media freedom

Over 100 journalists, professionals write to I&B minister against move to regulate online media

On April 4, the ministry ordered that a panel be formed to frame regulations for digital news websites.

Over 100 journalists and professionals wrote a letter to Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani on Tuesday, against the ministry’s decision to constitute a committee to frame regulations for online media and digital news websites. The journalists said that regulating media on the internet through licensing and content regulation “could have a drastic impact on a medium that is widely credited with making the media and information landscape more open and democratic across the world.”

The letter was signed by journalists including Newslaundry co-founder Madhu Trehan, senior editor Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Scroll.in editor Naresh Fernandes, The Wire’s MK Venu, The News Minute editor Dhanya Rajendran, Seema Mustafa from The Citizen, and Ritu Kapur from The Quint.

“Internet based media, by its very nature, promotes broader democratic values globally and cannot be dealt with in the way national governments try to regulate or control traditional media,” The Wire’s Founding Editor MK Venu said. “Internet based media and global media aggregators like Facebook, Google have changed the content and distribution landscape in ways that national governments cannot easily control. Nor should they try to. It is a free democratic space and must remain as such.”

Independent journalist Geeta Seshu expressed disappointment at the Centre’s attempt to regulate digital media, and said the committee of government officials do not represent media practitioners. “Its mandate to regulate the dissemination of information smacks of the most alarming attempts to censor a burgeoning medium,” she added.

Newslaundry co-founder Madhu Trehan said the internet was the most important invention since the printing press, and that any attempts to regulate it needed to be “consultative”.

Seema Mustafa, founder editor of The Citizen, said, “The attempt to control the internet comes from classic insecurity associated with governments fearful of dissent.” She added that the government could use regulation to suppress opinions critical of it.

Raghav Bahl, founder of Network18 and Quintillion Media, urged the government to study approaches taken by other democracies in dealing with problematic online content. “Any hasty action by the government will likely result in overreach,” he added.

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Following a mountaineer as he reaches the summit of Mount Everest

Accounts from Vikas Dimri’s second attempt reveal the immense fortitude and strength needed to summit the Everest.

Vikas Dimri made a huge attempt last year to climb the Mount Everest. Fate had other plans. Thwarted by unfavourable weather at the last minute, he came so close and yet not close enough to say he was at the top. But that did not deter him. Vikas is back on the Everest trail now, and this time he’s sharing his experiences at every leg of the journey.

The Everest journey began from the Lukla airport, known for its dicey landing conditions. It reminded him of the failed expedition, but he still moved on to Namche Bazaar - the staging point for Everest expeditions - with a positive mind. Vikas let the wisdom of the mountains guide him as he battled doubt and memories of the previous expedition. In his words, the Everest taught him that, “To conquer our personal Everest, we need to drop all our unnecessary baggage, be it physical or mental or even emotional”.

Vikas used a ‘descent for ascent’ approach to acclimatise. In this approach, mountaineers gain altitude during the day, but descend to catch some sleep. Acclimatising to such high altitudes is crucial as the lack of adequate oxygen can cause dizziness, nausea, headache and even muscle death. As Vikas prepared to scale the riskiest part of the climb - the unstable and continuously melting Khumbhu ice fall - he pondered over his journey so far.

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Back in the Himalayas, after a string of sleepless nights, Vikas and his team ascended to Camp 2 (6,500m) as planned, and then descended to Base Camp for the basic luxuries - hot shower, hot lunch and essential supplements. Back up at Camp 2, the weather played spoiler again as a jet stream - a fast-flowing, narrow air current - moved right over the mountain. Wisdom from the mountains helped Vikas maintain perspective as they were required to descend 15km to Pheriche Valley. He accepted that “strength lies not merely in chasing the big dream, but also in...accepting that things could go wrong.”

At Camp 4 (8,000m), famously known as the death zone, Vikas caught a clear glimpse of the summit – his dream standing rather tall in front of him.

It was the 18th of May 2018 and Vikas finally reached the top. The top of his Everest…the top of Mount Everest!

Watch the video below to see actual moments from Vikas’ climb.

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Vikas credits his strength to dedication, exercise and a healthy diet. He credits dietary supplements for helping him sustain himself in the inhuman conditions on Mount Everest. On heights like these where the oxygen supply drops to 1/3rd the levels on the ground, the body requires 3 times the regular blood volume to pump the requisite amount of oxygen. He, thus, doesn’t embark on an expedition without double checking his supplements and uses Livogen as an aid to maintain adequate amounts of iron in his blood.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Livogen and not by the Scroll editorial team.