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Darryl D’Monte: mentor to a generation of journalists

Peter Griffin

The Forum of Environmental Journalists in India (FEJI) and the Mumbai Press Club (MPC) hosted a memorial meeting in tribute to Darryl D’Monte, the revered senior journalist and environmental activist who passed away last Saturday.

“You’re either networking or not working,” said Joydeep Gupta, FEJI’s vice-president, quoting an aphorism D’Monte frequently used — before recounting incidents to exemplify D’Monte’s use of the power of networks for the environment. “Darryl obviously left behind a void,” he said, “but he has also left behind a whole generation of journalists.”

Senior journalist and former MPC president Kumar Ketkar recalled his long association with D’Monte, and that though they were around the same age, he had looked upon him as a mentor. “I wondered what drove him,” he said, before answering it with one word: people. D’Monte did not describe himself as a liberal — in those days no one did — or secular, he said, but at the heart of all he did was his concern for people.

“Environmentalism meant people. Rights, food, activism, meant people.” Unlike many activists who could be dry, D’Monte was witty and humorous, Mr. Ketkar added, before concluding: “Darryl practised catholicism, not as religion, but as a virtue.”

MPC president Gurbir Singh recalled how D’Monte had pushed the club to include a category for environmental journalism in its Red Ink awards.

FEJI’s founding trustee, Keya Acharya, said the organisation has begun as an organisation with a similar name founded by D’Monte in 1988, the Forum of Environmental Journalists of India. When his health issues first surfaced, he asked her to take over and the body was reconstituted with D’Monte as its Chairman Emeritus.

She said he brought journalists together to understand ecosystems before words like that were in common use, and was instrumental in forming networks internationally too. On his support for environmental issues, she said, “Darryl taught us that we get it on the front page of the paper, not just on an environment page. He was the first to tell us you could write about toilets and manual scavenging; we spent a day talking about nothing but shit.”

FEJI, Ms. Acharya said, is planning to set up a memorial award in his name, to which Mr. Singh promised MPC’s support to the initiative.

Members of the audience, some of who had come from other cities just for the memorial, also offered their memories of the facets of Mr. D’Monte, as colleague, mentor, educator, community member, and companion.

Samir D’Monte, D’Monte’s son, talked of his father’s strict routine while working from home, a discipline that never got in the way of his being there for his family, before thanking the attendees and promising the family’s support for efforts to take his legacy forward.

A portrait of Darryl D’Monte at the memorial meeting.
Indigenous no-state people

Broadcasters Body Asks Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami to Apologise For Misreporting

A. Singh and his partner Pratishtha Singh filed a complaint after the channel ran a video alleging that the complainant was one of the people who harassed their reporter, Shivani Gupta, while reporting at Vadgam MLA Jignesh Mevani’s ‘flop show’ rally.

New Delhi: The News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA), an independent body set up by the News Broadcasters Association, on August 30 directed BJP MP Rajeev Chandrashekhar’s news channel Republic TV to air a full-screen apology to its viewers for inappropriate comments made by its editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami.

The complaint was filed by A. Singh and his partner Pratishtha Singh after the channel ran a video alleging that the complainant was one of the people who harassed their reporter, Shivani Gupta, while reporting at Vadgam MLA Jignesh Mevani’s ‘flop show’ rally.

“I want their faces circled more. I want the family members of these cheap, perverse goons to watch their family members doing this … at this event which was the Jignesh flop show. Let’s name and shame these people,” said Goswami at the beginning of the debate as a small video of the event played on the screen.

Multiple times during the hour-long debate, Goswami can be seen calling the complainant a “vulgar thing”, “pervert”, “goon”, “sexist”, “hyena” and “anti-Indian”. The channel reportedly removed the video from its website and YouTube account after the complainant sent them multiple mails. The debate on the topic is still available on the channel’s website.

In the video, Gupta can be seen surrounded by a small crowd as she reports on the lack of supporters at the event. In the end she had to be escorted away by the police.

  1. Jignesh Mevani, Republic TV and the Incomplete Story of Chennai’s Media Solidarity
  2. Why Arnab Goswami’s Banana ‘Republic’ Also Needs to Have a Seat at the Table 
  3. Student Organisation Protests ‘Defamation’ by NDA Politician’s TV Channel 
  4. Rights Lawyer Says Arnab Goswami’s Channel Made ‘Ridiculous, False’ Allegations

In its original reply, Republic TV had claimed that Singh was “interfering with the reporting done by its reporter by moving towards her in an intimidating and aggressive manner and shouting the words “jhooth bol rahi hai (she is lying)” as she was confronting another person harassing her”. They also claimed that the complainant engaged in further sloganeering aimed at the reporter.

Responding to the channel’s allegations, Singh said that in the video he can be seen saying, “Koi aapko tang nahi kar raha, aap jhooth bol rahi hai (You are lying. nobody is bothering you.)” and can’t be labelled a “vulgar thug”, “pervert”, “goon”, “sexist” or “anti-Indian” on the basis of that. Demanding an apology from the channel, Singh and his partner claimed that after the show was aired, many of their relatives called expressing shock and the broadcast has bought shame and loss of reputation to the family.

In its August 30 order, NBSA noted, “The footage does not show use of any objectionable words by the complainant or any gesture which can be described as “lewd” or “threatening”.”

Chastising Goswami for his choice of language, NBSA said, “Use of words like ‘I am going to show these crude, lewd hyenas/show the dirty faces of lewd, cheap, vulgar, sexist, pervert anti-Indian goons‘ by Mr Arnab Goswami who was anchoring the programme was totally unwarranted and unjustified and the same was in violation of the broadcasting standards.”

The body has directed Republic TV to air a clarification before the 9 pm debate on September 7, 2018. This story will be updated if and when the channel follows NBSA’s order.

Serial offenders

This wasn’t the sole incident of misreporting by the channel while covering this story. They were forced to apologise to an ABP reporter after Goswami labelled him as one of “one of the thugs who tried to intimidate Gupta”.

#JigneshFlopShow | Arnab: Tonight, I will put out videos circling the pictures of the vulgar thugs who tried to intimidate @ShivaniGupta_5 and failed. Republic reporters represent young India much better than your goons, @jigneshmevani80 

Live TV: Watch live news streaming of your favorite news channel on Republic World. Get live news on politics, sports, entertainment, world and much more. Watch live TV and stay up to date with live…

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Turns out the reporter was actually trying to make sure Gupta is escorted away safely from the mob.View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Dear @republic the person you are claiming to be the man who heckled your female journalist at Mevani rally in Delhi is actually one of the finest TV reporter in Hindi journalism. @jainendrakumar is currently with @abpnewshindi
You should apologies for this ASAP@milindkhandekar

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In its apology, Republic TV said, “On the debate yesterday, we inadvertently circled visual of a reporter from ABP News, Jainendra Kumar, while running pictures of our News Editor, Shivani Gupta, being targeted by individuals present at the Jignesh Mevani rally.” The clarification stated that visuals indicative of Kumar being the heckler was an unintentional oversight by the channel’s video editor, reported NewsLaundry.

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

.@republic TV apologises for calling ABP News correspondent @jainendrakumar a ‘goon’ during its report on #JigneshMevani‘s rally. The channel says it was a mistake.

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Republic TV also stated that their apology was issued “as per the highest norms of corrigendum and clarification on such editorial matters” and added that this was a follow up on ABP News’ behest.