Category Archives: Television

“In an authoritarian state there is only one Truth; the newspapers are all alike, they all repeat the same one Truth. So do the radio stations, and you cannot listen to those of other countries”

What does a Kashmiri journalist who is neither a fidayeen anchor nor a studio warrior of the commando comic TV channels—on either side of the line of no control—feel about the undemocratic and unaccountable crackdown on media in the Valley? Srinagar-based journalist and broadcaster Gowhar Geelani—who believes both India and Pakistan should stay off Kashmir—has…

Narendra Modi and Amit Shah brutally divided Jammu and Kashmir. Now, the media have neatly divided themselves: foreign vs ‘desi’; local vs Delhi; Kashmiri vs Pandit—journalism vs propaganda

Like so much else since the dawn of civilisation in 2014, journalistic coverage and assessment of the situation in Kashmir after the removal of Article 370 in the Valley has been severely polarised. On the one side is a contest between the establishment view of the Narendra Modi government, and the independent view of foreign news…

In Kashmir, there are strict orders not to issue “curfew passes” to local reporters, to prevent them for going around. But then, there is no curfew, according to Delhi-based TV news channels.

As the lockdown—jargon for a brutal, undemocratic suppression of civil liberties—in Kashmir enters its fifth day, Zulfikar Majid, the Srinagar correspondent of Bangalore’s oldest English daily Deccan Herald recounts his search for an internet connection. “I managed to reach the office of a regional newspaper, hoping to get internet access. “I saw the faces of…

Screenshots, thumb drives, sat phones, OB vans, and all the fancy footwork that fine reporters are using to get their stories out to counter the “propaganda blitzkrieg” on Kashmir

Three days on, the first reports are coming in of the situation on the ground in Kashmir, after New Delhi imposed a blanket clampdown on landline, mobile and internet services, before revoking #Article370 in the Valley. The Telegraph‘s Sankarshan Thakur (above) has a diary of the run-up to the “lockdown”—jargon for a brutal suppression for…

With phones, mobiles and internet switched off, it’s a psychological “war without witness” in Kashmir. And it’s hell for reporters, photographers and cameramen in paradise.

The “lockdown” of Kashmir—mild jargon for a brutal, undemocratic suppression of civil liberties in the Valley—in the run up to and following the bifurcation of the State has cast a dark shadow over journalism with phone lines cut and internet shut. The Telegraph (above) reports in its issue today that it has not been able…

Ravish Kumar’s citation (878 words) compared to Arun Shourie’s (575 words) is a testament to how much media freedom has shrunk in India under “popular authoritarianism”. It is a tight slap on Narendra Modi’s tax terrorists—and a salute to Prannoy and Radhika Roy.

In 1982, in the wake of Indira Gandhi‘s Emergency, the Ramon Magsaysay foundation awarded Indian Express editor Arun Shourie with the Magsaysay Award. Shourie’s citation was 575 words long. In 2019, NDTV India’s Ravish Kumar has been honoured with what is considered to be the “Asian Nobel”. Kumar’s citation is 878 words long. The length…

To eat or not to eat with a suspicious host who says you can only sit in the verandah but not enter the kitchen where the numbers are cooked

The unintended consequences of the Union finance ministry’s decision to bar entry to journalists pre-screened by the Union home ministry. “Some ministry officials have said they do not like the idea of journalists prowling the ministry’s corridors and do not wish to be accosted whenever they step out of their rooms. They have claimed that…

The amazing rise and dramatic fall of Ravi Prakash, a competent but colourful journalist who built one of India’s biggest, most influential news networks: TV9

TV9 “chairman, CEO and editor” Ravi Prakash, who shared the stage with prime minister Narendra Modi at the launch of ‘TV9 Bharatvarsh’ just 40 days ago, has been shown the door by the network’s new owners whom he, ironically, brought in to buy the company from its original promoter six months ago. An official spokesman (see statement,…

In Gauri Lankesh’s home-state, a frighteningly real story of ‘fake news’, with the clumsy footprints of BJP and RSS—and embedded ‘sangh’ journalists and newspapers. (And, yes, a fake news peddler followed by Narendra Modi.)

