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OffStumped For All Things Right of Center, Bringing a Right of Centre Reality Check to Indian Politics, News Media Reporting and Opinion now in Hindi अब आप के लिये हिंदी मे.
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For long now Journalists in the mainstream media have derided blogs as banal and bloggers as plagiarists. Offstumped had challenged these attacks in the past with very charitable rejoinders , but this Sunday marks a new low in the Blogs versus Journalists debate. The mainstream newspaper in question is, The Pioneer . The perp in question, Mr. Dina Nath Mishra, a regular columnist.

In the past Offstumped had observed traffic logs from The Pioneer rountinely visiting Offstumped posts on Blogger News Network. During December of 2006 when Offstumped had for the first time applied the phrase Communal Socialist to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Kalyani Shankar another columnist in The Pioneer had borrowed Offstumped’s application without attributing it to Offstumped. Offstumped had then let the matter pass but this time The Pioneer has hit a new low with copy pasting complete paragraphs from Offstumped.

The offending article titled “Media Encounter Modi is the target” appeared on sunday 13th May 2007. Offstumped has a snapshot of the article frozen in time to be preserved for posterity. The first 2 paragraphs of Page 2 you can see have been lifted from this post by Offstumped titled “Gujarat Fake Encounter Case – Lopsided Morality Exposes Political Bias” posted on April 30th 2007.The paragraph in question is reproduced below:

Here is another interesting statistic from NHRC on fake encounter cases disposed during 2004-2005. Gujarat had just 1 fake encounter case while congress ruled AP had 5, SP ruled UP had 54, congress ruled Haryana had 4. While Gujarat only 5 encounter cases pending, Congress ruled AP had 21, Congress ruled Maharashtra had 29, SP ruled UP had 175, the National Capital Delhi had 18 despite Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh at the helm and Congress ruled Uttaranchal had 14.

Offstumped expects Mr. Chandan Mitra, the editor and owner of The Pioneer to acknowledge the Plagiarism and issue a clarification in print rightfully attributing the source of the content.

The issue of mainstream media borrowing from blogs is serious. When Dorab Sopariwala on NDTV had started referring to marginal seats in UP only on the last exit poll after the 7th phase of Polling and when Prannoy Roy on NDTV during the counting of Uttar Pradesh poll results started to pull up charts on Safe seats, the parallels to Offstumped analysis on UP were striking. In the last week Offstumped traffic logs reveal visits from NDTV, TV Today (Aaj Tak), ZEE TV, Sahara TV, India TV, Doordarshan, The Hindu, The Hindustan Times. While there is little hard evidence of NDTV plagiarising content, the ease with which mainstream media can borrow concepts should alert all bloggers to the question of how to protect their Intellectual Property.

Offstumped Bottomline: It is rather ironic that Swapan Dasgupta had recently lamented in an editorial piece that appeared in The Pioneer on what ails the Indian Right. ( Sandeep’s reproduction of the same ). When the only mainstream newspaper that claims to have an official Right of Center editorial policy plagiarises from Right of Center blogs without attributing or acknowledging the source, something serious ails the Indian Right. The Pioneer should be collaborating with Offstumped and other blogs on INI towards the common cause of the Indian Right rather than shamelessly plagiarise.

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