The front page of The Telegraph, Calcutta, has its own fan base in social media.
In the eyes of some, the single-city broadsheet newspaper has carved a space for itself even among distant non-readers by swerving from the straight and narrow (and predictable), by saying like it is, which most mainstream media do not.
But there are also those who say the paper is overdoing its collegial approach to headlines, by mocking and poking and editorialising. In the process it has sacrificed two key tenets of print journalism: balance and sobriety.
Stanly Johny, international affairs of The Hindu tweeted last week:
“This is nonsense. This is not journalism. This is trolling.”
It is a point various other worthies have made before, that a tabloidy approach is not the answer to last night’s television.
It could, of course, be argued that in a over-crowded newspaper market, with diminishing attention spans and multiple distractions, the fact that a tiny publication is managing to catch the eye, even if not always in a pleasing way, is validation of its efforts.
Better dead than unread.
That said, in an overflowing ocean of conformism—and relentless drum-beating for the Narendra Modi dispensation—is The Telegraph showing the mirror to the biggies which have abdicated their watchdog role?
The control freaks in the Modi regime detest any hint of criticism or scrutiny. By allowing The Telegraph to carry on merrily, does it suit the BJP’s interest to show that media freedom is “safe”, despite all evidence to the contrary?
The useful idiot, in a manner of speaking.
Then again, The Telegraph is published by the Ananda Bazaar Patrika group, which owns the TV news channel ABP News in various languages and which is (mostly) an undisguised cheerleader, in every language.
Below are 12 front pages from March 2019.