Monthly Archives: April 2020

Job cuts, salary squeezes, and shutdowns in #Coronavirus season violate due process and the law (and Narendra Modi’s call): Mumbai Press Club to media houses

Full text of Mumbai Press Club statement *** “The Mumbai Press Club is dismayed and shocked at the announcement of several media houses shutting operations, firing staff and announcing mid-stream and unilateral cuts in salaries of journalists and other employees. “Almost acting on cue, several of these media groups, citing restricted business operations and falling…

Global headlines say ‘Great Depression 2.0’ is here. Ratings agencies say India’s GDP will grow at -1% and 0%. For 13 out of 15 newspapers, it is not front-page news.

The banner headlines of newspapers across continents today are uniformly grim: Virus threatens to hit economy harder than war and flu 1918; Biggest economic shock in 300 years; Great Depression 2.0. *** Indian newspaper headlines today, by contrast, are understandably all about the extension of the “lockdown”. In all but two mainline dailies, IMF’s forecast…

BUJ calls job losses and salary cuts of journalists during #Coronavirus “patently illegal, grossly unethical, unbelievably inhuman”; wants rollback

The Brihanmumbai Union of Journalists has demanded that all termination and closure notices issued after 15 March 2020 be withdrawn, and the Union government ensure there are no job losses or salary cuts during the COVID crisus and its run-up.

J-POD || A podcast on journalism || Why my mother would not be celebrating the suspension of publication of ‘Star of Mysore’ despite its Islamophobic editorial

J-POD || A podcast on journalism || Why Sharada Viswanath (and hundreds of mothers) would not have celebrated the temporary suspension of publication of India’s most successful English evening newspaper ‘Star of Mysore‘ in #Coronavirus season. Also read: Star of Mysore suspends publication

“You need to stay healthy; we need to fight another day”: as it sends half its staff on leave without pay, Raghav Bahl’s ‘Quint’ waives “non-compete” clause, as if other media houses are hiring

The bloodbath has begun in Indian media in right earnest, no thanks to #Coronavirus. What was expected to mostly affect print media—Indian Express, Business Standard, et al–has begun to impact digital and electronic media too. Times of India has let go of its entire magazine section staff; News Nation has sacked its English digital team;…

India’s most successful English evening newspaper ‘Star of Mysore’ suspends publication for the first time in 43 years due to #Coronavirus lockdowm

The 21-day lockdown imposed by the Narendra Modi government on March 25 to combat the #Coronavirus pandemic had an immediate impact on an already beleaguered print media which suddenly found advertising and circulation revenues plummet. Now, the 15-day extension of that 21-day lockdown, which was to end on April 15, has seen India’s most successful…

J-POD || A podcast on journalism || ex-Rediff and Yahoo editor Prem Panicker on what journalists facing an uncertain future due to #Coronavirus can try to do on the digital front

Indian journalists have been doing a heroic job of reporting the #Coronavirus pandemic even though it has thrown the print media sector into a massive tizzy. The “lockdown” has caused havoc to advertising, transportation and distribution of newspapers and magazines—and ignorance has spread the fear of contamination among the “educated”. Job losses and salary cuts…

156 stories, eight editorials, and five cartoons over 15 days: how ‘Dainik Jagran’ kept up the constant Islamophobic dog-whistling on ‘Tabhlighi Jamaat’, as if India would be free from #Coronavirus if only…

The communalisation of the #Coronavirus pandemic in the media, just when the humanitarian crisis sparked by Narendra Modi‘s imposition of the 21-day “lockdown” with a 4-hour notice on March 25 was taking shape, is much too much of a coincidence. As the sight and plight of thousands of migrants walking back home from the big cities…

J-POD || A podcast on journalism || Lockdown after lockdown. Gowhar Geelani on the double whammy suffered by Kashmir’s long-suffering journalists.

Indians are huffing and puffing, and pining for a return to normalcy, after just 15 days of the 21-day “lockdown” announced by the Narendra Modi government following the outbreak of #Coronavirus. But the people of Jammu and Kashmir have been there and done that. Exactly 250 days ago, today, the state was put in a…

Who would you like to be locked up with for a few days till the #Coronavirus threat passes? The ultimate fantasy game: “Dead Journalists’ Quarantine House”.

