All posts by churumuri

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

To eat or not to eat with a suspicious host who says you can only sit in the verandah but not enter the kitchen where the numbers are cooked

The unintended consequences of the Union finance ministry’s decision to bar entry to journalists pre-screened by the Union home ministry. “Some ministry officials have said they do not like the idea of journalists prowling the ministry’s corridors and do not wish to be accosted whenever they step out of their rooms. They have claimed that…

Editor of Kashmir’s largest English newspaper picked up for ‘questioning’ in three-decade-old case

Successive Indian governments have turned off and turned on advertisements to Kashmir’s newspapers citing “anti-national” activity, invoking barely a whimper from India’s nationalist media. Now, the Editor and owner of Greater Kashmir Fayaz Ahmad Kaloo has been picked up for questioning by the national investigation agency, and there’s barely a squeak even in the Kashmiri…

33 headlines of columns on the Union budget in today’s newspapers that show ‘chamchagiri’ was, is, and shall always be a sunrise industry

Business journalism is, generally speaking, an oxymoron in India. On the day of the Union budget, it reaches another level. Be it a Congress government or BJP one, the average score for the budget veers between 9 and 10, as fear meets exuberance. 2019 is no different, as the headlines of “columns” by corporate honchos,…

In battle between newspapers and ‘desi’ newsprint manufacturers, Modi signals which side he is on

Notwithstanding the glowing readership numbers, large sections of India’s news media industry are in choppy waters, battling a low rupee, high newsprint prices, and falling advertising revenues as Google and Facebook conquer the digital space. As if that weren’t enough, the Narendra Modi government has signalled its intentions with a 10% customs duty on newsprint,…

FIR against newspaper Editor in Karnataka as chief minister Kumaraswamy (a TV channel owner himself) suffers from a major son stroke

Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy is having a major media meltdown. At various times in the year gone by, he has threatened not to speak to the press, railed against TV shows that satirise him, sought laws to regulate the media. But the debacle in #GeneralElections2019, or specifically the debacle for his family, has brought…

On the day after Narendra Modi’s stunning triumph, the further you move away from the Hindi heartland, the more sober the newspaper front pages get

Narendra Modi‘s stunning victory in the 2019 general elections has resulted in a not unusual journalistic overkill that has been the hallmark of his first five years in office. The country’s biggest English newspaper has an all-Hindi headline, ‘Chowkidar’s Chamtkaar‘, but at least there is a semblance of sobriety in most the headlines and coverage…

56 years later, the last TV interview of India’s first prime minister offers a stark and sobering contrast to the first press “appearance” of the 14th PM

After 1,817 days—in his final week in office at the end of his five year term—prime minister Narendra Modi presented himself in a press conference at the BJP headquarters in Delhi—and took no questions. This extraordinary and advertised disdain for the freedom of the press to question a prime minister—freely and openly, without a script…

Wisdom at the ‘Sangam’: Journalist Jawid Laiq has called seven elections in the last 42 years with greater accuracy than exit pollsters just by dipping his finger in the Ganga. Will 2019 reverse that trend?

After watching Indians at a polling booth and failing to read their mind on which way they were inclined to vote, James Reston, the late executive editor of The New York Times, grandly concluded that an election was a secret communion between a voter and democracy—it is sacrilegious to pry.  Now, where “Scotty” wrote this…

“Nothing less than a landslide against Narendra Modi can redeem us as a nation and pull us out of the rut of neutrality and nonchalance”: R. Rajagopal, editor, ‘The Telegraph’

“A city can be judged by the quality of its water and its newspapers,” is a quote often attributed to the playwright Arthur Miller. The day after BJP hoodlums went on the rampage in Calcutta, The Telegraph shows it is the city’s conscience-keeper, speaking out clearly (and courageously) against BJP’s advertised ‘goondagiri’, which lives off the quiescence…

Why the Malayalam newspapers ‘Kerala Kaumudi’ and ‘Mangalam’ should apologise to Razik Raheem and his wife, for ruining their lives, careers and reputations

In April 2019, the Kerala High Court acquitted five men charged in the so-called “Panayikkulam terror camp case” of 2006. Nizamudeen, Razik Raheem, Shammas, Ansar and P.A. Shaduli, were among the 17 who had been arrested for allegedly organising a secret meeting of the banned Students’ Islamic Movement of India in Ernakulam district. They were…

