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Broadcaster vs billionaire: the battle for control of India's media – Financial Times

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At a private dinner in 2007, a TV anchor was not about to let a politician go unchallenged. Prannoy Roy, a broadcaster and co-founder of media group New Delhi Television, confronted the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi over rioting in the state five years earlier that led to the deaths of nearly 2,000 people.

Roy’s ambush set the tone for a combative future relationship with Modi, who was elected India’s prime minister in 2014. At the gathering with journalists, Modi stuck by his denials of any involvement in the riots, but left before food was served, according to investor and Financial Times contributor Ruchir Sharma’s book Democracy on the Road.

Now the media mogul is the one being cornered. Gautam Adani, a tycoon seen as close to Modi, launched a corporate raid on NDTV last week. Roy and his wife and co-founder Radhika Roy are now fighting Adani, the world’s third wealthiest man, for control of a media group that supporters say is a bastion of media independence.

Defeat for the Roys would leave India’s biggest television news channels controlled by billionaires, with what some analysts have argued would be profound implications for media plurality.

Mukesh Ambani, chair of Reliance Industries and India’s second-richest man, already controls the expansive Network18 media group and is building a new streaming service in collaboration with James Murdoch.

“Between Ambani and Adani, they will now control the two largest networks,” said Indrajit Gupta, former editor of Forbes India and co-founder of online platform Founding Fuel. “In a noisy democracy, you need to listen to a few different voices, but with this you lose diversity.”

Adani, like Modi, comes from Gujarat. The first-generation entrepreneur supported the then chief minister when he was criticised over his handling of the deadly 2002 riots and his rise since has tracked Modi’s. Adani has backed the prime minister’s vision for nation building and is now the dominant player in Indian infrastructure.

Adani has strongly denied any improper relationship to the prime minister.

An NDTV microphone in New Delhi, India
NDTV launched India’s first independent TV news show in 1988 © Adnan Abidi/Reuters

The Roys themselves opened the way for their loss of control when they borrowed indirectly from Ambani’s Reliance Industries over a decade ago. That loan paid no interest, but came with warrants convertible to ownership of a company set up by the Roys that holds 29 per cent of NDTV’s stock — a time bomb that was contained inside a shell company bought by Adani late last month.

The Roys are giants of India’s raucous media, famous for producing the country’s first independent TV news show in 1988. Originally appearing on the state broadcaster, NDTV tied up with Rupert Murdoch’s Star network amid liberalisation of India’s economy in the 1990s. NDTV later launched channels for news in Hindi and English as well as for business and lifestyle content.

“There is an entire generation of Indian TV journalists who grew up under the NDTV umbrella and owe a huge debt to the Roys,” said Rajdeep Sardesai, a news anchor and editor with TV channel India Today, who spent 11 years at NDTV.

The company went public in 2004, though the Roys retained controlling stakes. NDTV was already facing fierce rivalry for advertising revenue when the global financial crisis struck in 2008. The Roys had been determined to buy back NDTV stock before the crisis hit, but needed to borrow to do so. Their resulting borrowing eventually led to the ill-fated loan from Ambani, according to a securities regulator tribunal.

Once considered by politicians the go-to station for appearances, NDTV’s testy relationship with Modi’s Bharatiya Janata party administration has hurt its bottom line.

Before the BJP came to power, NDTV in 2013 demonstrated its political connections with a 25th anniversary party in the presidential palace. But one Indian executive said the Roys were part of the old establishment. “The system has turned, and they have turned victim of the system,” the executive said.

Government agencies pulled advertising, while BJP spokespeople did not participate in its programmes. Authorities including the Income Tax Department and Central Bureau of Investigation brought cases against NDTV and the Roys. One such probe prevented them travelling abroad in August 2019. The Roys have always denied wrongdoing.

Still, NDTV’s finances have been improving. Revenue from operations for the financial year ending this March was Rs2.3bn ($29mn), up from Rs2bn the previous year, while annual profits surged to Rs600mn from Rs380mn. NDTV also brought down borrowings from Rs632mn to Rs178mn.

RRPR, the company owned by the Roys that holds the 29 per cent stake, has refused to transfer the shares to an Adani Group subsidiary without approval from the securities regulator.

But analysts said the Roys would struggle to fend off the deep-pocketed Adani, who has offered to buy a further 26 per cent of NDTV’s shares from shareholders. NDTV’s biggest public shareholder, with a nearly 10 per cent stake, is a little-known Mauritius-registered entity, LTS Investment Fund, whose portfolio is 98 per cent invested in Adani Group companies. NDTV’s share price began climbing this spring on deal speculation.

Some observers have predicted that a successful takeover by Adani’s media arm would lead to the watering down of NDTV’s editorial independence. The Adani Group did not respond to a request for comment.

Sanjay Pugalia, chief executive of the group’s AMG Media Networks, said the company sought to “empower Indian citizens, consumers and those interested in India, with information and knowledge”.

Meenakshi Ganguly, south Asia director with Human Rights Watch, said Modi’s government had few remaining critics such as NDTV. “This is an administration that largely enjoys a loyal media — whether by choice or fear,” she said.

