Category Archives: For the record

“I was asked to leave my phones outside. I was told, ‘resign now or be terminated’. The HR manager held the relieving letter. By the time I got home an hour later, I’d been locked out of my official email”: a brave note from a “journalist of courage”

Hundreds of journalists have lost their jobs in India in the middle of the COVID pandemic with barely a squeak. The haemorrhaging has hollowed out newsrooms at the very moment news consumers expect more (and better) from journalism. But it is all hush-hush. Chhupa rustom. Unlike more civilised parts of the journalistic world, where the…

Coming soon: a Nationalist Editors Guild, not “seeped in an ethical and idealistic world of journalism”

Nothing is more galling for a reporter or an Editor—or a “reporter’s editor”—to be accused of not doing her job as expected by her employers, promoters and their puppeteers. Amazingly, that is exactly what the Editors Guild of India is being accused of. When, in fact, it has been the first organisation in the world…

Kailash Budhwar, the former BBC Hindi and Tamil head, who played Aurangzeb and Salim

Amit Roy, The Telegraph‘s excellent London diarist has an obit of Kailash Budhwar in today’s paper. “Kailash Budhwar, who died in London on July 11, aged 88, was head of Hindi and Tamil at the BBC from 1979-1992, the first Indian to be appointed to the post. There was a big following in India for…

“The information dissemination lapse is the greatest lapse for India and Indian democracy”: Ajai Shukla’s devastating indictment of media stenography on the Chinese pullback in Ladakh

There are at least 50 reporters in Delhi on the defence beat. But for nearly six weeks, from early-May to mid-June, all but a couple of them were in the dark, or in patriotic denial, of the Chinese incursion into Indian territory at Ladakh. The killing of 20 soldiers on June 15 provided the necessary…

A Gandhian Editor—an oxymoron in Indian journalism—returns to a real farm house in the countryside, after staying 43 years in an orphanage

In Delhi, Editors living in farm houses are a benchmark for #PannaPramukhs still aspiring and perspiring to clamber up the greasy totempole. Sainik Farms has a number of #EditorialWarriors. A super-expensive mansion on Malcha Marg in Delhi’s diplomatic hub, allegedly owned by a “reporters’ editor”, has kept tongues wagging for years and even prompted a…

How 15 brave reporters and photographers have defended the evidence they collected of Babri Masjid demolition

Excellent story in The Economic Times today of how reporters and photographers staved off a bid to discredit their great work, the midst of grave danger to their life abd limb, during the 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, by sangh parivar hoodlums. Screenshot: courtesy The Economic Times

“India has ceded territory to China”: near-unanimous newspaper editorials call the Modi government’s bluff—and reaffirm the value of print journalism

Editorials in India’s major English newspapers on the “mutual disengagement” that India and China have agreed upon, are nearly unanimous in their verdict: under “strong man” Narendra Modi, India has surrendered its territory to China. The mature and considered reading of the newspapers is in marked contrast to TV news channels parroting the BJP-led NDA…

Vinod Dua tells the Supreme Court: “I have freedom of speech and I have the right to criticise the government. I don’t have to answer the police as to why I criticised the government”

Charged by Himachal Pradesh police with sedition for remarks made “against” prime minister Narendra Modi on a YouTube video, veteran broadcaster Vinod Dua tells the Supreme Court: “I have freedom of speech and have the right to criticise the government. Till date, the police have refused to give us details on the nature of the…

For Your Eyes Only: The 15-point note senior journos received on WhatsApp on how to interpret the India-China “mutual disengagement” for their audience

Once upon a time, Indira Gandhi called journalists “glorified stenographers“, but at least there was some dignity of labour in that epithet. For, stenos physically take notes of what is dictated to them, and then take the trouble to transcribe it. The Narendra Modi age has robbed journalism of even that iota of respect. “Headline management” has made the…

In a bleak media landscape, Sanjiv Goenka picks up ‘Fortune’, wants to get into electronic media as well

For long, Sanjiv Goenka, one half of the R.P. Goenka family who runs the RP-Sanjiv Goenka group, has long had media ambitions. Forever in the running for media buys, Goenka’s name does the rounds each time some enterprise is up in the air, a bit like Rajeev Chandrasekhar‘s. Open magazine is all he has had…

