Category Archives: Television

News connoisseurs to news nibblers: how BBC is approaching journalism in Indian languages with five words fast disappearing from our ‘bhasha’: trust, credibility, strength, depth, quality

If the English market is tough for serious players in Indian journalism, keeping the head above the water in the languages is a humongous challenge. So immense, so expensive, and so impossible is the task of attracting readers and viewers, and keeping them engaged with quality content, that nearly nobody is attempting to do it.…

Listening to Vineet Jain’s and Rahul Joshi’s cringe-worthy speeches welcoming Narendra Modi, you are left with only one doubt: was the text approved by the Prime Minister’s Office or its propaganda division, Niti Aayog?

“After #Pulwama, the Indian media proves it is the BJP’s propaganda machine“ This was the headline of an article in the Washington Post, on March 4, by two researchers of The Polis Project, who looked at the “contradictory, biased, incendiary and uncorroborated” reports in a number of media vehicles including India Today, NDTV, News 18, The…

Usually journalists try to enter politics during elections, but when a first-class, four-time Member of Parliament decides to return to journalism, it is news

When elections loom into view, journalists with an eye on the main chance, fancy a stint in politics. But in Odisha, the four-time Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP Tathagata Sathpathy, a stand-out parliamentarian, has taken the opposite route: back to journalism. Satpathy, owner and editor of the well-regarded Odia newspaper Dharitri, and its sister English…

18 things you didn’t know about ANI, from the ‘The Ken’ and ‘The Caravan’ profiles of the video news agency to which Narendra Modi has given four interviews in five years

When the letters “ANI” stare at viewers in virtually every news clip; when the prime minister gives the agency his first “interview” of the year; when an opposition leader calls the interviewer “pliable”, naturally somebody is going to ask how “Advani News International”, as it used to be once derisively called, became the go-to media…

When a military expert’s son—a patriotic, war-mongering studio warrior who is on Amit Shah’s speed dial—is ferociously shamed by a Union minister, it is a signal to journalists everywhere: beware

India Today group news director Rahul Kanwal is one of the “lucky” few in Indian journalism who gets a chance to interview BJP president Amit Shah, in public, at least once every quarter. Every few weeks, Shah dutifully appears at an India Today event where Kanwal goes full pelt at his subject with kid gloves, and, in…

“‘Fidayeen Anchors’ like Arnab Goswami did what is expected of them. It is moderate-looking journalists like Shekhar Gupta, Barkha Dutt, Rajdeep Sardesai who have shed their masks.”

The flame-throwing, fire-spewing, war-mongering conduct of the “commando comic channels” in the recent India-Pakistan kerfuffle has attracted near-universal criticism on both sides of the line of control—and across the seven seas. Indeed, these incursions by the TRPF (Television Rating Point Force) into the soul and sanity of the subcontinent were about the only ones not disputed by…

Hawks, hotheads and hysteria: ‘Al Jazeera’ looks at the “mad prophets of the airwaves”—India’s war-mongering TV channels and anchors

Channels calling for war. Studios populated with former generals talking military tactics. Social media messaging apps flooded with fake news and propaganda. Al Jazeera‘s excellent media programme ‘The Listening Post‘, hosted by Richard Gizbert, takes a look at the war-mongering, hate-spewing, “unjournalistic ranting” of primetime TV in India. *** Rohit Chopra, an associate professor at…

How TV anchors wrapped themselves in the tricolour and proudly cheered India’s latest aerial strike in Pakistan, unmindful of its consequences

An Indian response to the February 14 terror attack in Kashmir, the deadliest in 30 years of militancy, was a dead certainty—and one which many “commando comic channels” craved for. With a difficult general election looming, Narendra Modi did not disappoint. The surgical strikes on February 26 deep inside Pakistan territory have resulted in an…

70% of Indians live in the villages but media coverage of rural India is barely 4%, and that is mostly in print media and of non-farm issues

In episode 11 of ‘Shut Up Ya Kunal‘, the poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar tells Kunal Kamra of the abysmal coverage of farm and rural issues in Indian media. Around the 34th minute of the episode, Akhtar says: “In a nation where 70 per cent of the population lives in the countryside and most of…

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…

‘Bhakts’ target ‘Gujarat Samachar’ for mocking Narendra Modi’s inability to stop terror attack in Kashmir, make editor Shreyans Shah’s phone number public, but paper sells like warm ‘dhokla’

For more than two years now, the big buzz in Delhi has been that the only thing that could possibly reverse Narendra Modi‘s (and BJP’s) precipitous nosedive after #Demonetisation was a noisy (and bloody) skirmish with Pakistan. id est: war. The ascent of Imran Khan and his initial overtures halted that talk briefly, but the deadly February…

NDTV’s Ravish Kumar delivers a 400-word masterclass to the studio warriors of the “commando comic channels” itching for war with Pakistan (once again)

*** The deadly attack on a Central Reserve Police Force convoy by a suicide-bomber which killed over 40 in Kashmir on Valentine’s Day was the proverbial lightning rod for studio warriors of what former Indian Express editor Shekhar Gupta calls the “commando comic channels“. Hashtags like #IndiaWantsRevenge roared on Republic TV. #AvengeAwantipora and #PakKeTukdeTukde on NewsX.…

“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…

Arnab Goswami dares ‘Aaj Tak’ and ‘ABP’ and ‘Zee News’ and ‘India TV’ on eve of ‘Republic Bharat’ launch: why did you not break any of the big stories in the last few years?

Ahead of the launch of the Hindi news channel ‘Republic Bharat’, Arnab Goswami, the founder and editor-in-chief of Republic TV, dares existing Hindi channels. In this screengrab running on the channel, Goswami asks why English TV news channels have broken most of the big stories in the last few years. See a shorter version of the…

In Odisha, media freedom shrinks in novel ways. OTV chief Jagi Panda, w/o Jay Panda, becomes collateral damage as the privileges committee strikes.

The privileges committees of state assemblies are fast emerging as deadly instruments to turn the screws on inconvenient news media, or inconvenient news media personnel. In Congress-ruled Karnataka, in 2017, the committee’s decision to order the arrest of two tabloid editors for articles deemed defamatory of the privileges of legislators, including the Speaker, drew criticism.…

“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…

How Reliance Jio drove data usage, erased the line between content and carriage, and is making life hell for India’s news media

*** In this, the second and concluding part of a two-part excerpt from his new book Freedom, Civility, Commerce, journalist and academic Sukumar Muralidharan turns his eye on the mysterious entry of Reliance Jio, and what it portends for the media. *** By SUKUMAR MURALIDHARAN Statistics may often have no more than transient utility in…

‘A determined political operation has turned new media into a propaganda tool: not pluralistic and interactive, but relentlessly one-way and single-themed’

*** The weaponisation of Indian broadcast and digital media by Hindutva forces has been a key force-multiplier in coarsening the discourse and manufacturing consent, to be encashed at the ballot boxes. In this, the first of a two-part excerpt from his new book Freedom, Civility, Commerce, journalist and academic Sukumar Muralidharan argues that the eagerness…

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…