All indications are that India is heading for a major economic slowdown, but it is unlikely you will get that impression reading the so-called business newspapers

The less said about India’s business newspapers the better, but sometimes it has to be reiterated that they live in an alternate universe, all of their own making. Not one of them ever breaks a scam, although the state is seemingly receding from the lives of people and business houses are taking over. Most are…

How five Prime Ministers before the ‘Divider-in-Chief’ dealt with the media—from the pen of a Kannadiga who (honourably) served four of them, under three different political formulations

Today is the second death anniversary of I. Ramamohan Rao, the genial Kannadiga who served as the principal spokesman of the government of India under four prime ministers and under three different political formulations. There is an advertisement (above) in the Delhi papers to mark the date. Rao, who like most Dakshina Kannada boys of…

Unused to real journalists meeting him without questions pre-scripted by the PMO, a defensive Narendra Modi mentions ‘The Indian Express’ ten times in his interview with ‘The Indian Express’

*** Prime minister Narendra Modi‘s interview with The Indian Express has been totally overshadowed by Time magazine calling him “Divider-in-Chief” on its cover, and the NewsNation TV “interview” in which he reveals how he fooled Pakistan’s radars by going in for the air strike in Balakot on a cloudy night. But the Express interview with…

The amazing rise and dramatic fall of Ravi Prakash, a competent but colourful journalist who built one of India’s biggest, most influential news networks: TV9

TV9 “chairman, CEO and editor” Ravi Prakash, who shared the stage with prime minister Narendra Modi at the launch of ‘TV9 Bharatvarsh’ just 40 days ago, has been shown the door by the network’s new owners whom he, ironically, brought in to buy the company from its original promoter six months ago. An official spokesman (see statement,…

Hit and Muss, and the Muzzler: When one of India’s finest cartoonists, Raj Thackeray, rages against Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, political campaigning touches a new ‘Low’

There has been plenty of weird stuff in General Elections 2019, but none weirder than the sight of a political leader whose party was not contesting, drawing bigger crowds than those who were sweating the good sweat. Even more bizarre was the spectacle, and a spectacle it has been, of thousands falling over each other…

You cannot hope to bribe or twist (thank god!) the Indian journalist. Not during elections, no sir, not our brave Leh journalists.

All is fair in love and war—and elections? Clearly, the samosa-jalebi eaters of the BJP have not heard of Humbert Wolfe: You cannot hope to bribe or twist  (thank God!) the British journalist. But, seeing what the man will do  unbribed, there’s no occasion to. Screenshot: courtesy The Telegraph

From ‘what’ to ‘why’ and ‘what’s next’: four ways in which robots and Artificial Intelligence will change journalism in the future, according to Bloomberg News’ editor-in-chief

From Johannes Gutenberg‘s printing press to Tim Berners Lee‘s world wide web, and the telegram, radio and television in between, journalism has been constantly shaped and changed by technology—and not always for the worse. In the 21st century, the news media business is grappling, like other industries, with the prospect of machine learning and Artificial…

It is World Press Freedom Day today. It is a good day to salute Kalki, Padmini and Kajal: the transgender media personnel who also serve in their own quiet ways

May 3 is World Press Freedom day, to celebrate “the fundamental principles of press freedom, to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.” “3 May acts as a reminder to…

In Gauri Lankesh’s home-state, a frighteningly real story of ‘fake news’, with the clumsy footprints of BJP and RSS—and embedded ‘sangh’ journalists and newspapers. (And, yes, a fake news peddler followed by Narendra Modi.)

*** A leading Kannada newspaper owned by a former three-term BJP MP and a serial fake news peddler followed by Narendra Modi on Twitter, have been embroiled in a forged letter scandal, following the arrest of a “journalist” owing allegiance to the RSS. # The newspaper is Vijaya Vani owned by former Dharwad (North) MP Vijay Sankeshwar. #…

“The ‘Golden Hour’ is the most important hour in your life”: On the third anniversary of his second life, six lessons Sachin Kalbag learnt when he collapsed in ‘The Hindu’ newsroom

Journalists strut around as if they are masters of the universe. As if nothing can happen to them. As if nothing can stop them. As if the Chief Editor Up Above (or down below) has different plans for them, unlike other mortals. Not so, of course. Sachin Kalbag was just 42 and in the prime…