Tag Archives: IJR

Out of 180 countries in the world, only 40 have worse media freedom than India. And all South Asian countries are ahead of us except Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Media freedom in India has slipped a further two points to 140 and is back at 2014 levels when Narendra Modi‘s government took charge. India is behind Afghanistan, Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka on the 2019 World Press Freedom Index, compiled by the Paris-based media advocacy group Reporters sans Frontiers (RSF). The only…

Pinch yourself: BJP’s Mysore candidate Pratap Simha—a well-read newspaper columnist—had taken out a pre-publication gag order against 49 media organisations two months before “sex audio” went viral today

*** The BJP candidate for the Bangalore South constituency in the 2019 general elections Tejasvi Surya hit national headlines on March 29 when he secured an ex-parte temporary injunction against 49 media organisations from a Bangalore court, after allegations of sexual assault and misbehaviour against him began doing the rounds on social media. After editorials in The Indian…

EC’s poll code bars ‘The Times of India’ from displaying an interview with Narendra Modi. But the rule does not apply to ‘Vijaya Vani’ and ‘Dighvijaya News’, the Kannada newspaper and TV channel owned by former BJP MP Vijay Sankeshwar.

The Times of India has an “interview” with prime minister Narendra Modi on the eve of the second phase of #GeneralElections2019, but it is only available in hard copy, in the print editions of the newspaper. On its website, ToI has blanked out the PM’s interview with the line: “In view of the 48-hour silence…

“We have very few checks and balances. Almost none. That is a dangerous, and depressing, situation to be in”: Tony Joseph, author of the most important book ever written by an Indian journalist

There was a time when young journalists in Bombay used to hear, in awe, that Aveek Sarkar, the paterfamilias of the Anandabazar Patrika (ABP) group, secretly considered Tony Joseph as the “ideal journalist”. That was high praise coming from the sophisticated owner of Anandabazar Patrika, Business Standard, and The Telegraph newspapers, and Sunday, Business World, and Sports World magazines.…

“99.99 per cent of Indian media is ‘Godi Media’, doing ‘chamchagiri’ of Narendra Modi, showing ‘bakwas’…. TV is making a fool of you, brainwashing you with bogus debates and propaganda”: Ravish Kumar

NDTV India Ravish Kumar has a fan base all his own in modern Hindi journalism, despite the negligible viewership of his channel, primarily because heartland journalists have been  en masse neutered and turned into evangelists for Hindutva’s crudest causes by their twisted owners, managers and minds. Kumar’s earthy, blunt, no-nonsense Bihari drone can be gnawing…

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,…

‘Raavali Jagan, Kaavali Jagan’: 14 pages in today’s ‘Sakshi’ on its owner Jagan Reddy and his rival Chandrababu Naidu prove the old adage: freedom of the press belongs to the politician who owns one

The model code of conduct of the Election Commission of India has been mostly reduced to a joke by pliant officers, cunning chartered accounts, and contemptuous politicians cocking a snook at the fundamental decency of democracy. It is most evident in the manner among political parties and politicians which own media as India heads into…

How N. Ram’s reporting of the #Rafale scandal in ‘The Hindu’ sped across the digital world and into the phones of readers before the Narendra Modi government could put its pants on

Behind the investigation of India’s two biggest defence scandals—the Bofors deal under Rajiv Gandhi and the Rafale deal under Narendra Modi—is one common newspaper and one common byline, The Hindu and N. Ram. But with one big difference: the first scandal was reported when hard-copy, ink-and-paper journalism was king; the latter in the digital age, when…

‘Imphal Free Press’ editor demands Rs one crore “reparation” for TV journalist Kishorchandra Wangkhem for loss of reputation, health, income—and a monumental miscarriage of justice

Kishorchandra Wangkhem, the Manipur cable news TV journalist who was jailed in November 2018 for 12 months under the National Security Act (NSA) for Facebook posts that mocked the state’s chief minister, has been ordered to be released. To no one’s surprise, Wangkhem’s incarceration on bogus charges was received coolly by mainland Indian journalists and…

“If we don’t have the facts, we don’t print the news”: Four big newspaper groups with 12 titles between them join hands to show the power of print journalism

Indian media houses rarely see eye to eye except when their shared commercial pursuits are in peril: like foreign direct investment (FDI) in newspapers, or the goods and services tax (GST) on newsprint, or wage board recommendations eating into their bottomline. For a change, as elections loom and the fake factories start whirring into motion, The…

