AN INDIAN BLOG died last month, and its readers
wept copious tears. It died not because of the blogger's
ennui, but because he was served a legal notice by one
of India's largest media entities asking him to shut up.
In the larger scheme of things, mediaah.com, an
Indian media watchdog blog maintained by Pune-
based journalist Pradyuman Maheshwari, was just
a blip on the media radar. With a claimed reader-
ship of just 8,000 readers, it could have hardly
changed the world. Yet, the media conglomerate's
bosses decided that they had had enough of Mahesh-
wari's "jibes" at them and their organisation. In
March, they sent him a legal notice asking him to
delete entries they felt were defamatory.
Maheshwari, on his part, decided to stop pub-
lishing the blog, saying he neither has the time nor
the money to fight the giant.
He also chose not to apologise.
The media had successfully gagged its toddler
cousin, the Web log. Sadly, yet predictably, no news-
paper or television channel followed up this story.
Compare this with the case of a slew of bloggers
in the US who recently wrote so much about Eason
Jordana senior CNN executive who allegedly said at
the World Economic Forum in Switzerland that the
US military had killed 12 journalists by taking delib-
erate aimthat he had to resign from his post.
No one knows for sure whether he made the
statement at all; and no one would say the bloggers
themselves were completely ethical in their uproar-
ious response to the statement. Yet, to its credit, CNN
never tried to shut these bedroom bloggers up.
Honestly, though, I was delighted at the legal
notice sent by India's largest media house to
Maheshwari. For one, it bared once and for all the
Indian media's hypocritical "Speech-is-free-and-the-
media-will-ensure-it-remains-that-way" stand; but
more importantly, it proved that Web publishing is
here to stay, and that the blog is already an alternate
publishing medium in India just as it is in several
mature democracies across the world.
When a Rs 1500-crore media giant take