Kashmir’s news photographers were targeted despite their press jackets, cards, caps and cameras—and shouts that they were media men

The four Kashmir news photographers who were injured near Shopian in south Kashmir on Tuesday after being fired at with pellet guns by Indian security forces were all wearing jackets identifying them as media personnel and caps with “Press’ emblazoned on them. Accounts of the incident in Rising Kashmir and Hindustan Times show that the…

In the battle against “fake news”, the most admirable Indian in the world says the solution may lie in science, not cosmetic surgery to avoid ‘liability’

As India heads towards epoch-making general elections, the role of “fake news”—as a device to spread lies, untruths, propaganda, hatred, misinformation and disinformation, to change or make up voters’ minds—is on many a lip. In the backdrop of the US elections, social media platforms are making cosmetic changes to steer clear of the law. WhatsApp…

“Since Shujaat Bukhari’s murder we have been dying a little everyday, slowly and bitterly. Did his killers celebrate? Did they get what they took away from us?”

Shujaat Bukhari, the longtime Kashmir correspondent of The Hindu and Frontline, who launched Rising Kashmir, was assassinated in Srinagar, in June 2018. In the Sunday magazine section of The Hindu, his wife Tehmeena Bukhari, a doctor, writes of her and the family’s trauma. *** “Since his murder — unsolved to this day — we have been…

How newspapers prepared Rajasthan fast bowler to get his deliveries right—and he has 50 wickets this season to show

Karnataka is playing Rajasthan in the quarter-finals of the Ranji Trophy in Bangalore. The Hindu has a feature on Rajasthan’s left-arm seam bowler, Tanveer Ul-Haq, who has bagged 50 wickets this season. Tanveer, 27, worked as car mechanic and then as a newspaper delivery boy before a life in cricket beckoned him: “I worked as…

Amnesty bats for jailed Manipur journalist Kishorchandra Wangkhem: ‘Multiple arrests under vague, draconian, repressive laws for expressing his opinions is politically motivated’

Amnesty International has kicked off a signature campaign for the Manipuri cable TV journalist Kishorchandra Wangkhem, jailed under India’s dreaded National Security Act, for his Facebook videos slamming the BJP governments in his state and at the Centre. Below is the full Amnesty text. *** “Kishorchandra Wangkhem, a journalist based in Manipur, India, was arrested…

‘The media adviser to the PM has absolutely no role [in the prime minister’s office]. He is a nobody.”

The post of media advisor to the Prime Minister is much coveted by journalists, past and present, as the very apogee of their careers. A number of worthies have held the title: H.Y. Sharada Prasad, H.K. Dua, Prem Shankar Jha, Harish Khare, Pankaj Pachauri. And there are at least a dozen journalists hoping to be…

In the tragedy of errors that is Rafale and CBI, former Press Council chief Markandey Katju provides all the comedy, with 48 tweets in four days

A somewhat comical, even if self-serving, side play in the Narendra Modi government’s brazen (and thus far successful) attempts to fool the Supreme Court—not once, but twice—in #Rafale and #CBI, have been the interjections of Justice Markandey Katju*. Justice Katju has tweeted 48 times on or around the “transfer” of CBI director Alok Varma by…

Once upon a time, when an Editor passed through a City, the best and brightest gathered to meet and greet

From the archives of The Hindu, 100 years ago. *** Kasturi Ranga Iyengar was the properous lawyer from Kumbakonam who bought The Hindu from its original owners in 1905, for Rs 75,000, and became its Editor. A century on, his descendants now the paper and its allied businesses. An old-style nameplate bearing his name still…

‘Mainstream media is silent not because of legitimate fear but because of greed. As far as I know no MSM journalist has been killed thus far.’

Former Indian Express editor Arun Shourie, a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and now a prominent critic of Narendra Modi, speaking at The Hindu “Lit for Life” event in Madras. Inter alia: “Never have we had as pervasive, as brazen, as systematic, and as prolonged an assault on ideas and on freedom, and…

“Headline management”, which Arun Shourie said was the Modi government’s USP, is now faster, vaster, insidious—and real time

During the previous Congress-led UPA government, it was widely rumoured that a non-Hindi speaking Union minister was so mixed up with one English TV news channel that he routinely telephoned his favourite anchor or the “PCR” (production control room) to correct or dictate the “news ticker”. It hasn’t changed much during the BJP-led NDA government,…