India’s information and broadcasting ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

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Media Availability: Ministers Hogan and Loveless Available to Media to Provide Update Following Hurricane Fiona – News Releases – Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

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The Honourable John Hogan, KC, Minister of Justice and Public Safety, and the Honourable Elvis Loveless, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, will be available to media today (Sunday, September 25) at 2:00 p.m. to discuss response to the impacts of Hurricane Fiona.

The availability will be held in St. John’s at the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre, 45 Major’s Path.

The availability will be streamed live on Facebook.

Media planning to participate must register by contacting Lesley Clarke (lesleyclarke@gov.nl.ca).

-30-

Media contacts
Lesley Clarke
Justice and Public Safety
709-729-5188, 699-2910
lesleyclarke@gov.nl.ca

Brian Scott
Transportation and Infrastructure
709-729-3015, 725-9201
brianscott@gov.nl.ca

2022 09 25
11:05 am

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How Every Leader No Matter The Industry Can Adopt Social Media – Forbes

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The world is quickly replacing paper with digital documents, cash with digital wallets, and social media is becoming the norm for connection worldwide. One of the most noticeable changes is the ability of individuals to make money online by leveraging social media to build a loyal community. You can’t go on social media without running into content or an ad from an online entrepreneur or influencer with a product or service.

While many businesses have been quick to jump on this trend, some industries are still playing catch up. However, with more and more transactions occurring online in today’s society, there is no denying that everyone needs a digital footprint – even with older and “more traditional” businesses.

Alec Hanson, senior vice-president of the west division for loanDepot, a twenty-year veteran of the mortgage industry, is looking to help the industry adapt to the world of doing business through social media. He has always understood the importance of building relationships, whether by attending open houses or other business events. Today he sees the potential of doing even more through social media.

Adapting To The Times

Alec has always been passionate about helping people with home financing. As a mortgage loan officer and now as a Senior Vice President at loanDepot with 115 branch locations under his leadership, he knows what it takes to find success in the industry. For a mortgage loan officer, the day-to-day work may look like phone calls, e-mails, and making sure people sign on the dotted line. But the reality is, that’s only a small part of the equation.

Meeting people and building relationships is key. While technology is making paperwork easier, Hanson is more excited about the ability to build relationships through social media. “It used to be that the mortgage and real estate industry was a belly-to-belly sport and while that’s still true, being belly-to-belly digitally now matters just as much.” Hanson believes the industry’s ability to use social media to build a personal brand and connect with clients will be crucial to future success. “Connecting with people has never been easier. We just have to use the tools we have.”

Easy as 1,2,3

In his time as a loan officer, Alec was recognized as a top 1% originator every year for eight years straight. When he moved into leadership, he quickly became known as an industry leader, now serving the west division of loanDepot spanning over 12 states. He credits his success to many factors, but can’t ignore the positive effect that his commitment to social media has granted. “With social media, not only can I work with my team that is all over the country, but I can connect to potential new business partners, recruits, and industry leaders as well.”

Although he believes the easiest way to build his business is through creating content on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook, he recognizes that a big hurdle is that people don’t know how to use social media. One of the biggest questions mortgage professionals have is knowing what they should share. “There’s an audience for everyone. Be yourself and connect to clients and partners that connect with your personality and passions.”

The second problem he sees is that people are concerned with the wrong things. “You don’t need to go viral – just be consistent. If your one video only gets 200 views – that’s more than you would get at one open house. It’s easy, just trust the process.”

Business Is Built On Relationships

Despite his passion for driving the industry to use social media, Hanson is actually not a super fan of social media platforms. “I think it creates a lot of issues, such as people chasing likes, forgetting how to interact, and portraying a perfect life. That can be toxic.” Despite his love-hate relationship, he does see it as a major advantage in his field. “In the old days, I would drive house to house to meet people. Now, I can have a video call with someone across the country or share a video with thousands in just a few minutes.”

More importantly to Hanson, he can connect and build relationships with people he can’t meet face-to-face. By leveraging direct messages, comments, and other social features, Alec has been able to form solid business relationships. While there are certainly some negatives to social media, Hanson believes it is the key to building relationships as we move into an ever-evolving world of digital communication.

Staying On The Move

As Alec pushes forward with his expanding business, he stays busy, focused, and on top of the trends. He is on a mission to help his industry “catch up” by establishing a recognizable social media presence. Alec wants to continue to empower his team to deliver the American dream of home ownership, and he is determined to help other mortgage professionals grow their businesses by building their online presence.

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Detecting imposter content on social media – The Washington Post

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Here’s the first fall 2022 installment of a weekly feature I’ve been running for several years: lessons from the nonprofit News Literacy Project (NLP), which aims to teach students and the public how to sort fact from fiction in our digital and contentious age. There has never been a time in recent U.S. history when this skill has been as important, because of the spread of rumors and conspiracy theories on social and partisan media sites.

NLP was founded more than a decade ago by Alan Miller, a Pulitzer Prize-winning former reporter at the Los Angeles Times, and it has become the leading provider of news literacy education in the country. You can learn more about the organization and its resources and programs here.

