Category Archives: For the record

‘Facebook Live’: 14 journalists from six countries on three continents: Global Digital Conversation on Media Freedom

14 journalists from six countries on three continents join in a six-hour ‘Facebook Live’ global conversation on media freedom. The participants: Alan Rusbridger; Amantha Perera; Abhinandan Sekhri; David Fahrenthold; Faith Sidlow; Ian Jack; Ivor Gaber; Marie Elisabeth Muller; Namrata Sharma; Pratik Sinha; Richard Sambrook; Vinod K. Jose. The event is hosted by Asian College of…

When Aveek Sarkar and Vir Sanghvi met a scandal-ridden Rajiv Gandhi in 1988, they could ask 208 questions and supplementaries, including one, ahem, on #NewIndia. That is called an “interview”, Narendra Modi and PMO please note.

  *** “In the first year of his prime ministership, Rajiv Gandhi was easily accessible to the press and gave candid, free-wheeling interviews. By the second year the candour was beginning to wear thin. And by the time the scandals surrounding his friends and the regime surfaced, he had retreated into his shell.” Thus begins…

100 years ago, today, the greatest Editor-in-Chief to have walked this planet had a dream, an epiphany—in the home of the owner of ‘The Hindu’—that changed India’s course

One hundred years ago, today, India’s struggle for independence from the British took a decisive and inspired turn, when Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi had a dream that would catapult him towards ‘Mahatma’-hood. On March 18, 1919, Gandhi met C.Rajagopalachari in the City that used to be known as Madras, in a home on Cathedral Road that…

You are what you watch: Gujaratis consume the least amount of TV news in India; Assamese the most. To no one’s surprise, Malayalees catch a lot.

Indians spend a little over 30 minutes of their day, on average, watching news on television, according to the 2018 yearbook of the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC). Viewers in the northeastern states watch nearly twice as much news as Gujaratis. Although news accounts for just 7% of total TV viewership, news channels attract more…

100% more editorials, 225% more opinion pieces: How Pothan Joseph’s ‘Dawn’ beat Pothan Joseph’s ‘Deccan Herald’ 77-49 and demonstrated the true role of a newspaper as a conscience-keeper

*** The hollowing out of Indian news media—from being serious, agenda-setting, conscience-keepers, to frothy, gutless, market-driven beasts without a soul—is all too obvious, but it was never more apparent than during the recent India-Pakistan kerfuffle. As the two nuclear powers peered into the abyss, there was a barely a commentary in any part of the…

In Meghalaya, an Editor’s posts on Facebook prove costly as she fights (and loses) a contempt of court notice against ‘The Shillong Times’ in three months flat

*** The editor and publisher of The Shillong Times, a well-regarded newspaper from Meghalaya established two years before India became independent, have been held guilty of contempt of court in an extraordinary case that has implications for freedom of expression enjoyed by mainstream and social media voices across the country. The Meghalaya High Court rejected the…

Listening to Vineet Jain’s and Rahul Joshi’s cringe-worthy speeches welcoming Narendra Modi, you are left with only one doubt: was the text approved by the Prime Minister’s Office or its propaganda division, Niti Aayog?

“After #Pulwama, the Indian media proves it is the BJP’s propaganda machine“ This was the headline of an article in the Washington Post, on March 4, by two researchers of The Polis Project, who looked at the “contradictory, biased, incendiary and uncorroborated” reports in a number of media vehicles including India Today, NDTV, News 18, The…

Usually journalists try to enter politics during elections, but when a first-class, four-time Member of Parliament decides to return to journalism, it is news

When elections loom into view, journalists with an eye on the main chance, fancy a stint in politics. But in Odisha, the four-time Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP Tathagata Sathpathy, a stand-out parliamentarian, has taken the opposite route: back to journalism. Satpathy, owner and editor of the well-regarded Odia newspaper Dharitri, and its sister English…

“I keep hearing about the problems media organisations and journalists have undergone [in the Modi era], but the truth is I never faced one: Mukund Padmanabhan on editing ‘The Hindu’

The change of editorship at Indian media houses is (usually) a sinister cloak-and-dagger affair, done in the dead of night sans any grace. Publishers rarely ever feel the need to inform readers why Editor X has left or why Editor Y has come in. Not so, The Hindu. Three months ago, the “Mountroad Mahavishnu” announced…

Former ‘Science Today’ editor Mukul Sharma, the prose and puzzle whiz who found Satyajit Ray’s kisses “unconvincing” and counted the golden flecks in Rakhee’s eyes, is no more.

