Sunday, 30 March 2014

How VA Siva Ayyadural invented email

Not many know that a 14-year-old Indian boy invented the email. But it's time to change that narrative, VA Shiva Ayyadurai tells Amrita Madhukalya while disclosing some of his ideas for the future.
It was a small step for the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) but a giant leap for mankind that was to forever change the way the world communicated. VA Shiva Ayyadurai, only 14 years old in 1977, was hired to build an electronic inter-organisational mail system – and from there was born email as we know it today. Born in Mumbai in 1963, Shiva moved to the US at the age of seven.
It's the India connect that few Indians are aware of. Thirty-seven years on, Shiva says it's time to change all that. "Nobody knows that a 14-year-old Indian boy invented email. Maybe it's time we change the narrative," Shiva, in India to promote his book The Email Revolution, told dna.
As far as inventions go, none is as conflicted as Shiva's contribution to modern technology. There are many who claim that Roy Tomlinson is the inventor of email, or that the ARPANet system was the base for emails, and what Shiva did was just invent the interface. But, over the years, people like Noam Chomsky and Deepak Chopra have come forward in support of Shiva. He also graced the cover of Time magazine as the inventor of email in 2011.
Shiva, now 51 and looking a decade younger, lives in New York with his partner, actress Fran Drescher. "She's a wonderful person, and I brought my New York flat just so that I could live near her," he says.
Looking back, he remembers that it all began with his interest in medicine. "I always had a deep interest in medicine and, by the 9th grade, had studied all the math they taught till high school. I learned calculus, which was taught in college then and wanted to drop out of school. Then my mom introduced me to physicist Dr Leslie Michelson who worked at UMDNJ. I was excited at the thought of learning medicine, but was hired to work on email instead."
Shiva then went about the departments studying the mail system. Each secretary had a desk on which was an inbox for incoming mails, an outbox, a drafts folder, a trash bucket, an address book, paper clips for attachments, bond paper and a typewriter. He then wrote down 50,000 lines of coding in FORTRAN, the accepted coding language in the late 1970s, to create the user interface and the work processor of what was possibly the first email system. "FORTRAN allowed the use of only five upper-case characters for the name of a program. So I zeroed on 'email'," he says.
His invention landed him an award and the bachelors programme in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), from where he holds four degrees. He was also a Fulbright Scholar, was nominated for the Lamelson-MIT student nominees and was student body president at MIT.
When he invented the program, the US did not have a law to protect his copyright. "The Copyright Law 1976 protected only music and literature," he recalls, adding that he bagged the copyright only in 1981 after the amendment in 1980.
Shiva's first stint at MIT was cut short because he bagged the first prize in a competition held by the White House to take care of its emails. " Bill Clinton realised the power of emails at observing people's opinions and categorised emails into 147 buckets: death threats, education, public policy, healthcare etc. All these emails were sorted manually to build a statistic on what people were thinking. Clinton would get a bar graph of the number of emails under a particular subject which served as a survey," says Shiva.
"They wanted me to come up with a program to analyse these emails and I developed EchoMail, which is widely used today for analysing emails for customer feedback by corporate houses"
Nike, Oprah Winfrey and Calvin Klein have been EchoMail's clients. "There have been many campaigns which have employed the analysis provided by EchoMail over the years to come up with advertising strategies," says Shiva. "Currently, we are working on a more affordable model of the programme so that small business ventures can use it."
Shiva is excited about the possibilities of studying behaviour through emails and rues that the US Postal Department, on the verge of a shutdown, did not pay heed to his advice a decade ago to adapt to email.
"I proposed that they offer an email service for a nominal fee, because it was evident that email was soon taking over. Also, no email service is free, so to speak. Ever organisation that offers you free email, ensures that they retain ownership over the emails," says Shiva.
When the announcement of its shutdown hit the headlines, an outraged Shiva tweeted that they should have listened to him. Publications took notice and he was soon contacted by the Postal Department. "I worked on a solution to turn around the finances and submitted my report, but I'm not sure if they have adapted to them," he says.
Shiva was instrumental in revolutionising communication. Maybe, he will play an equally significant role in determining the future of the US Postal Department.
Read also
However, this claim has been contested by others:

Indian-origin teenager Suvir Mirchandani tells US govt how to save $400 million by just changing their font

A 14-year-old student claims to have found a way of saving the US government $400 million dollars (£240 million) — simply by changing the font they use for official documents. Suvir Mirchandani calculated that if the government chose Garamond font instead of Times New Roman, it would use 25 per cent less ink because each character is lighter and thinner. 

His idea began when he worked out how much his school in Pennsylvania could save in ink after watching multiple leaflets be handed out. 

"Ink is two times more expensive than French perfume by volume," Suvir told CNN. 

He then extended the study to a national level and concluded that if the federal government used just Garamond it could save $136 million (£81 million) per year. 

An additional $234 million (£140 million) could be saved annually if state governments also jumped on board, he reported. 

He has since looked to publish his findings in Journal of Emerging Investigators. Sarah Fankhauser, one of JEI's founders said: "We were so impressed. We really could really see the real-world application in Suvir's paper." 

Gary Somerset, media and public relations manager at the government printing office, described his work as "remarkable", but would not discuss whether the GPO was prepared to actually to actually implement Suvir's idea.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Six newspapers join forces to get an edge in war of ads

Mumbai/New Delhi-In what could be an attempt at taking on Bennett, Coleman & Company Ltd (BCCL), the country’s largest publisher and owner of newspapers like The Times of India and The Economic Times, six rival broadsheet dailies have formed an alliance to bring their advertising might together.

The six are English dailies the  Times,  and The Telegraph; their sister publications The Hindustan and The Hindu Tamil; and Ananda Bazar Patrika.

The alliance, , will allow advertisers in two top ad categories — fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and banking & financial services — to access the six publications through a single point of contact and enjoy a certain cost advantage.

The biggest advantage will be that the advertisers will be able to benefit from these newspapers’ combined reach. The six together have a readership of a little more than 60 million. In comparison, BCCL’s total readership strength according to the Indian Readership Survey data, is only half that number.

“The idea behind One India is to provide an unduplicated reach like never before, along with a single-window service, to invite non-print and infrequent print advertisers to experience and profit from the significant benefits of print advertising,” said Benoy Roychowdhury, executive director,  Ltd.

