Tag Archives: BBC

The Drumbeaters of Dystopia: Wrapped in the tricolour, Indian news media can barely contest the establishment narrative in Kashmir—global outlets can only find holes in it

*** Forty days into the Kashmir “lockdown”—stupid American jargon for a brutal and undemocratic suppression of fundamental rights—there are three, possibly four, “narratives” of what is happening in the valley. There is the local Kashmiri view, which we do not know much about, and possibly they themselves don’t. There is the mainland India view, which…

“Whatever is being reported by Indian media from Kashmir to show that everything is normal, everything is fine, the opposite is true”

With large sections of Indian mainstream media engaged in the patriotic duty of “manufacturing consent” for the Narendra Modi government’s undemocratic actions in Kashmir, the onus is increasingly on foreign media to provide the real picture, or the closest approximation to it. BBC Radio, for long seen to be “reliable” news provider by previously colonised…

Narendra Modi and Amit Shah brutally divided Jammu and Kashmir. Now, the media have neatly divided themselves: foreign vs ‘desi’; local vs Delhi; Kashmiri vs Pandit—journalism vs propaganda

Like so much else since the dawn of civilisation in 2014, journalistic coverage and assessment of the situation in Kashmir after the removal of Article 370 in the Valley has been severely polarised. On the one side is a contest between the establishment view of the Narendra Modi government, and the independent view of foreign news…

The thread that ties the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919, a BBC correspondent posted in India, and the lifeblood of good journalists, Old Monk rum

Of the hundreds of thousands of people who have peered into this well in Amritsar over the last 100 years—a mandatory patriotic pause on the way to (or back from) the more spiritual experience next door at The Golden Temple—few have been more moved than a journalist who served three years in India. Justin Rowlatt,…

How a newspaper Editor inspired a spunky English mom to name her first son Ranga—the amazing life and times of possibly India’s first woman columnist, Freda Bedi

Who was the first woman to write a column, and a stridently feminist column at that, in a mainstream Indian newspaper? Unless there were others before her in the languages, could the answer be Freda Bedi, the mother of the actor Kabir Bedi, who wrote in The Tribune, Lahore, in pre-partition India? *** In his…

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.…

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…

Kashmir’s small English dailies show more balance and sobriety than mainland India’s gung-ho newspapers in putting out the casualty figure in the air strikes on Pakistan

Verification is a vital function of the news media, especially when the reader-viewer-surfer is exposed to relentless propaganda via electronic and social media. India’s air strike on Pakistan on February 26 posed a test of the newspapers and television against the backdrop of opposing claims made by the two countries. As if to prove the…

Journalism #101: Lessons for Indian broadcasters from a Briton in America

On a personal journey across white America, writer Gary Younge came face to face with alt-right leader Richard Spencer @Channel4 Thurs 10pm pic.twitter.com/25f0gHWmjO — Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) November 7, 2017 Concomitant with the rise of the Right, India’s brain-dead TV news channels have offered the platform to the most communal, incendiary, racist viewpoints in…

Can ‘Modi Sarkar’ create an Indian CNN or BBC?

The point has been made before but bears repetition. If Britain can have a BBC, if America can have CNN, if Qatar can have Al Jazeera, if China can have CCTV, if Russia can have Russia Today, why cannot India? Why do Indian broadcasters, public, private or autonomous, not have the vision or the resources…

Where was Priyanka Chopra going with Bob?*

There’s many a slip between the cup and the lip in the era of fast-breaking news and even well-equipped organisations like CNN and BBC are not immune from howlers in the “supers”. On Tuesday, when the Congress president Sonia Gandhi was rushed to hospital, look who was momentarily accompanying her son-in-law Robert Vadra to look…

Is BBC playing around with Mandela’s stature?

As Nelson Mandela, the icon of South Africa, gasps for life in a Johannesburg hospital, M.S. Prabhakara, the veteran Hindu correspondent in Guwahati who served as the newspaper’s first correspondent  in South Africa, has a letter to the editor: “It is disgusting, but not surprising, that the BBC in its online world news bulletin should…

Karan Thapar says ‘sorry’ to L.K. Advani (twice)

It isn’t often that journalists, especially the bold-faced names, descend from their ivory towers to admit they may have hurt a politician’s feelings. It’s even rarer to hear them say ‘sorry’ for having done so. But twice in the past week, the interviewer Karan Thapar has found the inner reserves to publicly do so, and…

What listening to the radio teaches that TV can’t

As her four-day visit to India, the first in 25 years, winds down, Aung San Suu Kyi has a series of interviews in magazines and on TV stations. In an interview with Pranay Sharma in Outlook* magazine, the Burmese leader whose only window to the world in the long years of house arrest was the…

Another (woman) journalist bites the stardust*

Is it just our eyes—or are more women journalists catching the fancy of bold-faced names with a far higher hit-rate than their bearded, bespectacled counterparts? Prarthna Gahilote, a senior special correspondent with Outlook* magazine (and formerly with CNN-IBN), has tied the knot with the Bollywood singer Mohit Chauhan. Images: courtesy Hindustan Times, Mail Today *…

At 7, Race Course Road, this is Pankaj Pachauri

In what is perhaps the first acknowledgement of the fact that the UPA government could do with slightly better media schmoozing, Pankaj Pachauri, the host of NDTV Profit’s magazine show, Money Mantra, has been roped in as communications advisor at the prime minister’s office. Pachauri, 48, has previously worked at The Sunday Observer, India Today…

Why foreign media broke news of Sonia illness

Few things have exposed the state of political reporting in India than the news that Sonia Gandhi is unwell. Dozens of reporters, most of whom claim more “access” to 10, Janpath than all the rest, cover the Congress party. Yet, in a throwback to the Cold War days, none knew or none told the world what was…

Femina has a short message for men: tidy up

Femina, India’s oldest women’s magazine, has a new television commercial to mark its relaunch. The TVC stars the actor Kalki Koechlin and is directed by the filmmaker Anurag Kashyap. Originally published by The Times of India group, Femina now comes out of the World Wide Media stable, a Times group joint venture with BBC. Also…

BBC Hindi Service gets a fresh lease of life

The protests and signature campaigns have borne fruit: BBC’s Hindi Service has been saved from closure. British foreign secretary William Hague has announced an additional 2.2 million pounds for the BBC World Service over the next three years, which will enable continuation of the Hindi and Arabic services. Hague’s statement confirms chairman of BBC Trust…

When a film star weds a journalist, it’s news—II

Indian film stars—like politicians, businessmen, cricketers and others—rarely have anything nice to say about journalists and journalism, except when they have something to sell. Some, like Amitabh Bachchan and Ram Gopal Verma, have built a cottage industry biting the hand that feeds them to the masses. How nice therefore to find an inhabitant of tinsel…