The material in this post comes from The Sift, the organization’s newsletter for educators, which has nearly 22,000 subscribers. Published weekly during the school year, it explores timely examples of misinformation, addresses media and press freedom topics, explores social media trends and issues, and includes discussion prompts and activities for the classroom. Get Smart About News, modeled on The Sift, is a free weekly newsletter for the public.

NLP has an e-learning platform, Checkology, that helps educators teach middle and high school students how to identify credible information, seek out reliable sources, and know what to trust, what to dismiss and what to debunk.

It also gives them an appreciation of the importance of the First Amendment and a free press. Checkology, and all of the NLP’s resources and programs, are free. Since 2016, more than 42,000 educators and 375,000 students in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and more than 120 other countries have registered to use the platform.

Here’s material from the May 19 edition of The Sift:

Dig deeper: Don’t miss this week’s classroom-ready resource.

Top picks

1. About 1 in 5 videos automatically suggested on TikTok contain misinformation, according to a new report from NewsGuard. Search results on pressing and consequential topics — including vaccines, abortion, climate change, school shootings, the 2020 election, the Jan. 6 insurrection and the war in Ukraine — are littered with misleading videos on the popular social media platform, NewsGuard researchers said. TikTok is one of the most popular domains in the world, especially among young people.

NewsGuard analyzed 540 TikTok search results, out of which they found 105 videos “contained false or misleading claims.” They also found that when users entered neutral phrases, like “climate change,” the platform suggested searches for false statements like “climate change doesn’t exist.”

Discuss: Do you use TikTok? If yes, what kind of videos do you watch on the platform? How often do you see TikTok videos about current issues and events? How can you tell whether a video is factual or not? Have you ever reported a video for misinformation on TikTok? Do you think strategies like user reports and AI technology are effective at filtering misinformation on social media?

Idea: In small groups, have students search a trending news topic on TikTok. Ask them to record the searches TikTok suggests as they type in their topic. Next, ask students to view the top five videos in their results and evaluate the credibility of each: Is the video factually accurate? Inaccurate? Are they unsure? Finally, have student groups discuss their observations and share ideas about how to verify TikTok content.

Resource:Introduction to Algorithms” (NLP’s Checkology virtual classroom).

Related:

◦ “For Gen Z, TikTok Is the New Search Engine” (Kalley Huang, the New York Times).

◦ “Teens Now Turn to TikTok More Than Google — but Not for Schoolwork” (Nadia Tamez-Robledo, EdSurge).

◦ “Lawmakers Grill TikTok Executive About Ties to China” (David McCabe, the New York Times).

Dig Deeper: Use this think sheet to explore how TikTok’s search results yield misleading information.

2. It’s been 130 years since a formerly enslaved man borrowed $200 to launch the Afro-American newspaper in Baltimore. Commonly referred to as the Afro, the award-winning paper recently marked its anniversary and describes itself as a source of “good news about the Black community not otherwise found.”

Idea: Have students examine the news coverage featured on Afro.com. What kind of stories do they see? How might those stories be of interest to the news publication’s audience? What distinguishes this outlet’s coverage from more mainstream news sources?

Another idea: Ask students to use this map to explore media outlets across the United States that primarily serve Black communities.

Viral rumor rundown

Climate change denialism spread via fake CNN headline

NO: The screenshot in this tweet is not a genuine article published by CNN.

YES: This is a piece of impostor content designed to look like a CNN article.

NO: Climate and weather are not the same thing.

YES: Global warming and climate change can cause severe winter weather.

NewsLit takeaway: Impostor content is often designed to launder faulty ideas through a credible source. Using a fabricated CNN headline to push this falsehood accomplishes two things: It lends credibility to a demonstrably false claim for those who are inclined to believe it, and it impugns CNN’s reputation and credibility for those who aren’t. Remember, while weather changes from one season to the next, the impacts of climate change can be felt throughout the year. Conflating weather with climate is a common strategy used to minimize the magnitude of climate change. Recognizing this distinction makes us all less susceptible to climate change misinformation.

No, Donald Trump didn’t say he was knighted in private by Queen Elizabeth II

NO: This is not a genuine message from Trump about being knighted in private by the queen.

NO: This message was never posted to Trump’s account on Truth Social, the former president’s social media platform.

YES: This is a fabricated Truth Social post that went viral on Twitter.

NewsLit takeaway: Be skeptical of alleged social media messages that only circulate in image form as screenshots. A plethora of online tools make fabricating images of social media messages rather easy. While these doctored pieces of impostor content can appear convincing, one big red flag gives these messages away as fakes: They do not have URLs connected to the social media profile of the subject (in this case Trump), and many of these alleged posts have the same number of likes and shares. We’ve covered similar pieces of impostor content, and you can get a rundown on how to investigate this type of rumor here.

Kickers

• As student journalists have become more vocal about the threats and intimidation they face, new research underscores the importance of preparing journalism students to cope with on-the-job harassment.

• This is the first school year that media literacy is required in Illinois high schools, and it can be taught in any subject, even in physical education class.

Here’s more:

‘News and information chaos’ grows and other news literacy lessons

A fainting nurse and false data along with more news literacy items

How to avoid being duped by false Ukraine information and more

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