Tag Archives: IJR

“Hold Facebook accountable. Misuse of social media a threat to democracy. Platforms must be agnostic to ideology”: newspaper editorials can’t hide weak reporting

Four days after The Wall Street Journal revealed Facebook’s chief India lobbyist Ankhi Das batting for BJP’s hate mongers, Indian newspapers are unable to add to a story that has deep implications for Indian society and polity. Also read: FB expose reveals barren cupboard ** Even today, there are no revelations and even today only…

Lead story in just 2 newspapers, and not one new insight in any: How the Facebook expose by WSJ also reveals Indian media’s barren cupboard

The August 14 expose in The Wall Street Journal of Facebook’s schmoozing with the BJP-led NDA government, by promoting hate speech for “business prospects”, has deep implications for Indian society, polity and democracy. Three days on, after the Independence Day holiday for some, the coverage of the issue in Indian newspapers is illustrative of their…

The tribute M.S. Dhoni will treasure the most: four special pages in his hometown’s biggest newspaper

Prabhat Khabar, the Hindi daily first published from Ranchi 36 years ago, pays a handsome tribute to the eastern Indian city’s greatest contemporary contribution to the national and global consciousness, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, upon his retirement from international cricket.

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…

“There can be no finer guarantee to a nation’s welfare than a free press in the service of a free nation”: Mountbatten’s 1947 message

The following is the full text of the message sent by Lord Mountbatten, the outgoing Viceroy, on India’s Independence Day in 1947. *** “I send my greetings and best wishes to the Indian press and all your readers on this historic day. It is good to know that paper restrictions have been relaxed to enable…

‘Prabhat Khabar’ at 36: how the face of Hindi journalism in the East has changed between 1984 and 2020

Thirty-six years is but a blip in a newspaper’s history, when there are many publications which are over 100 years old. The Times of India was technically launched in 1838, making it just 18 years short of 200. The Hindu is 142. But an anniversary is an anniversary, and the well-regarded Hindi daily Prabhat Khabar…

‘The Times of India’ news report from Kerala of a Gulf prostitution racket that inspired a Bollywood film

While reading The Times of India in 2008, writer-director Faruk Kabir stumbled upon a four-column story headlined “Man ‘buys’ back wife from pimp“. It was a story filed by Ananthakrishnan G. from the paper’s Kochi edition, of a 32-year-old from Malappuram who lands in Muscat with Rs 6,000 to save his wife. The woman, who…

“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…

Baba Shingote, the Marathi school dropout who sold fruits and set up Kannada and Tamil newspapers in Mumbai, passes away

Muralidhar Anant also known as Baba Shingote, the Maharashtrian who founded the Kannada newspaper Karnataka Malla and the Tamil newspaper Tamil Times in Bombay to serve the city’s vast migrant populations from the southern states, has passed away, at age 89. The end came on 6 August 2020, in Junnar in Pune district, reports PTI.…

“The newspaper print medium will not resurrect”: ‘India Today’ founder Aroon Purie’s dark prediction as ‘Mail Today’ shuts shop after a 13-year run

The following is the full text of the internal communication sent out by India Today chairman Aroon Purie, announcing the suspension i.e. closure of the print edition of the group’s tabloid, Mail Today. *** Dear All, As you all know, the Group entered the newspaper space 13 years ago with great hope. We collaborated with…

Narendra Modi and Barbra Streisand: a short story on how not to bury a secret, in 12 newspaper screenshots

Besides all her other achievements, the American singer-actor Barbra Streisand contributed the “Streisand Effect” to the dictionary of the digital age, when she sued a photographer for distributing aerial pictures of her mansion, in 2003. At the time she sued the lensman, Kenneth Adelman, the photographs had been viewed just six times—twice by her own…

In the gushing waters of majoritarianism, there are only a handful of media outliers on the day after

“The book that begins with ‘We, the people of India’ is the God that we failed” “Raja and rishi are no longer” With a picture of the Constitution, and a white-on-black headline, ‘The Telegraph’ (above) says India witnessed a “ritual merger of the Church and State” in Ayodhya, at the ground-breaking ceremony on August 5.…

When a newspaper salutes a union of journalists on the editorial page, it’s news

Much of Indian media’s travails just now–the salary cuts, the job losses, etc—can be traced back to the collapse of unions in the wake of liberalisation in 1991. As managements sought to break the stranglehold of unions by introducing the contract system of employment, “To each her own” became the norm. Editors, hired at higher…

Desi vs angrezi: how language and English newspapers showcase the start of the Ram Temple construction in Ayodhya

India’s language press has been a key force-multiplier of the Hindutva cause—and ipso facto of the RSS-BJP agenda. This is breezily attributed to the language media being more in tune with the aspirations of “real India”. Today’s front pages on the foundation stone being laid for the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, are less a product…

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…

The subtle signals newspapers send in the manner in which they display Amit Shah’s claim of being COVID positive

Union home minister Amit Shah admitted that he had turned COVID positive through a tweet on Sunday. Across the country, the news is the lead story in most newspapers, if not second lead, but the display in some newspapers is revealing of how sections of the media are increasingly mindful of how they are perceived…

The top business newspaper Editor who had failed in three different ‘third languages’ by the time he was 12!

Editors are ever so eager to project themselves as repositories of knowledge, those who have never put a foot wrong in their academic lives, those who know it all. What a relief to see T.N. Ninan, the well-regarded former Editor of The Economic Times and Business Standard, admit to some decidedly human frailties. In his…

“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…

How many journalists does it take to secure freedom for one of their own? 765.

Once upon a time, the jailed writer, poet and activist Varavara Rao had an occasional column in The Indian Express on Sundays. Now, as he languishes in jail, 765 Telugu journalists petition the Chief Justice of India and the Maharashtra chief minister urging for the release of the 81-year-old. And Prof G.N. Saibaba. Screenshot: courtesy…

Coming soon: a Nationalist Editors Guild, not “seeped in an ethical and idealistic world of journalism”

Nothing is more galling for a reporter or an Editor—or a “reporter’s editor”—to be accused of not doing her job as expected by her employers, promoters and their puppeteers. Amazingly, that is exactly what the Editors Guild of India is being accused of. When, in fact, it has been the first organisation in the world…