The CM's been making waves recently by conducting a road show at Bangalore for IT CEOs. Surprising? Well, maybe yes, though the incumbent has certainly taken more initiative despite limitations of ideology, political environment and experience (or the lack of it) than the previous gentlemen, who was all hype and no action. But the surprise of the visit was not in the happenings therein, not even in the official Govt. press announcements.
No, the bombshell was left to a vernacular daily, one which claims to be the big daddy of dailies. In this report, it claimed that during the CM's visit to the Infosys campus at Electronics City, Infy officials had reportedly said that "Trivandrum and other cities in Kerala need to upgrade their infrastructure to attract investments. Kochi is the only city in the State to have the requisite facilities to attract investment!"
Wow, now that's an endorsement if any. Right? Well, maybe not, if one pauses to consider the facts. Infosys is developing a mammoth development centre - designed to eventually accomodate 10,000 or more techies - in Cochin.....err no....Trivandrum. So, why in heavens's name would they be doing that if they think Cochin is the only worthy "destination" in Kerala? Could they be making a titanic mistake in not following that pioneer of IT development (no, not Microsoft, not IBM) Dubai Internet City in making a beeline for Cochin?
Well forget that the latter does not have a muncipal water supply or a sewerage system. Forget that one often needs to borrow a lunar buggy from NASA to negotiate its roads which bear closest resemblance to the craters on the Moon or that to live here is to attract a higher life insurance premium on account of the likelihood of expiring on account of malaria or swamp fever. Forget even that Cochin accounts for less than 20% of the IT exports of Kerala and less than 0.2% of the IT exports of India, it is still after all the "IT hub of Kerala and a close competitor to Bangalore" That is, if the same vernacular daily is to be believed.
Shocked, like many a sane person, to read this latest report, I thought of dropping Infosys a mail and asking if they had radically changed their mind about Kerala. In the midst of contemplating whether to drop a line to Kris Gopalakrishnan himself (yea right!), I was pleasantly surprised to receive a reply in double quick time from the Infosys media office.
And here it is....I suggest you take a look yourself and see how "truthful" our media are.
Chances are that there was no statement of this kind was ever made. Perhaps, someone said that cities in Kerala need to improve, maybe they didn't say anything at all. When there is a vested interest with a newspaper at its disposal, a whole lot of noise can be created.
I remember, a couple of years ago, the same daily had run banner headlines stating "IT giant Oracle comes to Cochin; 1400 jobs to be created", whereas the truth was that Oracle had opened a one-man sales office to service Small and Medium Business. Funnily enough, the same daily somehow overlooked the fact that the CM had put a lot of emphasis on the Rs 6000 Crore Technocity project - the largest of its kind in Kerala, while the others papers had carried it prominently in their reports! (Check out the report in The Hindu)
Instances of selective reporting and misreporting by a section of media are rampant these days. Perhaps it will serve them well to remember that whatever their claims of readership, the day these readers abandon them due to their lack of credibility, the advertisements will dry up too. Perhaps it is also time to send a clear signal that prejudice and bias will not be tolerated in an institution - like the press - which is supposed to be a symbol of justice and impartiality.