All posts by churumuri

Coffee. Cricket. Crosswords. Movies. Music. Media.

While the social order collapses spectacularly, HT and TOI open their doors for its political masterminds to expound on their ‘vision for a better tomorrow’, and an ‘action plan’ to get there

*** After 66 months of unbridled ‘Lok Kalyan‘, it might appear to any ordinary mortal with 1MB of common sense that there is not very much new that Narendra Modi has to offer humankind any more—nothing that hasn’t been heard before. Nothing that has not been seen through by voters in Delhi today—or in Jharkhand, or…

Indian journalists have blithely “moved on”, from one spectacle to the next. Their Kashmir counterparts meanwhile continue to battle “appalling conditions”.

The following press release has been issued by Kashmir Press Club on the grim conditions for the functioning of the media in the Valley: Kashmir Press Club on Monday convened an urgent meeting to discuss physical attacks, threats, intimidation being meted out to the journalists in Kashmir by J&K Police. The meeting in which representatives…

When Narendra Modi told an impressionable journalist that his glasses cost only a few hundred rupees; that he wore a simple Indian watch; that he got his clothes stitched from the same tailor each time

After eight, maybe nine, years of carefully coiffured image management, there is nearly nothing about Narendra Modi‘s expensive wardrobe that is debatable. Anybody blessed with even just one functional eye can see that he changes his clothes virtually hour of the day, rarely ever repeating colours. Anybody who can type a question in a search-engine…

Pouting, preening, posing, hinting: how ‘objective’ journalists are voting in the Delhi elections without really ‘reporting’

*** Journalists are human, of course, but nobody works harder than Delhi-based journalists to prove that to the world, especially during festivals like ‘Holi’ when the Twitter timelines of the bold-faced names are plastered with unidentifiable faces. #DelhiElections2020 offered yet another chance to ‘Tweetiyas’ to demonstrate they are just like the rest of humankind, and…

Only ‘The Telegraph’ has the courage to buck the law (and political correctness) to publish the chilling Reuters photo of ‘Rambhakt Gopal’, the “teenager” who shot at Jamia Millia students

*** Delhi Police initially put the age of “Rambhakt Gopal” at 19 before a marks sheet magically produced by a “news agency” showed the gunman who shot at Jamia students as being 17 years old began doing the rounds. That has been sufficient for all but one prominent newspaper to mask the identity of the…

A Hindu bomber detonates the Mangalore ‘bomb’ in the face of Kannada news media. And a newspaper suggests mental tests and medical treatment for the ‘real terrorists’: embedded editors, owners and TV anchors.

Karnataka is the outlier in peninsular India—the only state in the South that the BJP has managed to come to power, by hook and by crook. Twice. There is a plethora of political reasons for this, including caste realignment, but there can be little doubt that the Kannada media has played a hands-on role in…

The curious case of PayTm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma’s secretary only seems to get curiouser and curiouser. But it’s business as unusual at SoftBank.

The reckless culture at the Japanese venture capital firm SoftBank has attracted global journalistic scrutiny, thanks to the vaporisation of its co-working bet WeWork. SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son’s dalliance with the blood-stained Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman for the $100 billion “Vision Fund” which lubricates virtually every big Silicon Valley startup, including Uber, has also…

In America, Jeff Bezos has the First Amendment and the institutions to protect media freedom. How will Amazon’s founder deal with the Narendra Modi regime’s apparent ‘Washington Post’ problem?

Over 67 months, the Narendra Modi government has overtly, covertly and expertly extended the Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) of the #GujaratModel—freezing government ads; bringing corporate pressure on owners; filing bogus FIRs; trolling, name-calling; denying access and licenses; getting editors replaced; owners changed, etc—to get mainstream media to toe its line and manufacture consent. Suddenly, it…

Unlike gau-belt newspapers, Tamil and Malayalam newspapers are more sober and less triumphalist on the Ayodhya judgment on their front pages. Kannada is a gone case; Telugu is on the way.

The symbiotic relationship between the Hindi language press and the Ramjanmabhoomi movement, each feeding off the other, has been much documented. Today’s front pages, the day after the Supreme Court delivered its verdict, shines a mirror on it. As opposed to the safe, anodyne headlines of English newspapers, which for the most part are sober,…

Mahatma and the media: Gandhi was the ultimate super-achiever. He didn’t need TV, internet, social media, cheer leaders, event managers and fake news—and he had the courage to face the press. #HowdyGandhi

The incredible part about the fairly predictable #GandhiAt150 coverage in today’s papers—a week after the carefully choreographed #HowdyModi—is how much the Mahatma accomplished without TV, Internet, social media, cheer leaders, event managers—and pre- and post-paid owners, editors, anchors and reporters. Leading the freedom struggle, dealing with fractious colleagues, fasting, walking, writing letters and books, editing…

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…