Monthly Archives: September 2019

It’s brave of the Editor of ‘The Telegraph’ to make a rowdy minister’s phone call public. But what after the ink dries and the Sarkars hear from an even bigger hooligan?

Being a professional Editor in India—professional being the operative word there—is a lonely, treacherous job. What transpires with scared proprietors or bankrupt boards is not to be shared with the world. The bottomless stupidity of the managers and bean counters is best not advertised. And, in between, there are creepy phone calls, “messages”, complaints, and…

To mark Narendra Modi’s “unprecedented” 69th birthday, 11 newspapers in 7 languages respectfully open their editorial pages for the perfect “bow job” by his party colleagues

Narendra Modi turns 69 today. In itself, the number ’69’ is not ‘abhut purva‘ as the alliterator-in-chief himself might say, except for its more popular connotation. Turning 69 is not any different from turning 67 or 68, and certainly not as significant as turning 70. The pradhan sevak is still a sexagenarian. At best, one could…

The world’s only Sanskrit newspaper ‘Sudharma’ has turned 50, and wants Narendra Modi to release its souvenir issue. Will he?

The world’s oldest and probably the only Sanskrit daily newspaper Sudharma has turned 50. Published from Ramachandra Agrahara in Mysore, the two-page, five-columb newspaper delivers politics, culture, sports and civic affairs. According to a report in Star of Mysore, India’s most successful afternoon newspaper, Sudharma reaches 2,000 readers. “We need six to seven hours to…

The Piyush Goyal Theory of Journalism: the farther a newspaper is from New Delhi, the greater its chance of taking the pants off politicians*

  Piyush Goyal‘s theory of Albert Einstein‘s theory of Isaac Newton‘s theory of gravity is a cute case study for headline management in Indian newspapers. The loud railway and commerce minister—who is a chartered accountant and BJP treasurer in touch with corporates—is widely known for his “phone calls”. The coverage in today’s papers of his faux pas reveals how…

Not just BJP, Congress too: ‘Hindustan Times’ reporter alleges Punjab chief minister put pressure on paper’s management to ease her out, citing “biased” reporting

Expectedly, post the 2019 general elections, Indian media has turned into a pool of blood, each day bringing news of journalists leaving their organisations (Nitin Sethi of Business Standard), or being moved around (Faye D’Souza at Mirror Now). At least two anchors (Ajit Anjum and Smita Sharma) have left TV9 Bharatvarsh, and there have been…

The Drumbeaters of Dystopia: Wrapped in the tricolour, Indian news media can barely contest the establishment narrative in Kashmir—global outlets can only find holes in it

*** Forty days into the Kashmir “lockdown”—stupid American jargon for a brutal and undemocratic suppression of fundamental rights—there are three, possibly four, “narratives” of what is happening in the valley. There is the local Kashmiri view, which we do not know much about, and possibly they themselves don’t. There is the mainland India view, which…

“Indian media is in a structural crisis that is neither accidental or random”: Ravish Kumar’s words reflected in the silence of many top newspapers on his Magsaysay Award acceptance speech

Just nine out of 24 newspapers in nine languages found NDTV India’s Ravish Kumar winning the Ramon Magsaysay Award for 2019 worthy of attention when the prize was announced in early August. Not surprisingly, only seven of them have news of the TV presenter picking up his award in Manila yesterday, or space for the searing…

Abuse, detention, pellet injuries, and an 80% drop in attendance at the media centre: is covering Kashmir becoming even more difficult for journalists?

Thirty-five days into Kashmir’s “lockdown”—mild jargon for a brutal, undemocratic suppression of fundamental rights in the State—are conditions getting even more tough for journalists to report from the Valley? The Telegraph, Calcutta, one of the few national newspapers giving adequate space for its Srinagar correspondent Muzaffar Raina to put out the unvarnished view, details the…

After 64 months of ‘desh seva’, Indian political journalists are so unused to demanding answers from the man at the top that there is shock—OMG!—shock when a science journalist does

Not a single dawn sees its dusk in the social media age without the honourable members of the media inserting themselves into a story and putting up a cringe-worthy sideshow, perfect for a future newspaper called The Daily Tamasha. And so, in the year of the lord 2019, it is ISRO’s failed mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-2,…

In 31 days of August, 5 leading English newspapers had 63 political and almost-political bylines on their edit and op-ed pages. Leader of the pack: ‘The Indian Express’ with 32 BJP voices in 39 pieces.

There once was a time, there was actually, when the editorial page was prime real-estate in a newspaper—the home of evolved minds; a trove of thoughts and ideas; and a showcase of scholarly even if somewhat boring writing. The dumbing down of the edit page, which began with the interventions of Samir Jain in The…

“I feel threatened in Delhi and Kashmir. I fear for my life, family and career,” says ‘Deutsche Welle’ journalist stopped from leaving India for conference in Germany

Gowhar Geelani, a well-known Kashmiri journalist who works for the German radio and TV station Deutsche Welle, was last night stopped from flying out of New Delhi’s international airport to attend an “Editors’ Advanced Programme” in Bonn. Geelani—who believes both India and Pakistan should stay off Kashmir—was stopped by an immigration official after he had…