Life in the time of lockdown has turned locked-up captives all creative. Song lists, food recipes, dance moves are pouring forth from every nook and cranny of the globe. Some are lifting up their heads from their screens to see the skies and stars; pots and pets are flowering. Tik-Tok is the way to go.…

Q: How free is India’s “free press” if it has to depend on government ads to survive after the Coronavirus? A: Don’t even ask that question, or else.

In mature democracies around the world, the news media goes out of its way to underline its independence to the outside world—to convey that they are credible businesses not beholden to governments, businesses or other vested interests for their survival and journalism. #CoronaVirus seems to have blown away even that little figleaf in the world’s…

Journalism in the time of COVID: why some Indian TV anchors and reporters need to read up on what Article 51 (a) (h) of the Constitution stands for

Campaign for Ethical Media Reporting, a Bangalore-based group of activists, parents, lawyers, and academicians who are working towards making media more accountable to journalistic standards, ethics and principles, has drafted an appeal against the communalisation of the #CoronaVirus outbreak by sections of the media. Below is the full text: *** *** “The approach to a…

“Mainstream Media is coming back into its own in the age of #Coronavirus. What people everywhere want is reliable information and they are turning to the trusted providers”

https://soundcloud.com/user-311470525/j-pod-ex-bbc-broadcaster #Coronavirus has changed the media landscape across countries and continents like nothing else before. In this podcast interview, Dr Andrew Whitehead, the former BBC broadcaster and historian, talks of the damage it has wrought in Britain—and what it holds for journalists worldwide. As job losses and salary cuts loom, he has a word of…

How Hindi newspapers in the “cow belt”, force-multipliers of the BJP in the North, lent wholesale legitimacy to Narendra Modi’s cringe-worthy #9pm9minutes photo-op

Media scholars believe that the rise of newspaper circulation in the “Hindi heartland”, disparagingly known as the cow belt, is concomitant with the rise and growth of the BJP on the back of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement leading to the demolition of the Babri masjid in Ayodhya. Certainly, the reforms of 1991 helped in making…

“We are all in a deep mess. The time has come for every business to press the ‘reset’ button, especially print media”: newspapers and magazines in the age of #GoCoronaGo: going, going, gone?

*** In 1988, Andrew Grove, the founder and former CEO of the American chip-manufacturing giant Intel, wrote a book titled Only the Paranoid Survive, in which he floated the concept of the “strategic inflection point”. “A strategic inflection point is a time in the life of a business when its fundamentals are about to change.…

Remember that poignant picture of Nehru and Vinobha Bhave? The Bangalore lensman who shot it, T.L. Ramaswamy, is no more.

T.L. Ramaswamy, the Bangalore photographer who shot the iconic picture of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru with Acharya Vinoba Bhave has passed away, at age 89. The Nehru-Bhave photograph was published first by the Kannada daily Praja Vani, which pays a warm tribute to him on its pages today. “T.L. Ramaswamy was a calm, simple man who…

Even a mad ‘Fox News’ anchor like Tucker Carlson says Coronavirus didn’t happen because the Chinese ate bats. So why do Rahul Kanwal and Vineet Jain want them to eat ‘khichdi’ and ‘papdi chaat’?

Even in the best of times, Indians are never short of sanctimony and self-righteousness but there has been an oversupply of both since the outbreak of #Coronavirus. The virtues of ‘Namaste‘ as a form of greeting—folded hands as opposed to a physical hug or handshake—has been extolled ad nauseam, even briefly inspiring a BJP IT…

“Worst may be yet to come”: As COVID tears the world, ‘Indian Express’ moots 10-30% salary cut for employees, warns of “more sacrifices” if things do not improve

The Coronavirus pandemic is spreading across newsrooms and board rooms battling advertising and revenue shortfall. Below is the full text of the letter sent by Indian Express CEO George Varghese. = Subject: Challenging times = My dear colleagues, my Express family: Before going even a word further, Thank You. To each one of you, across…

Newspaper industry in very real danger of turning “sick”: INS seeks two-year tax holiday after “triple whammy” of Coronavirus, falling ad revenues, and customs duty on newsprint

*** Forever wailing, the Indian Newspaper Society (INS) has sought a two-year tax holiday from the Union government following the “triple whammy” of #coronavirus, collapsing ad revenues, and customs duty on imported newsprint. In a letter to Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, INS president Shailesh Gupta of Dainik Jagran says the newspaper industry is at…