Category Archives: Television

#SuperhitGhotala: Arnab Goswami’s 80 MB of WhatsApp chats in 12 tweets, 7 screenshots and 2 YouTube videos

“He who lives by other people’s WhatsApp chats shall be judged by his own WhatsApp chats.”—old jungle saying *** For weeks, after the death of Sushant Singh Rajput, India’s TV news channels feasted on crumbs fed to them—leaked transcripts of WhatsApp conversations of stars and upstarts, hinting darkly at murder, extortion, drugs and sex, all in the run-up to the assembly elections due in…

Vague, arbitrary, unconstitutional, outdated: 9 reasons why journalists should want Section 2(c)(i) of the Contempt of Courts Act to go

The constitutional validity of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, has been challenged in the Karnataka High Court by Krishna Prasad, former Editor-in-Chief of Outlook; N. Ram, former Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu and director of The Hindu Publishing Group; Arun Shourie, former Editor of The Indian Express and former Union minister; and Prashant Bhushan, senior…

J-POD || Podcast || “Pakistan took foreign journalists to Balakot a month after India’s strike. India is still to take its own journalists to Galwan six months after the Chinese incursion” || Sushant Singh

Exactly six months ago, on the intervening night of June 15-16 this year, the lives of 20 Indian soldiers ended—literally at the hands of the Chinese in the heights of Ladakh. For several weeks, large sections of mainstream media were in denial, dishing out the sarkari view that there was nothing abnormal on the border.…

Salman Ravi, the BBC Hindi reporter who gifted his shoes to a barefoot migrant, is honoured with an Asian Media Award

Remember the BBC Hindi reporter who lent his shoes to a migrant worker walking home barefoot after his footwear had snapped along the way, at the height of the COVID lockdown in May? Well, the journalist has been recognissd for his humanitarian gesture. The reporter, Salman Ravi, has been given an Asian Media Award in…

In a sea of conformist editorials, ‘Hindustan Times’ takes the cake and the bakery on Arnab Goswami’s arrest

Newspaper editorials on Republic TV founder and editor Arnab Goswami‘s arrest for allegedly abetting the suicide of an unpaid studio designer all take the same line: that no matter what the facts of the case, the arrest of a pesky needler is wrong. *** Hindustan Times *** The Indian Express *** The Times of India…

J-POD || Podcast || “Because of COVID very few journalists are on the ground, very few are travelling, very few are interacting the way they would. Take everything with a pinch of salt”|| Bihar veteran Uttam Sengupta

Generally speaking, political analysis on Indian television has been as reliable as the weather report and as insightful as astrological predictions—but just a little less fun than the comic strip. The assembly elections in Bihar five Novembers years ago showed what a joke it was. Even on the day of the counting, even as the…

How a speech of Anita Pratap glorifying V. Prabhakaran ended up in ‘Methagu’, a biopic on the dreaded LTTE chief

Anita Pratap, the Bangalore University journalism student whose byline—when bylines still had value—adorned Sunday and India Today magazines, Time and CNN, is in the news. Pratap, reputedly the first journalist to interview Velupillai Prabhakaran, when he lived in Chennai in 1985, features in Methagu (His Excellency), a biopic on the slain supremo of the Liberation…

Believe it if you must, Subhash Chandra of Zee says he is now personally worth just Rs 9.85 crore

How the cookie crumbles. In 2018, Zee group founder Subhash Chandra was India’s 27th richest man, his net worth valued at around Rs 35,000 crore. Business Standard reports that he now puts the value of his personal assets at Rs 9.85 crore, down from Rs 39.07 crore in 2015, as the group faces a mountain…

India gives a “befitting response” to China’s incursion—by squeezing Press Trust of India (PTI) out to help ANI

China has invaded and occupied over 1,000 sq km of Indian territory, approximately the size of Delhi, right under the nose of a “strong man”, without so much as a squeak from pseudo-patriots. But the government’s public response is as befits an acknowledged “soft power”. A ban on Chinese apps for starters, to make sure…

J-POD || Podcast || “Republic doesn’t need to fix TV ratings. Even if all rigging is removed, Arnab Goswami will still be No.1. If Aaj Tak gets defeated, it can’t make a comeback” || Aunindyo Chakravarty

One of the great miracles in Indian television is that every new news channel manages to overtake the incumbent market leader in a matter of weeks. First NDTV overtook Headlines Today soon after launch. Then CNN-IBN overtook NDTV. Later Times Now overtook CNN-IBN. And finally Republic overtook Times Now within days. The reason for this…

