Category Archives: Newspapers

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…

74 full-page advertisements in 3 English newspapers over 6 days: Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal show how media silence can be bought before an election by the square centimetre

*** Fact: government advertising is what sustains “free media” in India, and pulling back government ads is standard operating procedure. Fact: the government was the biggest advertiser in print and on television before the 2014 elections, overtaking FMCG, automotive, etc. *** Still, it takes the breath away to see the quantum of public money being…

“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…

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…

Kashmir newspaper editors vow to fight “deliberate strangulation and subversion of media in the state” after Modi government freezes ads to two dailies

The first casualty of war is said to be truth, a statement attributed to various worthies. In Kashmir, the first casualty of the gathering clouds of war is newspaper freedom. As India and Pakistan begin shadow-boxing after the deadliest attack in Kashmir in 30 years of militancy, The Telegraph reports that government advertisements have been…

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…

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…

‘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…

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…

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…

“Anybody can do an MBA. Not everybody can become a cartoonist”: the sage advice that turned Satish Acharya into a 24×7 cartoonist in the social media age

Although the Mysore-born R.K. Laxman is the best known of them all, it is Kerala that has produced more political cartoonists in the English language: P. Shankar Pillai, O.V. Vijayan, Abu Abraham, Kutty, Unny, Ravi Shankar, Ajit Ninan et al. In recent years, Satish Acharya has joined his Kannadiga torch-bearer as a political cartoonist of promise,…

‘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…

How can a journalist find the time to write a book every year? Nicholas Coleridge, who has written 12 of them, has an effective 3-step formula.

Exactly 25 years ago, Nicholas Coleridge, then a hot shot manager at Conde Nast publications, wrote a fabulous book called Paper Tigers, on the foibles, fortunes, eccentricities, influence and political manoeuvring of newspaper tycoons. In India, he met Samir Jain of The Times of India, Ramnath Goenka of The Indian Express, and Aveek Sarkar of The…

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…

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…