BCCL CEO Ravi Dhariwal was dismissive of the rivals’ initiative. “They have tried this in the past and are doing it again in a tweaked way. We wish them the best but the fact remains that The Times of India has a far bigger reader base than all of these dailies put together... media planners are well aware of this.”

Countering Dhariwal’s claims, Roychowdhury said: “We are bigger than the ToI but the intention is not to compete with anyone. We wish to bring advertisers back to the print medium.”

Broadcasters have routinely come together to form content aggregation platforms so that they can bundle channels. This gives them the distribution clout to negotiate better with multi-system operators, who charge significant amounts in carriage fees for airing channels on their platforms. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India had come down heavily on the content aggregators (Media Pro, The One Alliance and IndiaCast UTV), since their combined market share was nearly 60 per cent.

The alliance of the six newspapers is unlikely to draw concerns from the Competition Commission of India, as it is an operational initiative, and not a joint venture. It is unlike broadcast’s The One Alliance (Multi Screen Media and Discovery Networks) or Media Pro (STAR India and Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd). Also, the newspapers will continue to sell ad space individually, too. The only difference is that the advertisers wanting to advertise in all six will find it easier. Additionally, the cost of buying print ad space through the platform will be lower than purchase in each paper individually.

Advertisers and media planners appear to be excited about the initiative. Team Unilever leader for South Asia, Amin Lakhani, the man who manages the media buying for the FMCG giant in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, said: “This is a welcome move. The platform offers reach, convenience and value. If the partners are able to tide over their differences and work together, it can certainly go a long way.”

Allied Publishers is said to be watching how the One India alliance shapes up. The alliance, according to informed sources, took a year and a half to fructify.

Apart from Hindustan Unilever, the country’s largest FMCG company and said to be considering associating with One India, other companies like Marico, Amul, Kelloggs, Godrej Consumer, ICICI Lombard and Morgan Stanley have already come on board.

Jehil Thakkar, head of media & entertainment, KPMG, said: “The platform has been formed more from an operational convenience point of view. In that sense, there should be no problem with regard to competition norms. Also, there are enough players in each of the markets these papers operate in. What the alliance will do is give the publications a slight competitive edge in their regions. However, if it becomes a template, it could be transformational for the print industry — much like formation of similar alliances did in the broadcast industry.”

R S Sodhi, managing director of Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation, which owns the Amul brand, said: “The platform is about combined space selling, which is advantageous to us. Instead of negotiating with individual papers, we now get a better deal with the combined entity.”

The launch of One India has come at a time when the print industry is set to see a spike in spending, thanks to the coming Lok Sabha elections. According to the KPMG 2013 Media and Entertainment report, the industry grew at a compound annual rate of 8.5 per cent in 2013 to touch Rs 243 billion. Regional markets performed exceedingly well on the back of steady advertiser spends, the state election impact and new launches. The prediction for the current calendar year continues to be optimistic, with the regional print media growing faster due to the coming elections.

This platform also helps the English newspapers leverage the growth of the regional publications, instead of competing with them for ad rates and clients.
The Business Standard  March 27, 2024

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Apostrophes now: Britain at was over missing punctuation

Apostrophes now: Britain at was over missing punctuation
AFP: Published 2014-03-26 06:04:03

LONDON: A bizarre battle is raging in towns across Britain between lovers of the English language and local councils that are culling the humble apostrophe from street signs.
The historic university city of Cambridge was the latest in a series of places this year that have made the change, which transforms names such as King’s Road into Kings Road.
Cambridge was forced to backtrack after anonymous punctuation protectors mounted a guerrilla campaign, going out in the dead of night and using black marker pens to fill in the missing apostrophes.
The punctuation pogrom by several municipalities is apparently in response to central government advice aimed at helping the work of the emergency services.
Earlier this year a teenager died of an asthma attack after an apostrophe error led to an ambulance going to the wrong address.
“National guidelines recommended not allocating new street names that required any punctuation, as, we gather, this was not well coped with by some emergency services’ software,” Tim Ward of Cambridge City Council told AFP. “Given the public interest that this awakened we checked back on the national guidelines that we’d followed when reviewing our policy, and found that the guideline recommending against including punctuation in new street names had been dropped.”
In countries such as the United States and Australia, apostrophes disappeared from street signs long ago.
But moves to do the same in Britain have aroused the ire of the guardians of the English language.
‘Commas will be next’
Kathy Salaman, director of The Good Grammar Company, a Cambridge-based organisation that provides training to companies, said the issue was not one of pedantry but of upholding wider standards.
“If they take our apostrophes, commas will be next,” she said. “In Britain the tendency is now that if something is too difficult, let’s get rid of it. Why are we trying to improve literacy when actually in real life people say it doesn’t really matter?”
Salaman defended the word-warriors who had restored punctuation to street signs.
“If the apostrophe needs to be there, I don’t think it’s vandalism because I would say the language is being vandalised,” she said.
While Cambridge may have rescinded its apostrophe apocalypse, national authorities said that they still prefer street signs without punctuation.
GeoPlace, the organisation that oversees the production and maintenance of Britain’s national address and street gazetteers, said the final decision rests with local councils.
“However, the Data Entry Conventions documentation does state that GeoPlace would prefer not to receive data (including street names) with punctuation,” it said in a statement, citing machine readability and usability by emergency services as the reasons.
Dozens of local councils around the country are still waging war on the apostrophe, campaigners say.
“It’s serious,” said John Richard, founder and chairman of the Apostrophe Protection Society. “I don’t know why their computers couldn’t be trained to recognise an apostrophe.”
He also lamented a decline in general standards.
“I think people are very lazy or very ignorant and the language is declining, is getting worse,” he said. “It is setting a very bad example because teachers are teaching our children punctuation and then they see road signs with apostrophes removed.”Several councils have consulted the Plain English Campaign, an independent group that has fought for clearer use of the language for more than three decades, to see what they think.
Tony Maher, the group’s general manager, said apostrophes were a problem for many people.
“Personally, I would leave the street names as they are in the hope that our children learn how to use apostrophes correctly. I still see shops with ‘greengrocers’ apostrophes’ emblazoned in their windows such as ‘Apple’s - 20p, Orange’s 25p, Sock’s #2’ and so on,” he said. “I think it is one argument that will continue for many years to come.”—AFP

Tuesday, 25 March 2014


"Freedom Fighting or Lazy Journalism?
Critical reflections on the Freedom of Information Act"

To coincide with the 10th anniversary of the introduction of FOI legislation in the United Kingdom, co-editors John Mair and Tom Felle are preparing an edited book to be published by Abramis UK, which critically examines the Freedom of Information Act as used by journalists. The planned book will include contributions from working journalists, academics and professionals and will include both an international comparative dimension and critical contributions on the nature of FOI, how it emerged, and its legacy or otherwise in contemporary British society. The proposed date of publication is February 2015.