The ex-banker who gave a middle-finger salute to Arnab Goswami, tells NDTV’s Vikram Chandra to stop inviting jingoistic demagogues from the ghats of Varanasi

The role of India’s TV news channels in providing a platform to the lunatic fringe to spout their unhinged bilge, post-2014, is worthy of a serious academic study. Then again, media and studies can’t be uttered in the same sentence since 2014 either. Night after night, and sometimes during the day too, on panel discussion…

The brave journalist’s son who resisted physical threats, political pressures, and other blandishments to send an influential godman to jail for his father’s dastardly murder

It is rare in India for the killers of journalists to be convicted, but Friday, 11 January 2019, will go down in history as one of those rare days. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the head of the infamous Dera Sacha Sauda, has been convicted along with three of his followers for the murder of Ram…

Why is BCCI rolling out the red carpet to one “ultra-friendly English news channel”—India Today TV if you really want to know its name?

Girilal Jain, the late editor of The Times of India, used to say that, in India, politics sets the pace and everything else follows in its wake. So, just like some news channels are completely in the thrall of some political parties, some news channels are also the go-to stations for cricket bosses. After the…

At ‘Republic’ summit, there were (at the very least) 9 known BJP faces; 0 from Congress. Any wonder Arnab Goswami wants other news channels to boycott the party that boycotts him?

Mint, the business newspaper owned by the Hindustan Times group, has a four-page supplement of the first Republic Summit, hosted by the TV channel, Republic. The guest list, as evident from the photographs, is revealing of the channel’s moorings and impulses. Narendra Modi, Arun Jaitley, Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari, Piyush Goyal, Devendra Fadnavis, Sarbananda Sonowal, Anurag Thakur, Smriti Irani Farooq Abdullah, Praful Patel, Kamal…

NDTV’s Prannoy Roy ‘Sir’ is the kind of generous teacher those aspiring to join Morgan Stanley should get

Every new year, Ruchir Sharma, the precocious Morgan Stanley banker sits down with NDTV’s Prannoy Royfor one hour of ad-free programming, in which he makes predictions for the year ahead. It is first-class television: calm, clean, chummy, insightful—and fun. The “Limousine Liberals”—Sharma gives a bunch of journalists and pollsters a 7-star ride before every major…

Hey, Ram. The “goodness” of the editor-in-chief of ‘The Hitavada’, also the governor of Tamil Nadu, crashlands on ‘Hindu’ soil.

Can a journalist in a court of law make a submission in a case not involving the journalist? The unequivocal answer, according to the Madras High Court, is “yes” but only if called for by the court. *** The controversy began in October 2018 when Tamil Nadu police filed a case under Section 124 of the…

‘Deccan Herald’ proves that the distance between Bangalore and Imphal (2,162 km) is shorter than Delhi-Imphal (1,712 km)

The distance between Delhi and Imphal, as the crow flies, is 1,712 km. But Manipur’s capital is light years from the national capital for the sauntering cows and fattened calves grazing on the saffron lawns of Lutyens Dilli. While a loosely used label to describe ANI editor Smita Prakash got every one from BJP publicity…

Why India’s position is not rising on the World Press Freedom Index: exhibit 139 and exhibit 140

Since modern Indian civilisation began in 2014, the Guinness Book of Records has kind-of replaced the Constitution of India and the Bhagwad Gita as the epics to emulate. Under Narendra Modi, the preferred goals are Olympian—citius, altius, fortius. Therefore, the world’s largest khichdi, the world’s tallest statue, the world’s largest yoga gathering, the world’s longest monologue…

Why has the Narendra Modi government stopped counting the attacks on, and murders of, journalists?

*** “The government does not have data on how many journalists were murdered or attacked since 2014 as the National Crime Records Bureau does not compile data divided by professions. However, the government is in the process of collating this information.” This was minister of state for information and broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore‘s bland, bureaucratic reply…

Shajila Ali Fathima: the “unpliable” journalist to whose defence Arun Jaitley, the Editors Guild, and other Delhi gasbags did not rush

On the day “New Delhi”—as in Arun Jaitley, the Editors Guild of India, and other motormouths and gasbags—were angst-ing over Congress president Rahul Gandhi terming ANI editor Smita Prakash a “pliable journalist”, a more horrifying drama was playing out in faraway Kerala. A real physical assault. BJP-RSS hooligans attacked journalists and camerapersons covering their continuing…