Category Archives: Issues and Ideas

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…

Pakistan does a surgical strike on media: brings print, electronic and internet-based media under one regulatory body, with the same laws applying to all

Pakistan has done what India has been threatening for a long time to do: merge its various media regulatory bodies into one outfit. Imran Khan‘s government has approved the formation of the Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority (PMRA) which will comprise the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) and the Press Council of Pakistan (PCP). Pakistan’s…

20 books that journalism students should read up for Elections 2019 (presuming, of course, that journalists and journalism teachers have read most or all of them)

“Sir, which books would you recommend to understand Indian politics better?” To that ever-green question, an academic has an answer. On his Twitter handle, Anand Pradhan, the well-regarded associate professor at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, has listed 20 books that will serve student-journalists well. Indeed, will serve journalists and journalism teachers well. 1.…

Kashmir’s news photographers were targeted despite their press jackets, cards, caps and cameras—and shouts that they were media men

The four Kashmir news photographers who were injured near Shopian in south Kashmir on Tuesday after being fired at with pellet guns by Indian security forces were all wearing jackets identifying them as media personnel and caps with “Press’ emblazoned on them. Accounts of the incident in Rising Kashmir and Hindustan Times show that the…

In the battle against “fake news”, the most admirable Indian in the world says the solution may lie in science, not cosmetic surgery to avoid ‘liability’

As India heads towards epoch-making general elections, the role of “fake news”—as a device to spread lies, untruths, propaganda, hatred, misinformation and disinformation, to change or make up voters’ minds—is on many a lip. In the backdrop of the US elections, social media platforms are making cosmetic changes to steer clear of the law. WhatsApp…

Amnesty bats for jailed Manipur journalist Kishorchandra Wangkhem: ‘Multiple arrests under vague, draconian, repressive laws for expressing his opinions is politically motivated’

Amnesty International has kicked off a signature campaign for the Manipuri cable TV journalist Kishorchandra Wangkhem, jailed under India’s dreaded National Security Act, for his Facebook videos slamming the BJP governments in his state and at the Centre. Below is the full Amnesty text. *** “Kishorchandra Wangkhem, a journalist based in Manipur, India, was arrested…

‘The media adviser to the PM has absolutely no role [in the prime minister’s office]. He is a nobody.”

The post of media advisor to the Prime Minister is much coveted by journalists, past and present, as the very apogee of their careers. A number of worthies have held the title: H.Y. Sharada Prasad, H.K. Dua, Prem Shankar Jha, Harish Khare, Pankaj Pachauri. And there are at least a dozen journalists hoping to be…

In the tragedy of errors that is Rafale and CBI, former Press Council chief Markandey Katju provides all the comedy, with 48 tweets in four days

A somewhat comical, even if self-serving, side play in the Narendra Modi government’s brazen (and thus far successful) attempts to fool the Supreme Court—not once, but twice—in #Rafale and #CBI, have been the interjections of Justice Markandey Katju*. Justice Katju has tweeted 48 times on or around the “transfer” of CBI director Alok Varma by…

‘Mainstream media is silent not because of legitimate fear but because of greed. As far as I know no MSM journalist has been killed thus far.’

Former Indian Express editor Arun Shourie, a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and now a prominent critic of Narendra Modi, speaking at The Hindu “Lit for Life” event in Madras. Inter alia: “Never have we had as pervasive, as brazen, as systematic, and as prolonged an assault on ideas and on freedom, and…

The ex-banker who gave a middle-finger salute to Arnab Goswami, tells NDTV’s Vikram Chandra to stop inviting jingoistic demagogues from the ghats of Varanasi

The role of India’s TV news channels in providing a platform to the lunatic fringe to spout their unhinged bilge, post-2014, is worthy of a serious academic study. Then again, media and studies can’t be uttered in the same sentence since 2014 either. Night after night, and sometimes during the day too, on panel discussion…

The brave journalist’s son who resisted physical threats, political pressures, and other blandishments to send an influential godman to jail for his father’s dastardly murder

It is rare in India for the killers of journalists to be convicted, but Friday, 11 January 2019, will go down in history as one of those rare days. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the head of the infamous Dera Sacha Sauda, has been convicted along with three of his followers for the murder of Ram…

Why is BCCI rolling out the red carpet to one “ultra-friendly English news channel”—India Today TV if you really want to know its name?

Girilal Jain, the late editor of The Times of India, used to say that, in India, politics sets the pace and everything else follows in its wake. So, just like some news channels are completely in the thrall of some political parties, some news channels are also the go-to stations for cricket bosses. After the…

At ‘Republic’ summit, there were (at the very least) 9 known BJP faces; 0 from Congress. Any wonder Arnab Goswami wants other news channels to boycott the party that boycotts him?

Mint, the business newspaper owned by the Hindustan Times group, has a four-page supplement of the first Republic Summit, hosted by the TV channel, Republic. The guest list, as evident from the photographs, is revealing of the channel’s moorings and impulses. Narendra Modi, Arun Jaitley, Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari, Piyush Goyal, Devendra Fadnavis, Sarbananda Sonowal, Anurag Thakur, Smriti Irani Farooq Abdullah, Praful Patel, Kamal…

NDTV’s Prannoy Roy ‘Sir’ is the kind of generous teacher those aspiring to join Morgan Stanley should get

Every new year, Ruchir Sharma, the precocious Morgan Stanley banker sits down with NDTV’s Prannoy Royfor one hour of ad-free programming, in which he makes predictions for the year ahead. It is first-class television: calm, clean, chummy, insightful—and fun. The “Limousine Liberals”—Sharma gives a bunch of journalists and pollsters a 7-star ride before every major…

Hey, Ram. The “goodness” of the editor-in-chief of ‘The Hitavada’, also the governor of Tamil Nadu, crashlands on ‘Hindu’ soil.

Can a journalist in a court of law make a submission in a case not involving the journalist? The unequivocal answer, according to the Madras High Court, is “yes” but only if called for by the court. *** The controversy began in October 2018 when Tamil Nadu police filed a case under Section 124 of the…

‘Deccan Herald’ proves that the distance between Bangalore and Imphal (2,162 km) is shorter than Delhi-Imphal (1,712 km)

The distance between Delhi and Imphal, as the crow flies, is 1,712 km. But Manipur’s capital is light years from the national capital for the sauntering cows and fattened calves grazing on the saffron lawns of Lutyens Dilli. While a loosely used label to describe ANI editor Smita Prakash got every one from BJP publicity…

Shajila Ali Fathima: the “unpliable” journalist to whose defence Arun Jaitley, the Editors Guild, and other Delhi gasbags did not rush

On the day “New Delhi”—as in Arun Jaitley, the Editors Guild of India, and other motormouths and gasbags—were angst-ing over Congress president Rahul Gandhi terming ANI editor Smita Prakash a “pliable journalist”, a more horrifying drama was playing out in faraway Kerala. A real physical assault. BJP-RSS hooligans attacked journalists and camerapersons covering their continuing…

The jailing and killing of journalists—and the physical and verbal assaults—can’t move Modi & Co, but calling the PM’s interviewer ‘pliable’ does?

*** Journalists sucking up to people in power is so old school. In #NewIndia, the done thing is for journalists to cosy up to the religious amongst them who have sneaked into the sanctum sanctorum—and make the right noises at the altar so that the presiding deities and priests know that they are outside. #Sabarimala Twitter…