How an ‘Economic Times’ reporter’s tweet enabled a 68-year-old Wayanad woman, who survives on Rs 36 a day, to get the photo (and a hug) of a lifetime

  On Wednesday, April 3, Indulekha Aravind, a feature writer with The Economic Times, was in Kalpetta town, in Wayanad in Kerala, meeting people a day before Congress president Rahul Gandhi was to file his nomination papers from the constituency. It is the cliched election vox-pop—a big-town reporter in a small town trying to gauge public opinion,…

‘The Indian Express’, Shekhar Gupta and Manu Pubby: a textbook example of how Narendra Modi’s attack dog ED bit the hand that fed the BJP the AgustaWestland scandal in 2014

The Indian Express which broke the AgustaWestland helicopter scam in 2013 and added to the UPA’s mountain of scandals from which Narendra Modi pounced to power, finds itself being bizarrely accused by the BJP regime of toning down coverage. Manu Pubby, then with the Express, was first to report that former air chief marshal (retired) S.P.…

“Journalists make terrible politicians. You have to have a very, very thick skin to survive the muck. I made a mistake,” says anchor Ashutosh who had vowed (on camera) never to come back to journalism

Do journalists betray their profession when they enter politics? Do journalists make terrible leaders? Should there be a “cooling-off” period before a journalist takes the plunge? Questions, questions, questions. All asked a zillion times before whenever a journalist steps over to the other side of the mike. As Supriya Shrinate, a former ET Now presenter,…

Congress reopens a socialist chestnut in post-liberalised India; says will curb monopolies and cross media ownership if it comes to power in 2019

The manifesto of the Congress for #GeneralElections2019 has seven paragraphs on what the party promises to do should it come to power. It talks of the usual things: strengthening the Press Council of India, working towards a code of conflict, etc, but there is no mention of more important and germane issues like decriminalising defamation.…

‘Facebook Live’: 14 journalists from six countries on three continents: Global Digital Conversation on Media Freedom

14 journalists from six countries on three continents join in a six-hour ‘Facebook Live’ global conversation on media freedom. The participants: Alan Rusbridger; Amantha Perera; Abhinandan Sekhri; David Fahrenthold; Faith Sidlow; Ian Jack; Ivor Gaber; Marie Elisabeth Muller; Namrata Sharma; Pratik Sinha; Richard Sambrook; Vinod K. Jose. The event is hosted by Asian College of…

‘The Hindu’ calls gag order on 49 media organisations in Tejasvi Surya case “poll-time censorship”; could set precedent to prevent media from doing its job

The Hindu has an editorial on the open-ended “temporary injunction” obtained by BJP’s Bangalore South candidate, Tejasvi Surya against 49 media organisations. It says the pre-publication gag order is contrary to the law and the Constitution; violative of free speech; and authorises prior restraint. “Even if the argument is that the order only prevents ‘defamatory’…

L’affaire Tejasvi Surya: “Media isn’t losing its freedoms so much as surrendering its freedoms. As a group it is unwilling to challenge the restrictions being imposed on them”

The temporary injunction obtained by BJP candidate for Bangalore South, Tejasvi Surya, against 49 newspapers, news channels and digital platforms has met with a strange radio silence from the affected parties. None of them have (so far) filed objections. No media body in Bangalore or elsewhere has thought it fit to react to such a…

If a fake news website deserves freedom to concoct an alternate universe for bhakts, bots and WhatsApp uncles, why cannot legitimate media organisations probe and report a BJP candidate’s past?

Media organisations seem so tired and bored of (repeatedly) fighting for their freedoms that not one of them has publicly raised their voice against an extraordinary injunction issued by a Bangalore court barring them from reporting on troubling questions concerning the private life of BJP’s Bangalore South candidate, Tejasvi Surya. The only paper to have editorially…

12 front-page headlines from ‘The Telegraph’ in March pose a simple question: is it journalism? Or, is it trolling Narendra Modi and the holy cows of the BJP? (And why not?)

The front page of The Telegraph, Calcutta, has its own fan base in social media. In the eyes of some, the single-city broadsheet newspaper has carved a space for itself even among distant non-readers by swerving from the straight and narrow (and predictable), by saying like it is, which most mainstream media do not. But…