Tag Archives: Jyoti Punwani

How mainstream media has neglected Manipur

Pradip Phanjoubam, editor-proprietor of the Manipur English daily Imphal Free Press, on how the mainstream Indian media has covered the 100-day-old blockade in the northeastern State,  in conversation with Jyoti Punwani in The Times of India:

How do you view the media’s coverage of Manipur’s situation?

Many TV channels themselves said Maharashtra or Gujarat would not have been allowed to be blockaded, even for a week. One channel told me it would cost them Rs 2 lakh to send their team for 15 minutes of coverage. They would need the same amount in advertising to pay for the coverage…’It’s a backward tribal area. These tribals are difficult to handle’ – I’ve heard this so many times, even from central government officials. We are just ‘the other’.

Read the full interview: ‘If Manipur had 12 MPs, we would be wooed’

Check out the newspaper: Imphal Free Press 

Pradip Phanjoubam: Manipur media in crisis


Prabhu Chawla: My greatest feat, and failure

A fresh selection of media questions from readers to the editorial director of The New Indian Express group, Prabhu Chawla, and answered with trademark candour.

Vol 1. No III.


Q: Why did you quit India Today group? I am asking this question because I am a big fan of your show Sidhi Baat.

A: I am now 65 year old. I wanted to do something new. You can watch my show Sachchi Baat on all the ETV channels on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays.

Q: Once the Indian Express was the largest selling newspaper in the country with an impact which was unmatched. Why don’t the TNIE and IE merge? Please don’t evade the question by saying “I can’t comment”.

A: Of course, I can’t comment on an issue which involves the owners. I am sure both of them know what is good for both the organisations. Future of the Express spirit is great.

Q: What, in your own opinion, is the greatest achievement of your life? What is your greatest failure? If there is one thing that you could change in your past, then what would that be?

A: It is a tricky question. But greatest success has been in creating my successors who are better than me. My failure lies in that I haven’t learnt to be a good listener.

Q: If one analyzes the trend of this column, one can invariably reach the conclusion that some of the questions and answers are written by you yourself. Self praising column…as what more can be expected from you?

A: Please grant me the right to express myself. Don’t try to gag me as you will not succeed.

Q: I thought some of your columnists are anti-Hindu and biased, case in point is Jyoti Punwani‘s write up. Has paid news comes to TNIE? Please reply.

A: I didn’t know that if an article doesn’t support your point of view becomes a paid news? We allow free flow of expression and can’t be intimidated by those who are arrogant and intolerant.

Q: When India Today was facing strong attack from the newly launched Outlook*, in 1990s, Aroon Purie chose you to command the counter charge. Under your command, India Today won the war. Shall we expect a repeat of that feat now at the NIE?

A: Let us hope for the best. NIE is a very strong and credible brand. With the support of loyal readers and well wishers like you, we will make it better than the best.

* Disclosures apply

Also read: Prabhu Chawla out, M.J. Akbar in at India Today

Khushwant Singh: Why Aroon Purie ‘elevated’ Prabhu Chawla


Prabhu Answers

Vol I. No.I: Straight drives from the man behind Seedhi Baat

Vol I. No IIHome truths from the man behind Sachchi Baat

Should Hitler have been asked to explain?

The media has been a key player in Raj Thackeray‘s hate campaign against “outsiders” in Bombay. In giving him the oxygen of publicity, in editorialising news, in fanning the flames by repeatedly showing file pictures, in not dealing with the issue with balance and proportion, the media has come under scrutiny from the Union cabinet, from independent analysts, and from sections of the media itself.

Thackeray himself has used the local Marathi media adroitly in turning this into an “us versus them” issue. He has written a signed article in Maharashtra Times (of The Times of India group), he has responded to an open letter in Lok Satta (of the Indian Express group), and he has kept his media conferences out of bounds to English and Hindi media (whom he sees as antithetical to the local interests he is championing).

The veteran journalist Jyoti Punwani has some fine questions on all this:

# Should a newspaper offer its pages to a politician who has been promoting hatred against other Indians on the basis of region and language, and whose followers have assaulted unarmed innocents on that basis?

# If that politician uses the space offered to him to justify and further his hate campaign, should the newspaper carry his piece without any strong editorial rebuttal alongside?

# As a political leader entitled to invite to a press conference journalists of his/her choice, based on language/region? In that case, what should be the response of journalists, especially those invited?

# Should TV cameras telecast incidents of violence during communal riots again and again without specifying that these are file pictures?

# Finally, how should the media report on the acts of a politician leading a hate campaign based on region and language?

Read the full article: Lending hate campaigns a platform