Posts Tagged ‘Nirupama Subramanian’

India, Pakistan and the foreign correspondents

26 June 2013

From Delhi Confidential, the gossip column in The Indian Express:

“There is never a dull moment in India-Pakistan relations. Just when it seemed that a positive environment was on the horizon, comes the news that there might not be any Indian journalist based in Pakistan after this month.

“The only two journalists that are allowed, from PTI [Rezaul Laskar] and The Hindu [Anita Joshua], have ended their tenure, but their successors have not been given visas by Islamabad till now.

“The delay in processing of visas of the Indian journalists, for posting in Islamabad, has given rise to speculation that the new Pakistan establishment under Nawaz Sharif might be hardening its stand towards New Delhi.”

Also read: How Pakistan helped The Hindu save $800

I couldn’t go to the US, and my name’s Zia Haq

How (free) India treats foreign correspondents

What Aung San Suu Kyi learnt from a ‘Hindu’ man

14 November 2012

The Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi is on a four-day visit to India. In her interview with Nirupama Subramanian of The Hindu, the Nobel laureate remembers her association with K. Rangaswamy, a political correspondent of the paper in Delhi, during her growing-up years in the capital.

“I got to know [Mr. Rangaswamy’s] daughter at school. We were together at the Convent of Jesus and Mary. Kamla and I were in the same class and then we also went to Lady Shri Ram College together the same year. We both took political science honours, and that’s how I became friendly with them.

“But I became particularly friendly with Uncle Rangaswamy when I was preparing for my Oxford entrance…. Uncle Rangaswamy knew, because I was in and out of his house all the time, that I did not have a teacher and that I wanted to take this exam in three months.

“So he said he would teach me!

“Some people were rather scared of him, because Uncle Rangaswamy has a rather formidable exterior. But I thought he was very sweet, and he was very, very sweet to me.

“He said to me one day, which I shall never forget and which I think was so admirable about him, he said: “I’ve taught you all I can, I can’t teach you anymore, but you’re the best student I’ve ever had, so I’ll find you a teacher.” And he got a contact of his — an old student of his for all I know — a mathematics teacher. He told her to continue to teach me the rest of the curriculum, which she did, and then I managed to just scrape through the exams, and I made it to Oxford that year instead of having to wait another year. It was because of Uncle Rangaswami.

“He had enough faith in me. He said “I’ll teach you”, but I’ll never forget the way he said “I’ve taught you all I know.” I was so fond of him. I wish he were alive now. I’m sure he’d have had a lot to say to me!”

Read the full interview: Aung San Suu Kyi

Follow Nirupama on Twitter: Tall stories

So many reporters, so little info on Sonia Gandhi?

22 September 2011

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, scooped by Indian Express photographer Anil Sharma, as she leaves her daughter's residence in New Delhi on 14 September 2011.

Nothing has exposed the hollowness of so-called “political reporting” in New Delhi, and the fragilility of editorial spines of newspapers and TV stations across the country, than the Congress president Sonia Gandhi‘s illness.

Hundreds of correspondents cover the grand old party; tens of editors claim to be on on first-name terms with its who’s who; and at least a handful of them brag and boast of unbridled “access” to 10 Janpath.

Yet none had an inkling that she was unwell.

Or, worse, the courage to report it, if they did.

Indeed, when the news was first broken by the official party spokesman in August, he chose the BBC and the French news agency AFP as the media vehicles instead of the media scrum that assembles for the daily briefing.

Sonia Gandhi has since returned home but even today the inability of the media—print, electronic or digital—to throw light on just what is wrong with the leader of India’s largest political party or to editorially question the secrecy surounding it, is palpable.

Given the hospital she is reported to have checked into, the bazaar gossip on Sonia has ranged from cervical cancer to breast cancer to pancreatic cancer but no “political editor” is willing to put his/her name to it.

About the only insight of Sonia’s present shape has come from an exclusive photograph shot by Anil Sharma of The Indian Express last week.

In a counter-intuitive sort of way, Nirupama Subramanian takes up the silence of the media in The Hindu:

“That the Congress should be secretive about Ms Gandhi’s health is not surprising. What is surprising, though, is the omertà being observed by the news media, usually described by international writers as feisty and raucous.

“On this particular issue, reverential is the more fitting description. Barring editorials in the Business Standard and Mail Today, no other media organisation has thought it fit to question the secrecy surrounding the health of the government’s de facto Number One.

“A similar deference was on display a few years ago in reporting Atal Bihari Vajpayee‘s uneven health while he was the Prime Minister. For at least some months before he underwent a knee-replacement surgery in 2001, it was clear he was in a bad way, but no news organisation touched the subject. Eventually, the government disclosed that he was to undergo the procedure, and it was covered by the media in breathless detail.

