Do Some of the Pillars of Democracy need a Shake-Up?

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Democracy has rested on four pillars. The legislature, executive, the judiciary, and arguably the most important, the press. All the pillars need improvement, some far more than others. The world press, for instance, has really become dirty. When in reality, it should be a transparent communication channel between the citizen, the country, and the world.

In an increasingly connected globe, traditional media surprisingly continues to wield disproportionately high power. And it has been responsible for numerous crimes, the world over. From keeping entire populations in the dark, to convincing them about who the good guys and bad guys are. By encouraging unsolicited violence on other countries. Press has made large sections of otherwise peace-loving populations completely convinced of the need for war. Not always because any country was under attack. But because politicians and industry stood to benefit from tricking citizens and getting them onboard. And with business people and politicians ever interested in wielding influence over large media houses, it makes one wonder how we are allowing ourselves to be subjected to lies.

The Indian press too, continues to scale new depths by doctoring news or hiding it altogether, to favor various political parties.

Anyway, interestingly, the Congress, among the bigger corrupt parties, recently figured a simple way to fix the distorted media problem. After taking a lot of bashing by two leading TV news channels for some time, the party recently banned the channels from their press conferences. How much is a TV news channel worth if it doesn’t have access to a certain section of national news? Not as much as it had before, right?

Mahendra Palsule highlighted in a good post, about the fifth pillar in a democracy, the (silent) citizen.

Think about it. Let’s assume these two channels got a reality-check after this banning. Imagine then what we the people can, and must do, to get the press functioning the way it is meant to, not the underhand way it is paid to. The day the masses stop consuming lies served to us by these media, we will have withdrawn the right we gave them, and which they continue to abuse.

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Tata Sky

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Image: source

This is a heads-up for Tata Sky satellite television provider customers.

Here’s something Tata Sky has been doing as standard procedure, that I find questionable.

If you’re subscribed to an annual plan, and say  you cross your billing deadline by even a day, they automatically switch you to either a 6-month billing cycle, or worse, a monthly one. Like all things bulk, obviously, the 6-monthly and monthly plans are incrementally costlier per unit than the annual plan. Only, they don’t tell you about the switch.

For the main connection and one add-on connection at home, I just found out the main one was on an annual billing cycle while the add-on was on a monthly billing cycle. They’re not two separate connections, but part of one connection. So it makes you wonder who at Tata Sky thinks of devious schemes like this?

So next time you recharge on their site, it will tell you prices of different packages, but on the recharge page, doesn’t have specific package options you can select. Instead, they just give you an empty box to fill in the amount you want to recharge for. You might probably see the cost of the annual package on their site, and enter that value. But, because they moved you to a 6-month or monthly plan because of the delay in renewing the plan, you in fact burn through the ‘annual plan’ much quicker than 365 days!

What you’d want to do, is each time you need to recharge, call them before and after you’ve recharged, to make sure you’re signed up on their annual plan.

I’ll be referring to them as ‘Tata Sly’ for now.

On the lighter side, here’s how my last call with them went:

Customer Support: sir, your main TV is on the annual plan, the second TV on a monthly plan. Main plan is actually valid till May. The add-on pack expires tonight.

Me: Eh. How does that happen? Anyway, I’d like both on the annual plan. What would the total fee for that be?

CS: sir, total annual recharge amount will be INR 11140/-. But you have INR 1042.88 balance, so what you can do is, when you are going to expire, you can recharge it after that.

Me: but it says today is the last date (for one of the two, I’m getting confused now)

CS: ok sir, then you deduct the existing balance (probably opens calculator app, calculates) sir, you need to pay INR 11000 only, after deducting existing balance.

Me: but deducting existing balance of INR 1042.88 from INR 11140 means I need to pay only INR 10097.12.

CS: yes sir, I just rounded off the amount for simplicity.

Me: how do you round off by adding INR 900+!

CS: err (calculating again), oh sorry. That’s right. You can pay INR 10100, rounded off.

Me: 😐