Friday, April 30, 2010

+2 Pass-out a bureau chief at CNN-IBN!?

"..I don't feel like sympathising with the rest of the people in old city. Whether they are Hindus or Muslims, they deserve to live in curfew for the reason that they don't want to change themselves. They are least bothered about the image of the city they live in."

"I sometimes suspect that both the communities in the old city are suffering from some kind of psychological disorder. They always find one or the other reason to fight against each other. "

"they are certainly suffering from mental disorder of 'religious intolerance' and need immediate treatment. Yes, all of them need treatment. "

Shaik Ahmed Ali, the bureau chief of CNN-IBN in Hyderabad is a revelation. Above are the gems he produced in his latest article on the curfew in Hyderabad a month ago. As we see, he is busy judging people rather than analyzing what possibly went wrong. Heck, he is not even reporting! None of his posts shows he actually tried to get to the bottom of the topics he was writing on by speaking to anyone - there are no quotes of the people he spoke to. Maybe he just sits at his desk and writes, that people in the city suffer from psychological disorders!

Mr Ali's case reminds us about the quality of Journalism we have today even while our nation is confronted with myriad complex problems. He is the chief reporter in a state which is confronting an unprecedented crisis, the solution for which can redefine not just the political and social identity of the many states in this country but can redefine the identity of this nation into something more complex than just a union of linguistic states. And we have Mr Ali, for a leading news network in India, to report this with absolutely no insight into things political, social or economical but loads of sweeping statements from his empty head.

Prior to his piece on Curfew, Mr Ali produced these frivolous pieces -

Why Women's Reservation Bill is Anti-Muslim?

The anatomy of Telangana agitation

Political Mafia is ruling Hyderabad

I will remember YSR, forever

When I read these, I was wondering what qualifies him as a journalist. And then a journalist friend chipped in with these words about Mr Ali's background-

"I have read this blog. It is completly immature and unprofessional.

This man was a boy when he started working for APTimes way back in 1996-97. He is an old city guy and not well educated. He just completed Class 12 and did not do any further education. Generally he used to be put on crime and old city beats. These are the beats which are generally given to young journalists from Muslim community. Later on, this fellow was hired by CNN-IBN. It was a complete surprise to me as he did not have good formal education.

Somebody told me some complaints were lodged against him with the CNN-IBN management. But i do not know how he continues to work for the channel. His understanding of politics is very pathetic and he is not very well informed about the dynamics of the Andhra politics. His world-view does not rise above the gallies of the old city. This man should not have been allowed to write as he pleases for such an esteemed channel as the CNN-IBN headed by people like Rajdeep Sardesai and Sagarika Ghose."

So there we get it. A +2 guy with no formal studies writing now for CNN-IBN! There are countless gems in all his articles like those in his blogpost about curfew. In an earlier post about the Telangana agitation, he said - 'The demand for Telangana may be genuine and justified, but, I believe, the present agitation is surely not genuine or at least, not everyone associated with the movement is genuine.' One more judgmental statement from his Mr. Shaik, the genuine journalist.

17 comments:

Venu said...

We should be doing something abt this guy ra.
May be we should write lot of e-mails to CNN IBN about this guy.

Venu said...

Don't know how this guy is recruited by one of the top news channels in India.

sravan said...

Amar,
Ironically, the background of Mr. Ali as a Old City native probably provides a considerable support for his own argument.
Well it is after all his opinion. And ofcourse we never know if he is opinionated or simply writing to present an agenda.
And I believe that formal education is not always a good scale to measure people's capabilities and more over honesty(the basis of your argument)

Amar said...

@Sravan,
What argument? Do you see any in his writings? Any conceptualisations? Any insights into backgrounds into communal riots in old city? Any insights into what Telangana struggle is all about or the main plank of Samaikyandhra? At least any quotes, any interviews with common people involved in the news items he is writing abt? And so how does he form a opinion, without people interaction, without even forming a worldview.

And yes, he can tell us his opinion, that is AFTER he reports things as they are for his readers. That would explain us why he arrived at certain conclusions and would also help us arrive at our own conclusions with the facts he reports and the strengths and weaknesses of his opinion.

//formal education is not always a good scale to measure people's capabilities and more over honesty//
do we have an alternative good scale? And I dont see a genious in Mr Shaik to discount formal education to him. The least he is expected to know is nuances of journalism. Just being 'local' does not mean he knows everything about the locality, the many religious, economic, political dimesions of the evnts that unfold there.

Madhav said...

@Amar:

Good one! I agree that journalism has to be systematized through and attempts must be made to as objective as one can get. (but however are not completely practical, opinion is bound to be prejudiced depending on your past)...

But honestly going by Indian educational system, I really doubt their effectiveness. Most of the PhDs I have seen are dumbos...

Education in India systematically kills curiosity. I've therefore not much hope in your suggestion for formal education ...

Amar said...

@Madhav,
I did not suggest anything! Just like a Doctor is supposed to learn medincine and a Lawyer Law, a Journalism is supposed to have a worldview with an understanding of ground realities, political, economical contexts. My point is as simple.

Only with these undersatndings can one report objectively or subjectively (As we know, in todays' world there is little objectivity in media due to their political/economical connections).
So the least we expect is some subjective reporting, with some spin over actual events. And my point is Mr Ali neither reports the events nor records his conversation to people involved in the events. So its his own rant that we get in CNN-IBN's space. Obviously we like to know why CNN-IBN is publsihing someone's rant and when we see this guy's background, this is what we get. No real experiance, not even formal education.

