Hindustan Times steals a popular blogger’s photograph!!!

The so-called “mainstream media” in India is stooping to new lows with each passing day! Most of the “mainstream newspapers” have ceased to report news but have resorted to sensationalism and trivialism to sell their newspapers. The broadsheets are broadsheets only in name and form, but their content is sheer tabloid journalism. This has led to readers calling them as “broadloids”. Going by their news content, one should actually call them “broadvoids”. There seem to be no exceptions to this rule.

Well, sensationalism and trivialism are just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many other unethical practices they indulge in to sell their newpapers. But stealing is the latest one!

Hindustan Times, a so-called “mainstream newspaper” has stolen a photograph that was taken by my favourite blogger and the person who led me to the blogosphere, Nita. Hindustan Times is published from Delhi and Nita lives in Mumbai. The article caught her eye because she was interested in the subject as she had written an article on the same on her blog. The article in the Mumbai edition of the newspaper is titled Towards getting it write and is penned by Rukmini Banerji and Wilima Wadhwa. The content is original but the photograph is a stolen one as the newspaper neither asked Nita’s permission to publish the photograph nor provided an acknowledgement. Nita is a freelance journalist and writer herself and she has written to the editor about this. Read more about this on her blog, A wide angle view of India.

Here is Nita’s original photo . . .

And here is the photo that was published in the newspaper . . .

Both the images are from Nita’s blog, http://nitawriter.wordpress.com

Now, Hindustan Times is supposed to be a “major” Indian “mainstream” newpaper. It is a commercial entity that is flush with funds. On the other hand, Nita is a blogger who posts articles purely for the love of writing and blogging. Nita would have accepted the use of her photograph if it had been used for a non-commercial purpose with an acknowledgement. She has the original photograph that was taken near her home and she can prove that it was taken by her. A few blogger friends are writing about this to make sure the paper responds to her e-mail. I hope the newspaper acknowledges that it had used a photograph from her blog and pays her adequately for the same along with an apology from the editor or whoever was responsible for stealing her photograph.

Nita herself does not believe that the so-called “mainstream newspaper” is going to respond to her e-mail. But the power of the truly free alternate media, especially blogs, must expose the unethical journalism that the so-called “mainstream media” indulge in to sell their newspapers!

Wish you good luck in your battle against those so-called “mainstream media” guys, Nita!

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18 Responses to Hindustan Times steals a popular blogger’s photograph!!!

  1. Nita says:

    Thanks Raj. The pingback didn’t arrive for some reason but I checked here anyway.
    What surprises me is that they chose to steal one of my photos which wasn’t even very good. It is slightly blurred and was so because it wsa taken out of a moving car. I think those people at HT could be doing this routinely. They must be choosing photos which are inconsequential and on some blog in some other town so nobody will find out. I am upset because its such a brandname – the HT.

  2. You’re welcome, Nita! 🙂

    I have unchecked the “Attempt to notify any blogs linked to from the article” setting, it enables faster posting, so I guess it will take some time to arrive. You are a good photographer if you can take such a clear picture out of a moving car!

    Don’t be upset, Nita. Very, very few people in my city and state and neighbouring states would have even heard of a newspaper called Hindustan Times. It is a non-entity here. Besides, this battle (or war) is sure to create a ripple effect and shame HT! 🙂

  3. wordlyaffair says:

    And that is such a big issue, why?? Please care to explain what it is that makes this so appalling. Did she make that kid model or put those boards there? Did she acknowledge the kid who was in the photo? How can free open images be someone’s property. Isn’t the drama a pretense.
    But I do agree that not mentioning the course of the picture is wrong on part of the newspaper, but the whole drama is pretty juvenile.

  4. Wordlyaffair,

    Thanks for questioning this post about me making a “big issue” of it. I will explain why it is “so apalling” and I will answer all your questions.

    I am not a journalist, ma’am, but I guess there are ethics to be followed in every field. Here is the list of ethics in journalism that has been taken from wikipedia:

    Ethics and standards in journalism

    And I will quote the part about sources here:

    Confidentiality of anonymous sources (see news source).
    Avoidance of anonymous sources if possible.
    Accurate attribution of statements made by individuals or other news media.
    Pictures, sound, and quotations must not be presented in a misleading context (or lack thereof). Simulations, reenactments, alterations, and artistic imaginings must be clearly labelled as such, if not avoided entirely.
    Plagiarism is strongly stigmatized and in many cases illegal (see copyright).

