#India – Change.org : Campaign Victory’s exposed #Vaw #Socialmedia


Kamayani Bali Mahabal, April 23 2013 , Kracktivism

l 23, 2013, Kractivism

  “Every day, Change.org members win people-powered campaigns for social change”.

Just to give a background to those, who are reading about change.org for first time. It’s a popular and fast-growing website for petitions. In the last  two years, Change.org has grown from 1 million to more than 25  million users, according to the site . It began as a liberal blogging site and then pivoted  to become a hub for petitions, mostly with a liberal or populist bent.

Staring as dot.org domain name to its declaration that “our business is social good” to its certification as a B Corporation, Change.org positioned itself as a progressive force. It promised to run campaigns for “organizations fighting for the public good and the common values we hold dear—fairness, equality, and justice.” That’s no longer its mission.  Something changed last year, The policy changed, ‘ partners’ became ‘advertisers ‘in the name openness, democracy and empowerment . So which means now  they will accept paid promotions from conservative organizations, Corporations , that no bar. I had written   Open letter to CEO Ben Rattray last year  in which I said I will not participate but monitor  change.org.

So here is an expose of monitoring  campaigns of change.org in India

 In India   we have two petitions being  hosted on change.org, one by victims and one by perpetrators ?

You think I am joking please read below

The Incident behind both the  petitions :-

Late evening on 11 April 2013, a group of students from Nalsar Law  University went to the Rain Club located in Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, for what was meant to be a farewell party for the graduating seniors.

When they stepped out of the club around 10.30pm to wait for their cab, one of the women students spotted someone taking their pictures with a mobile  phone. She objected and demanded to see the mobile. The mobile turned out to be a dummy, without a card in it. When she further objected and demanded that the phone with which photos were taken be handed over, other media cameramen who were present began to film the altercation.

The students were outraged at this invasion of their privacy and the callous response of media cameramen who continued the harassment by following them to the car and persisting in filming them even as they were vehemently protesting this invasion.

The next morning several Telugu channels began showing the footage. Some websites also put up the footage. TV9, ABN Andhra Jyoti, Sakshi TV, Studio N, NTV, IdlyTV, News 24 .

The incident represents blatant sexual harassment of women in a public place, criminal intimidation of the women with threat of public defamation through media. The anchors of the channels repeatedly referred to the women as  punch drunk, half naked, and nude, when the women students were dressed in strapless evening wear. One of the female anchors referred to their attire  as “creepily offensive short clothes.” They also claimed that they were dancing in the club although the entire story was played out on the street and not inside the club. The media persons were not present inside the club. To make matters worse, CVR News put together several clips of provocative dancing from various sources, implying that the present incident was somehow connected to those. Significantly, while only a couple of channels were present outside the  club and were involved in the incident, the story was generously shared with many other channels and web sites. All the channels replayed the footage  provided by the offending channels without providing any opportunity for the  victims of this coverage to respond or give their side of the story.

The channels also were assuming the tone of moral police, claiming that the students were “leaving Indian traditions in tatters by their dressing and  behaviour”. The anchors of the channels took on the role of moral police  by commenting on the young girls’ clothing, even as the channels’ staple fare  for advertising revenue on their news bulletins comprises song and dance sequences from films and film events featuring skimpily clad women doing vulgar dances to vulgar lyrics. The reporters and anchors held forth on excessive freedom for women and its “devastating” effects on society.

The channels also falsely claimed that the students’ behaviour was condemned by women’s organizations even though they only showed the statements of two little-known local politicians, thereby misleading public opinion.

