Category Archives: For the record

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…

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.

“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…

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…

In the 50th year of her founding, Gopal Raju’s baby ‘India Abroad’ meets a sudden and cruel end

As it is, things were bad for the news media, especially print media. The outbreak of COVID has exacerbated the situation and provided the perfect cover for managers to guillotine publications. From the United States, grim news of the end of ‘India Abroad‘, the voice of ethnic Indians, in the 50th year of its founding.…