Ramachandra Guha in his OpEd piece in Hindustan Times today (September 11, 2016) shows his disgust on the “Jio” advertisement of Reliance which uses the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In his usual roundabout manner, Guha comes to the thrust of his article by midway (most pseudo-seculars like to sugarcoat their propagandas). He first repeats the entire “Jio” ad, to the last comma and full-stop, and then slams PMO for its no disavowal. He proceeds to claim that a journalist friend of his in Delhi told him that the “permission” for PM’s image to “Jio” Ad was granted beforehand.
Guha then gets inconsolable. He terms the endorsement “unfortunate,” laments the “commercial pressures,” pompously names the “Emblems and Names Act,” and ends in a priestly shrill of “certainly improper” and “breach of public propriety.”
Most of OpEd writers in our Lutyens Media unfailingly rant. Be it a matter of “sedition”, “Article 370,” or “Cow-Protection Act,” they refuse to see the matter within a legal framework. So it goes for Editors who handle perhaps the most sacrosanct page of a newspaper—its “Edit” page. At best they are illiterates—at worst fellow propagandists in crime.
So let’s get down to the real situation on “Jio” Ad. First it’s completely legal. Says Ajita Patki, a Pune-based lawyer, specializing in Intellectual Property Rights: “If you see clearly, the ad is not talking about any mobile product or plan, but it says it is a dedication to Prime Minister’s dream. There is no claim of PM endorsing the product. They haven’t even used the Digital India logo in the ad.”
Adds Patki : “It is similar to some health drink brand putting up huge poster of an Olympic medal winner congratulating them or dedicating their product to them. If you remember, many companies had used Sachin Tendulkar’s image under garb of giving him a farewell when he announced retirement from test cricket. Tendulkar was not brand ambassador of each of those companies, and I don’t think Tendulkar sued anyone for ‘unauthorized’ use of his image,” she explained.
Here’s more for you Mr. Guha. Bandhan bank using picture of Pranab Mukherjee doesn’t mean President has done modeling for it. NDTV uses PM’s Swachh Bharat in the backdrop to promote “Cleanathon.” All state governments applauded Sakshi Malik and PV Sindhu for their Rio Olympics success by putting their photos in posters along with other politicians. Does it mean Sakshi and Sindhu endorse politics?
Further Mr. Guha, well-known journalist Rupa Subramanya did get in touch with PMO who, and here’s her word “didn’t authorize use of PM’s picture for Jio Ad.” There is thus no way the PMO could have hauled up Reliance in legal courts.
So two things Mr. Guha—(a) first, never seek the opinion of this Delhi journalist friend of yours who neither has the truth nor your reputation as his/her priority (b) second, next time rather seek a legal opinion on matters you don’t know before you sully the image of your Prime Minister.
Mr. Guha, in your piece, you have also claimed that there is a “perceived closeness of Modi to a few individual businessmen.” The suggestion of course is to Ambani-Adani duo. Clearly Mr Guha your head is tizzy with the acrid smell of archival storerooms, for researching and putting it in books is your claim to fame. You are out in tune with facts and so let me update you:
(a)Government of India in last month has slapped an additional penalty of Rs 2500 crores on Reliance;
(b)In all, the Modi government has imposed fan of Rs 3500 crores on RIL;
(c)Modi government hasn’t waived Rs 2000 crore green fine imposed on Adani group;
(d)The market capitalization of Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance has declined by 15% and Adani group’s by 43% by May 26, 2016 compared to what it was before Modi came to power;
(e)Contrary to allegations that FDI in defense deals are meant to profit Reliance, it is L& T, Manhindra and Bharat Forge who have gained much more than Ambanis and Adanis.
I hope you acknowledge above and trash your own piece in HT OpEd of today. Though chances are that neither HT nor you would learn anything from this pedalling of untruths and lies, if not ignorance.
Till another piece appears which, to use your own words, are similarly “improper” and “breach of public propriety.”