Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Free speech and Lies in Advertising - The IIPM story

Yesterday, one of the inspirations behind this blog, Gaurav Sabnis resigned his position with a blue chip employer after facing pressure from a client of his employer to remove posts from his personal blog.

The employer - Currently irrelevant to the issue

The client - IIPM!

The posts - The fraud that is IIPM, More about IIPM

The inspiration behind the posts - The Truth About IIPM's Tall Claims

Gaurav was originally served legal summons over email from IIPM. The email claimed that it had been "judicially notarized and has been tagged to validate receipt and response". Later, IIPM seemed to indulge in some bit of arm twisting by threatening Gaurav's employers with a public burning of the laptops "provided at IIPM's cost" to its students, if the employer (who manufactures the laptops mentioned) did not convince Gaurav to back down. Gaurav took a very honorable way out and resigned rather than compromise on his beliefs and also to make sure his employer did not have to be a part of this ugliness.

And today, Varna, another blogger who had posted earlier on the free speech angle of this issue was issued with the same identically worded summons.

This matter has been taken up by the desi blogosphere with Desipundit being in the forefront. With all this buzz, Amit Varma's post on the issue was Instapundit-ed yesterday and has been taken international with a opinion piece on Global Voices and on group blogs like Sepia Mutiny.

It has been learnt that at least one overseas office of IIPM (mentioned on their website) could be a sham. And it is also well known that IIPM was taken off at least one B-School ranking study due to probable fudging of data that it made available to the agency that was doing the ranking. As a result, upon a much closer look, the fine print on their ads makes for an interesting read.

Sadly, the MSM seems to have turned a blind eye to this. Are they afraid of taking on the single largest advertiser (at least in academic sector) in the country? An acquaintance who works for a major MSM organization in India tells me that the MSM won't step in unless one of the parties involved approaches them. Essentially they would wanna protect their interests againt a possible "all is well between us and its the media that blew this up" kinda turn around from the parties involved, which would definitely not show the MSM in good light. But if at all the print media does not wanna alienate IIPM, what are the TV channels doing. Already one of them has been dragged into the scene (almost unnoticed, but anyhow). So would we see any action from them?

The least we can do is to goad the MSM into reacting. If you are a blogger and you have little or no knowledge of this issue, please go on to Desipundit and read all about the story that has brought the desi blogosphere together. And post at least a small note about the issue on your own blog. Already "IIPM" has steadily risen to the top of the Technorati search, thanks to the mentions from tens of bloggers, both in India and worldwide. It won't hurt if these numbers swell.

And even if you don't have a blog, pass on the message to everyone around you. This is ultimately an issue of free speech. And as I commented elsewhere, the dance has begun and though the first punch was thrown by IIPM, it remains to be seen if it has the legs to last the distance.

As a blogger, I have to salute Gaurav for standing up to his beliefs. Kudos dude. And kudos are due to the team at Desipundit for taking on the fight and bringing the desi blogosphere together. And Varna, we are with you too. You go gal!

And thanks are due to Rashmi and JAM Mag for throwing some light into otherwise murky waters at IIPM!


rajesh said...

how i wish same kinda stuff happens with private engineering colleges,claiming to be equivalent to international standards!
A bunch of symposiums and a paid vacation to some U.S univ proffs to tanjore gives a grand image!God knows what research is being done!An international symposium on number theory..wtf?
U know who I am talking abt right?

anantha said...

Raapi: You think I can't even guess that answer? :p

dumbs said...

raapi do u wanna start a campaign to expose the truth? Count me in if that happens. anti u in or out?

shobz said...

good supporting.. these gaurav needs all support i say..

Anonymous said...


Print media has also mentioned about this issue... (Mumbai mirror has mentioned about the issue raging in blogworld in today's edition)

Vikram Vasu said...

Anti - Nice blog, This is vikram vasu from QFI. Got here while tracking the IIPM story. I've got a blog too - http://vikramvasu.blogspot.com...check it out later and feel free to add it to ur list :-)

Ram said...

Thanks for combining everything into one post!! made it very convenient to read!!

Sriram said...

aNTi boy,
thanks for the detailed reply to the dude on my blog.. me didn't have enough time to respond in a detailed manner.

anantha said...

Sriram: No problemo.....:)

Ram: Thanx boss...And Molaga bajji eppadi irundhudhu?

Vikram: How's you? Did you know you are on my messenger? I thought you'd have forgotten me :D I will update my blogroll in a couple of days. Have some more blogs to link to.

Anon: Thanx :)

Shobz: Gaurav's blog was one of the blogs that inspired mine. So I just had to do something.

Dumbs: Mangatha aadara madhiri, ulle veliye nu kekkara :D. I am in dude!

Sakshi said...

good compilation.

lets hope that the TRUTH wins in this matter.

anantha said...

Sakshi: Truth usually wins. Might take some time, but it usually does!

Anonymous said...

Looking at how various bloggers have joined together and are kinda fighting out the IIPM...i wonder if i am seeing something new in India..

has blogging actually given middle class Indians a way to voice their opinions more freely and forcefully..coz without this medium(and the degree of anonymity it offers) i dont see the middle class rising up against something (against anything for that matter!)..we were famed for our indifference (well actually timidness) to the state of affairs...what you think?

Maybe that's the real benefit of blogging..guess i need to start my own..;))


anantha said...

Varun: About middle-class voices, in a way you are true. We are starting to voice our opinions more freely and forcefully. Though i am not sure whether anonymity has anything to do with this.
Even in this issue, the ppl in the midst of it all are not anonymous. They are not hiding behind psuedonyms.
And as for timidness/indifference, I think it has come out of decades of futile efforts. Being a socialist country for the most part (if not all) of our independent history meant that any effort to voice an opinion was probably seen as an attempt to rise in the hierarchy and usually the mob mentality really pulls you down if you want to express yourself individually.
But coming to this blog, what it has given me is a medium to express myself without inhibitions.
So, you shld start one too. Lots of intangibles that are positive.

Anonymous said...

guess i am way too lazy to start a blog..although the interest is there..guess i will stick to dropping in and posting comments...\\


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I understand what you are saying. But could it be a better way to get information on free web site advertising.Without all the Hype that come's with it.

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