Saturday, 6 October 2007


Know what, when The Navhind Times begins a series of articles on a particular issue, rest assured there’s something fishy… about their intent i.e.
Remember the series against that scrawny, skin-on-bones and menacingly gentle social activist M K Jos? He’s not in the news anymore, right? Know why?

Cause, the headstone you see on the tomb of his public avatar, was chiseled somewhere in the heart of Navhind Bhavan.
When Naguesh Naik (a lecturer in one of the colleges run by the Dempo’s) committed suicide, somehow a long, a really long ‘and winding’ trail apparently led to M K Jos. The latter was accussed of abetting the suicide. And somewhere around there, somewhere around time began this most journalistically disgusting ‘campaign’ against M K Jos in The Navhind Times. Unsubstantiated stuff, anonymous quotes – if he wants to kill a hard-hitting story, especially where bureaucrats are unwilling to come on record, Editor Arun Sinha has a great formula… he insists that you have to get at least three quotes from government servants, one won’t do, neither two... Three... there goes your story smashed up so bad, that you could roll it into a ball, dip it like you would a litti in chokha and stuff it down your throat...
And why are we saying this?
The timing... cause a little while before TNT's 'campaign' started, Arun Sinha and M K Jos were in the midst of a war of correspondence in the Press Council of India. By the time the campaign was over, a lot of aging Malayali blood was shed on The Navhind Times pages that week.

And then there was Editor Arun Sinha’s TAXI PRESS campaign against the rest of the media in general and Rajan Narayan’s Goan Observer in particular, after all newspapers -- barring the Herald -- reported and followed up the child molestation case which was registered against him.
And now, there’s something about this CASINO series, which stinks… Stinks really bad.
We will not delve into the debate about the merits and demerits of the casino industry. What we are against here is a furtive attempt by a newspaper to slip an agenda through.
Without sounding too bashful we are reminded of the lines we wrote in the CASH FOR EDITORIALS story .

We were only bloggers interested in exposing a wrongdoing in the media industry, but imagine if we had ulterior motives… Just for a moment, imagine us as sophisticated lobbyists on the payrolls of the same gang of crooked realtors, who are trying to push controversial regional plan through. It would have been so easy to buy off editorials and cultivate public opinion.

We fear the casino industry is lobbying hard via the pages of The Navhind Times here.
Figure this out.
Goa’s leading newspaper begins a debate on Casino… It carries a piece by the JACK-IN-THE-BOX Juino de Souza, then an article by the Father of Casinoes in Goa, Sunder Advani. And then indulges in such consistently suspect reportage. One sided reportage of the worst quality. We are left with no option, but to say that these reports are clear no-holds-barred plugs favoring for the casino industry. Not one or two, but a series of them.
In publishing these reports TNT clearly appears to be lobbying for the Casinomen, under the pretext of a furthering debate on the issue.

The newspaper begins with a story on September 8, filed by newspaper’s Margao bureau. It quotes from a memorandum submitted by the the Cavelossim Citizens Action Committee headed by Churchill Alemao crony Kennedy Afonso, which starts with this sentence.

The Cavelossim Citizens Action Committee today said that tourism was on an upswing in Goa, but it needs to have proper infrastructure in place, like golf courses, casinos, etc to lure more tourists in the state.

Then in a very Pierce Brosnan in TAILOR OF PANAMA fashion, the story informs you of a ‘silent' majority which they claim supports their cause.
It further claims that this 'silent' majority of people from Velim, Ambelim, Assolna and Cavelossim demanded dredging of the entire river, wherever applicable from Khareband to Mobor.
Then they follow it up with Juino’s article, which supports the idea of a debate on the subject of casinos, but winds up its say in this fashion.

Why are we viewing the casino industry as a threat to our security and harmful for both humans and the environment? Why is there resistance to change and the attitude that `we’ve always done it this way, why change now?’ Change has become a necessary factor and there is no escape from it. We have to eliminate fear and pursue continuous improvement and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship if we have to succeed in a globalised world.

Till this point, TNT is still subtle. The skirt's is up, but the garters are still on.
But the floodgates open with Abdul Rauf Beig’s signed article on September 26. The article itself is a disgrace to journalism…

You know, when we were kids, we played a lot of cricket and rank amateurs that we were, some of us wold often bowl such a howler of a delivery that pitched about four feet wide of the leg stump on the on side. We’d call such a delivery ‘avoi-bapui naslolo ball’ or ‘bina maa-baap ka ball’… It was slang for a ball without line or length.
This story reminds us of those days. The story just does not make sense.
It has no head nor tail.
It begins this way, by telling you that…

The state government has permitted managements of five-star hotels to operate casinos, wherein only slot machines were allowed, but somehow the authorities failed to tap the source of additional income that could have flowed from them.

Then it goes on to explain, that since the state does not have enough infra-structure or amenities to retain tourists for a longer period, casinos could help Goa hold fast to its visitors.
This story is nothing else but the media's viagra pill for the Casinomen, whom they are willing to bed. The story is bereft of any journalistic sanctity. TNT’s BJ to the casino industry has only begun.
Beig’s piece is more like a hors d'oeuvre, as compared to the treat reserved by the maitre d' Arun Sinha and The Navhind Times management for the Casinomen.
TNT’s Margao man Minoo Fernandes proves true to form. The sort of rotund form, you assume after a good, warm, free meal inside you. He is also at his corny best. Funny for a school teacher. Here’s how be begins.

And it is not only for sun, beaches and scenic beauty they come here, but to enjoy other things as well. A manager of a star hotel in the coastal belt of Salcete taluka puts it well: “Do you think these tourists will enjoy Goa without having casinos in star hotels?’’

