Category Archives: Issues and Ideas

70% of Indians live in the villages but media coverage of rural India is barely 4%, and that is mostly in print media and of non-farm issues

In episode 11 of ‘Shut Up Ya Kunal‘, the poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar tells Kunal Kamra of the abysmal coverage of farm and rural issues in Indian media. Around the 34th minute of the episode, Akhtar says: “In a nation where 70 per cent of the population lives in the countryside and most of…

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…

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…

‘Bhakts’ target ‘Gujarat Samachar’ for mocking Narendra Modi’s inability to stop terror attack in Kashmir, make editor Shreyans Shah’s phone number public, but paper sells like warm ‘dhokla’

For more than two years now, the big buzz in Delhi has been that the only thing that could possibly reverse Narendra Modi‘s (and BJP’s) precipitous nosedive after #Demonetisation was a noisy (and bloody) skirmish with Pakistan. id est: war. The ascent of Imran Khan and his initial overtures halted that talk briefly, but the deadly February…

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.…

The former TOI and ‘Indian Express’ journalist who was told by his Editor not to write “anti-Modi pieces for the time being”—and that was 18 years ago!

Hemantkumar Shah, a journalist with 14 years experience, was a “core group member” of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch till a decade ago, and a “loved child of RSS”. He quit his post as in-charge principal when the management of his Ahmedabad college declined to allow the firebrand MLA Jignesh Mevani to use its auditorium. The…

38% trust news they find in search; 51% trust news sources they use; 23% trust news in social media: Reuters Institute digital media study in 8 graphs

The Reuters Institute for the study of journalism, at Oxford University, has a new report out this June on how digital news is consumed across the world. Here are the salient points of the 2018 Digital News Report based on a respondent size of 74,000 in 37 “markets” in 5 continents.

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…

“The skill and excellence acquired by a journalist at the workplace is hers. It’s not company property”: How Delhi HC backed Sucherita Kukreti against Rajat Sharma’s ‘India TV’

To prevent journalists from jumping ship for a higher CTC, thus necessitating higher costs for retention and fresh recruitment, India’s media barons often have informal “non-poaching” agreements. The simple philosophy: “We won’t take journalists from your company. You don’t take journalists from ours.” Such duopolistic practices run counter to the “market economy” which most owners…

The millennial journalist who broke the story of the year (so far) has been just five years in the profession; wasn’t even born when India’s liberalisation began!

Print journalism is dead. Check. India’s conflicted business newspapers do not break stories. Check. Indian Institute of Mass Communication doesn’t produce the brightest bulbs. Check. If you haven’t achieved something of note by 30 you never will. Check. *** On the death anniversary of the greatest Editor-in-Chief to have walked this planet—Mahatma Gandhi, if you…

In Odisha, media freedom shrinks in novel ways. OTV chief Jagi Panda, w/o Jay Panda, becomes collateral damage as the privileges committee strikes.

The privileges committees of state assemblies are fast emerging as deadly instruments to turn the screws on inconvenient news media, or inconvenient news media personnel. In Congress-ruled Karnataka, in 2017, the committee’s decision to order the arrest of two tabloid editors for articles deemed defamatory of the privileges of legislators, including the Speaker, drew criticism.…

Kannada University postpones silver jubilee event after students and teachers object to the ‘consistent misogyny’ of an invitee: a right-wing newspaper Editor

  The valedictory function of the silver jubilee of Kannada University—a University set up in Hampi in Karnataka 25 years ago to celebrate the state’s language—has been abruptly postponed following protests over the participation of a newspaper Editor. The event, scheduled for January 31 and February 1, was put off after students and professors objected…

N. Ram: ‘Today’s mainstream media is scared to touch the Rafale scandal like it did Bofors. An overarching fear of Narendra Modi has had a chilling effect.”

It is rare in Indian journalism for the same journalist to be at the centre of two major investigations, 30 years apart.  In 1989, Narasimhan Ram was Associate Editor of the family-owned newspaper The Hindu when he, along with Chitra Subramaniam, dug into the #Bofors gun deal that set the stage for Rajiv Gandhi’s downfall.  In…

How Reliance Jio drove data usage, erased the line between content and carriage, and is making life hell for India’s news media

*** In this, the second and concluding part of a two-part excerpt from his new book Freedom, Civility, Commerce, journalist and academic Sukumar Muralidharan turns his eye on the mysterious entry of Reliance Jio, and what it portends for the media. *** By SUKUMAR MURALIDHARAN Statistics may often have no more than transient utility in…

‘A determined political operation has turned new media into a propaganda tool: not pluralistic and interactive, but relentlessly one-way and single-themed’

*** The weaponisation of Indian broadcast and digital media by Hindutva forces has been a key force-multiplier in coarsening the discourse and manufacturing consent, to be encashed at the ballot boxes. In this, the first of a two-part excerpt from his new book Freedom, Civility, Commerce, journalist and academic Sukumar Muralidharan argues that the eagerness…

In Jammu & Kashmir, is there a deliberate design to delegitimise photo and video journalists, and to remove them from the scene of action?

Keeping accreditated journalists out of government events and government offices, under one ruse or the other, has become such a norm in State after State that it barely attracts any more than momentary attention. But when six accomplished journalists are kept out of the Republic Day function in Jammu & Kashmir, a state the Narendra…

Who brought Subhash Chandra of Zee to his knees—‘The Economic Times’, ‘The Wire’, or that usual suspect, Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries?

Who broke the story of the troubles of the Zee conglomerate which led to a notional crash in stock prices by as much as Rs 14,000 crore on January 25, which then led to its founder “Dr” Subhash Chandra‘s extraordinary mea culpa? Was it Mohit Bhalla of The Economic Times who set the stage more than a month…

On poll eve, BJP government allots prime Bombay land meant for public housing to journalists—50% reserved for those covering “state affairs and politics”

There are several ways for Air Traffic Control to find out if a stormy election is en route, and if a ruling party is feeling the ants in its pants. MPs suddenly become active, inaugurating projects long-ago announced or inaugurated. Ministries announce quotas, sops and ‘special packages” for interest groups they had diligently ignored. Macho ministers…