All posts by churumuri

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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…

Press Council chairman C.K. Prasad and ‘The Hindu’ chairman N. Ram get into a slanging match over PCI seemingly backing media curbs in Kashmir

The kerfuffle over the Press Council of India’s intervention in the Supreme Court on Kashmir Times Editor Anuradha Bhasin‘s petition seeking the lifting of curbs on the media in Kashmir refuses to die down. This, despite the PCI chairman Justice C.K. Prasad clarifying that far from backing the government, the Council was actually performing its…

An ‘Indian Express’ reporter recounts a bone-chilling story of pure horror in Kashmir, as India’s media bodies beat around the bush

24 days after the “lockdown”—jargon for a brutal, undemocratic suppression of civil liberties—in Kashmir began, life continues to be hell for journalists in paradise. The physical, professional, psychological and commercial implications of the communications blackout on reporters, photographers, cameramen, editors and owners have been much catalogued. In today’s Indian Express, Adil Akhzer recounts a personal…

Press Council chairman denies PCI is supporting the “abrogation of freedom of the Press [in Kashmir] by government”; says PCI does not approve of any action that restricts free flow of information

As criticism mounts over the decision of the media watchdog Press Council of India (PCI) to intervene in the Supreme Court in a petition filed by a Kashmir woman newspaper editor against the curbs on the media in the valley, the Council’s chairman contends it has neither argued for the curtailment of the freedom of the…

45 tweets on Arun Jaitley by reporters, editors, presenters and owners, is all it takes to understand journalism, Delhi style: the scams, the papers, the gossip, the plugs, and the headline management

Arun Jaitley‘s “proximity” to the media, to put it mildly, was New Delhi’s worst-kept secret. Actually, South Delhi’s worst-kept secret, because beyond the southern borders of the BJP headquarters, nobody cared a flying fig for the man whose mass base, as Arun Shourie once put it, consisted of “six journalists” (here, here). Jaitley’s “affable” nature,…

‘The Hindu’ tears into Press Council backing curbs on media in Kashmir; says claim of threat to integrity and sovereignty provides a “rationale for despotism”

The Hindu has an excellent editorial on the Press Council of India’s shameless abdication of its mandate by backing the Narendra Modi government’s patently undemocratic curbs on the media in Kashmir. The newspaper reminds the PCI that its stance is contrary to its support to the Punjab Press in its “efforts to inform the people…

Two members of Press Council, and two journalists’ unions, blast PCI’s decision to back Narendra Modi government’s curbs on media in Kashmir

Two serving members of the Press Council of India, and two media organisations, have opposed PCI’s “unilateral” decision to back the Narendra Modi government’s curbs on the media, by seeking to intervene in a petition before the Supreme Court. Press Council members Jaishankar Gupta and C.K. Nayak, who are office bearers with Press Association, have…

Full text of the 7-page application made by the Press Council of India, backing the Narendra Modi government’s curbs on the media in Kashmir, in the “interest of integrity and sovereignty”

India’s media bodies have spectacularly failed Kashmir’s media as they battle physical, professional, psychological and commercial challenges, following the blockade of land lines, mobile phones and the internet. The owners’ body Indian Newspaper Society (INS) has been deathly silent, even while full editions of newspapers cannot be reported, printed or distributed. The Editors Guild of…

The website of Kashmir’s widest read English daily ‘Greater Kashmir’ has not been updated for 18 days now—a window to the Valley for Kashmiris across the world is shut

Eighteen days after a total communications blackout preceded the “lockdown” in Kashmir, the Valley’s leading English language newspaper Greater Kashmir is gasping for breath. Thanks to the blockade of fixed lines, mobile phones and the internet, Greater Kashmir‘s website has not been updated for more than two weeks now, and the last available e-paper is…

“Whatever is being reported by Indian media from Kashmir to show that everything is normal, everything is fine, the opposite is true”

With large sections of Indian mainstream media engaged in the patriotic duty of “manufacturing consent” for the Narendra Modi government’s undemocratic actions in Kashmir, the onus is increasingly on foreign media to provide the real picture, or the closest approximation to it. BBC Radio, for long seen to be “reliable” news provider by previously colonised…

“In an authoritarian state there is only one Truth; the newspapers are all alike, they all repeat the same one Truth. So do the radio stations, and you cannot listen to those of other countries”

What does a Kashmiri journalist who is neither a fidayeen anchor nor a studio warrior of the commando comic TV channels—on either side of the line of no control—feel about the undemocratic and unaccountable crackdown on media in the Valley? Srinagar-based journalist and broadcaster Gowhar Geelani—who believes both India and Pakistan should stay off Kashmir—has…