Monthly Archives: JUNE 2017


Media Advisor refutes PT report of meeting with Editor, while Govt continues to reel under new headlines
03.06.17 - PT bureau
Media Advisor refutes PT report of meeting with Editor, while Govt continues to reel under new headlines



CHANDIGARH: With the Amarinder Singh government continuing to reel under the relentless media focus on Minister Rana Gurjit Singh on account of a shady sand mining contract, the Chief Minister's Media Advisor Raveen Thukral denied having met the editor of The Tribune to push for publication of a rebuttal to the newspaper's stinging editorial on May 31, a claim made by PT in a report.
 
Taking issue with the earlier report by Punjab Today that claimed Thukral met with the newspaper's editor, the department of public relations that directly reports to Thukral called the reportage "your reporter's imagination" and "aimed at promoting some personal agenda."
 
Meanwhile, Thukral landed in yet another row with a rather bizarre explanation about the presence of Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar attending a meeting of administrative secretaries and district commissioners, convened by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.
 
When media persons asked Thukral in what capacity did Jakhar attend a purely administrative and official meeting on May 31, Thukral said it was not much of an issue because Amarinder was also a former Punjab Congress president, just as Jakhar currently is.
 
 
A senior principal secretary rank official, when informed about Media Advisor’s reasoning, prominently reported by the Indian Express on Friday, chuckled, "May be he is right, and Amarinder also attended the meeting as former PPCC chief and not as CM. Who knows better than those who advise? So, maybe next time, (Akali Dal's) Parkash Singh Badal can also attend the meeting since he was also a former CM."
 
In remarks that would sound rather strange, coming as they did from someone who has worked as a senior journalist reporting on Punjab, including on Amarinder Singh government in its earlier avatar from 2002-2007, Thukral also explained Jakhar's presence saying that since the state government has adopted the Congress manifesto as its policy programme, it was justified.
 
Not surprisingly, not one senior journalist covering the government saw the issue in the same light. When asked, a senior journalist said Media Advisors in Punjab do tend to have a rather unique perspective about indefensible positions, an ability that is a precondition for the job.
 
While the "rebuttal" issued by PR department of the state government in response to the Punjab Today story seemed particularly concerned about "great injustice (done) to an editor of Mr. Harish Khare’s standing and stature by attributing to him false statements with no rhyme or substance," Mr Khare's office pertinently refused to confirm or deny the meeting.
 
Some senior editorial staffers of the newspaper, contacted by Punjab Today, said they, too, have been made aware about the reported meeting and what transpired during that interaction.
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 "CM must ask Minister Gurjit Singh to step down in order to ensure a fair probe into allegations of corruption against him." - Indian Express' editorial on June 1. Clearly, another occasion for a letter to the editor! INSTEAD OF THE USED NOW
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The editor's Personal Assistant, contacted by PT, said the newspaper cares little about any attempt to have a rebuttal published and anyone with point of view can write to the editor, a route Mr Thukral finally took, scoring his two-bit worth of brownie points with a letter to the editor published in Friday's edition of The Tribune, titled, "Media trial unfair."
 
Meanwhile, the perceived unfair media trial, if that is how the CMO sees it, not only continues but is gaining momentum by the day. On the very day the CM's Media Advisor was taking pains to have his rebuttal published in The Tribune and refuting PT's story about strong attempts made in this regard, it was the Indian Express' turn to come down on the Amarinder Singh government.
 
"(The) CM must ask Minister (Rana) Gurjit Singh to step down in order to ensure a fair probe into allegations of corruption against him," the Indian Express' editorial titled "Over to Captain," commented on June 1. Subordinate staff working with the Media Advisor did not confirm if another rebuttal was being drafted in this case, too.
 
At least three senior journalists who have worked in close proximity to Mr Khare in the past said the man was virtually immune and inured to such pleadings by anyone claiming to have been hurt by the newspaper's reportage.
 
While it took no less than US president Donald Trump's move to pull out of the Paris climate deal to push out news items about Rana Gurjit's former employees' remarkable ability to win multi-crore sand mining contracts from the front pages of region’s newspapers and relegate these to inside pages, respite does not seem on the horizon.
 
With newspaper headlines screaming about Income Tax authorities' move to seek bank details of Rana's staff and opposition continuing to stir the pot - AAP MLAs met the governor yesterday on the issue - the Amarinder government clearly needs to do more than draft rebuttals to media reports. As one editorial writer said, it is Over to Captain, and he has to act decisively.





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Comment by: harcharan bains

My pick for the media moment of the month:

TRUMP DRIVES OUT OF PARIS CLIMATE TO HALT RAJA, RANA'S DIVE INTO SAND DUNES

"While it took no less than US president Donald Trump's move to pull out of the Paris climate deal to push out news items about Rana Gurjit's former employees' remarkable ability to win multi-crore sand mining contracts from the front pages of region’s newspapers and relegate these to inside pages, respite does not seem on the horizon." - Punjab Today

But it is unfair to strafe the world of both the PR Johnies and journalists with such silken smooth hammerings as :
"While it took no less than US president Donald Trump's move to pull out of the Paris climate deal to push out news items about Rana Gurjit's former employees' remarkable ability to win multi-crore sand mining contracts from the front pages of region’s newspapers and relegate these to inside pages, respite does not seem on the horizon."

