villages outside Patna are not getting even a couple of hours of electricity, not to speak of water" is utterly flawed. That is exactly what Alok referred to as "biased and irresponsible journalism." You must not be equivocal in your criticism or praise. Remember, praise without criticism is flattery and criticism without praise is blind opposition! Praise without criticism should be left to the sycophants and criticism without praise should be left to the opposition parties. Journalists should not endeavor to belong to one or the other group.
As far as reporting the miserable condition of electricity in Bihar is concerned, you did not report the following as it happened, and not even within 72 hours of it occurrence:
NTPC units' shutdown plunges Bihar into darkness
This incident was quite obvious in entire Bihar, including Patna. All, including you, must have faced/observed/noticed it. Still, it did not make it to your website. But, the very same day, you did report CM Kumar rubbing shoulders with engineering college friends and Bihar's proposal to increase state's plan size. It was only after I complained to you that you made first reporting of the issue. You cannot become the global face of Bihar unless and until you are unequivocal in your reporting.
All Biharis, including Alok and I, only want to see BiharTimes as an impartial and ethical face of Bihar. In doing so, BiharTimes must not succumb to individual or political or bureaucratic or entrepreneurial pressure.
I have been reading the Bihar Times ever since it started publishing. I have known Shree Ajay Kumar since then and I had never any doubts about his impartiality and his intent to see Bihar’s progress.
Many of its readers are foreign based and have been observing the deteriorating condition of Bihar with extreme sadness as we either still go and visit Bihar or our relatives live there.
With the election of Nitish Kumar, obviously our hopes have grown about improvement of conditions of Bihar and expectation of improved law and order.
But, when I read the news about Rupam Pathak – I was simply horrified to learn about woman’s condition who could not even write to the Prime Minister explaining her condition and helplessness. Once during Nehru’s time, a woman was being forcefully kept by someone in Punjab. Somehow, she got the opportunity to write a letter to Nehru about her condition of being held captive; Nehru forwarded the letter to Kairon whose police raided the house, and freed the woman.
If such a situation can exist in Bihar for a person like Rupam who was a principal of a school, how any one in right mind will invest in Bihar and bring his family to live in Bihar?
Investments and job creation are important for Bihar whether Nitish Kumar’s supporters agree with my view or not.
Anand M. Sharan