The co-editors wish to hear from those interested in contributing to this important publication, with proposals dealing with (but not limited to) the following areas:
  • Contextualising FOI; history and development of open access to information and the ‘right to know’; freedom of the press and FOI;
  • The British legislation explained and how to make a request under FOI
  • A number of case study chapters dealing with specific areas of investigation for journalists using FOI, including politics; health; education; environment; crime and policing; data and big data; local newspapers; international relations; business commercial sensitivity.
  • International comparative chapters dealing with the development of FOI in specific countries, or regions, including (but not limited to) Australia and New Zealand; Canada; Ireland; the USA; Europe; Africa.
  • General ‘op ed’ style critical reflections on the legacy of the freedom of information act has had on British journalism.
Chapters should be fully referenced using Harvard referencing method, with an indicative word count of 3-4,000 words. Send a max. 200-word abstract and 100-word biography to and cc johnmair100@hotmail.comby May 15. The deadline for receipt of chapter drafts is September 1, with publication expected in February 2015. Please note deadlines are final and abstract proposals will not be accepted after the close of the call.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Slippery Slope to crassness

Slippery Slope to crassness

The editor as the gatekeeper of news is being replaced by the editor as fixer or editor as larger-than-life egoistical ‘star’
This is open season against the Indian media. Arvind Kejriwal says he will throw journalists in jail if he comes to power (he later qualified that he was referring to “some” journalists). Manohar Parrikar, the BJP’s aam aadmi chief minister, has said that journalists are unqualified and take money to write. The Congress has already boycotted opinion polls and accused the media of being biased against it. On the social media — the ultimate space for the “outrage industry” — journalists are routinely accused of being “paid media”. For Modi bhakts, Congress chamchas and AAP cheerleaders, media bashing has become this election season’s favourite sport.
The charge of being “biased” reflects a rising intolerance among the political faithful. So long as the media was hailing Kejriwal as the ultimate anti-corruption Prophet, we were, in the eyes of aam aadmi supporters, allies in their war. Now, when we raise hard questions on alleged doublespeak, we are accused of being lackeys of corporate India.
When we questioned Narendra Modi’s handling of the 2002 riots, we were accused of being a pseudo-secular, anti-national force. Now, when the same media carries Modi’s rallies unedited with the assistance of the BJP’s own cameras, we are accused by the Congress of “selling out” to the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate. On the flip side, no government has been subject to the kind of media scrutiny as UPA 2 has been, yet that has also not stopped the media from being targeted as agents of 10 Janpath.
The response of media associations to this constant barrage of abuse and intimidation has been to either resort to self-righteous rage by invoking democratic principles and freedom of speech, or we have chosen to stay silent in the belief that there is little point in adding to the escalating noise levels. Frankly, neither can the media occupy the high moral ground nor is it in our interest to hold our peace. The time has come to call a spade an axe and tell it like it is: The fact is, that while our political class has lost its nerve, a number of us in the media have also lost our moral compass and worryingly, our credibility.
Never before in 25 plus years in journalism has one witnessed the kind of sharp polarisation within the media, along with an equally troubling drop in professional standards. The polarisation is a direct result of the high stakes involved. With almost 400 news channels and thousands of newspapers, politicians are looking to co-opt the media to amplify their message. Well-choreographed events like Modi’s chai pe charcha, Rahul’s “interactive” sessions or a Kejriwal roadshow are designed to manipulate the media image. Rather than interrogating the dominant narrative, the media has, in many instances, become a willing accomplice. Collusive, crony journalism is becoming a curse.
Worse, there is the regressive trend of projecting blatantly partisan opinion as “independent” news and views. Many of us are no longer true to our calling: We peddle half-truths and, at times, downright sensationalism in the belief that it is no longer enough to “tell” a story, but that the story must be “sold” in a manner that will attract maximum eyeballs. In this age of hype, when news becomes box office for some, and ratings matter more than respect, then you know you are on a slippery slope to crassness.
At the core of the credibility crisis lies a business model driven by a vicious cycle of TRPs, advertising revenues and hefty carriage fees to cable operators. When a single national news channel still has to pay upwards of `50 crore to cable operators for telecasting a channel, when subscription revenues are still kicking in all too slowly, when the advertising pie is being sliced among dozens of channels, then the space for investing in quality news gathering and investigations or training and mentoring young journalists is shrinking all the time. We will not throw up a CNN, BBC or Al Jazeera in the Indian context if we don’t have the financial muscle to match our news vision. So much cheaper to get eight people to scream at each other in a studio.
The second issue concerns changing ownership patterns. Many of the mushrooming television channels are now owned by fly-by-night operators and politicians whose interests are primarily in using a media platform for settling personal scores, pushing political agendas or in seeking status to match monetary clout. Many of these owners have little interest in the classical idea of journalism as being the relentless pursuit of the truth: Instead, we now have a mix of supari journalism that seeks to fix someone or one that promotes mindless infotainment.
But it would be easy, and even misconceived, to blame the fall in journalistic standards on some evil owner out there and insisting that we place sensation above sense. The buck must ultimately stop at the editor’s table. Sadly, the professional editor as a gatekeeper of news is being replaced by editor as fixer, editor as proprietor, or editor as larger than life egoistical “star”, all of which can diminish from the intrinsic values of journalism in the absence of adequate checks and balances.
Whichever kind of editor one chooses to be, the inescapable reality is that the editor must be more accountable to readers and viewers. A few years ago, as president of the Editors Guild, I had proposed that all editors declare their assets. The move failed to take off. I had also suggested that all editors make a written commitment that they would not allow any “paid news” or advertorials without full and transparent disclosure. The proposal met with only partial success. While we demand the highest standards of accountability from other public figures, it is time we turned the gaze inwards. Or become a species that wields power, evokes fear, but loses respect.

By Rajdeep Sardesai, editor-in-chief, IBN 18 network
- See more at:

Sunday, 23 March 2014

World's Most Popular Word: Ok

WASHINGTON: Whatever you're doing this Sunday, wherever you might be, take a moment to reflect on the most popular word in the English language, OK? 

