Tag Archives: Sans Serif

Mahatma and the media: Gandhi was the ultimate super-achiever. He didn’t need TV, internet, social media, cheer leaders, event managers and fake news—and he had the courage to face the press. #HowdyGandhi

The incredible part about the fairly predictable #GandhiAt150 coverage in today’s papers—a week after the carefully choreographed #HowdyModi—is how much the Mahatma accomplished without TV, Internet, social media, cheer leaders, event managers—and pre- and post-paid owners, editors, anchors and reporters. Leading the freedom struggle, dealing with fractious colleagues, fasting, walking, writing letters and books, editing…

“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…

“In an authoritarian state there is only one Truth; the newspapers are all alike, they all repeat the same one Truth. So do the radio stations, and you cannot listen to those of other countries”

What does a Kashmiri journalist who is neither a fidayeen anchor nor a studio warrior of the commando comic TV channels—on either side of the line of no control—feel about the undemocratic and unaccountable crackdown on media in the Valley? Srinagar-based journalist and broadcaster Gowhar Geelani—who believes both India and Pakistan should stay off Kashmir—has…

A brave woman newspaper Editor shows the chutzpah to mount a legal challenge to the Narendra Modi government’s squeeze on media freedom in Kashmir, while industry bodies watch on smugly

Indian media bodies—Press Council of India, Indian Newspaper Society, Editors Guild of India, the various Press Clubs et al—have been happy to watch the extraordinary squeeze on journalism in Kashmir, following the Narendra Modi government’s decision to strip the Valley of special Article 370, silently from the sidelines. Silence bordering on complicity. It is as…

When a journalist feels great about his profession these days, it is news—and it is news to celebrate

These aren’t the days when journalists wake up and feel great about the world—or their profession. But Man Aman Singh Chhina of the The Indian Express has enough reason to feel proud of the power of the press even in these gloomy times. On Friday, July 26, his paper front-paged a report on a Kargil…

It’s curtains for Busybee’s baby, the ‘Afternoon Despatch & Courier’

The Afternoon Despatch & Courier was launched by Behram Contractor alias ‘Busybee‘ in what was a protest action against goings-on in Mid-Day. The founder is long gone, and the paper soon will. *** Farzana Contractor recounts the launch of the paper, in Mumbai Mirror.

How an ‘Indian Express’ reporter was the conduit for the Vajpayee government to learn that Pakistan had invaded the icy heights of Kargil in 1999

2019 marks the 20th anniversary of Pakistan’s incursion to Kargil and the war that followed with India. Sushant Singh of The Indian Express recounts the role played by the paper’s then defence correspondent Manvendra Singh in relaying the news to his father, Jaswant Singh. “At the beginning of the second week of May 1999, I…

33 headlines of columns on the Union budget in today’s newspapers that show ‘chamchagiri’ was, is, and shall always be a sunrise industry

Business journalism is, generally speaking, an oxymoron in India. On the day of the Union budget, it reaches another level. Be it a Congress government or BJP one, the average score for the budget veers between 9 and 10, as fear meets exuberance. 2019 is no different, as the headlines of “columns” by corporate honchos,…

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…

‘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…

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…

100 years ago, today, the greatest Editor-in-Chief to have walked this planet had a dream, an epiphany—in the home of the owner of ‘The Hindu’—that changed India’s course

One hundred years ago, today, India’s struggle for independence from the British took a decisive and inspired turn, when Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi had a dream that would catapult him towards ‘Mahatma’-hood. On March 18, 1919, Gandhi met C.Rajagopalachari in the City that used to be known as Madras, in a home on Cathedral Road that…

What is common to Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Castro, Nixon, Putin, Kim, Trump—and the 56 inches of Narendra Modi? The belief that the press is the enemy of the people.

For all his soaring oratory—and his 56″ inch chest—Narendra Modi will go down as the first prime minister in Indian history who did not hold a single press conference during his five years in office. Modi did meet individual TV journalists, like Arnab Goswami of Republic TV and Smita Prakash of ANI, and he did…

You are what you watch: Gujaratis consume the least amount of TV news in India; Assamese the most. To no one’s surprise, Malayalees catch a lot.

Indians spend a little over 30 minutes of their day, on average, watching news on television, according to the 2018 yearbook of the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC). Viewers in the northeastern states watch nearly twice as much news as Gujaratis. Although news accounts for just 7% of total TV viewership, news channels attract more…

Made in Sivakasi: How newspapers front-paged the announcement of general elections 2019 in a mad riot of colours, cartoons, graphics, boxes, numbers

The dog’s meal that is Indian newspaper front pages, on big news days. Text, graphics, pictures, cartoons, photo-illustrations, boxes, highlights, numbers, colours, all in one right royal mess, with nothing to hold the eye. Even on a such as this, the announcement of #GeneralElections2019, there were newspapers like Dainik Bhaskar (Hindi), Divya Bhaskar (Gujarati), and…

100% more editorials, 225% more opinion pieces: How Pothan Joseph’s ‘Dawn’ beat Pothan Joseph’s ‘Deccan Herald’ 77-49 and demonstrated the true role of a newspaper as a conscience-keeper

*** The hollowing out of Indian news media—from being serious, agenda-setting, conscience-keepers, to frothy, gutless, market-driven beasts without a soul—is all too obvious, but it was never more apparent than during the recent India-Pakistan kerfuffle. As the two nuclear powers peered into the abyss, there was a barely a commentary in any part of the…

Usually journalists try to enter politics during elections, but when a first-class, four-time Member of Parliament decides to return to journalism, it is news

When elections loom into view, journalists with an eye on the main chance, fancy a stint in politics. But in Odisha, the four-time Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP Tathagata Sathpathy, a stand-out parliamentarian, has taken the opposite route: back to journalism. Satpathy, owner and editor of the well-regarded Odia newspaper Dharitri, and its sister English…

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…

Former ‘Science Today’ editor Mukul Sharma, the prose and puzzle whiz who found Satyajit Ray’s kisses “unconvincing” and counted the golden flecks in Rakhee’s eyes, is no more.

Indian Journalism Review records with regret the passing of Mukul Sharma, the former editor of Science Today magazine (and its later version 2001), who wrote the scintillating “Mind Sport” column in now-defunct Illustrated Weekly of India. He was 69. Mukul Sharma, who lived in Gurgaon, near Delhi, was previously married to the film maker Aparna Sen. The…