So here on change org , we have a petition by supporters of NALSAR students  asking for  Stringent actions against media houses participating in voyeuristic reporting ,  addressed to Justice Katju, Chairperson, Press Council of India , Justice N V Ramana, Acting Chief Justice, High Court of Andhra Pradesh , Ms Aruna D K, Minister for Information & Public Relations, Cinematography, AP Film, TV & Theatre Dvlpt Corp, AP  Justice Verma, Chairperson, News and Broadcasting Standards Authority Mr Manish Tiwari, Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Union of India

The petition says

The media in our country has engaged in relentless sensationalism, resorting to cheap and lowly tactics to raise TRPs and viewership. This includes airing concocted stories; violating people’s privacy by taking video footage, morphing the images and airing it against completely fabricated and sensationalistic stories; secretly taking videos of people in private parties and clubs and extorting them; and engaging in harassing and abusive conduct. One such incident of unethical, irresponsible, and victimizing behaviour is an incident that occurred on the 121h of April, 2013 to college girls from NALSAR University of Law.The petition has reached 5000 plus signatures

nalsar

And on the other hand, we also have change.org giving platform to the  voyeuristic reporters .with a petition floated by Electronic Media Journalists’ Association of AP , asking to Condemn the action of a group of students who assaulted media persons   addressed to, Manish Tiwari, I&B Minister, Govt of India , Prof. (Dr) Faizan Mustafa ,, Vice-Chancellor, Nalsar , Mrs D K Aruna, Minister of State in AP , Justice Mr M Katju, Chairperson, Press Council of India Justice Katju ,Justice Verma, Chairperson, News and Broadcasting Standards Authority ,Justice N V Ramana, Acting Chief Justice, High Court of Andhra Pradesh ,Hari Prasad, President of Electronic Media Journalists’ Association of AP Please note the targets of both petitions are same .

The petition says

Andhra Pradesh has the maximum number of television news channels not only in India but also in the entire world. The ratings and the importance of these channels show how reliable and responsible the media is in Andhra Pradesh. They never restore to cheap and lowly tactics. There is self-monitoring desk as well as the important organization NBA that keeps monitor on all the channels content.

This petition also has 5000 plus signatures

andhra

Now I want to ask change.org, which petition’s victory will be their victory ?

Wait a minute,

whoever wins or loses,

 it’s a Win- Win situation for change.org.

As a big fans of freedom of speech, they claim their democractic platform. and well whoever wins. Change will be their submitting the petition claiming their VICTORY !! . But I wonder what will they do when they have to take a STAND ? So which petition will they push ? or will; they push both ? and then see pros and cons in context of the political situation and in a closed door meeting then thrash out two teams to work on these two petitions . Call both parties  and weigh the  probabilities and then take a call, keeping both parties in dark on probabilities ?.

So, guys wake up, all those who petition on change.org .This online platform is a for profit  company ,  who through these petitions is  trying legitimize their image as that of  ACTIVISM .They also get  commercial benefits through donations and sponsorships just by providing platform to all you ,under the garb of various human rights issues . VICTORY is for change.org

Change.org’s mission  statement says ‘ to empower people everywhere to create the change they want to see, and we believe the best way to achieve that mission is by combining the values of a non-profit with the flexibility and innovation of a tech startup. ” They call themselves “social enterprise,” using the power of business for social good. “Social Enterprise,” is a term that’s gotten a lot of hold among people who start companies and want to make a difference in the world. But social enterprise as opposed to what? Anti-social enterprise?

Here is where Change.org’s business model comes into play. Change.org sells what are called “sponsored petitions” to its advertisers. Most are nonprofits–right now they include Amnesty International USA, Greenpeace and the Human Rights Campaign — but there’s nothing to prevent companies from sponsoring petitions. Tapping into its audience, Change.org collects names on those petitions and then sells those who opt in to the sponsor, for about $2 per name. Some advertisers get discounts, and other pay more, for example, for people in specific states. Here is a request to Change .org , please, on behalf of companies everywhere Spare us the pieties about how “our business is social good.”

Change.org is a digital media business. Like MTV or Facebook, It creates or aggregates content, the  petitions,  to attract an audience whose attention, in the form of email addresses, it sells to sponsors.

It’s not selling social change. It’s selling you and me.  .

So here is my Appeal to all friends, activists,  celebrating their victories,  and  petitions on change.org,

It’s  time ….