It will be 175 years since OK — or, as some prefer, okay — first appeared in print, on page two of Boston Morning Post, then one of the most popular newspapers in the United States. 

"I think OK should be celebrated with parades and speeches," Allan Metcalf, an English professor in Illinois who is the world's leading authority on the history and meaning of OK, said. 

"But for now, whatever you do (to mark the anniversary), it's OK." In his 2001 book, "OK: The Improbable Story of America's Greatest Word," Metcalf calls OK "the most frequently spoken (or typed) word on the planet" — used more often than "Coke" or an infant's "ma". 

Concise and utilitarian, it's quintessentially American in its simplicity. Etymologically, it has no direct relationship with Latin or Greek or any other ancient tongue. 

Oxford Dictionaries, on its website, rejects speculation that OK is derived from the Scottish expression "och aye", the Greek "ola kala" (it's good) or the French "aux Cayes", which refers to a Haitian port famous for its rum. 

Rather, it favours a theory — shared by Metcalf — that it's an abbreviation of "orl korrekt", a derivative of "all correct" from the 1830s when jokey misspellings were all the rage, like Internet memes are today. 

Credit for finding its first use in print goes to Allen Walker Read, a Columbia University professor who died in 2002 after a lifetime interest in OK and another widely used word with four letters that starts with the letter F. 

It appeared in the Post in the context of an article concerning the ironically named Anti-Bell Ringing Society, founded in 1838 to oppose a municipal law in Boston prohibiting the ringing of dinner bells. 

Society members were en route to New York, it reported, adding cryptically that if they should transit Rhode Island en route home, the newspaper editor in the New England state might well "have the 'contribution box', et ceteras, ok — all correct — and cause the corks to fly, like sparks, upward". 

Other abbreviations proliferated at the time, like NG for "no go", GT for "gone to Texas" and SP for "small potatoes". 

But OK truly entered the national lingua franca in 1840, when spin doctors for Democratic presidential nominee Martin Van Buren, a native of Kinderhook, New York, insisted to voters that it meant "Old Kinderhook". 

Today, OK is used "to ask for or express agreement, approval or understanding" or to add emphasis to a sentence, as in "I'm going to stay here, OK?" according to its entry in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. 

"I'm OK, You're OK," published in 1967, remains one of the best-selling self-help books of all time, while Rodgers and Hammerstein declared Oklahoma in song to be OK! in their eponymous 1943 musical. 

There's also the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona — but in this instance, OK stands for Old Kindersley and the infamous 1881 shootout that supposedly took place there but actually occurred down the street. 

Internationally, OK has travelled remarkably well on the wings of American popular culture — and found a niche in the digital era, fitting easily into 140-character Twitter and text messages. 

Using Google Glass eyewear, in fact, calls for a voice command that begins: "OK, Google Glass". 

"It's a nice, short abbreviation and it fits abbreviations in other languages," said Metcalf, the executive secretary of the American Dialect Society who teaches at MacMurray College. 

"It's distinctive, yet easily pronounced and very readily understood ... It uses the vowel O, the vowel A and the consonant K — and those are found in almost all languages of the world," he added. 

"So if you're speaking with somebody who has a totally different language than you, chances are you can get by with gestures and OK in various tones of voice." 

Metcalf, who blogs about the English language for the Chronicle of Higher Education, personally celebrates OK's birthday by ordering up to four dozen frosted cookies with OK in green on a white background. 

In New York, retired English tutor Henry Nass has been pounding the sidewalks of Manhattan, handing out cards to passers-by inviting them to celebrate "Global OK Day". 

"Some people say OK too much. I can't say there's anyone who uses it too little," Nass, who is making customized US postage stamps honouring his pet word, said in a telephone call. 

Letting the anniversary pass without fanfare was Okay, Oklahoma, population 620, where residents trace its toponymy to the long-gone Okay Truck Manufacturing Company in the early 20th century. 

Four hours' drive from Okay, OK, as it's known by the US Postal Service, is Okay, Arkansas — but don't expect any OK festivities there, either. 

The one-time limestone quarry town has been all but abandoned for years.


In India, the readers of English text can not ignore this word OK, as also two other words, 'Horn' and 'Please.'  Come out on the street and you will see these three words painted on the backside of trucks: "Horn OK Please." 

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

AMIC Call of papers

Communicating in an e-Asia: values, technologies and challenges
in partnership with
Chulalongkorn University
Bangkok, Thailand
9th-12th July, 2014
Globally, the last decade has seen exponential growth in the use of mobile technologies and the Internet. From e-mail to e-governance, e-commerce to e-learning, Internet usage has changed the way the world communicates.
At the forefront of the electronic and digital revolution in Asia has been the mobile phone. Recent International Telecommunication Union (ITU) statistics indicate that in the period from 2005 to 2013, mobile (cellular) phone subscriber numbers in the Asia-Pacific region have soared from 833 million to 3,547 million users. The era of an e-Asia has dawned.
The benefits of instant, intranational and trans-border communication have impacted upon almost every aspect of life, with mobile phones and the Internet providing new pathways for inter-personal communication, business and commercial enterprise, community development, educational opportunity, governance and democratic reform. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are an enabling factor in supporting marginalized societies to more beneficially interact with a broader citizenry, while the convergence of computers, media and telecommunications has created new platforms for entrepreneurship, education and political inclusion.
However, in the Asia-Pacific region, where cultural traditions and family values are hugely respected and deeply ingrained, the influences of a new ‘e-Asia literacy’ are impacting on social conventions, etiquette, language and community structures. In a homogenized international ‘knowledge society’ where communication processes transcend national boundaries, the retention of traditional values and ways of life are increasingly challenged.  
Conference streams (including):
  • communication and society
  • cultural impact of ICTs
  • social media and society
  • youth and the Internet
  • e-learning, trends and possibilities
  • media and a free press
  • communication and marginalized communities
  • ICTs and development
  • the ‘knowledge society’
  • future of communication technologies
  • remote/island societies and new technologies
  • media and gender
  • society and new media
  • education and new technologies
  • development communication and social change
  • broadcasting, past and present
  • freedom of expression in transition societies
  • media history
  • communication theory and ethics
  • environment, climate and communication
  • print media, past and present
  • socio-political development and media
  • cross-cultural influences and developments
  • policy and communication
  • media empowerment
Papers will be selected on a competitive basis and all submissions will be screened by an expert panel.
Abstracts due:     4th April, 2014
Full papers due:  1st June, 2014
Abstracts and papers should be submitted via e-mail ( Please do not send papers to the personal e-mail addresses of conference organizers.
Indicate your proposed “Conference Stream” in the subject line of your e-mail.
E-mail should include the following:
  • paper title
  • author name, position, institution
  • short biography of author (100 words)
  • paper abstract (500 words)
Indicate “Full Paper” and relevant conference stream in the subject line of your e-mail.
  • should be written in English.
  • be of 5,000-8,000 words in length.
  • have citation in APA style.
  • should be Microsoft Word or RTF document. Font should be Times New Roman, 12 pts. Please use plain text and not formatting.
For more information, please contact Ms Sangeetha Madasamy at or Assoc Prof Martin Hadlow at
Note to all authors: By submitting your paper, you agree that if your paper is selected, you will register for the conference and present the paper. All co-authors attending and/or presenting at the conference must register too.
Criteria used to judge abstracts will include (but not be restricted to) the following:
  • topic
  • theoretical orientation
  • research design
  • results
  • quality of writing and organization of the paper
  • indications of potential contributions of the study to communication research in Asia
Full papers
Criteria used to judge full papers will include (but not be restricted to) the following:
  • purpose of the paper
  • organization of the paper
  • literature review
  • research methodology
  • relevance of the paper to the conference
  • subject of the paper representing a significant direction for communication research in Asia
  • quality of writing
  • evidence and conclusions relating to the purpose of the paper

