Category Archives: For the record

J-POD || Podcast || “Media freedom in India has sunk even lower after COVID. Social media has smashed our notion of what is news. The time has come to reconsider the valorisation of news media”|| ACJ chief Sashi Kumar

  *** Largely because of the low road it has taken in the last couple of decades, and directly as a result of the challenges thrown up by the COVID pandemic, the time has come for Indian news media to press the reset button once again.  A hard reset actually. Force-Quit. No one knows what…

Amit Shah and the Streisand Effect: how newspaper readers who did not know he was unwell, are being told that he is in fine health!

Home minister Amit Shah has been mostly missing in action since the outbreak of Coronavirus. Although the absence set social media abuzz every now and then, only The Telegraph bothered to cover it as a news story on April 19 (above). *** On May 5, Mumbai Mirror sneaked in a gossip item of Shah becoming…

‘Gulf News’ bells the “preachers of hate”, demands action against Aaj Tak, ABP News, India TV, Republic, Times Now, Zee for spreading Islamophobia

As the Gulf countries pile up pressure against the growing Islamophobia in India, Dubai’s top English newspaper Gulf News has an editorial demanding action against Indian TV news channels which are spewing hatred. The editorial names Republic TV, Zee News, India TV, Aaj Tak, ABP and Times Now, calling them the “preachers of hate”. Gulf…

Only ‘The Telegraph’ and ‘Deccan Chronicle’ have AP photographers in Kashmir winning the Pulitzer Prize on page one. For most of the rest, it is routine news. Any wonder India is No. 142 on World Press Freedom index?

There has been nearly nothing to celebrate for Kashmiris, or at least for Kashmiri media, after they were confined to their own homes on 5 August 2019, without phones, without wifi and without the internet. The Coronavirus lockdown on top of their own lockdown only compounded the misery. Naturally, the prestigious Pulitzer Prize being awarded…

Srinivasan after Srinivasan: The Hindu’s business editor will be the next editor of ‘The Hindu Business Line’

The Hindu group has announced Raghuvir Srinivasan as the next Editor of Business Line. He will succeed Raghavan Srinivasan upon his retirement. A former chartered accountant, Srinivasan has been with the group since 1993, alternating between the flagship and its business daily.

J-POD || Podcast || “If you cannot afford the people that you have, however good they are, do not think twice before rightsizing” || ‘Ananda Vikatan’ chief B. Srinivasan on the big lesson from Corona

*** In the manner in which the mythology of contemporary Indian media is constructed, it would appear that concepts like “reader-friendly” and “marketing” and “brand innovation” were alien in our journalism till Samir Jain of The Times of India arrived on the scene in the mid-1980s. It is only then, we are told, that Indian…

When a journalist gets a proper obituary, it is news: R.V. Smith of ‘The Statesman’ get the kind of salute that underlines the value of print journalism

*** Ronald Vivian Smith aka R.V. Smith, the nomadic chronicler of all things quaint and quirky in India’s national capital, has received the kind of obituaries to die for. Mr Smith, who worked for The Statesman in its hey day, gets a warm and wonderful sendoff from all newspapers except, of course, The Times of…

Everybody in the media loves a good sop from the government in the time of #Coronavirus. (Sorry about exhorting the State to let “market forces” do their job in happier times.)

Since its publication in 1996, the title of the journalist P.Sainath‘s book Everybody loves a good drought has been ready fallback for sub-editors stuck for a headline. (A lot like the movie title The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.) #Coronavirus is as good a time as any to doff the mask to Sainath’s book which,…

J-POD || Podcast || “This is not the time to get co-opted by the State. Media must stay vigilant and keep a critical eye on government” || ‘Asianet News’ editor M.G. Radhakrishnan on what “so-called national channels” can learn from Kerala

*** The greatest Editor-in-Chief to have walked India’s soil once said “the soul of India lives in its villages”. You could extrapolate that quotation of the ed-head of Young India and Harijan to the media, and say: “The soul of Indian journalism lives in its languages”. Just one set of numbers will suffice to show why. In…

Supreme Court admits journalists’ unions’ PIL on post-COVID job losses; issues notice to Centre, INS, broadcasters

