Saturday, January 22, 2011

Banana Journalism: Mail Today Follows Aroon Purie’s Lead, Plagiarises Blogger

It was not so long ago that India Today (IT) publisher Aroon Purie plagiaised a story about superstar Rajnikanth. Stupidly enough, he blamed it on ‘jetlag’. Aroon Purie leads by example. So now a group journal MAIL TODAY (MT) has a book reviewer plagiarising a blogger. A blogger? Yes! As is common now, bloggers are increasingly turning out to be better journalists and writers than those employed by the mainstream media. The lead was, of course, set by The Times of India, which not just plagiarises articles but even spoofs.

Reviewing the book “Another Chance” by Ahmed Faiyaz, this is what Kunal, the blogger, wrote in his post:

“The protagonist of ‘Another Chance’ is Ruheen – a girl who tends to gain the attention of people not suited for her, and she realizes her follies only after being in a relationship. Trying to find a port in stormy seas of life, she meets Aditya – a college friend and soon they are in a relationship. Personal and professional pressures force them to break up, and Ruheen finds solace with Varun – a childhood buddy. Her interactions with them both, and her relationships with them form the story.
The book is a light read. It had a taut plot, and it rarely slacked, if at all – it moves from Mumbai to Amsterdam to Shimla seamlessly”. This was posted on November 30, 2010 by Kunal.

On January 16, 2011 the Mail Today, under its column Blurbs by one Saumya Pant, ran this review of the same book: (Read from line 7 of the review to line 4 from the end):

I keep repeating that in this tech-age it’s difficult to hide. This episode again establishes the fact the much of the mainstream media is nothing more than a bunch of intellectual thieves. In this case I even wonder if the Mail Today reviewer has actually read the book or just plagiarised reviews from various sources. Here is the meek apology that Aroon Purie sent to Slate Magazine’s Grady Hendrix, for his screw up:

Dear Mr. Hendrix,
As you are surely aware we have apologized to our readers for the inadvertent error in which part of your article on Rajinikant got published in my letter from the editor.
I would like to apologize to you as well.
I have also written to the Editor of Slate magazine.
Aroon Purie
India Today

Kunal’s blog is copyright protected under the Creative Commons License. Yet Mail Today brazenly copies from his blog. Instead of immediately apologising, the journal has engaged in protracted communication with the blogger. Maybe the blogger should seek punitive monetary damages so that mainstream journals will employ writers to do their own honest work.

So now that it’s clear people like Aroon Purie and his journals engage in the art of intellectual theft how much credence can we attach to many of their writings? It is quite impossible to expose all acts of plagiarism. This is is the reason anything a mainstream journal says has to be taken with buckets of salt. If plagiarism is their creed, what can one make of their opinion polls? Which is why I wrote the post: India Today–Banana Polls.

It seems it’s not just the polls that are banana stuff, but their overall writings can be termed as Banana Journalism.


  1. Dear Ravinar, this is on an unrelated note but I hope you will write about it:

    This is what the proud Indian republic has been reduced to - where hoisting the national flag in a state, for which our jawans gave up their lives, is being labelled as communal, divisive and anti-national. And nobody in the media challenges this twisted, skewed perception of what Republic Day celebrations should be.

  2. @ free_verse

    It's not republic day yet, but watch out for another scathing post from me on our media crooks.

    Do keep sending your thoughts!


  3. Great sleuthing work, Ravinar! Keep it going!


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