Monday, 17 March 2014

Why is the media blatantly targeting AAP and Kejriwal?

By Mahesh Vijapurkar 

Mar 13, 2014

Does a tweet by Kumar Vishwas about drains joining a river, Ashok Agarwal quitting the Aam Aadmi Party and Shazia Ilmi preferring a Delhi seat to Rai Bareli, constitute an ‘implosion’? Especially when, at the same time, the television channel runs a story on the reported refusal of P Chidambaram, Jayanti Natarajan, Sachin Pilot and Manish Tewari as only a ‘candidate crises’ for the Congress? The way these two stories are being covered indicates that news outlets are judgmental, and adversely so, when it comes to AAP. This is a trend that started immediately after the Delhi elections, when the media began echoing the BJP, which, although being the single largest party, refused to attempt forming a government and asked AAP to “show responsibility” and form the government instead.

This targeting of AAP has not ceased, the most recent example being the toppling of two metal detectors at Churchgate Station yesterday (12 March) while Arvind Kejriwal was exiting. Even as the visuals showed people trying to right them – they are flimsy frames – the channel went on to describe it as ‘vandalism’ and, surprisingly, called up a Shiv Sena spokesperson for a comment. It was said that the train Kejriwal took from Andheri was ‘special’ without mentioning whether it was hired by AAP or if the Western Railways had provided it to avoid confusion and chaos. The morning newspapers did not mention it at all but the damage had been done – the aam aadmi in a khas train! Another channel went around asking commuters leading questions about being inconvenienced. The media needn’t be as indulgent of AAP as it was when Rahul Gandhi travelled by Mumbai’s local trains in 2010, but there could, at the very least, be avoidance of bias. The manner in which reportage is happening shows a certain level of unfairness. At least, asking newsrooms to stop twisting things could be a good beginning. There could be any number of examples of these distortions. Except for the back-to-back interviews that Kejriwal gave listing the work he had done as chief minister, he also made it a point to rub it in that AAP’s wins in Delhi and the confidence people had in it was “in spite of the media”. Prior to his listing of the work done, and after that, no media covered most of the administrative tasks handled by his government. Only power subsidy and water supply figured. Recall the television screens going ablaze with a sting showing, as per the footage, AAP candidates willing to take money in cash, agreeing to take up an assignment as a fixer, etc. No doubt they played safe by saying the authenticity of the video was unverified. But it caused enough damage, including narrow losses in the Delhi assembly elections, and Yogendra Yadav’s pleadings that virgin visuals be shown fell on deaf years. When Kejriwal started targeting Mukesh Ambani and the media he 'controlled' and the media he 'paid-off', an extremely disingenuous averment began to emerge. Wouldn’t he and AAP lose media support and sympathy? As if media coverage was a quid pro quo for treating them as holy cows. Let me deal with another instance of media misrepresentation mainly because, to be honest, it emanated from a lack of understanding – I dare not say 'ignorance', can I? – of official processes. When he opted for the Tilak Road house as his official residence, his office sent a letter to the authorities which control government bungalows in Delhi – the central PWD. No doubt the house  would have been inspected by him and or his family before the choice was made. Had he moved into the premises which Sheila Dikshit had occupied for 15 years, there would not have been an official correspondence. But since he opted for something else, a letter had to go from his office. That made it, 'See, this common man has asked for a 10-bed-room house'. So Kejriwal became a liar, seeking a pair of bungalows adding up to 10 bedrooms though the second was to be his camp office, as already explained here earlier. That he was already a resident of a four-bedroom apartment which his wife had been given in her capacity as an official of the income-tax department, and that an additional room was no upgrade, did not cut any ice with the media. On a news show, an anchor in fact, went on to discuss whether AAP and its leaders were cleverly “exploiting” the media, because a few tight shots replayed on a round robin pattern gave a disproportionate impression of reality. What remained unsettled was if the media was also chasing Kejriwal and AAP. Wasn’t it instead, an intelligent use of the media? After all, the BJP and the Congress have managed to provide a particular perspective to their respective leaders’ rallies by setting up their own camera crews and providing feeds to TV stations. It is possible they did not pan the crowd if it was small. It is possible that other parties, especially AAP, cannot afford such an arrangement and need to be intelligent to exploit the media. As of now, none of the major rallies of the other smaller parties have received such an allocation of airtime because it means the studios must allocate budgets and hardware plus manpower to cover them. Neither has it occurred to them that AAP cannot afford it to use the same techniques as BJP and Congress. But yesterday, the Marathi channels showed him speaking at Vikhroli in Mumbai. Take Rahul Gandhi’s interactions with various sections of the people to 'understand their problems. Be it his meeting with the rickshaw pullers of Varanasi, where he did ask some indelicate questions after which one poor fellow broke into tears, or the event at one of the beaches of Mumbai with fishermen and their folk. The audience would have been pre-selected, at least from a security point of view, given that they encircle him. If not the questioners and their questions, at least the TV cameras kept showing him from several angles which no channel could have managed. They too were engaged by the party, obviously after some planning, and at some cost. It helped show a scruffy putative prime minister in an informal engagement with the common folk in predetermined angles to best effect. In contrast, visually, Modi’s chai pe charcha doesn’t even come to scratch with apparently pre-selected audience. The point is, there is some control on the output.

