Category Archives: People

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…

Why India’s position is not rising on the World Press Freedom Index: exhibit 139 and exhibit 140

Since modern Indian civilisation began in 2014, the Guinness Book of Records has kind-of replaced the Constitution of India and the Bhagwad Gita as the epics to emulate. Under Narendra Modi, the preferred goals are Olympian—citius, altius, fortius. Therefore, the world’s largest khichdi, the world’s tallest statue, the world’s largest yoga gathering, the world’s longest monologue…

Why has the Narendra Modi government stopped counting the attacks on, and murders of, journalists?

*** “The government does not have data on how many journalists were murdered or attacked since 2014 as the National Crime Records Bureau does not compile data divided by professions. However, the government is in the process of collating this information.” This was minister of state for information and broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore‘s bland, bureaucratic reply…

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…

Editors Guild of India expresses ‘concern’ for an Editor caught in a multi-crore chit fund scam in which lakhs of poor were taken for a right royal ride

*** Suman Chhattopadhyay, the editor of Ei Samay, the Bengali newspaper published by The Times of India group was arrested last month by the CBI for embezzlement of money in the chit fund scam. And the Editors Guild of India has issued this extraordinary statement. The Editors Guild of India has expressed concern over the…

When you are full of bile and bias, with plenty to hide, Mohandas Pai will never know about ‘Witness No. 17’

Delegitimising mainstream media in the eyes of the people—by calling us names; by accusing us of dereliction of duty; by attributing motives—is a core function of right-wing trolls with cow dung between their ears. The conviction of Congress man Sajjan Kumar in the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom following the assassination of Indira Gandhi has led to…

‘Dainik Jagran’ gets another ‘stamp’ of approval as it turns 75

The world’s largest newspaper, Dainik Jagran, has just completed 75 years of existence. Prime Minister Narendra Modi released a postage stamp and posed with the Gupta family which owns it. Jagran‘s growth in the 1990s coincided with the Ramjanmabhoomi movement and media scholars say it was a key force-multiplier in the communal mobilisation of the…

Kind attention: M.J. Akbar, Vinod Dua, Prashant Jha, K.R. Sreenivas, T.S. Sudhir, Gaurav Sawant et al

In October 2018, New York Review of Books (NYRB) published a piece by Jian Ghomeshi, a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) host. Four years earlier, i.e. before #MeToo, Ghomeshi had been fired after more than 20 women had filed complaints of harassment and physical harm. Ghomeshi was subsequently acquitted of all charges which included hitting, biting,…

How ‘The Indian Express’ is covering the #Rafale scandal—and a scandal it is—compared to the way it covered #Bofors

The Congress president Rahul Gandhi has addressed five press conferences on the Rs 140,000 crore Rafale aircraft deal involving the Narendra Modi government and the bankrupt businessman Anil Ambani. These press conferences have been on 30 August, 22 September, 11 October, 25 October and 2 November 2018, and they have all been held in New…

Ravi Nair: the journalist who pushed the #Rafale deal into the national and political consciousness

Twitter in India today is mostly a platform to preen for loud Delhi gasbags—or a signalling system for has-beens trying desperately to stay on the right side of Tongue Parivar. Good journalism, therefore, gets subsumed by those who shout, scream and shriek—and then shout, scream and shriek some more when somebody, usually another gasbag, retweets…

Vinod Mehta, the Last Great Editor, 1942-2015

sans serif records with deep regret the passing of the Editorial Chairman of Outlook magazine, Vinod Mehta, in New Delhi on Sunday, 8 March 2015. He was 73 years old and had been ailing for some time. He leaves behind his wife Sumita Paul, their canine companion, “Editor”, two brothers and a sister—and legions of…

When a veteran reporter heard he had the big ‘C’

Journalists see plenty of disease, despair and death in the line of duty. Even if we do not entertain prospects of immortality, our near-constant exposure to the dark and grim side of life somewhat inures us to its only certainty. But what when it hits home? Krishna Vattam, for 40 years the Mysore correspondent of…

A legend who told MLAs where to get off: RIP

sans serif records the demise of S. Balasubramanian, the chairman of the Tamil weekly Ananda Vikatan—who also served as its editor, managing director and publisher for 50 years—in Madras on Friday, December 19. He was 78. Mr Balasubramanian hit the national headlines in 1987 when he was sentenced, arrested and jailed for refusing to apologise…

When salary isn’t commensurate with circulation

The latest issue of Caravan magazine has more than just the story of former Indian Express editor-in-chief, Shekhar Gupta. There is a fine profile of Eenadu bossman Ramoji Rao, and there are interesting numbers in a data analysis of the big newspapers by howindialives.com. One of the charts (above) in the latter story is how…

18 factoids in ‘Caravan’ profile of Shekhar Gupta

The December “media issue” of Caravan magazine has a 20-page profile of former Indian Express editor-in-chief and shortlived India Today editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta. Authored by Krishn Kaushik, the profile is titled “Capital Reporter”, with the strapline “How profit and principle shaped the journalism of Shekhar Gupta”. *** # The son of a minor bureaucrat from…