After refusing to elaborate on the 'other things', Minoo tells you about a Surya Kumar who claims that casinos are cool. Surya Kumar seems like one of those fictitious guys from the Robin Abreu monsoon collection... Here what Kumar is supposed to have told Minoo about casinos... They apparently are

“…sheer enjoyment and entertainment for those who can afford it”

Then there’s another quote from a waiter, who speaks with Solomon like wisdom, on how casinos are different and better than this other form of gambling…matka. Read this.

When asked whether casinos can cause social problems, a waiter reacted by saying, “It is not a damned thing like the matka which ruins families.

Minoo then devotes a couple of quotes to local sarpanchas, whose posture appears to be anti-casino. And then he does it again. he quotes hotel guys, who claim that the casinos they run are not really casinos, but ‘games for entertainment for their clients'. Does this make any sense?

However, these hotels insisted that what they operate are not casinos but only games for entertainment meant for their clients.

These are the heights of absurdity, which The Navhind Times correspondent Minoo Fernandes manages to scale despite his age. The next peak was scaled by TNT’s Bogmallo correspondent Sudesh Bhosle (not to be confused with the singer Sudesh Bhosle, although this guy does sing looney tunes here).

In order to take tourism industry to greater height, the state government has given permission to star hotels to operate casinos in Goa. And the state is getting its foothold in casino business, especially offshore casino. The state casino business is picking up, beckoning casino lovers of the world.

In the first paragraph of his report itself, Sudesh hands a gilt edged certificate of merit to the Chances casino. Furthering the ‘debate’, Sudesh further states how the casino ‘augurs’ well with the state.

A visit to the Chances Casino at Bogmallo Beach Resort revealed that there is an age limit – only those who are above the age of 18 years can enter the casino. Every customer has to pay the entry fee of Rs 200 which a direct revenue to the government. The casino pays annual revenue of Rs 8 lakh to the government.

Sudesh too hints at the same silent majority bullshit, without quoting anyone on it.

People here feel that the government should do more to make the casinos popular and attractive among the tourists. However, they gave a word of wisdom saying that the casino culture should not affect the local youths

This is followed by Beig’s second installment of horseshit.
This report too has to be read to be believed and is crafted to give a clean chit to the casino operations.
The last report has been filed by Agnelo Periera, which seems to have atleast a semblance of balance and finally some genuine looking quotes.
You know, one could nail a lone correspondent or a journalist, if he/she filed one suspect story. You squarely put the blame on his head. But when a newspaper runs a series as shady as this, the blame has to find its way upwards. It's no longer the solitary guy on the field alone on whom the onus should lie. If Minoo, Rauf and Sudesh have filed a story, where it appears that journalistic interests have been compromised, then the story has been checked by someone on top. And slip ups can't happen five times in a row...

Here are links to all the stories we have mentioned...
Casinos generate income for state
Golf courses, casinos need of the hour, says CCAC

Need for debate on concept of casinos
Five-star hotels allowed to operate casinos

Locals too frequent casinos in Salcete
Chances Casino at Bogmallo has entry age limit

Goa’s only floating casino enjoys monopoly
Local youngsters do patronise Casinos

Go through them if you want to.
And if you are convinced that the reportage is suspect, do call em up and speak your mind to them/or you could also call them, if you want to listen to their side of the story... here are some numbers on which you could get the guys responsible...
Arun Sinha -- Editor, The Navhind Times -- 0832-6651120 and 0832-6651123 (direct line)
The Navhind Times news desk -- 0832-6651119 (Ask for Assistant Editor Arun Srivastva)
The Navhind Times (Margao bureau) -- 0832-2700997


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good job guys once again.
Just goes to prove whose interest our papers really go to serve.

Why can't you guys start a professional, unbiased, upright daily in Goa?
Good luck guys..

6 October 2007 at 06:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Penpricks, Even I second the previous blogger's comment. For a nation and a state bereft of upright people...You Guys sure make us feel that life is till left in the Goan Journo.


Your Blog carried news about GOA NEWS and a certain Mr. Sachin Borker. OK, Mr. Borker after getting kicked out from GOA NEWS has been going around stating that he is getting SUN TV into Goa where it is being christened SUN GOA. So far so good. When this Reporter called up SUNTV NETWORK at Chennai, the Channel Bosses knew of no Sachin Borker. And surprise,. surprise they had no plans to start any other Channel in the next five years. The Pity...there are more than 20 people that he has promised that the Channel is taking off on October 21st. When will Goenkars learn not to trust conmen?

6 October 2007 at 13:52  
Anonymous grass is green said...

Hey pricks,

great job. u have stripped the NT reports and laid bare the truth. but even then, i dont think they (Arun and co) will cow down in shame or embarrasment.

I wonder what our friend Agnelo has to say about this. Wwas he forced to do the story or did he just do it because he had to do it?

On second thoughts, casinos like the matka, will have the blessing of teh politicos. so it will go on.

6 October 2007 at 18:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could penpricks do a story of the 'Training for trainers' programme for journos of Tajikistan?

After reading 'Stray Thoughts' by Rajan Narayan, it appears that this programme is a sham.

Looks like journos deceiving other journos, kind of programme!

7 October 2007 at 16:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

penpricks: If I understand you correctly, you seem to suggest that this M.K. Jos fella is a paragon of virtue.

If my assumption is indeed true, then please find out the place where Mr. Jos first stayed when he arrived in Goa. Then contact the owner of the place and get the facts of how Mr. Jos hid behind some tenancy^ act and refused to get out of the place.
Ask Mr. Jos the rent he pays (if any)

(^Politicians make rules/legislations. So if the rule suits you at the cost of others, they are good; when you are at the receiving end, they are bad is it? That's hypocracy!)

8 October 2007 at 00:49  

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