However, a conversation between an interviewer and the interviewee, Kejriwal, at the end of a live telecast becomes stuff good enough to go viral on the social media. He indicated the points he favoured highlighted, apparently in subsequent telecasts if they were made in snatches, one should believe. That suddenly makes Kejriwal an exploiter of the media unlike the Modis and Gandhis. Perhaps, it is wishful to expect, or to even imagine, that media to offer a level playing field by correcting for the aberrations that have been induced into their content by controlling the content itself, even if AAP happens to be the underdog. But no, it is easier to pounce on them, and trigger a tsunami of adverse comments on social media, especially by people who are not residents of Delhi. I did a very small survey using Facebook asking Delhi residents to indicate the changes they were noticing around the time AAP’s minority government was halfway through its 49-day life. The observations were interesting as well as exhilarating. The policemen posted outside a gated community wondered what would happen to them were they to be brought under the control of the Delhi government. An autorickshaw owner got his licence renewed at the Transport Office (equivalent to RTOs elsewhere) in just two hours without having to engage a tout or pay a bribe. A lady who tried to speed things up – it is not clear if by a bribe or influence peddling – was told, “Madam, aaj kal aisa nahi hota hai. Your work would be done”. A long-time Mumbai resident found an auto cruising up to him at the airport and taking him to the destination without haggling. Except for one single instance when Kejriwal himself listed the work done by them in the first 10 days, like mapping schools and engaging local people to monitor them, giving a Rs 1 lakh ad hoc grant to them to meet the short term needs quickly, the media hid these achievements from the people except for the shenanigans of a movement trying to be a party and also a government. The anti-corruption call centres and the rest took a back seat and days after AAP gave up on being a government in Delhi, a channel did its own sting on the levels of corruption. It did concede that things had eased during AAP governance, but it had raised its head again, and instead of asking the Lieutenant Governor why, it accused the short-lived government of “not leaving behind a systemic change”.


Monday, 10 March 2014

BJP and Congress neck-to-neck in cyber race: Narendra Modi most popular candidate online

Finding of A Study
BJP and Congress Neck-to-Neck in Cyber race
Narendra Modi most popular candidate online

Pune, March 10, 2014-
Bharatiya Janata Party ( and the Congress (, the principal rivals in the Indian political arena, are neck-to-neck in the cyber race. However, BJP and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi are ahead in terms of exploiting social media if compared to the Congress and its vice president Rahul Gandhi.
Mr. Modi is the most aggressive user of the website and social media. With a huge social media base of 10 million Facebook likes, 3.47 million Twitter followers and 126969 YouTube subscribers, he is by far the most popular candidate online. In a head-to-head comparison, Rahul Gandhi does not have a Twitter, Facebook or YouTube account.
The new entrant, Aam Aadmi Party (, however, has stolen a march over all the six national parties in effectively exploiting websites and social media in the Lok Sabha election campaign.

Political Party
Website URL

Facebook likes
Twitter followers
Bharatiya Janata Party

Indian National Congress

Nationalist Congress Party

Aam Aadmi Party


No official page

No official page
No official page
No official page


The websites of the BJP, Congress, Nationalist Congress Party ( , CPI (, CPI (M) ( and Bahujan Samaj Party (, do not mention anything about the sources of their funding.  The data of their websites and social media was recorded as part of a study on March 6, 2014, when the Election Commission of India announced the schedule for Lok Sabha poll.
BJP has a provision for online donation. The Congress, however, expects its well wishers to write a cheque and send it to party headquarters in Delhi via a courier or through snail mail. The NCP, CPI (M), CPI, and BSP do not even appeal to the people for donations.  Only the AAP has an elaborate system to receive online donations, deliver online receipts and compute the data with names and addresses of donors.
Of these parties only the CPI (M) informed the people how they spent its funds last year. It has put up an audited statement of the party accounts for the year 2013.
These are some of the findings of the study undertaken by Prof. Kiran Thakur and Mr. Sagar Atre at Pune-based FLAME School of Communication since January 9, 2014. The findings were published in the inaugural issue of FLAME’s Working Paper series formally launched by its President, Prof. Indira Parikh today.
The websites of the CPI (M), CPI, and BSP are characterized by poor quality of design. They have not used graphs, graphics, photos and video clips to make the websites interesting and interactive. No attention has been paid to the convenience of the visitors. The indifferent attitude of the CPI towards its website can be realized from the fact that is run on a blogger page and is not a full-fledged website. These parties do not have active presence on the social media. Their websites are not updated for weeks while their counterparts of BJP, Congress, NCP, and AAP update every day, sometimes several times in a day. These four parties have used these websites as platforms to inform, and educate the people on the topical issues, and stands of the respective organization on these issues.
However, no party has ever mentioned anything about their electoral alliances and has explained why they had to enter into alliance in the past or for coming election. They do not have even a formal appeal to voters to vote for their allies.
No party was able to upload its manifesto until the day the election dates were announced, because this important document was not ready for any of the six national parties. However, AAP has a unique feature. Its website mentions important issues of 70 constituencies in which its candidates will contest and how they will take these up.  

The FLAME School of Communication has planned to monitor these websites until the election results of all the constituencies are announced, according to Prof. Thakur.