    Please click on the link called copyright to get further information from the wiki. Nita has mentioned clearly that the photo has been copyrighted to her. So I guess “mainstream” journalists who are supposed to be trained in journalism, unlike a part-time blogger like me, must respect her rights.

    Ofcourse, the kid did not model for her and she did not provide the name of the kid. But please tell me, ma’am, how many “mainstream” journalists provide the names of the people who feature in their photos taken in public places?

    You are calling it a “drama”, “pretty juvenile” and “a pretense”. It is nothing of that kind.

    It is no “drama” because we(Nita and others who have blogged on this) are all bloggers who blog for free. So we are not playing out a “drama” to get hits for our blogs. But HT played a “drama” to get readers to read that article by using her photo.

    It is no “pretense” as Nita is genuinely upset about this as you can read from her comment and my reponse.

    It is not “juvenile” as we are all adult bloggers.

    I’m glad that you agree that it is not right on the part of the newspaper not to mention the source but I don’t quite agree that is a “free and open” image.

    As you can see from my blog, I support different kinds of software that are truly free and open source (FOSS)

    I don’t like proprietary software from one particular monopolistic corporation. But since they have copyrighted it, I will not use a pirated copy of their software. Pirated copies are not free and open but FOSS is truly free and open.

    If you don’t mind, ma’am, may I ask why you feel that we are making a “big issue” out of it?

  5. Saakshi says:

    Thanks Raj for putting so much research in your reply. And I do agree that it is wrong and illegal for the HT to do this.
    All I am saying is that there is no reason to take this so personally and be upset, fine it is wrong and all but why get so bothered about it? Thats where i dont meet eyes with you.

  6. Saakshi says:

    This may be wrong on the part of the newspaper but it is not unethical. It is even arguable if it is legal, ethical for Nita to copyright that image without apprising the kid, and giving him a document about the purpose to protect his privacy.

  7. Saakshi,

    I agree with you that there is not much reason to be upset. That is what I told her. But I am quite thick-skinned and I don’t take too many photographs, and even if I do, I don’t use them on my blog for my own reasons.

    But for someone like Nita who puts a lot of work into her posts and photographs, it may be a big issue to discover that a commercial newspaper has plagiarised her work. Only if we are at the receiving end, or if we can empathise with those who are at the receiving end, can we feel the same way about those who have been affected by something.

  8. Saakshi,

    About Nita informing that kid, I don’t know what happened in this particular case, but here is something that she wrote in response to a comment about another photo that was taken by her in a public place:

    I go right up to people and take their pictures. People don’t mind at all.

    I am 100% sure that Nita would not take pictures of persons who do not want to be photographed.

  9. Saakshi says:

    I am sure the kid would only be happy to be photographed as well, but its a point in legality. When you question the legality of someone else’s move, it pays to see where one stands. Anyway, much said, nice meeting you Raj.

  10. Thanks! And it was nice meeting you too. Have a great weekend, Saakshi. 🙂

  11. leafless says:

    We have had similar incidents here where I live. Journalism used to be the shining torch of society. It’s just sad to see the continuing degradation of journalistic ethics. What a shame!

  12. BubbleOnFire says:

    It’s pretty shocking that a leading newspaper would do such a thing. But it’s quite common in India for journalists to steal pictures and sometimes even posts from bloggers. Something definitely must be done.

  13. Yes, it is does come as a shock, BubbleOnFire, but bloggers are doing their bit to shame the people who have forgotten about codes of conduct for such a responsible profession. Let us wait for HT’s reaction.
    It’s sad to hear that the standards of journalism are falling everywhere, Leafless 😦

  14. bloggersiva says:

    this is absolutely rediculous, this should not be entertained anymore.,

    my vote you friends,

  15. Thanks a lot for your support, Siva! 🙂

  16. sibtain says:

    kya koi jaanta hai ki ek photo leney mein kya effort lagta hai..
    sue the paper

  17. Sibtain,

    Oru nalla pugaipadam edukkarathu saadhaarna vishayam illaye . . .

    I don’t know if my favourite blogger is going to sue the paper or not 😐 In India, the stupid legal process is so slow and consumes a lot of effort and resources 😦

    Thanks for expressing your support! 🙂

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