If you’re a member at Change.org take action by unsubscribing from their list. At the very least they can’t profit further off your email.. If you see petitions passed around by friends on Change.org don’t sign them and inform them what’s going on.  It’s important to Explore alternatives

Hopefully the activists in India will very soon have their own activist, accountable, and transparent platform.

Watch out this blog for more 🙂

How mining mafia established a “republic of fear” in Bellary


BANGALORE, June 18, 2012

Sudipto Mondal, The Hindu

An April 2006 image (top) of the Dalmia mines shows a verdant expanse. In the Google Earth image (below) obtained in March 2010, the area is seen ravaged by massive mining.

An April 2006 image (top) of the Dalmia mines shows a verdant expanse. In the Google Earth image (below) obtained in March 2010, the area is seen ravaged by massive mining.

Witnesses who have testified against Janardhan Reddy and his men fear the mining baron’s release from jail

A torrent of calls flooded the CBI unit in Bangalore when T. Pattabhi Ramarao, the CBI judge in distant Hyderabad, granted bail to the jailed mining baron, G. Janardhan Reddy, on May 11.

Many of the frantic calls were from the 300-plus witnesses painstakingly persuaded by the CBI-Bangalore to testify in the case registered against Mr. Reddy’s flagship firm, the Associated Mining Company (AMC).

Download PDF — Dalmia mines: April 2006 and March 2010

Mr. Reddy’s judicial custody at the Parapana Agrahara Central Prison in Bangalore ends on Monday. On the directions of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, he is likely to be re-arrested as soon as he steps out.

Although path-breaking in its detailed evidence-based indictment of Mr. Reddy, the final Lokayukta report on illegal mining had its limitations. By contrast, the CBI’s unique position as a statutory investigative body has enabled it to find the evidence that, it believes, clinches what the Lokayukta could but indicate.

“During the peak of Reddy’s reign over Bellary, some witnesses had been kidnapped, others beaten and almost all intimidated by Reddy and his henchmen,” a CBI officer in Bangalore told The Hindu on condition of anonymity. Their testimonies given under oath before the judge of the Special CBI Court in Bangalore would make it difficult for them to retract their statements. But the CBI’s fear was some of the witnesses may prefer the wrath of the court to the threat of violence. “Our entire case was on the verge of collapse until the Andhra Pradesh High Court stepped in and suspended Pattabhi Ramarao on charges of accepting a bribe of Rs. 5 crore to grant bail to Reddy,” says a CBI Police Inspector.

Lawyers of Reddy remained tight lipped when asked about whether they would launch a fresh attempt to secure the release of the former BJP minister. C.V Nagesh, senior counsel in the case told The Hindu that he is yet to be briefed by the counsel-on-record representing Mr. Reddy.

Speaking to The Hindu, senior CBI officers offered examples of how the mining mafia established a “republic of fear” in Bellary. Many of these details have not been made public before because the court where witnesses deposed and were cross-examined was out-of-bounds for reporters following the violent clash between lawyers and journalists outside the sessions courts here earlier this year — the last time Mr Reddy was produced in an open court.

For example, one key government employee states under oath: “On April 26, 2011 the Range Forest Officer sent me with my colleagues to the Lokayukta Office and asked me to meet U.V. Singh [Indian Forest Officer and chief investigator who compiled the Lokayukta’s illegal mining report]. He asked us how we could issue so many mining permits [to AMC]. We explained [in writing] that there was threat and force from G.J.R. [Reddy] due to which we signed the permits.”

The same witness states that he was summoned on May 9 by Mr. Reddy. [Pooh-poohing the Lokayukta report, Ali Khan, Reddy’s pointsman, allegedly stated: “The government belongs to GJR.” The witness deposed that he was forced, under threat of suspension, into signing a letter stating that U.V. Singh had coerced them into submitting statements against Mr. Reddy. Presently sharing space at the Parapana Agrahara Central Prison in Bangalore with Mr. Janardhan Reddy, the 1984-born Mehfouz Ali Khan is an engineer who became one of Mr. Reddy’s most trusted enforcers.

