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The streets belong to all of us. Yet, thanks to catcalls, jeers, and sly pinches of some, many women are afraid of walking freely. But now an international move to reclaim the streets, using the wide reach and power of the Internet, is on. But first the fact as reported by Paromita Pain in The Hindu (12-12-11).
The Hollaback movement started in the summer of 2005, when founder Emily May and her friends got together to discuss how common street harassment was in New York City and created Hollaback, a web site dedicated to ending it. Early in January 2011, Hollaback came to India, opening chapters in Mumbai and Delhi. Led by Prajnya, Chennai-based non-profit organisation working on peace and security issues, the Chennai phase was inaugurated on December 7, 2011.
Hollaback uses the power of the web and blogging to create awareness of street harassment. Anyone who faces harassment can post on the website, drawing instant responses from understanding folks around the world and having a support system to understand that no one is alone in this predicament. It is a safe, non-judgmental sounding board of sorts, according to Project Coordinator Hamsini Ravi and Anupama Srinivasan, Project Director, Hollaback Chennai
What men prize most is a privilege, even if it be that of chief mourner at a funeral. – James Russel Lowell.
Our Members of Parliament have been busy periodically hiking their salaries and perks. Now they hanker after status. According to a report in The Times of India (2-12-11), Use of red light beacons atop cars and an upgrade in the warrant of precedence to serial number 17 from 21 at par with chief justices of high courts outside their jurisdictions and chairpersons of statutory bodies are part Lok Sabha’s privileges committee’s latest recommendations. In its report tabled on November 30, 2011, the committee suggested that the highways ministry be asked to issue a notification under the Central Motor Vehicles Act to permit use of red lights on vehicles of MPs. If the committee’s recommendations are accepted by the government, there can be close to 800 cars with red beacons if all MPs use such an option. Apart from their gripe over being low in the official pecking order, the MPs are clearly agitated over not being allowed the coveted "lal batti".
On the whole we must repeat the often repeated saying that it is unworthy a religious man to view an irreligious either with alarm or aversion; or with any other feeling than regret, and hope, and brotherly commiseration. – Thomas Carlyle, Scottish essayist and philosopher (1795-1881).
What you have today is not man to man encounter but dissemination of anti-religious provocation through social sites like Google anf Facebook. In the olden days they were talking about letting cotton in the wind and collecting it in the context of spoiled reputations. Today, it is cyberspace and once you place the malcontent on it, it becomes viral and beyond control. That is why the affected groups are trying to control the contents of popular sites, as, for instance, noted in the following report by Sandeep Joshi in The Hindu (23-12-12).
Justice discards party, friendship, kindred and is therefore always represented as blind. – Joseph Addition, English writer (1672-1719).
Anna Hazare and his team of motly supporters have been used to getting away with blackmail in its fight against the government and Parliament in its quest for Jan Lokpal. Now the court has told them where to get off and, in the prosess, dished out some sane advice about democratic processes. But, first the facts as reported in The Hindu (24-12-11).
The Bombay High Court on December 23, 2011 did not give any relief to Team Anna in hiring the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) ground on the Bandra-Kurla Complex in Mumbai free of cost for Anna Hazare’s three-day fast beginning on December 27 on the Lokpal issue. The court also rejected Team Anna’s plea for a directive to the State government to open all the gates of the Azad Maidan for the protest, saying it did not have the jurisdiction to do so.
Censorship ends in logical completeness when nobody is allowed to read any book except the books nobody can read. – George Bernard Shaw.
One thing that is now clear, since Union Communications and Information Technology Minister Kapil Sibal burst on the social media scene with his controversial announcement, is that there will be no pre-screening of content. Mr. Sibal clarified, in a recent interview to a news channel, that he had only pointed out to representatives of social media organisations communally and religiously insensitive comments that could be incendiary. This would have to be taken down, he said. Going to court every time to take down such commentary would be long and arduous, and he was examining whether an easier way out was possible. He had met with representatives of Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo to state the Ministry’s position.