Indian Journalism Review records with regret the passing of Mukul Sharma, the former editor of Science Today magazine (and its later version 2001), who wrote the scintillating “Mind Sport” column in now-defunct Illustrated Weekly of India. He was 69. Mukul Sharma, who lived in Gurgaon, near Delhi, was previously married to the film maker Aparna Sen. The…

A masterclass in grace, gratitude and decency from ‘The Hindu’ on how to bid goodbye to an outgoing employee

Decency is not a virtue much in demand in Indian newsrooms, where the mercenary and the mercantile are valued higher. But there is always the rare exception. The Hindu gives its Editor Mukund Padmanabhan (in picture, above) a first-class sendoff upon his retirement, with a graceful (and grateful) front-page acknowledgement of services rendered by him…

Kashmir’s small English dailies show more balance and sobriety than mainland India’s gung-ho newspapers in putting out the casualty figure in the air strikes on Pakistan

Verification is a vital function of the news media, especially when the reader-viewer-surfer is exposed to relentless propaganda via electronic and social media. India’s air strike on Pakistan on February 26 posed a test of the newspapers and television against the backdrop of opposing claims made by the two countries. As if to prove the…

How India’s newspapers are covering Narendra Modi’s transformation—from a ‘Nero’ who was fiddling when Gujarat was burning, to a ‘Narcissus’ who was filming when CRPF jawans were dying

“Speaking truth to power” is said to be the raison d’être of journalism. “Comforting the afflicted; afflicting the comfortable,” is another variation of it. How well Indian media is performing those duties is evident on the front pages of today’s mainline dailies. On February 14, the day of the deadliest attack on Indian paramilitary forces…

How ‘Arab News’, the mouthpiece of the ‘House of Saud’, is covering crown prince MBS’s visit to India and Pakistan as clouds of blood hang over the subcontinent

Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman‘s visit to Pakistan and India (and China) couldn’t have been more timely, against the backdrop of the suicide bomber attack in Kashmir, which killed over 40 Indian paramilitary force personnel on Valentine’s Day. And, indeed, against the even more grisly, blood-curdling backdrop of the MBS administration’s role in the…

Indian Women’s Press Corps and Press Club of India condemn “vicious trolling” of mediapersons on social media

*** Updated on February 22, 2019 The following is the statement issued by the Editors Guild of India against the attacks on journalists. The Editors Guild of India strongly condemns the recent tirade of abuse and intimidation against the media and many senior journalists, especially women, in the wake of their reportage and commentary in…

NDTV’s London correspondent cornered, bullied, shouted at anti-terror march by NRIs for doing her job, for working for NDTV: “If you are an Indian, then say ‘Bharat mata ki jai’.”

As India hurtles inexorably towards fulfilling the wet fantasies of idiots itching for action against Pakistan after the deadliest attack in 30 years of militancy in Kashmir—under Narendra Modi‘s magisterial watch—the contours are being framed. Attacking newspapers like Gujarat Samachar. Conditioning minds through embedded channels. Trolling and labelling journalists who counsel sanity. *** NDTV’s excellent…

NDTV’s Ravish Kumar delivers a 400-word masterclass to the studio warriors of the “commando comic channels” itching for war with Pakistan (once again)

*** The deadly attack on a Central Reserve Police Force convoy by a suicide-bomber which killed over 40 in Kashmir on Valentine’s Day was the proverbial lightning rod for studio warriors of what former Indian Express editor Shekhar Gupta calls the “commando comic channels“. Hashtags like #IndiaWantsRevenge roared on Republic TV. #AvengeAwantipora and #PakKeTukdeTukde on NewsX.…

Former TOI journalist named in FIR on ‘Operation Lotus’ gone kaput in which BJP leaders talk of buying up MLAs, Speaker, SC judges with Modi-Shah help

A former journalist of The Times of India has been named in the First Information Report (FIR) in a sensational audio clip in which the BJP leader in Karnataka, B.S Yeddyurappa, offers astounding amounts of money to a JDS MLA’s son. On the 80-minute tape secretly recorded on February 8: # As much as Rs…

Calling pesky journalists ‘lifafa’, unleashing trolls to bully them, Pakistan’s Imran Khan has taken a leaf out of Hindustan’s Narendra Modi

The Pakistani journalist Mehmal Sarfraz in The Telegraph, Calcutta: “Censorship is nothing new for the media in Pakistan. While our seniors talk about censorship during General Zia ul-Haq’s times, we remember the censorship when General Pervez Musharraf imposed Emergency just a little over a decade ago. “We are all too familiar with self-censorship as well…

‘The Sunday Guardian’ goes after its pet-hate (P. Chidambaram) for the ‘coup’ report in ‘The Indian Express’. But Rediff had reported the story 22 days earlier and the Army itself had held a briefing.

The Indian Express‘s front-page, full page, three-deck, four-byline, eight-column banner story in 2012—hinting at an attempted “coup” against the Manmohan Singh government, but without using the C-word—has come back to haunt the newspaper five years on, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi seemingly raising the issue in his last address to Parliament. Modi hinted at a report in The Sunday…