For observations about each of the seven websites from January 9, 2014 to March 6, 2014, read on

Bharatiya Janata Party
The BJP is the most comprehensive and aggressive party in terms of presence on the internet ( ). The party is prompt about keeping information on its website updated. The party uses its website effectively as its mouthpiece. It also has an informative series of articles on current topics, examples include the resignation of eminent legal experts like Fali Nariman and retired Supreme Court Justice KT Thomas on March 3, 2014 from the Lokpal selection panel, or the passage of reservation bills by the President of India on March 3, 2014 , just before the code of conduct came in force, the issue of women’s rights on Women’s Day and others. 
Some information critical for communication with the voters is missing from the website. It does not post any financial information, even though one of the most critical poll issues for its campaigning is transparency and corruption-free governance. It does not have information about source of party fund, and list of donors and donations. 
Another important attribute missing from the BJP website is the manifesto. A month before the elections, on March 7, 2014, the BJP does not have a manifesto ready for its party.
Poll alliances are another factor which are important decision-making points for the people who intend to vote for that party. The BJP, however, does not make clear its alliances on its website, although they are mentioned in some of the press releases issued by the party. The seat sharing formula which will be decided between the BJP and its allies and its publication on the website has not been mentioned.
The BJP has connected its website to YouTube videos on topics like registering for voting,  finding out your voting booth and other details. Another detail the party mentions repeatedly on its social media profiles and webpage is the ways in which people can contribute to the BJP through funds, volunteering, and sharing its messages on social media.  It has repeatedly focused on reaching its “Mission 272+” which is the number of Lok Sabha seats required to form a government single-handedly.
The BJP has an active social stream on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.  It promptly posts updates once campaigning events conclude during the recent period. The party posts regular updates on all three platforms and keeps them updated. There are usually 2-3 updates about party events on all three social media platforms.

Indian National Congress

The Congress Party has been active on its website ( , posting regular updates about is campaigning activities on its webpage. As of March 6, the Congress did not post names of its candidates, while rival parties like the BJP, NCP and AAP have declared some of their candidates.
The Congress party, like the BJP, has not provided its information about sources of its funding. An additional lacuna of its website is the lack of an online donation platform for its voters and well wishers. While parties like the BJP and the AAP provide voters the chance to donate to the party online, the Congress website does not provide that gateway, making its donation procedure rather inconvenient for its voters. While the BJP and the AAP have a donation queries helpline, the Congress party has a rather old-fashioned style of accepting donations by cheque. The visitor has only to enter his/her name, phone number and cheque number, and click submit, which produces no further action by the website.
The Congress also falls short in terms of keeping website viewers updated about the activities of its campaigning leaders. Only Rahul Gandhi, the probable PM candidate for the Congress, is covered in its events, while other leaders and their events are not covered prominently. Moreover, the event schedule of Rahul Gandhi has also not been updated properly on the website since January 30, 2014. Videos of his interactions with various groups of people are uploaded sporadically on the website, but the schedule for that too is erratic.
Although the information about possible alliances is discussed and reported and in the media, the party website has no mention about the final status. However, this is not unique to the Congress. The Congress has a website for its manifesto similar to the BJP, however, it also had not declared its manifesto yet.
On the social media front, the Congress has been updating its events once or twice a day with photographs and videos. The YouTube channel of the party has been especially active because it has constantly updated the videos of rallies, interactions and other events which are happening in the party. Its Twitter feed is also active, although one major drawback mentioned by newspapers covering social media pages of political parties is that Rahul Gandhi has no official Twitter page, while Narendra Modi, his rival has a following of 3.47 million users.
  Aam Aadmi Party
Although not a national party according to the Election Commission of India, the Aam Aadmi party (AAP) has one of the strongest online presence in the country ( With nearly Rs 10 crore in donations, a detailed audio-visual update on its website after major events, and presentations of data on its website, AAP is a very active internet user. The most striking attribute is the presentation of financial information and contributions received by the party and a detailed analysis of donation trends.

The AAP manifesto was yet to be released, although individual nominees for the 70 Lok Sabha seats declared by the party have declared their own aims and objectives for their constituency. An important part of the AAP’s strategy is its habit of updating clarifications about controversies published on news outlets. The AAP is usually quick to clarify its position and hence provide its official point of view to the people. Another feature absent on most other websites is a detailed list of all office bearers, including authorized spokespersons, the AAP disowns any media comment provided by anyone other than the authorized spokespersons. The website also contains information about various government scams with data to back them up. Since the AAP is a critic of all existing political parties, it has not forged any alliances and information about it is not on the website.
The AAP has run a volunteer campaign, has actively sought donations and memberships and has registered members online. Their membership data is also available online and is searchable by geographical locations. The website also runs blogs of external writers which are then syndicated under the website’s blogs section. The contact details of the party are up-to-date.
On social media, AAP is a strong entity, with more Twitter followers than all other parties, and with 1.6 million Facebook likes and 40800 YouTube subscribers, lesser only than the BJP. The social media use of AAP has been considered to be the most effective mobilisation of youth by many commentators studying political happenings. Although the long-term effectiveness of this strategy remains to be seen, the social media pages of AAP are currently buzzing with activity.
Nationalist Congress Party
The Nationalist Congress Party’s  website,, is regularly updated. It contains a information about the party’s activities, its aims and objectives, and the poll strategy. The party’s is the only one among the seven under study, whose focus is not on only one leader, namely founder and Chief Sharad Pawar. The website hosts articles about several of its top leaders including Supriya Sule, Jitendra Avhad, Ajit Pawar, Bhaskar Jadhav, Praful Patel, and Chhagan Bhujbal. The website is prompt about updating information on events being attended by its leaders. It has promptly declared also the status of its alliance with the Congress, the finalization of the seat-sharing formula and the declaration of its first list of candidates. Moreover, unlike most parties, the party website contains a short biographical sketch of all its candidates declared so far.
The party provides detailed information about its organizational structure and contact details. However, some key features are missing from its website, the most important of which is financial information. It does not disclose ways and means to get party funds or list of donors. There is no information about donation to the party. The party provides good information about the voter registration process, finding out your voting booth and verifying the voter’s name on the voting list.
The social media presence of the NCP is steadily rising. It has incorporated all its social media feed on the website. However, their updates are not as frequent as the websites of BJP or AAP. The website still does not have its manifesto online. Nor does it have any kind of input feature for getting suggestions from the people about its manifesto.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI (M)]
The CPI(M) website, is not updated regularly. Although there is information or commentary by senior party leaders on current issues, there is little or no information about the party and its daily activities in the run-up to the elections. Unlike other parties however, the only critical piece of information the party website prominently covered was the meeting of eleven political parties to form an alliance on February 25, 2014.
The party website provided adequate information about its last electoral performances and the current state governments it is running. However, in terms of other information, the party website falls short. The website’s layout is unattractive. While other websites focus on images, graphs, and pictorial presentations, the CPI (M) website contains a lot of text and only some pictures and video functions. The video functions are also not updated daily, and are updated once in a few months.
The party website does not contain any information on utilities and even election-related matters. Unlike the BJP, INC and NCP, which provide information about election issues, the CPI (M) website does not talk about these issues at all. The site falls short as a fund-raising tool as well, as no easy method to pay money is available on the website. The website does not have a section to receive comments or suggestions. However, its Contact Us section is detailed and contains information of several leaders. The party has provided an audited statement of its accounts for 2013 and uploaded a copy on its website. No other party has done so among all the seven parties studied.
In terms of its social media, the CPI (M) is one of the three laggards along with the CPI and the BSP. The CPI(M) has no official Facebook page, has only 1574 Twitter followers and only ten YouTube subscribers. There is no link of the social media feed on the party apart from the RSS Feed (Really Simple Syndication). Its activity on these three social media platforms is also low.

