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Uday Sahay
Thursday , February 13, 2014

Communication challenges for Aam Aadmi Party

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Doubling up today as a communication professional and as an involved member of Aam Aadami Party, I have to confront a frequently asked question - "What are the communication challenges that the Aam Aadami Party faces currently?" On the face of it, the question appears quite simple. However, on deeper reflection I realize how complex its answer can turn out to be. For I perceive AAP not as a stimulus but as an out of ordinary alternative-response to an extraordinary political vacuum emerging globally. A political vacuum seems to have arisen worldwide in the post liberalization age wherein the old institutions and ideology - of various hues and shades - are giving way. It is not an end of ideology age in Daniel Bell's sense of the term. It seems to be an end of all old ideology - left, right or centre - creating a vacuum. Substitution....

Saturday , May 12, 2012

The Castle, the Commoners and their cronies

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Seldom does the Indian media today act as the cronies of the commoners. However, when it does, especially in pelting stones at the castle, it receives the unanimous support of the commoners. This was evident in the recent media bashing against the President's alleged misuse of her public office to settle her post-retirement housing plan in Pune. Media made out a case as if the plot was hatched at the personal behest of the President without taking pains to talk to the authorized source; the chief of Southern Command responsible for the execution of the project has now suo moto held a press conference to bring facts before the media. Two senior journalists took up the frog-in-a-well view of the RTI reply and the whole media, including online, sang the chorus without understanding its script. Prompted by a commercial pressure to grab eyeballs and attention, the easy route....

Monday , September 05, 2011

How Anna beat the govt at the communication game

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The writing on the wall is loud and clear. The communication machinery, method, strategy, substance and speed of the Government of India (GoI) require a complete revamp. If the Anna Hazare agitation was an egg in their face, GoI had not fared much better when terrorists laid siege to Mumbai in 2008 and during the build-up to the Commonwealth Games, 2010. Those in PMO, North Block and Shashtri Bhavan need to admit their failures first - those who don't take lessons from mistakes are bound to commit them over and over again. Neither they took lessons from the communication strategy of their past role model - USSR (their Peoples Publishing House dotting Indian cities, their cultural centres for ideological indoctrination or their freebies and largesse to keep Nehruvian intellectuals under their wings), nor do they take clue from their present one (USA - their commissioning of....

Monday , August 29, 2011

What Anna meant to Pappu

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Mass movement helps clean society's conscience. It fuels the nation's energy afresh. For it brings great transformation in both, the participant and the non-participant observer. Anna's movement meant the same to a bye-stander like me, I mean to Pappu symbolising middle class. In my life I had the privilege to witness four mass movements as non-participant observer. One, the Naxalite movement of seventies in Calcutta, as it was known then, where while going to school daily I read writings on revolution juxtaposed with Mao's face as graffiti painted all along the wall - 'if you kill one of us, we will kill ten of you. Charu Mazumdar Zindabad, Kanu Sanyal Zindabad.' I had no inkling of what was going on - surrounded that I was in the comfort of the upper middle class hypocritical prosperity of South Calcutta. Subliminally however it was affecting me I felt - I was....

Tuesday , September 30, 2008

Lessons in public communication

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Public sphere invariably receives and absorbs public communication arrived through emotional route more comfortably than those reaching it through rational route. Members of the public crowd this sphere and media echo their cheers, jeers, and sneers through media stories. Media does it some times truthfully and at times twisting and turning the story for impact. What do you do when such twists and turns in the intended communication lead to public backlash? The lesson drawn for a communicator whenever a communication driven through an emotional route goes wrong, it can be corrected or navigated to a desired direction only by following another creatively crafted emotional route. It needs to be borne in mind that if the route of communication problem sprouts out of emotional imagery rather than rational ground, the effective way to tackle such imagery problem is to adopt an equally emotive response. Let me cite few....

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Most viewed on TV: TRP ratings

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Friday it was. The top TV news channels were offering prayers. Some offered it for a favourable TRP, whereas others for the position number one. Lucky that week was India TV-hitherto perceived as the Manohar Kahanian of Indian news channels among literati. The TRP that fateful Friday shattered the habitual perception of invincibility of sabse tej news channel, overtaken as it was in its weekly race for number one. The villain-de-piece was TV rating points (TRP) for its umpire's role. Luck kissing story for the new king channel was Arushi's murder case. The old king Aaj Tak was ironically cursing the same system, which helped facilitate its empire building through ads collection all these years. It chose to hit back when stung by an adverse rating. It questioned TV rating methodology, its sampling, its representative character and what have you. Understandably, no one took these arguments seriously because....

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Agenda-setting in Indian newspapers?

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How the media reported about a new transport idea in Delhi. Delhi-based English newspapers wrote understandably a common script on the trials and tribulations of their target readers when they covered BRT corridor issue. English speaking journalists of varying hues-Oxbridge bred, public school kind, and government school type-unanimously sang the hate song on BRT in chorus since it based both on the faith and experience of their own and of their car-using constituents. Two newspapers undertook the close-to the-mike role while singing. Reportedly, personal and advertising interests of these tune-leaders added salt to their wounds. Dutiful to their own experience and of their readers, they set the tone and tenor of their coverage ranging from anguish to frustration to helplessness. Blame it all was the style and rubbishing wisdom of experts as arm-chairish was the strategy. Some even attributed vested motives to the government stubbornly sticking to....


More about Uday Sahay

Director, Information & Publicity, Delhi Government



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