AMC — a dead mine

In his testimony, an Assistant Engineer of the Mines and Geology Department said Mr. Ali Khan coerced him to issue false stock certificates to the AMC. He yielded, knowing full well that the AMC owned a dead mine in Hospet, Bellary, which had not yielded highquality iron ore for several years. Mr. Reddy used such false certificates to legitimise ore that he had looted from other mines in the region, the CBI alleges.

Kidnapped, tortured

The testimony of the promoter of the mining firm Tiffins Barytes shows how Mr. Reddy’s men used muscle power to take over the operations of other mines.

Mr. Ali Khan and his men forced their way into the leasehold area of Tiffins Barrytes and extracted one lakh tonnes of high-quality ore between January and June 2010, according to a sworn statement by a company employee.

When senior company executive Vinod Jadhav protested, he was kidnapped and tortured at an undisclosed location. His complaints to the police and other authorities yielded no action.

Muscling in

The statement by the owners of the Siddapura Iron Ore Mines further establishes the extent of collusion between bureaucrats and Mr. Reddy, the CBI says. Repeated requests by Shaik Saab, the owner of Siddapura mines, for permission to extract ore from his leasehold area were turned down by forest officials. Meanwhile, Mr. Ali Khan approached him with offers to manage the mine. He promised to get the necessary clearances and in return Mr. Saab gave Mr. Ali Khan a 75 per cent stake in the earnings.

With its implicit threat of violence, it was an offer that Shaik Saab could not refuse. Ironically, Shaik Saab did not even get the 25 per cent that he was entitled to. “I was not even allowed to enter my mine after Ali Khan took over,” he said.

Forced takeover of AMC

The manner in which Reddy and his wife G. Aruna Lakshmi came to be the owners of the Associated Mining Company is a story in itself. In his testimony, K.M. Vishwanath, the former owner of AMC, told the Court he was coerced into handing over all his mining permits to Mr. Reddy. These permits were used by the latter to legitimise ore that he used to allegedly steal from the leasehold area of the Dalmia mines in Hospet. Despite Mr. Vishwanath’s protests against this extortion, Mr. Reddy and his wife Aruna Lakshmi forced themselves in as partners in AMC, the CBI alleges. Mr. Vishwanath and his other partners were subsequently edged out, and Reddy and his wife came to be the sole partners by August 2009.

Two scientific surveys commissioned by the CBI — done by the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) and Singareni Collieries Company Ltd. (SCCL) in April 2012 — corroborate the Lokayukta report’s finding that AMC was a front for illegal mining, and the ore was actually extracted illegally from elsewhere.

Google it

While records with the Forest department, and the department of Mines and Geology state that Dalmia mines are in a state of disuse, satellite enabled images tell a different tale. (See satellite pictures) But the CBI says all the scientific evidence detailed in its chargesheet would have counted for little without the evidence from witnesses in court. A CBI investigator cites the evidence provided by an owner of a firm hired by the AMC to extract and transport ore. He showed investigators the exact spot from where he had extracted 33 lakh tonnes of ore on Mr. Ali Khan’s orders.

The investigators plotted the expanse on government maps. “The site was right in the middle of the Dalmia mines, nowhere near the leasehold area of the AMC,” the investigator told The Hindu.

13 policemen will face trial for charges of gang rape in the case of Vakapalli tribal women #Rape #Vaw



 AP High Court orders that 13 policemen will face trial for charges of gang rape in the case of Vakapalli tribal women.

The Vakapalli rape case has been coming up for hearing in the Andhra Pradesh High Court since the last three weeks.

Justice Seshasayana Reddy of the AP High Court on Thursday directed a lower court to conduct the trial against 13 cops for allegedly raping 11 tribal women in Vakapalli village of Visakhapatnam district in August 2007. The judge told the judicial first class magistrate of Paderu to conduct an identification parade of the accused and then proceed against them. The judge gave the verdict after hearing the plea of 21 policemen who sought quashing of proceedings against them in the crime.

