That the man who would be at the helm of affairs in the Rotary International in 2011-12 is a great orator and has a wonderful sense of humour was more than evident at the banquet hosted by the local Rotarians for him.

Even as he was floored by the amazing reception accorded to him at the airport and the manner in which he was brought to the city in a cavalcade of 101 cars, Kalyan Banerjee appeared particularly impressed by the banners displayed at Benz Circle and the huge poster put up as a backdrop to the dais in the banquet hall. All of them had the smiling Gujarati wearing a colourful Rajasthani turban. “You made me look like Amitabh Bachchan there. If Binota sees this, she may want to marry me again,” he said, referring to his wife who could not join him for the occasion. That he meant business became clear within no time when he set many goals to the Rotarians and asked them to work with renewed vigour to accomplish them.

Unhealthy link

The media and the consequences of its alleged links with political parties came up for a debate at a seminar here recently. The speakers, who included senior journalists and retired government employees, minced no words in blaming the media owners for what they termed as an undesirable nexus with the political establishment.

This link has come to affect the journalistic principles considerably, even as the national level bodies like the Press Council of India have thrown up their hands.

The sale of editorial coverage to contesting candidates in the last general elections was an instance of this.

In the midst of this, another question was asked whether the political leaders opening their own media organisations would cause more harm than those having links with media to serve their interests. AP Press Academy former chairman Pothuri Venkateswara Rao was candid in saying that it was like injuring an eye in a situation where the implement used would not matter.

Whatever be the method, political interference would harm the overall media atmosphere, he pointed out.

It’s ‘off the record’

Congress leaders had to cut a sorry figure when they broached a subject that they had not prepared thoroughly. Vijayawada Central MLA Malladi Vishnu and city Congress president Pyla Sominaidu tried to find fault with Mylavaram MLA Devineni Umamaheswara Rao, but abandoned their endeavour when the scribes battered them with a volley of questions.

Unable to give a proper response as to why no invitation was sent to the Mylavaram MLA for the felicitation of Sir Arthur Cotton’s great grandson, Mr. Vishnu made light of the question.

He answered “off the record” – “it is our government and we will do what we want” and closed the press conference.

(K. Srimali, G. Ravikiran and G.V. Ramana Rao)