*** A leading Kannada newspaper owned by a former three-term BJP MP and a serial fake news peddler followed by Narendra Modi on Twitter, have been embroiled in a forged letter scandal, following the arrest of a “journalist” owing allegiance to the RSS. # The newspaper is Vijaya Vani owned by former Dharwad (North) MP Vijay Sankeshwar. #…

“Did Reuters evaluate or examine the practices, political affiliations, and reputation of ANI prior to expanding its strategic partnership in June 2018?”: Full text of veterans’ complaint

A “group of retired officers of the Indian armed forces” has written to Thomson Reuters, flagging concerns over the political motivations of its “India partner”, Asian News International (ANI), in its coverage of a veterans’ memorandum to the President of India. Below is the full text of the email, sent on April 23, with the…

“ANI acted at the behest of [BJP] to manipulate quotes and defame our honourable intentions. Its conduct tantamounts to being perfidious”: military veterans’ complaint to Thomson Reuters, Press Council, Editors Guild on “motivated misreporting”

The video news agency ANI’s role in manufacturing consent for the Narendra Modi government has been blazingly obvious. Craven interviews with the prime minister; dubious tweets by its staffers; and a host of other incidents have turned ANI into a partisan and “pliable” purveyor at the forefront of the BJP propaganda machine. Barring a couple…

Nine journalists arrested in Telangana for reporting and recording EVMs being shifted in the middle of the night in private vehicles

Mohammad Mohsin, an IAS officer of the Karnataka cadre posted as an election observer in Odisha, has been suspended for “dereliction of duty”. His offence: checking the helicopter of Narendra Modi, days after a black box had been hurriedly carried off the PM’s chopper in Karnataka. *** Now, nine journalists in Telangana have been arrested…

Pinch yourself: BJP’s Mysore candidate Pratap Simha—a well-read newspaper columnist—had taken out a pre-publication gag order against 49 media organisations two months before “sex audio” went viral today

*** The BJP candidate for the Bangalore South constituency in the 2019 general elections Tejasvi Surya hit national headlines on March 29 when he secured an ex-parte temporary injunction against 49 media organisations from a Bangalore court, after allegations of sexual assault and misbehaviour against him began doing the rounds on social media. After editorials in The Indian…

“99.99 per cent of Indian media is ‘Godi Media’, doing ‘chamchagiri’ of Narendra Modi, showing ‘bakwas’…. TV is making a fool of you, brainwashing you with bogus debates and propaganda”: Ravish Kumar

NDTV India Ravish Kumar has a fan base all his own in modern Hindi journalism, despite the negligible viewership of his channel, primarily because heartland journalists have been  en masse neutered and turned into evangelists for Hindutva’s crudest causes by their twisted owners, managers and minds. Kumar’s earthy, blunt, no-nonsense Bihari drone can be gnawing…

The thread that ties the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919, a BBC correspondent posted in India, and the lifeblood of good journalists, Old Monk rum

Of the hundreds of thousands of people who have peered into this well in Amritsar over the last 100 years—a mandatory patriotic pause on the way to (or back from) the more spiritual experience next door at The Golden Temple—few have been more moved than a journalist who served three years in India. Justin Rowlatt,…

L’affaire Tejasvi Surya: “Media isn’t losing its freedoms so much as surrendering its freedoms. As a group it is unwilling to challenge the restrictions being imposed on them”

The temporary injunction obtained by BJP candidate for Bangalore South, Tejasvi Surya, against 49 newspapers, news channels and digital platforms has met with a strange radio silence from the affected parties. None of them have (so far) filed objections. No media body in Bangalore or elsewhere has thought it fit to react to such a…

If a fake news website deserves freedom to concoct an alternate universe for bhakts, bots and WhatsApp uncles, why cannot legitimate media organisations probe and report a BJP candidate’s past?

Media organisations seem so tired and bored of (repeatedly) fighting for their freedoms that not one of them has publicly raised their voice against an extraordinary injunction issued by a Bangalore court barring them from reporting on troubling questions concerning the private life of BJP’s Bangalore South candidate, Tejasvi Surya. The only paper to have editorially…

When Aveek Sarkar and Vir Sanghvi met a scandal-ridden Rajiv Gandhi in 1988, they could ask 208 questions and supplementaries, including one, ahem, on #NewIndia. That is called an “interview”, Narendra Modi and PMO please note.

  *** “In the first year of his prime ministership, Rajiv Gandhi was easily accessible to the press and gave candid, free-wheeling interviews. By the second year the candour was beginning to wear thin. And by the time the scandals surrounding his friends and the regime surfaced, he had retreated into his shell.” Thus begins…

Ahead of elections, a political party in Tamil Nadu which owns a TV news channel seeks to gag the state’s No.2 channel ‘Puthiya Thalaimurai’, whose owners run educational institutions

Can a TV news channel promise, before hand, not to air content that a political party or politician might later consider false or defamatory, or both? The answer is obvious, but not so in the bizarre world of Tamil politics and media where conflict of interest is a recurring theme. Last week, the Pattali Makkal…

You are what you watch: Gujaratis consume the least amount of TV news in India; Assamese the most. To no one’s surprise, Malayalees catch a lot.

Indians spend a little over 30 minutes of their day, on average, watching news on television, according to the 2018 yearbook of the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC). Viewers in the northeastern states watch nearly twice as much news as Gujaratis. Although news accounts for just 7% of total TV viewership, news channels attract more…