Justice Seshasayana Reddy ruled that eight policemen who were part of a Contour Party were outside the village at the time of the offence and could not have committed the crime. It was alleged that the 11 tribal women were raped by the armed cops when they visited the place during combing operations against Naxalites on August 8, 2007. Earlier, the Crime Investigation Department had investigated the case and closed it citing lack of evidence. The victims challenged it before the magistrate and he ordered an investigation. The HC stayed the probe and the victims then approached the Supreme Court. The apex court in November 2010 asked the High Court to hear the case within six months.
While discharging the eight constables P. Ravi Kumar, K. Purnachander Rao, P. Pavan Kumar, B. Gangadhara Rao, K. Ram Babu, Ch. Suresh Babu, G. Muthyala Raju and S. Venkata Rao from the case, the judge directed judicial first class magistrate of Paderu to conduct proceedings against A. Ravi Kumar, D. Ravi, B. Ravi Kumar, D.V.R. Suresh, R. Srinu, K. Devullu, T. Prasad, Ch. Vijaya Kumar, S. Tata Babu, D. Simhachalam, R. Chandrasekhar, R. Devanadh and S. Srinivasa Rao.

Contempt case on CID chief


The High Court will hear an appeal on Friday by the CID challenging an order of a single judge directing the Registry to issue suo motu contempt proceedings against the CID chief S.V. Ramana Murthy. Earlier, Justice Ramesh Ranganathan granted an order by directing the registry to issue contempt proceedings against the DGP V. Dinesh Reddy and Ramana Murthy for suppressing facts before the court in a plea filed by senior IPS officer Umesh Kumar.

It may be recalled that in August 2007 eleven tribal women belonging to the tribal hamlet Vakapalli, Paderu Mandal, Visakhapatnam district were raped by twenty one police men who had come to the village as part of combing operations. The local police station and several functionaries of the government denied the charges of rape. Large scale mobilization by tribal and women’s groups forced the state to order an investigation by the CB-CID. However, the CBCID conducted a lackluster investigation and filed a report that it was a false case. Its main contention was that there were no injuries on the women, no semen stains and that the women were unable to identify the accused. Despite the negative report of the police, a junior woman magistrate of Paderu believed the tribal women and took cognizance of the case. The Magistrate wrote that rape can be perpetrated without leaving physical injuries and semen stains.   Within a week of the cognizance taken by the Magistrate, the accused police men petitioned the AP High Court and obtained a stay of proceedings. This stay came in 2008 and all proceedings came to a halt. After four years, the case has now come up for final hearing before Justice Seshasayana Reddy. Both the public prosecutor as well as the counsel for the policemen repeated in unison the same arguments about absence of injuries and medical evidence of sexual intercourse.

Senior Counsel Tarakam who appeared for the tribal women vehemently contended that absence of injuries and semen stains can be no bar for prosecution. How can eye witness evidence be disbelieved just because there was no medical evidence? He insisted that the court should believe the statements of the women in toto. He also argued that the victim women should not be made to bear the brunt of a deliberately defective investigation. One was not sure about the outcome of the case. Clearly, except oral testimonies, there was no other evidence.

What little evidence that was available was wiped out by the investigation. Against all these odds, Justice Seshasayana Reddy ordered in the women’s favour. Of the 21 policemen, he held that the trial will continue against 13 policemen and acquitted eight others. The eight were acquitted on the ground that they were part of a contour party and outside the village.

The 13 policemen will now have to face trial for charges of gang rape and atrocities under the SC ST Atrocities Act. The trial will not start immediately. The policemen will surely move the Supreme Court for another round of litigation.   But, as of today, there is the satisfaction of having convinced one judge that such stuff happens and that a ‘judicial decision’ has to be rendered with minimal evidence.

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