Amid lay-offs and salary cuts in the media industry during the COVID-19 lockdown, the Supreme Court has issued notice to the Centre in a petition filed by journalists’ unions. The Bench headed by Justice N. V. Ramana observed that the plea filed by among others by the Brihanmumbai Union of Journalists (BUJ), Delhi Union of…

J-POD || A podcast on journalism || “The newspaper business is in danger. It’s an unprecedented challenge for survival. We were in denial till Coronavirus struck” || N. Ram, Chairman, ‘The Hindu’ group

*** To look at the deep and debilitating impact #Coronavirus has had on jobs and salaries and workplaces merely through the prism of journalists and editors in India, would be to take a very limited view of what is a larger, systemic problem, one that haunts those way above the payscale of employees. Barring the…

In the make-believe world of TOI’s brand managers, and spurious surveyers, #Coronavirus has led to a miracle in Indian newspaper readership

Trust and credibility, the foundational principles of good journalism, were long destroyed in India by privately vegetarian but publicly carnivorous media barons who destroyed the distinction between real and fake, between news and advertising. This front-page anchor in The Times of India in #Coronavirus season today provides visual proof. As editions get slimmer (today’s TOI…

“Advertisers are reluctant to spend on Marketing right now”: 10-40 per cent salary cuts at NDTV for those earning over Rs 50K per month

Hi, Together we have withstood formidable crises that would have left most groups ducking for cover. Our courage and our resilience is drawn from our commitment to free and fair journalism, from our determination to side only with the Truth. Most importantly, as we have demonstrated over and over, our strength and our courage is…

“To do more for less is the new normal”: Times Group says #COVID crisis needs a “start-up mindset”, as it announces 5-10% salary cuts, defers variable pay and increments

Below is the full text of the note by Sivakumar Sundaram, chairman, executive committee, Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd (BCCL) *** Dear Colleagues, The last one month has been unprecedented in terms of the disruption it has caused in our personal and professional lives. I recognise it must be extremely stressful for all, worrying about…

Gulshan Ewing, pioneering magazine editor of ‘Eve’s Weekly’ and ‘Star & Style’ , passes away at 92

Indian Journalism Review records with regret the passing away of Gulshan Ewing, one of India’s earliest women editors, in London. She was 92 years old. Six days before her death in a care centre, Ms Ewing’s daughter had tweeted: *** Ms Ewing was editor of the society magazines Eve’s Weekly and Star & Style, both…

“Journalism and words will stay and survive. Censorship won’t. Memory will win”: Kashmiri journalist Gowhar Geelani booked for “unlawful activities”

The Kashmiri journalist and broadcaster Gowhar Geelani has been booked for his “posts and writings prejudicial to the national integrity, sovereignty and security of India”. Below is his response. *** “Journalists and writers are storytellers. They tell people’s stories and explain the events in a proper context and historicity with an analytical sweep. “As a…

136, 138, 140, and now 142: India’s worst-ever showing on the World Press Freedom Index—the only ranking Narendra Modi isn’t keen to improve

India has slipped two more places, from 140 to 142, on the 2020 World Press Freedom Index compiled by the Paris-based advocacy group Reporters Sans Frontieres (Reports without Borders). Which means, the freedom of journalists in India to do their job has shrunk every year since 2015, the year after Narendra Modi came to power.…

“Preposterous, rank intimidation of a photographer whose pictures document the travails of Kashmiris”: Network for Women in India slams FIR on Masrat Zahra

Network for Women in Media India (NWMI) has condemned the FIR lodged against the award-winning photojournalist Masrat Zahra by the Cyber police, Srinagar, under provisions of the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and Indian Penal Code (IPC). The FIR was lodged on April 18 against a Zahra for allegedly “uploading anti-national posts with criminal…

The company that virtually underwrites Indian journalism says it will protect jobs for 3 months. Are Indian media barons and baronesses listening?

Hindustan Unilever has, by far, been the biggest private advertiser in Indian media for a long time now. Print, television, radio or digital, Lever has been up there, underwriting a lot of journalism, some good, much of it awful. As Indian media houses use the COVID pandemic to play around with the lives and livelihood…