Category Archives: Television

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…

J-POD || Podcast || “Google and Facebook think tying up with Reliance Jio will open doors, shut out competitors. Indira Gandhi bludgeoned media with ‘jhatka’; Narendra Modi uses the ‘halaal’ technique” || Paranjoy Guha Thakurta

There once used to be a time when any new announcement by Reliance Industries would be put under the microscope by the media and examined with a fine toothcomb.  A rights issue, a new venture. a tie-up, even a routine annual general meeting (AGM). Everything would be inspected with forensic detail by newspapers like the Indian…

“The information dissemination lapse is the greatest lapse for India and Indian democracy”: Ajai Shukla’s devastating indictment of media stenography on the Chinese pullback in Ladakh

There are at least 50 reporters in Delhi on the defence beat. But for nearly six weeks, from early-May to mid-June, all but a couple of them were in the dark, or in patriotic denial, of the Chinese incursion into Indian territory at Ladakh. The killing of 20 soldiers on June 15 provided the necessary…

J-POD || Podcast || “Indian TV is not a force-multiplier in Nepal, it’s a force-subtractor. Its sexism, misogyny and ultra-nationalism is ruining India’s ties not just with Nepal but also with China” || ‘Himal’ founder Kanak Mani Dixit

*** Even the most uninformed Indian might be able to understand India’s troubles with Pakistan and China. But even a genius will find it difficult to make sense of India’s current relationship status with Nepal. When it came to power in 2014, the BJP-led NDA government was naturally expected to develop deeper linkages with what was…

Vinod Dua tells the Supreme Court: “I have freedom of speech and I have the right to criticise the government. I don’t have to answer the police as to why I criticised the government”

Charged by Himachal Pradesh police with sedition for remarks made “against” prime minister Narendra Modi on a YouTube video, veteran broadcaster Vinod Dua tells the Supreme Court: “I have freedom of speech and have the right to criticise the government. Till date, the police have refused to give us details on the nature of the…

“Stop showing satellite pictures of China’s incursion”: TV editors get a patriotic nudge as Army scampers to limit damage of Narendra Modi’s big lie

Hoist by its own petard—which was Shakespeare‘s way of saying “blown by your own bomb”—on China’s incursion into Indian territory, the Narendra Modi government has rolled out “headline management” on a war footing to control the political damage emanating from the prime minister’s naked lie (above). With hitherto “loyal” journalists covering the defence and external affairs…

Nidhi Razdan says (maybe) it was a mistake to throw Sambit Patra out of her NDTV show ‘Left, Right & Centre’

Nidhi Razdan, the NDTV anchor who famously sent BJP spokesman Sambit Swaraj out of her 9 pm show Left, Right and Centre when he accused the channel of having an “agenda” three years ago, says she would not do it were it to happen again. In an interview with the writer and columnist Amit Varma…

Barkha Dutt’s father and the Netflix founder Marc Randolph’s father have one thing in common: a hobby that hooked them for life

Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph‘s father was a nuclear engineer who, after returning home every day, would slip into overalls, head into the basement and assemble toy trains. The paragraphs above appear in Randolph’s book That will never work. *** In today’s Sunday Mid-Day, there is a similar story of TV journalist Barkha Dutt‘s father, S.P.…

J-POD || Podcast || “COVID has given us a brain scan of media thinking. National newspapers devote 0.67% of front page to 69% of India. Corporate media is the bed on which religious and market fundamentalists cohabit” || P. Sainath

*** Less than 2% of India’s population is invested in stocks and mutual funds. Yet, India has at least half-a-dozen business newspapers in English. And just as many business news channels. Every newspaper in every language, in every part of the country, has a page—or half of page—dedicated to business news. Or what they think is business…

J-POD || Podcast || “Every year over 20,000 students pass out. Where are the jobs? || Big media is trapped. J-schools should produce entrepreneurs, one-man armies” || Prof Kanchan Kaur of IIJNM, and Prof Anand Pradhan of IIMC

*** In a nation where more than half the population is below 25 years of age, professional education has boomed in the last couple of decades—to make the most of the so-called “demographic dividend”.  Journalism education—in particular—has seen gravity and logic-defying growth.  As liberalisation freed up the air waves and wallets, and TV channels made…

“The chief editor ‘Mathrubhumi’ didn’t have”: M.P. Veerendra Kumar, the socialist media baron who brought two globalising forces to their knees in Kerala: Coca-Cola and ‘The Times of India’

The small division looking after the printing of currency notes is one of the outposts of North Block in New Delhi. The bosses can barely be bothered with its expenses. But for a brief while during the I.K. Gujral regime in 1997, it received some serious love. “What paper are we using?” “Why is there…

J-POD || Podcast || “Coronavirus has made us realise how networked we are. Even the ‘News-Finds-Me’ generation is seeking out news now” || PSU media effects research don, Prof Shyam Sundar

*** Media education in India is the bright sun on an otherwise dark horizon, but it’s a bit of a blur. Although there are hundreds of journalism schools across the country, some of them as expensive as B-schools, serious academic research is an exception.  Nothing is measured professionally, consistently and independently. Only the most banal…