Mr Justice Arnab Goswami, the dispenser of instant judgments at 9 pm, gets a taste of his own medicine in TRP scam in the morning papers

Arnab Goswami‘s Republic TV has only been named in a Bombay Police FIR for allegedly rigging TV meters for ratings, but looking at the headlines in newspapers, it would appear it has already been held guilty in the court of public opinion. A not-unfamiliar experience for the 9 pm judge, jury and executioner. *** ***

J-POD || Podcast || “Facebook’s deals with newsrooms, big editors’ proximity to its execs has prevented Indian media from investigating its BJP bias” || Kunal Purohit on ‘WSJ’ and ‘Time’ revelations

20 years ago, “Web 2.0” ushered in social media. It was free, it was fast, it was fun. Anybody with a phone could take part, and almost everyone did. It instantly connected friends, families, communities. Major political events like the ‘Arab Spring’ in Egypt briefly showed the potential of interactive, user-generated content to be a…

A “big propaganda” campaign of “slander and vilification” driven by “malice and prejudice” which was “wrong and motivated”: ‘Deccan Herald’ holds the mirror to the media on Tablighi Jamaat

The coverage of the #TablighiJamaat congregation in Delhi—the shameless attempt to give the #Coronavirus outbreak a communal angle—was one of the more egregious examples of a majoritarian media that has lost its moral, social and professional moorings. India’s brain-dead TV “news” channels, of course, led the pack, with “shows” titled Corona Jihad se desh bachao (save India…

How Steve Bannon was shaping India’s shrill anti-China rhetoric on Zee-owned ‘WION’ and ‘Times Now’ even before the Ladakh intrusion

Steve Bannon, the former investment banker who was editor-in-chief of the right-wing US website Breitbart before he became a key architect of Donald Trump‘s 2016 presidential election victory, has been arrested, masked and charged with swindling nearly $1 million (approximately Rs 7.5 crore) in the name of building the wall on the US-Mexico border. But…

Facebook, BJP and Narendra Modi: The real story about the ‘WSJ’ expose is not just Ankhi Das’s role, but how FB began meddling in Indian politics before 2014

Facebook’s shady role in Indian politics—hunting with the majoritarian hounds and fuelling the communal fires, for a price—has been blazingly apparent for over eight years now. But it has taken a devastating expose in The Wall Street Journal to reveal why Indian media has been so disinterested in such a juicy story. The August 14 WSJ…

“Mr Prime Minister, why do you look so unkempt?”: How Amar Singh rescued Karan Thapar after a testy interview with Chandra Shekhar 30 years ago

Never speak ill of the dead, maybe, but a week after his death, Amar Singh would go down in most people’s books as a fixer, as an operator, whose chief asset was an enviable (and enjoyable) collection of audio and video CDs—and a PABX machine which recorded every call. But, in Delhi, a city of…

J-POD || Podcast || “In 1992, journalists had to be beaten up to stop them from telling the Ayodhya story. Today it will appear on page 8. English media will go Hindi way soon” || Seema Chishti on covering the Babri Masjid demolition

*** Most journalists will confess that “changing people’s lives” was one of the reasons they got into the profession. Some might even remember this or that story that indeed changed a few lives. But not too many can claim that they actually reported a story that changed a billion lives, in fact changed a nation. The demolition…

“I was asked to leave my phones outside. I was told, ‘resign now or be terminated’. The HR manager held the relieving letter. By the time I got home an hour later, I’d been locked out of my official email”: a brave note from a “journalist of courage”

Hundreds of journalists have lost their jobs in India in the middle of the COVID pandemic with barely a squeak. The haemorrhaging has hollowed out newsrooms at the very moment news consumers expect more (and better) from journalism. But it is all hush-hush. Chhupa rustom. Unlike more civilised parts of the journalistic world, where the…

J-POD || Podcast || “In 1962, media was more independent, less subservient. It lampooned Nehru, Krishna Menon mercilessly. Modi is trying to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat by managing headlines” || Jairam Ramesh

*** When WhatsApp becomes the chief source of information, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that India was a mere 15 years old as a free nation when China invaded in 1962. An impressionable teenager, whose population was 45 crores, whose GDP was a mere $4,200 crore. On the other hand, when China intruded…