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#FutureProof: The context of RIL’s ‘Operation Izzat’

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#FutureProof: The context of RIL’s ‘Operation Izzat’

In the last two days alone, there have been pieces in The Economic Times and The Hindustan Times on RIL’s ‘Operation Izzat’.

I assume that more would follow.

Most of what’s appeared is speculation.

Not for want of facts – but overarching context. I include here the name of the so-called operation!

But rather than poke holes in what journalists (some of them valued old colleagues) have found through their ‘sources’, I avail of the hospitality of these columns to share my own understanding of the “context”.

1. Facing a bizarre and uninformed attack by a new-age political outfit, ignoring them was the most obvious thing to do.

2. But given that party’s strength in the social media, the same perversity, repeated endlessly, was creating a body of digital packets that could add up to a formidable body of falsities.

3. Ironically, the intellectual fountain head of this campaign wasn’t even a political leader willing to test himself in direct elections.

Yet, nothing stopped him from aggregating all the cynicism and falsities, package them in a PIL, and place the matter before the Hon’ble Supreme Court!

Conversations with the mainstream media betrayed a certain sense of exasperation and helplessness.

‘I can’t be seen opposing Aam Admi Party, even if I know what Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan are saying is wrong!’ a long-standing editor in a news wire confided in me.

Reason? ‘You (RIL) have been communicating so little that even opening my mouth in my own news meeting would make me seem ‘pro-RIL’, which I am not,’ the editor told me.

It wasn’t hard to figure out that the context he was coming from: proliferation of social media, the near-absence of boundaries and precedents in what a possessed body of ‘fidayeen’ can do to one of the world’s most respected companies and its founders.

With mainstream media claiming to be pretty helpless, and TV stations fixated with what was ‘good television’ not deep facts in the legal and contractual architecture of KGD6 (also, that it’s a global benchmark in extreme engineering and execution), a simple body of conversations needed to be shared outside of the confines of a press release or even a quiet lunch with an influential reporter!

Hence, documents like ‘Why KGD6 is Important to You’ or ‘In the Court of the People’ – sent to the inboxes of editors and reporters, but on slideshare too, so that anyone and everyone can read the facts as they stand.

Also, video releases by Umesh Upadhyay, the RIL spokesperson, on youtube:

So, Umesh doesn’t studio hop, but he addresses the www representing a calm and succinct view of a respected leader of news television, an era when occult, voyeurism, and cricket TRPs weren’t the be-all of news channels.

These VRs are posted for our valued investors. That said, mainstream TV folks are most welcome to pull them – in fact, ABP News and India News do that already.

This, and some new ways to break the status quo on falsities and impotence, is work in progress.

More ideas are pouring in, many from 40,000 RIL employees and our 3 million investors.

Why? Perhaps because ‘izzat’ (never mind the fact that there’s no “Operation’ going on by that name) is a subject dear to them and every other subscriber of the India Story.

The columnist is with RIL at the intersect of media, strategy and regulation.

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