Category Archives: People

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…

“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 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…

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…

“Sanity, dignity, robustness, journalism and an end to cynicism”. How Barkha Dutt kicked off her latest innings on Harvest TV. (Or is that HTN News, or NewsHtn?)

Former NDTV presenter Barkha Dutt, the Emmy-nominated TV presenter—and easily the best in language, poise and presentation—is back on air, with a new “show” on the Kapil Sibal-backed TV channel. These were her opening words on first day, first show. “Good evening, my name is Barkha Dutt and you are watching ‘Democracy Live’, your brand-new…

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…

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…

The humble home of the village school master who, at age 23, founded the Mahavishnu of Mount Road, ‘The Hindu’

  The ‘Friday Review’ supplement of The Hindu carries, in its Bangalore edition at least, a feature on the little town of Tiruvaiyaru in Thanjavur district, where its founder G. Subramania Iyer was born and where he received his initial schooling. Mr Iyer, who started life as a school teacher, was 23 when he started The Hindu with…

“Since Shujaat Bukhari’s murder we have been dying a little everyday, slowly and bitterly. Did his killers celebrate? Did they get what they took away from us?”

Shujaat Bukhari, the longtime Kashmir correspondent of The Hindu and Frontline, who launched Rising Kashmir, was assassinated in Srinagar, in June 2018. In the Sunday magazine section of The Hindu, his wife Tehmeena Bukhari, a doctor, writes of her and the family’s trauma. *** “Since his murder — unsolved to this day — we have been…

How newspapers prepared Rajasthan fast bowler to get his deliveries right—and he has 50 wickets this season to show

Karnataka is playing Rajasthan in the quarter-finals of the Ranji Trophy in Bangalore. The Hindu has a feature on Rajasthan’s left-arm seam bowler, Tanveer Ul-Haq, who has bagged 50 wickets this season. Tanveer, 27, worked as car mechanic and then as a newspaper delivery boy before a life in cricket beckoned him: “I worked as…

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…

Once upon a time, when an Editor passed through a City, the best and brightest gathered to meet and greet

From the archives of The Hindu, 100 years ago. *** Kasturi Ranga Iyengar was the properous lawyer from Kumbakonam who bought The Hindu from its original owners in 1905, for Rs 75,000, and became its Editor. A century on, his descendants now the paper and its allied businesses. An old-style nameplate bearing his name still…

“Headline management”, which Arun Shourie said was the Modi government’s USP, is now faster, vaster, insidious—and real time

During the previous Congress-led UPA government, it was widely rumoured that a non-Hindi speaking Union minister was so mixed up with one English TV news channel that he routinely telephoned his favourite anchor or the “PCR” (production control room) to correct or dictate the “news ticker”. It hasn’t changed much during the BJP-led NDA government,…

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…