And coming to your argument that formal education does not guarantee better reporting in this case, do u mean we have to leave journalism to the uneducated!? I was in not even suggesting formal education makes a good journalist! It is a prerequisite to go on and study journalism, our milieu before getting into field. This guy's case is in no way related to whether formal education in india is good or bad!

I dont believe Mr Ali has an agenda. He is too naive for that!The point is Mr Ali is shockingly poorly equipped to report events around him.

Amar said...

@ Venu,
IBN was just establishing itself and Hyd was not really a flash-point in reporting then so I guess they took it easy.

sravan said...

Amar,
Please concentrate on two things i said earlier,
One, that Mr. Ali's background as native of old city puts him at a situation that may give some credibility to his opinion. And certainly his singular opinion cannot be judged as a collective one. After all it is his opinion, probably formed very early in his life while interacting with his old city acquintances. And, as well I said that if it is not an opinion but an agenda(for various reasons that includes personal gains or loyality issues), we would never know. But I still say there is a equal possibility that it could be an agenda based. Overall, there is equal chance for him to be dumb, if not then cunning.
Second,
To infer what actually he is, among the above two possibilities, there is nill or very little place for evaluating his educational background. I understand and agree with the points that you highlight regarding his below par, non-systematic and evidence less argument.
But what troubles me is that, inspite of having all these strong reasons at hand, you seem to more focused on his educational background. Moreover, the title of the article clearly highlights that weakest part of your argument and not the strongest.

Amar said...

@Sravan,

//Mr. Ali's background as native of old city puts him at a situation that may give some credibility to his opinion//

It is not credibility I am pointing to, it is maturity. Sentences like 'I sometimes suspect that both the communities in the old city are suffering from some kind of psychological disorder' are neither credible nor mature.

//After all it is his opinion, probably formed very early in his life while interacting with his old city acquaintances..//

I am saying the same. But my main point here is that someone with almost no genuine critical experience in neither field or academy being given a bureau chief position. He can have his opinions just like anyone else, however dumb it could be. But my amazement is how such plain stupidity is given charge as bureau chief.

//you seem to more focused on his educational background..//
not exactly focusing on academic credentials but the fact that he did not even graduate. what else could be lowest common denominator? I could have understood if its a businessman we are talking abt. They learn on streets, have people skills and get the drift as days pass by doing business. But when we are discussing Shaikh's position, how would he analyze a civil movement like Telangana when he does not understand critical issues about history, economics, migration, culture. How would he evaluate communal tensions when he does not understand environments where Communalism or secularism thrive. How will he understand what 'secularism' means in Europe, US or India. How practical is it to expect a +2 pass-out to understand critical issues we are facing with without this basic knowledge? And his articles prove the same. He wont analyze why after 2 long decades when there is no communal tension anywhere in the country, no major communal issue, Hyderabad erupted. Instead pathetically he tells us people in certain locality are mentally retarded. And yeah, he calls the JAC fighting for Telangana as 'mafia'. I bet he does not know the meaning of that word.

sravan said...

Amar,
You are correct that Mr.Ali's perspective and comments themselves are the evidence of his incompetency and ignorant outlook.
Apart from that, I believe +2 is more than sufficinet for a human being to explore the world around him using all faculties. After all they can read, observe and learn.
And apparently Mr. Ali is in the business of journalism since past 14 years. However as I said before his perspective on currrent issues reveal loads of incompetency. The trouble is, CNN has accepted him as their representative of AP. From that standpoint he might have good communication and interpersonal skills.

Anonymous said...

Interesting comments. I know this guy for over a decade. Three things -- He is not '10+2', he is not from 'old city' and he is not an employee of CNN-IBN (he works for Awaaz, Hindi business channel of the same group). I rechecked it after reading the comments here. Read or watch his news stories that he did for The Times of India and CNN-IBN. He is an average reporter and what is he writing on CNN-IBN is a blog, which is primarily an opinion of an individual.

Anonymous said...

One more thing, Shaik has resigned from Awaaz last month. He is suffering from some serious abdominal infection and is undergoing treatment.

sravan said...

Amar,
The point I raised was really not a very significant one(mildly related to the issue in question)but I only wanted to throw some light on Indian perceptions of education and knowledge. I believe indian educational elite is completely possessed by the present artificial hierarchial system of education. We forget that the system is manmade and not natural.
Do you remember the telugu saying " bathuka leka badi panthulu"?
I hate it.

Amar said...

@Sravan,
//And apparently Mr. Ali is in the business of journalism since past 14 years.//
Yes, as a stringer, not as a journalist/reporter.

//he might have good communication and interpersonal skills..//

I doubt it after reading him. I guess he has some ghost writers :)

Amar said...

@Anon,
Thanks for the interesting info.If he resigned, its good riddance.

IBN Live is overhauled. In its previous avatar, Shaikh Ahmed Ali's profile clearly told 'Hyderabad Bureau Chief'. That is why people cared to bother about his abyssmal reporting.

Anonymous said...

Hi Amar,

I think you are unnecessarily targeting him. I believe he is seriously ill and suffering from abdominal cancer. I don't think he will ever be able to work again. Let him rest in peace.

Amar said...

@Anon,

Nothing personal. Just discussing his writings. BTW can you reveal yourself here? Thanks.