Batting for Mukesh, Nita and Modi on Twitter

BY The Hoot| IN Digital Media | 24/06/2014
Tweets from the Reliance crowd populate Twitter. Theirs is another take on the service this company and its owners do the nation.
The HOOT DESK puts some of them together. PIX credit: Neelabh Banerjee~s Green Reliance graphic.

The Hoot believes in bringing you different viewpoints. So in case some of The Hoot’s other writers have biased you against the Ambani-owned Reliance Industries Ltd on issues such as gas pricing, the takeover of Network 18, and so on, here is another take on the service that this company and its owners do the nation. Interspersed with their approving noises for recent actions taken by the Modi government.

Apart from former journalists Rohit Bansal and Umesh Upadhyay, at least three former editors of newspapers and a magazine are now associated with RIL and its public relations effort, one of them Bhopal-based. The RIL stable of journalists with the Network 18 media channels may well be emerging as the only growing employment opportunity for media people as other media outlets continue to downsize and retrench. Add to that the Observer Research Foundation (ORF),  which too has former senior journalists as fellows.

Collectively  their views populate Twitter as they take on Reliance critics and put across alternate viewpoints.

On June 20 for instance B V Rao, former group editor of Sahara and former editor of Governance Now, who is now the news and communications director of RIL, tweeted that at no 185, RIL had been ranked the highest Indian firm in Newsweek’s list of Greenest Global companies.

Followed by another tweet on how this beat a Chinese petrochemical company hollow:

#RIL 107 on Fortune500, 185 on #Greenest. China Petro & Chem 5 on Fortune500, 476 on greenest. Shows #RIL green concerns @janlokpal

The same day Rao tweets approvingly about PM Modi’s railway price increase.

Venkateswara Rao Bud @ByBvRao Jun 20
Without drama, without chest-beating. RT @samirsaran: "@gchikermane: Increasing rly passenger fares toughest decision for any government.

Venkateswara Rao Bud @ByBvRao Jun 20
Nobody but NaMo could have dared do it. MT @samirsaran: "@gchikermane: Increasing rly passenger fares is toughest decision for any govt."

The retweeters are his colleague, former editor Gautam Chikermane who is now Reliance’s New Media Director, and ORF fellow Samir Saran. There is much mutual retweeting that goes on.

On June 11 this had been preceded by:                                  

Venkateswara Rao Bud @ByBvRao Jun 11
Now you know what a waste MMS was! No inspiration, no pride in nation...silent killer of what cd have been Gr8 Indian Decade! @narendramodi

Gautam Chikermane @gchikermane Jun 11
Amazing oration, sharp agenda setting, wide span of issues, deep attention to detail, great politics. Fantastic speech by @narendramodi.                            

Venkateswara Rao Bud @ByBvRao Jun 11
It's been a while since somebody made India feel like a Nation, made me feel like a Nation. Wah @narendramodi !

Mr Modi is well served by this lot.

Reliance’s June 18 AGM  saw a lot of tweeting by Rao and others. Nita Ambani’s elevation as a director on the board was greeted with this.

Venkateswara Rao Bud @ByBvRao Jun 18
#RelianceFoundation, the silent achiever under #NitaAmbani leadership #RIL

and this:

Venkateswara Rao Bud @ByBvRao Jun 18
Richly deserving. Enviable body of work MT@theRohitBansal: #NitaAmbani joins #RILBoard #RelianceFoundationWatch video: …

Rao who has been a witty commentator on media in the past, is happy to lob lobs against TV channels in his new role. In response to comments about Nita Ambani

Venkateswara Rao Bud @ByBvRao Jun 18
Can @ndtv tell me which story I shd take seriously? Can they make up their mind?  or 

Venkateswara Rao Bud @ByBvRao Jun 18
RT @upadhyayumesh: @theRohitBansal @gchikermane If they care about the facts they can watch the film. …

And then again,

Venkateswara Rao Bud @ByBvRao Jun 18
This @NDTV headline re  presupposes that women can't be meritorious or achieve on their own?


Venkateswara Rao Bud @ByBvRao Jun 18
Does @ndtv know #NitaAmbani led ecological dev of #RIL Jamngr refinery thru a biodiversity plan planting 3.2 mn trees in 2000 acres?

Venkateswara Rao Bud @ByBvRao  Jun 1
Nail on head! MT @theRohitBansal: #NitaAmbani joined #RIL board aftr 18 yrs of work came to #RadhikaRoy on Day1.But who can question #media?

Rao enjoys sparring with critics as in this exchange:

June 11
Much b4 tht wasnt @ibnlive takenover byAAP? @jalajboy: AAP's allegations against RIL triggered @ibnlive takeover @AtishiMarlena @janlokpal.


This was promptly countered by Nikhil Wagle, editor of IBN Lokmat.

nikhil wagle ‏@waglenikhil

@ByBvRao @ibnlive @jalajboy @ibnlive @atishimarlena@janlokpal Mr Rao, u should disclose your bio before writing this kind of nonsense.

For Rao's aggressive defence of the whole gas price issue, duly retweeted by his friends/followers, you only need to go to his Twitter account.

Do these tweets get a big following on Twitter?  Not yet. Unless it is about Narendra Modi, more often than not, the replies, retweets and favorites are zero. But this lot will doubtless persist.

Subscribe To The Newsletter
The new term for self censorship is voluntary censorship, as proposed by companies like Netflix and Hotstar. ET reports that streaming video service Amazon Prime is opposing a move by its peers to adopt a voluntary censorship code in anticipation of the Indian government coming up with its own rules. Amazon is resisting because it fears that it may alienate paying subscribers.                   

Clearly, the run to the 2019 elections is on. A journalist received a call from someone saying they were from Aajtak channel and were conducting a survey, asking whom she was going to vote for in 2019. On being told that her vote was secret, the caller assumed she wasn't going to vote for 'Modiji'. The caller, a woman, also didn't identify herself. A month or two earlier the same journalist received a call, this time from a man, asking if she was going to vote for the BSP.                 

View More