“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…

Kannada University postpones silver jubilee event after students and teachers object to the ‘consistent misogyny’ of an invitee: a right-wing newspaper Editor

  The valedictory function of the silver jubilee of Kannada University—a University set up in Hampi in Karnataka 25 years ago to celebrate the state’s language—has been abruptly postponed following protests over the participation of a newspaper Editor. The event, scheduled for January 31 and February 1, was put off after students and professors objected…

N. Ram: ‘Today’s mainstream media is scared to touch the Rafale scandal like it did Bofors. An overarching fear of Narendra Modi has had a chilling effect.”

It is rare in Indian journalism for the same journalist to be at the centre of two major investigations, 30 years apart.  In 1989, Narasimhan Ram was Associate Editor of the family-owned newspaper The Hindu when he, along with Chitra Subramaniam, dug into the #Bofors gun deal that set the stage for Rajiv Gandhi’s downfall.  In…

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…

In Jammu & Kashmir, is there a deliberate design to delegitimise photo and video journalists, and to remove them from the scene of action?

Keeping accreditated journalists out of government events and government offices, under one ruse or the other, has become such a norm in State after State that it barely attracts any more than momentary attention. But when six accomplished journalists are kept out of the Republic Day function in Jammu & Kashmir, a state the Narendra…

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…

On poll eve, BJP government allots prime Bombay land meant for public housing to journalists—50% reserved for those covering “state affairs and politics”

There are several ways for Air Traffic Control to find out if a stormy election is en route, and if a ruling party is feeling the ants in its pants. MPs suddenly become active, inaugurating projects long-ago announced or inaugurated. Ministries announce quotas, sops and ‘special packages” for interest groups they had diligently ignored. Macho ministers…

Pakistan does a surgical strike on media: brings print, electronic and internet-based media under one regulatory body, with the same laws applying to all

Pakistan has done what India has been threatening for a long time to do: merge its various media regulatory bodies into one outfit. Imran Khan‘s government has approved the formation of the Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority (PMRA) which will comprise the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) and the Press Council of Pakistan (PCP). Pakistan’s…

The humble home of the village school master who, at age 23, founded the Mahavishnu of Mount Road, ‘The Hindu’

  The ‘Friday Review’ supplement of The Hindu carries, in its Bangalore edition at least, a feature on the little town of Tiruvaiyaru in Thanjavur district, where its founder G. Subramania Iyer was born and where he received his initial schooling. Mr Iyer, who started life as a school teacher, was 23 when he started The Hindu with…

Who does India trust as a news media promoter—Anil Ambani or Mukesh Ambani? Republic Day will reveal as #FirstPostPrint makes its debut.

India’s richest family, the Ambanis, have had a long and tortuous tryst with the media. The subject of well-deserved scrutiny for their less-than-clean methods when India still had a moral compass, they have been media promoters, off and on, with mixed success, in post-liberalised times. But for the most part, the Ambanis have been seen…

When every newspaper is going hyperlocal with a vengeance, ‘Dina Thanthi’ goes international with a Sri Lanka edition

Indian print media majors have not just been opposed—viscerally at first; superficially now—to the entry of foreign direct investment (FDI), or the publication of foreign titles. They have also been reluctant to venture out themselves. The Times of India briefly pondered editions in the Gulf. The Asian Age launched an edition in London. But there…

20 books that journalism students should read up for Elections 2019 (presuming, of course, that journalists and journalism teachers have read most or all of them)

“Sir, which books would you recommend to understand Indian politics better?” To that ever-green question, an academic has an answer. On his Twitter handle, Anand Pradhan, the well-regarded associate professor at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, has listed 20 books that will serve student-journalists well. Indeed, will serve journalists and journalism teachers well. 1.…

Kashmir’s news photographers were targeted despite their press jackets, cards, caps and cameras—and shouts that they were media men

The four Kashmir news photographers who were injured near Shopian in south Kashmir on Tuesday after being fired at with pellet guns by Indian security forces were all wearing jackets identifying them as media personnel and caps with “Press’ emblazoned on them. Accounts of the incident in Rising Kashmir and Hindustan Times show that the…

In the battle against “fake news”, the most admirable Indian in the world says the solution may lie in science, not cosmetic surgery to avoid ‘liability’

As India heads towards epoch-making general elections, the role of “fake news”—as a device to spread lies, untruths, propaganda, hatred, misinformation and disinformation, to change or make up voters’ minds—is on many a lip. In the backdrop of the US elections, social media platforms are making cosmetic changes to steer clear of the law. WhatsApp…

“Since Shujaat Bukhari’s murder we have been dying a little everyday, slowly and bitterly. Did his killers celebrate? Did they get what they took away from us?”

Shujaat Bukhari, the longtime Kashmir correspondent of The Hindu and Frontline, who launched Rising Kashmir, was assassinated in Srinagar, in June 2018. In the Sunday magazine section of The Hindu, his wife Tehmeena Bukhari, a doctor, writes of her and the family’s trauma. *** “Since his murder — unsolved to this day — we have been…

How newspapers prepared Rajasthan fast bowler to get his deliveries right—and he has 50 wickets this season to show

Karnataka is playing Rajasthan in the quarter-finals of the Ranji Trophy in Bangalore. The Hindu has a feature on Rajasthan’s left-arm seam bowler, Tanveer Ul-Haq, who has bagged 50 wickets this season. Tanveer, 27, worked as car mechanic and then as a newspaper delivery boy before a life in cricket beckoned him: “I worked as…

Amnesty bats for jailed Manipur journalist Kishorchandra Wangkhem: ‘Multiple arrests under vague, draconian, repressive laws for expressing his opinions is politically motivated’

Amnesty International has kicked off a signature campaign for the Manipuri cable TV journalist Kishorchandra Wangkhem, jailed under India’s dreaded National Security Act, for his Facebook videos slamming the BJP governments in his state and at the Centre. Below is the full Amnesty text. *** “Kishorchandra Wangkhem, a journalist based in Manipur, India, was arrested…

‘The media adviser to the PM has absolutely no role [in the prime minister’s office]. He is a nobody.”

The post of media advisor to the Prime Minister is much coveted by journalists, past and present, as the very apogee of their careers. A number of worthies have held the title: H.Y. Sharada Prasad, H.K. Dua, Prem Shankar Jha, Harish Khare, Pankaj Pachauri. And there are at least a dozen journalists hoping to be…

In the tragedy of errors that is Rafale and CBI, former Press Council chief Markandey Katju provides all the comedy, with 48 tweets in four days

A somewhat comical, even if self-serving, side play in the Narendra Modi government’s brazen (and thus far successful) attempts to fool the Supreme Court—not once, but twice—in #Rafale and #CBI, have been the interjections of Justice Markandey Katju*. Justice Katju has tweeted 48 times on or around the “transfer” of CBI director Alok Varma by…