The next task for Punjab Today : try and find some interpreters ( or better still, translators) to rephrase your comment into English - as 'she' is spoken, written and understood in the world of our great English journalism.

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Punjab government changes the timing of Medical Colleges and Attached Hospitals
03.06.17 - team pt
Punjab government changes the timing of Medical Colleges and Attached Hospitals



The Punjab Government has issued the order to change the timings of Government Medical & Dental Colleges and attached hospitals of Amritsar and Patiala from 8 A.M. to 2:30 p.m.
 
Disclosing this here today Minister for Medical Education & Research, Punjab, Brahm Mohindra said that it has brought to the notice of the state government that for the past so many years, the working hours in medical, dental colleges and the attached hospitals of Punjab Government were 8 p.m. to 2-30 p.m. It is satisfactory in accordance with the conditions of the Medical Council of India fulfilling the minimum teaching hours but from last two years these timings have been changed from 8 A.M. to 4 p.m.  
 
Medical Education Minister said that earlier change in time was only for the faculty not for the para-medical staff and hence there is no useful functioning after 2-30 p.m. in the departments which required services of the para-medical staff. 
 
He said that concerned principal of the government medical colleges is responsible to fulfill the norms of teaching hours recommended by Medical Council of India.




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Editor advises Advisor: Pl improve English, use 300 words and build some logic in your rebuttal
01.06.17 - Punjab Today Bureau
Editor advises Advisor: Pl improve English, use 300 words and build some logic in your rebuttal



CHANDIGARH: Known for its rather sedate approach to journalism, and currently helmed by an old school editor-in-chief in Harish Khare, The Tribune makes waves whenever it shuns the "on-the-one-hand-while-on-the-other-hand" balancing act and takes a call on an issue.
 
So when its editorial on Wednesday screamed, "Oust Rana Gurjit Singh: Reset the integrity bar high," Captain Amarinder Singh's CMO was singed to the core. Sources in the Punjab Civil Secretariat said on Thursday morning, June 1, Amarinder Singh's Media Advisor Raveen Thukral landed up at Khare's office, armed with what he claimed was a "rebuttal."

The Tribune had days earlier carried the explosive news report about Rana Gurjit Singh's former cook walking away with Rs 26 crore worth of sand mine bid. It followed it up with a series of reports establishing links of the "cook" with the minister, thus stirring the pot. Many political pundits think the government has landed itself in pretty hot soup.
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Khare actually told Thukral that the "rebuttal" was rather a
confirmation of what The Tribune had put out.
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The editorial was like another helping of this stew, only with a higher Scoville rating, and had brought the CM's media managers to the Tribune's doors.
 
Khare, who knows the job of a media advisor rather well – he was one to the then premier Manmohan Singh – and has himself been a journalist to reckon with, glanced through the long harangue presented to him as the "rebuttal" and advised the CMO's Man Friday to have it re-written.

Sources privy to and consulted on the issue by one of the sides said Khare actually told Thukral that the "rebuttal" was rather a confirmation of what The Tribune had put out.

Besides, Khare advised that if the "rebuttal" was published in the form in which Advisor Raveen Thukral had brought it to his table, it will, in fact, expose whosoever has written it as inept and completely unaware of what journalism and good political writing is all about.

"Besides, please improve the English and say what you have to say in 300 words. Also, build some logic," a source paraphrased Khare's advice to Thukral.

Interestingly, Khare's experience with media advisors of the Akali Dal and the BJP in the past has not been much different, and they too had returned empty handed and exasperated from the editor-in-chief's office when they took issue with the newspaper group's coverage of their government.

Equal opportunity offender editors have often been hailed as the most balanced ones, and Khare clearly represents that tribe which is almost facing a threat of extinction currently.
 
Incidentally, Thukral finally submitted a much shorter version of his rebuttal which was eventually published on Friday, June 2, by The Tribune as a letter to the editor among other readers' letters. It is for the readers to judge if the rebuttal did more justice to the queen's language, or carried more logic. As for The Tribune's response, it carried a lead story in Friday's edition, titled, "Cook's company gave loan of Rs 50 lakh to Rana Gurjit," following it up on page 3 with another damning reportage, headlined, "Terms of probe silent on money trail." For good measure, it also listed out six "moot questions". Sources could not confirm if the CMO's group of spin doctors is planning to draft a rebuttal or answers to the moot questions. 




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Comment by: Desh Bir Sharma

"Neither fear or favour"-that is the watch-word for upright journalism!

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Comment by: Desh Bir Sharma

"Neither fear or favour"-that is the watch-word for upright journalism!

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