The IIPM saga has everything that could interest me: dubious claims, mainstream media’s silence on issue that could potentially affect thousands of Indians, blog-mutiny, corporate interests, a martyr … And still somehow I missed it.
To cut the long story short: IIPM (The Indian Institute of Planning Management) advertised in major Indian dailies claiming many things many of which were questioned by the teen magazine JAM. Then an Indian blogger Gaurav Sabnis posted a link to the article on his blog and repeated some of the things in this blog.
Things started getting ugly by this time when Gaurav got a legal notice allegedly from IIPM. A blog-mutiny of sort started and Gaurav and Rashmi Bansal (JAM’s editor) started getting lot of abusive messages on their blogs/mail. Meanwhile IIPM started pressuring Gaurav’s employers (IBM) threatening that “their students will burn laptops that they bought in bulk from IBM, in front of the IBM office” (from Gaurav’s blog). Gaurav meanwhile chose to resign sparing his employer the dilemma.
Desi-pundit has a nice blog that gives lot of updates, some promising. All in all it’s a clear-cut case of blog-journalism at least offering a fight and the mainstream media doing what they do best — behaving like the Ostriches that they are (the only IIPM search hit I find on TOI, is this: (last 30 days!) IIPM going global to set up centres!). DNA at least took notice and so did NDTV.
I think this is an ideal opportunity for Indian bloggers to take a stand (and it’s commendable the way they have rose up the the occasion!). IIPM has all the rights to go to courts, but if they want to use pressurizing tactics, it’s media’s responsibility to report it, to cover it. Since the mainstream media is taking the IIPM’s side covertly by not speaking on the issue at all (surely one can’t expect them to do it, for they are the one’s printing those ads that started it all, and earning revenue through them — so no point in expecting them, the tabloids that have sold themselves years back, to act against their own commercial interests) it’s responsibility of the fringe media to make so much hue and cry over it that it all at least looks fishy, and people ask questions.
No one knows how blogs will affect the society in general. This is just one of the many wars that will decide. Can cynicism wait for a while?