In our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either. – Mark Twain.
Freedom: who could object? Yet this word is now used to justify a thousand forms of exploitation. Throughout the Right-wing press and blogosphere, among think-tanks and governments, the word excuses every assault on the lives of the poor, every form of inequality and intrusion to which the one-per-cent subject us. How did libertarianism, once a noble impulse, become synonymous with injustice? In the name of freedom — freedom from regulation — the banks were permitted to wreck the economy. In the name of freedom, taxes for the super-rich are cut. In the name of freedom, companies lobby to drop the minimum wage and raise working hours. In the same cause, U.S. insurers lobby Congress to thwart effective public health care; the U.K. government rips up our planning laws; big business trashes the biosphere. This is the freedom of the powerful to exploit the weak, the rich to exploit the poor.
Will somebody please explain to me why public relations people are almost invariably “associates”? Whom do they associate with…? – George Dixon.
This applies even more to lobbyists who go much beyond the public relations people who are branded “hidden persuaders”. This is brought out well in an article by Devinder Sharma titled The world of Lobbyists in Deccan Herald (10-12-11) and excerpted here.
Of all men’s miseries the bitterst is this, to know so much and to have control over nothing. –Herodotus, Greek historian – “Father of History” (BC 484-409).
Compared to the dawn off civilisation, today the knowledge explosion is something that Herodotus could hardly have imagined. Yet, the loss of control over knowledge and its dissemination, specially through the elctronic media, is an issue that surfaces every now and thn – tha latest being in the context of social websites. But, first the facts
What a scarcity of news there would be if we all obeyed the Ten Commandments. – Anonymous Epigram.
So we have strange situations where media manufactures the breaking of Ten Commandments so that it can break news. Now there is a debate on whst constitutes news. The new chairman of the Press Counsil of India has raised an hornets nest by criticising what he calls misplaced focus of media. In his latest protests on the subject, media should provide leadeship to the populace rather than feed them with trivia.
Stating that 90 per cent of the people in India are at a poor intellectual level, Justice (retd.) Markandey Katju, Chairman of the Press Council of India, emphasised here on November 5, 2011 the role of the media in giving leadership to society in the realm of ideas. “But how can the media give leadership to the people in the realm of ideas unless it is itself of a high intellectual level,” he asked, advising journalists to carefully study the social sciences, history and literature
A would-be satirist, a hired buffoon,
A monthly scribbler of some low lampoon,
Condemned to drudge, the meanest of mean,
And furnish falsehoods for a magazine.
- George Gordon Noel Byron, English poet (1788-1824).
Many have responded to Justice Markandey Katju’s sharp criticism of the focus and coverage of the media. Here is one such by Suresh Heblikar. Here are some excerpts.
I do not like noise unless I make it myself – French proverb.
A highly contentious Bill which threatens to inflame Arab religious and ethnic sensitivities in Israel by clamping down on mosques using loudspeakers for the call to prayer has split the Cabinet of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu expressed sympathy this week for the principle behind the Bill, promoted by Anastasia Michaeli, a Knesset member in the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party led by the Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman.
Ms Michaeli’s so-called muezzin Bill would actually ban the use of such loudspeakers in any place of worship, but is clearly directed at mosques used by Israel’s mainly Muslim million-plus Arab minority. She has said the Bill comes from "a world view whereby freedom of religion should not be a factor in undermining quality of life". The Bill is believed to be the first attempt to impose change on calls to worship from mosques since the formation of the state of Israel in 1948. Netanyahu has postponed discussion of the measure in the key ministerial committee on legislation after it ran into stiff opposition from three prominent ministers in his own Likud Party. All three argued that it would unnecessarily escalate tensions.But Netanyahu made it clear that he wanted the issue addressed, saying in reference to curbs in Belgium and France, where officials have imposed bans on street prayer, that "there is no need to be more liberal than Europe".