“Both before and after the surgery, there was an unwritten understanding that photographers and cameramen would not depict Vajpayee’s difficulties while walking or standing. Post-surgery, a British journalist who broke ranks to question if the Prime Minister was fit enough for his job (“Asleep at The Wheel?” Time, June 10, 2002) was vindictively hounded by the government.

“Almost a decade later, much has changed about the Indian media, which now likes to compare itself with the best in the world. But it lets itself down again and again. The media silence on Ms Gandhi is all the more glaring compared with the amount of news time that was recently devoted to Omar Abdullah‘s marital troubles. The Jammu & Kashmir chief minister’s personal life has zero public importance. Yet a television channel went so far as to station an OB van outside his Delhi home, and even questioned the maid….

“Meanwhile, the media are clearly not in the mood to extend their kid-glove treatment of Ms Gandhi’s illness to some other politicians: it has been open season with BJP president Nitin Gadkari‘s health problems arising from his weight. Clearly, it’s different strokes for different folks.”

Read the full article: The omerta on Sonia‘s illness

Also read: Why foreign media broke news of Sonia illness

How come no one spotted Satyam fraud?

How come no one saw the IPL cookie crumbling?

How come no one in the media saw the worm turn?

Aakar PatelIndian journalism is regularly second-rate

Chameli Devi Award for hounded Tehelka journo

11 March 2011

Shahina K.K., a former reporter for Tehelka magazine, has bagged the 2010 Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding woman mediaperson.

Shahina was in the news late last year after Karnataka police charged her with intimidating witnesses in the Bangalore blasts case. This followed her report in Tehelka questioning the incarceration of Abdul Nasar Madani in the case.

The charges led to a petition:

“We are gravely concerned about the charges framed by Karnataka police against Shahina K.K., a journalist working for the Tehelka magazine, for interviewing witnesses and publishing a report on the case relating to Abdul Nasar Madani, the chairman of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), who is one of the accused in the Bangalore bomb blasts.

“After the publication of her report, ‘Why is this man still in jail?’ (Dec 4, 2010) Shahina has been facing harassment and intimidation from the Karnataka Police. A case has been registered against her at the Somawarpet Police Station (No. 199/10) and Siddhapura Police Station (No. 241/10) under Section 506 for allegedly intimidating the witnesses.

“We strongly condemn this attitude of the police in framing false charges on this reputed journalist with such high credentials in a nationally reputed magazine. We also feel that Shahina’s case is yet another example of how the State apparatus acts against its marginalized and minority communities and pushes them outside the orbit of legal justice and human rights. Madani’s acquittal without any charges/strictures after 10 long years of incarceration without bail in an earlier case proves that there has been victims of such an ideological bias.

“We also know that by registering a case for criminal intimidation against a journalist, the Karnataka Police has cut at the very root of democratic and media freedoms in our country. We strongly feel that this is not a case against her as an individual but a warning to the entire press community, women and minorities and anyone who questions the logic of a repressive State. Moreover, we are aware that if the police can go to this extent in the case of a reputed journalist, the status of ordinary members of the marginalized and minority communities remains highly threatened.”

18 top Kerala journalists also petitioned the Kerala chief minister against the charges slapped on Shahina. She has since hopped across to Open magazine as its Trivandrum correspondent.

Link via Shobha S.V.

Photograph: courtesy Counter Media

***

Previous Chameli Devi award winners

Rupashree Nanda: ‘Journalism: mankind’s greatest achievement’

Nirupama Subramanian: ‘India’s freedom as fragile as its neighbours”

‘India’s freedoms as fragile as its neighbours”

28 March 2009

The Hindu’s Islamabad correspondent, Nirupama Subramanian (in picture), has shared the Chameli Devi Jain award for excellence in journalism with Vinita Deshmukh, the editor of The Weekly Intelligent, Poona.

In her acceptance speech, read out in her absence by her sister Vasudha Sondhi, Subramanian said:

“In Pakistan, where I am based, a number of journalists have lost their lives in recent months. For me, reading about journalists getting killed back home, three in Assam in the last four months, is a reminder that despite our democracy, our freedoms are as fragile as they are in our less stable neighbourhood.

“On the other hand, I also saw the power and influence of the media in a frightening close-up a few months ago, when tensions between India and Pakistan climbed a peak after the attacks in Mumbai…I believe there is only one way for journalists to look at India-Pakistan relations, and that is through the prism of peace…”

Colombo correspondent of The Hindu before her Islamabad posting, Nirupama Subramanian is the author of the critically acclaimed Sri Lanka Voice from a War Zone, and is a winner of the Prem Bhatia award for best political reporting.

Photograph: courtesy The Hindu

Read the full article: ‘Fashionable to say TV channels work for TRPs, money’

Also read: ‘Journalism is mankind’s greatest achievement’

‘Indian media is large and vibrant, but how free is it?’

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