Anthony Parakal, the ex-Railway man whose “byline” appeared over 4,000 times on the edit pages of newspapers and magazines for 50 years, is dead

On page 8 of The Times of India in Bombay today, a name which appeared hundreds of times on the edit page of the newspaper, when it had an edit page for adults: Anthony Parakal. A former railway employee, Parakal arrived in Bombay from Kerala in 1954, and appalled by the miserable living conditions got…

“A preposterous, unacceptable demolition exercise by a government lackey, mimicking features of a dictatorship”: Press Club of India tears into Prasar Bharti’s bid to throttle PTI

The following is the full text of the statement issued by the Press Club of India against Prasar Bharati Corporation intimidatory attack on Press Trust of India. *** “The government gives the impression of working for the dismemberment of the Press Trust of India (PTI), India’s premier news agency which has established a name for…

“Ironic that government has chosen to crack down on PTI, hours after marking the 45th anniversary of Emergency”: women journalists show the mirror to Narendra Modi

Below is the full text of the statement issued by the Indian Women’s Press Corps and Press Association on Prasar Bharati’s motivated threat to suspend its subscription to the news agency Press Trust of India for its “anti-national” reporting. *** The Indian Women’s Press Corps (IWPC) and Press Association express their deep concern over the…

“Stop showing satellite pictures of China’s incursion”: TV editors get a patriotic nudge as Army scampers to limit damage of Narendra Modi’s big lie

Hoist by its own petard—which was Shakespeare‘s way of saying “blown by your own bomb”—on China’s incursion into Indian territory, the Narendra Modi government has rolled out “headline management” on a war footing to control the political damage emanating from the prime minister’s naked lie (above). With hitherto “loyal” journalists covering the defence and external affairs…

The news of a declaration: Hindi magazine ‘Cricket Samrat’ has published its final issue

COVID has impacted the media in a myriad ways, and magazines, especially niche magazines, are collapsing under its weight. Mid-Day reports the closure of the pioneering Hindi cricket magazine Cricket Samrat after 42 years of publication. Sportstar, the weekly from The Hindu group, has already gone online. *** In the Indian Express, the paper’s sports…

“Ambiguous. Beseiged. Confusing. Disappointing. Dismaying. Evasive. Frightening. Unpardonable. Unsatisfactory. PM should speak again”: editorials on ‘Surender’ Modi’s cop-out

The major English newspapers all have editorials on Narendra Modi‘s brazen lie, without taking the name of China, that “no one has intruded on Indian soil, nor is any one sitting on Indian soil, nor has any post been seized by anyone”, which made a total mockery of the killing of 20 Indian soldiers last…

An artist and an interviewer: former ‘Mid-Day’ and ‘Sportsweek’ art director Ataullah Khan falls to COVID

From Jeddah, the news of the death due to COVID, of Ataullah Khan, the well-regarded former art director of the Bombay tabloid, Mid-Day, and its sister magazine, Sportsweek. He also did interviews with movie stars for the group’s Urdu daily Inquilaab. Mr Khan’s brother Masiulla Khan was the art head of The Sunday Observer, both…

A sacked ‘Rajasthan Patrika’ journalist’s social media post that shines the light on all that is going wrong in the media, in India in 2020

These are tough times for the media: to own it, to run it, to work in it. A nationally advertised political allergy towards media freedom; a global pandemic that is hurting businesses; and a delicate balancing act that is required just to keep the boat afloat, illustrate the key challenges. Nothing captures all this better…

Everybody loves Rashid Irani: When a fine movie critic—a restaurant owner who doesn’t own a stove or a fridge, and can’t cook—gets stuck at home

How did a Bombay film critic who lives alone, without a cooking range, TV or fridge, and who has eaten all his meals outside for 35 years, live through the 75-day lockdown? Rashid Irani, long time movie reviewer for The Times of India and then Hindustan Times, recounts his saga in Sunday Mid-Day. “Though I…

Propaganda is king as newspapers open their sanctum sanctorum to be defiled by the ghostwritten schoolboy essays of Narendra Modi & Co

Newspaper maaliks and managers may think no one reads the editorial and op-ed pages. But thankfully the media managers of the Narendra Modi government do. So, to mark the first anniversary of the second term of the BJP-led NDA government, newspapers allow their sanctum sanctorum to be defiled by ghost written schoolboy essays of various…