Communist Party of India (CPI)
The CPI runs its website,,  on a Blogger page. The website usually takes about 10 seconds to load even on a high-speed broadband connection.

The CPI website is one of the least updated websites among the seven national parties. It has nearly one update per week while its other sections are not useful for a regular visitor. A lot of information is about its history and its stance on various issues. There are no interactive features, and there is no syndication of social media content on the website. The contacts section of the website is exhaustive, and provides contacts of all important national leaders. The website performs badly on all interactive features, and only contains a large amount of text without interesting and engaging elements. It does not have any social media Facebook, Twitter or YouTube profile. It is the only political party under study to not have any social media profile. A lot of its pages do not open properly even on high-speed internet connections.

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)
The BSP has a website (  which is aesthetically unattractive. Like websites of the CPI (M) and the CPI, it is  also not updated. The only updated section of news contains rhetoric against the BSP’s chief rival in Uttar Pradesh, the Samajwadi Party.
The party does not have any information about its alliances with other political parties, and has very little information about its leaders. Although it contains a video feed, it has not been updated even once since the websites are being monitored since January. The photo gallery also does not provide links to authentic material and is often unavailable. The audio-visual section contains third-party videos of non-authentic YouTube pages belonging to unknown individuals. Only a couple of rallies and events where the BSP chief Mayawati spoke have been covered on the website through text. There are no financial disclosures, nor an appeal to join, volunteer or donate. The quality of website design is extremely poor, and the font used for displaying Hindi is not provided on the website. The Hindi language feature on the website does not load properly on multiple browsers and computers. The contact sections contains a message form, which when filled out does not yield a reply even after a month of contact. The party contains some features like a blog, a feedback form and party achievements. All these sections, however, contain no updated information and have remained as they are through two months of observation. After the election has been declared on March 6, the BJP, NCP, INC and AAP have appealed to voters to turn out in large numbers, while nothing has been updated on the BSP website.
On social media platforms, the BSP has 4000 followers on Facebook, 364 Twitter followers and 10 subscribers on YouTube. All these social media pages are not active, and there is no mention of them on the party website.
Social media metrics
Four out of the seven national parties update their social media profiles daily in some form or the other. Although mostly through updates about events happening within the party, all four of these parties provide detailed information about various aspects of the polling process, the developmental work being undertaken by its chosen leaders and the ways in which voting for their candidate would benefit the electorate. All four parties have social media pages apart from the official pages of their leaders, and the interactivity on the websites themselves has now moved on to social media platforms. Barring the AAP, no other website has a large comments section. The social media feed of these four parties is where many of their updates are posted regularly. Facebook photos and updates, tweets and YouTube videos that are then syndicated on the website is usually the way in which information is disseminated to the voters. All four parties have integrated several applications like presentation apps, PDF documents, downloadable candidate lists and finally, text and video biographies of the nominated candidates on social media profiles. Most of these social media profiles undergo at least 2-3 updates per day, while usually the number of 5-6 updates per day per social media platform.
For the three parties, the CPI, the CPI (M), and the BSP whose social media and website activity is lacking, there seems to be a serious lack of interest in using these platforms. None of the three political parties, the CPI (M), the CPI and the BSP post any daily updates on their party profiles. The profiles are inexistent in case of the CPI. The updates of the CPI (M) and BSP are sporadic and haphazard. Most of their updates are text-based and they make use of very few audio-visual features. The result is that their websites are aesthetically unappealing to the viewers. Lack of updates and information renders these profiles valueless as communication and interaction tools. All three have negligible or no social media activity. Predictably, Narendra Modi of the BJP is the most aggressive user of the websites and social media. With a huge social media base of 10 million Facebook likes, 3.47 million Twitter followers and 126969 YouTube subscribers, he is by far the most popular candidate online. In a head-to-head comparison, Rahul Gandhi does not have a Twitter, Facebook or YouTube account.
Social Media Statistics of the Seven National  Political Parties
Political Party
Facebook likes
Twitter followers
YouTube subscribers
Bharatiya Janata Party
Indian National Congress
Nationalist Congress Party
Aam Aadmi Party
No official page
No official page
No official page
No official page

In sum, four of the seven political parties selected for the study, the BJP, INC, NCP, and AAP, are serious and active on their social media profiles and websites. Three national parties, the CPI(M), the CPI and the BSP have websites which are not updated daily. The social media profile of  CPI is non-existent and in case of the CPI(M) and BSP, it exists, but they do not have any activity. In an election where nearly 227 Lok Sabha constituencies have high (more than 20%) social media penetration among voters, the inactivity of these political parties is surprising.
The adoption of internet campaigning by four of the seven national parties in earnest signals a major shift in the strategy of political campaigning in India. The spread of the internet on computers and mobiles has enabled scores of people to access information online. Social media platforms are being aggressively used by four Indian national political parties, as this study demonstrates. However, the translation of this online campaigning into electoral victory or loss will determine its usage in the future elections. While Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 online campaign could attract voters, the Lok Sabha election results of 2014 will show Indian parties if social media campaigning tactics are effective in a large, diverse and scattered electoral population like India.
Websites of parties in the past were expected to provide some platform for the visitors to air their views in the form of feedback, comments and suggestions. None of the seven parties has such a facility probably because of the easy availability of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube through the website.
Except websites of CPI and BSP, websites of the remaining five offer audio-visual tracks to spread the message across to the voters.
The website hosts are expected to be careful to provide contact information about the webmasters (Mail and postal address, landline or mobile phone, and fax) . This help visitors to contact the webmaster in case there is any technical difficulty in accessing the website. However, Except BJP and BSP, the websites of rest five parties do not provide these details.
For details about the working paper:
Please contact Kiran Thakur at