Plagiarism and the Indian media

Our journalists are the most holier than thou people in modern India. They are not afraid of tilting against any windmill and have no fear of tearing to shreds any reputation, however big. The medical profession has been a particular target and there is not a single day that newspapers and TV channels do not carry an attack on the profession as a whole or on a particular practitioner whether justified or otherwise.
It has always seemed odd to me that a journalist, often educated to a degree level in a third rate college could arbitrate on the capabilities (or otherwise) of a senior physician who has put in decades of study and experience. But in today’s world, journalists are king. I have also felt bemused at the vicious opposition of all the newspaper editors to free entry of competition from the Western world in their field while they are fearless champions of competition in all other domains. It also seemed odd sometimes that while journalists were so free in attacking the shenanigans of corporate figures, they scrupulously turned a blind eye to the corporate entity that owned their particular newspaper.
However I always thought that some of the figures who are now head honchos in the field of journalism wrote well and I always looked forward to reading columns written by many such luminaries, including Arun Poorie, the Editor in Chief of the India Today group. But there has been a todo in the Internet (you would never know if you read only the print media) about Abou ben Adheim, whose name apparently leads a list of plagiarists.
The story began when Rajanikanth’s latest movie hit the theatres. In an amusing editorial written in India Today Aroon Poorie said “"Jackie Chan is the highest-paid actor in Asia, and that makes sense. Besides producing, directing, and starring in his own action movies since 1980, he's earned millions in Hollywood with blockbusters like Rush Hour and The Karate Kid. But the No. 2 spot goes to someone who doesn't make any sense at all. The second-highest-paid actor in Asia is a balding, middle-aged man with a paunch, hailing from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and sporting the kind of moustache that went out of style in 1986. This is Rajinikanth, and he is no mere actor—he is a force of nature. If a tiger had sex with a tornado and then their tiger-nado baby got married to an earthquake, their offspring would be Rajinikanth. Or, as his films are contractually obligated to credit him, "Superstar Rajinikanth!"
Unfortunately, it was soon discovered that this paragraph was copied almost in its entirety from an article by Grady Hendrix in the US online magazine Slate, which had written”
"Jackie Chan is the highest-paid actor in Asia, and that makes sense. Besides producing, directing, and starring in his own action movies since 1980, he's earned millions in Hollywood with blockbusters like Rush Hour and The Karate Kid. But the No. 2 spot goes to someone who doesn't make any sense at all. The second-highest-paid actor in Asia is a balding, middle-aged man with a paunch, hailing from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and sporting the kind of moustache that went out of style in 1986. This is Rajinikanth, and he is no mere actor—he is a force of nature. If a tiger had sex with a tornado and then their tiger-nado baby got married to an earthquake, their offspring would be Rajinikanth. Or, as his films are contractually obligated to credit him, "SUPERSTAR Rajinikanth!"
Mamma mia! When this fraud was exposed, the Indian media as it’s wont, closed ranks. No reader of any of the Indian newspapers got wind of any such allegations. For these holier than thou protectors of our integrity, all we heard was a deafening silence. However Aroon Purie was forced to apologise which he did with bad grace and blamed his interns for sending him “a couple of sentences lifted from another article”. And this from a man who would no doubt write a 10,000 word article if a scientist copied a few phrases from somebody else’ work while writing a review article.
When I looked up this issue I realised that plagiarism is common and is well documented in the Indian media. Take the case of the Hindu, Chennai’s well respected newspaper. Apparently its film reviews are being copied regularly from the New York Times. Their film critic, Bhaskaran has, on more than one occasion been stealthily lifting from the American paper. Earlier, In 1999, The Hindustan Times editor, V N Narayanan had to resign because he was shown to have copied an article from the Sunday Times Magazine. Of 1263 words in his article, 1020 were copied and 72 0f the article’s 83 sentences were plagiarized.
Sometimes when I read the Telegraph quite a bit of stuff does seem suspiciously familiar. Maybe I should google the stuff a bit!!

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