“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…

A Gandhian Editor—an oxymoron in Indian journalism—returns to a real farm house in the countryside, after staying 43 years in an orphanage

In Delhi, Editors living in farm houses are a benchmark for #PannaPramukhs still aspiring and perspiring to clamber up the greasy totempole. Sainik Farms has a number of #EditorialWarriors. A super-expensive mansion on Malcha Marg in Delhi’s diplomatic hub, allegedly owned by a “reporters’ editor”, has kept tongues wagging for years and even prompted a…

How 15 brave reporters and photographers have defended the evidence they collected of Babri Masjid demolition

Excellent story in The Economic Times today of how reporters and photographers staved off a bid to discredit their great work, the midst of grave danger to their life abd limb, during the 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, by sangh parivar hoodlums. Screenshot: courtesy The Economic Times

“India has ceded territory to China”: near-unanimous newspaper editorials call the Modi government’s bluff—and reaffirm the value of print journalism

Editorials in India’s major English newspapers on the “mutual disengagement” that India and China have agreed upon, are nearly unanimous in their verdict: under “strong man” Narendra Modi, India has surrendered its territory to China. The mature and considered reading of the newspapers is in marked contrast to TV news channels parroting the BJP-led NDA…

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…

For Your Eyes Only: The 15-point note senior journos received on WhatsApp on how to interpret the India-China “mutual disengagement” for their audience

Once upon a time, Indira Gandhi called journalists “glorified stenographers“, but at least there was some dignity of labour in that epithet. For, stenos physically take notes of what is dictated to them, and then take the trouble to transcribe it. The Narendra Modi age has robbed journalism of even that iota of respect. “Headline management” has made the…

In a bleak media landscape, Sanjiv Goenka picks up ‘Fortune’, wants to get into electronic media as well

For long, Sanjiv Goenka, one half of the R.P. Goenka family who runs the RP-Sanjiv Goenka group, has long had media ambitions. Forever in the running for media buys, Goenka’s name does the rounds each time some enterprise is up in the air, a bit like Rajeev Chandrasekhar‘s. Open magazine is all he has had…

Anthony Parakal, the ex-Railway man whose “byline” appeared over 4,000 times on the edit pages of newspapers and magazines for 50 years, is dead

On page 8 of The Times of India in Bombay today, a name which appeared hundreds of times on the edit page of the newspaper, when it had an edit page for adults: Anthony Parakal. A former railway employee, Parakal arrived in Bombay from Kerala in 1954, and appalled by the miserable living conditions got…

J-POD || Podcast || “Coverage of border conflict is a dangerous new low. It signals to China that the incursion doesn’t matter very much or the government has controlled the media” || ex-FT journalist Rahul Jacob

Like nearly news event these days, China’s incursion into Ladakh has revealed the deep fault lines in the media. For weeks, most Indian newspapers and nearly all TV channels pretended nothing was amiss at the border. The exceptions—Ajai Shukla of Business Standard, Sushant Singh of The Indian Express, Manu Pubby of The Economic Times—could be…

“A preposterous, unacceptable demolition exercise by a government lackey, mimicking features of a dictatorship”: Press Club of India tears into Prasar Bharti’s bid to throttle PTI

The following is the full text of the statement issued by the Press Club of India against Prasar Bharati Corporation intimidatory attack on Press Trust of India. *** “The government gives the impression of working for the dismemberment of the Press Trust of India (PTI), India’s premier news agency which has established a name for…

When a business journalist—a former media advisor to the prime minister, no less—cannot buy a bottle of booze, it’s news

All the booze that’s fit to print. Former Business Standard editor Sanjaya Baru, the former media advisor to prime minister Manmohan Singh, and a policy wonk who has a solution for every problem on earth, falls victim to an online scam. Screenshots: courtesy The Hindu, Amar Ujala, Navbharat Times *** Sanjay Daru got cheated ₹24,000…

“Ironic that government has chosen to crack down on PTI, hours after marking the 45th anniversary of Emergency”: women journalists show the mirror to Narendra Modi

Below is the full text of the statement issued by the Indian Women’s Press Corps and Press Association on Prasar Bharati’s motivated threat to suspend its subscription to the news agency Press Trust of India for its “anti-national” reporting. *** The Indian Women’s Press Corps (IWPC) and Press Association express their deep concern over 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…

24 things that happened to the media during the Emergency, besides the three you already know

The Emergency of 1975 is in danger of becoming a cliche, pulled out with rhetorical flourish around June 25 each year to remember Indian democracy’s darkest 21 months. It’s used so loosely as a catch-all scare-word—even by those who have much to hide, especially by those who have much to hide—that for the 81% of…

J-POD || Podcast || “No ruler would be so foolish as to openly declare censorship today. There are enough subtle ways to bring it in quietly” || Coomi Kapoor on the best-kept secret of the Emergency

*** An acclaimed Indian Express journalist, whose husband was jailed during the Emergency of 1975, says governments no longer need to take Indira Gandhi’s route of introducing censorship to control the media or the message that reaches the people. “Parties have found enough ways to control the media without having to formally declare censorship. Governments…

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…

A well-travelled story is one which goes from Rediff to ‘Deccan Chronicle’ to ‘Prabhat Khabar’ to ‘India Today’ to ANI in 4 days flat, with a fiction writer somewhere in between

The heroic courage displayed by Indian soldiers while combating their Chinese counterparts on June 15, the day 20 of their brethren were killed literally at the hands of the Chinese, is now a project fully underway. Across platforms—a news portal (Rediff.com), an English newspaper (Deccan Chronicle), a Hindi newspaper (Prabhat Khabar), a news channel (India…

The news of a declaration: Hindi magazine ‘Cricket Samrat’ has published its final issue

COVID has impacted the media in a myriad ways, and magazines, especially niche magazines, are collapsing under its weight. Mid-Day reports the closure of the pioneering Hindi cricket magazine Cricket Samrat after 42 years of publication. Sportstar, the weekly from The Hindu group, has already gone online. *** In the Indian Express, the paper’s sports…

“Ambiguous. Beseiged. Confusing. Disappointing. Dismaying. Evasive. Frightening. Unpardonable. Unsatisfactory. PM should speak again”: editorials on ‘Surender’ Modi’s cop-out

The major English newspapers all have editorials on Narendra Modi‘s brazen lie, without taking the name of China, that “no one has intruded on Indian soil, nor is any one sitting on Indian soil, nor has any post been seized by anyone”, which made a total mockery of the killing of 20 Indian soldiers last…