The takeover of Network 18 group with its myriad news, business and entertainment channels has received scant review in the Indian media, but the author Pankaj Mishra bells the cat in Bloomberg View:
“There is no denying that the future of media freedom in India looks even bleaker than ever after Mukesh Ambani’s Silvio Berlusconi-style domination of both news and entertainment content and delivery mechanisms.
“At the very least, such violation of the rules of the free market should be exposed to intense public scrutiny, even criticism, of the kind the deal between Comcast and Time Warner has provoked in the U.S.
“But a near-total silence from politicians and the mainstream media greeted the extraordinary doubling of gas prices in India.
“When Reliance attempted to throttle the book [by Paranjoy Guha Thakurta] about it, those columnists who had denounced Penguin for agreeing to withdraw Wendy Doniger’s “The Hindus: An Alternative History” went oddly quiet.
“And given the “toadification” of large parts of the Indian media, to paraphrase Salman Rushdie, it may even croak out some malicious joy as more independent-minded journalists depart what does look increasingly like a toad-breeding swamp.”
Infographic: courtesy Outlook*
Read the full article: India’s newest media baron embraces censorship
* Disclosures apply
Also read: Will RIL-TV18-ETV deal win CCI approval?
Rajya Sabha TV tears into Reliance-TV18 deal
EPW on the Reliance-ETV-RIL deal within a deal
Anant Goenka: WaPo, Amazon, HT and the Reliance-TV18 deal
Predictably, the “private” TV news channels do not have too much on the resignation of Siddharth Varadarajan as editor and removal of Arun Anant as CEO of The Hindu after the family-owned newspaper decided to restore status quo ante on Monday.
Newspaper reports have been sketchy and superficial, and web interviews and Twitter feeds of the various players involved have only given a one-sided, black or white view of the Mount Road Mahavishnu‘s brief flirtation with professionals.
A Rajya Sabha Television (RSTV) panel discussion, featuring S. Nihal Singh, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Rahul Dev and Dilip Cherian suggests the “family vs professionals” issue is more complex and layered than we think.
Also read: In a family-owned paper, only furniture is fixed
On international women’s day, the newspapers are replete with advertisements and supplements marking the occasion.
Rajya Sabha TV, however, takes the cake with an advertisement (above) in most newspapers that shows the faces of all 42 women employees of the channel, from peon to boss, from reporters to editors (and guest co-ordinators).
In the Indian Express, Prasar Bharati Corporation chief Mrinal Pande (a former editor of the now-defunct Hindi magazine Vama and the Hindi daily Hindustan), writes :
“When I was about to launch a Hindi monthly for women, men in charge of the marketing section in a major publishing house explained to me between much clearing of throats and sideways glances that it was fine if I insisted my magazine would not promote Miss India contests but that a good and saleable women’s magazine must not give women disturbing notions about self-worth, etc.
“What women actually want from their magazines, they said, was readable and brightly illustrated material on food, child rearing, knitting, stitching and some romantic fiction. They also confirmed that since over three-quarters of women’s magazines were bought by men (they had better access to the vending joints and liked to vet what the mothers and sisters read at home), the faces on the covers must be fair and female.
“A cover story on rape experienced by girls in middle-class families was bitterly criticised as being fictional. These barbaric things, madam, I was told, happen only in the jhuggi-jhopris, not among people like us.”
Read the full article: Myth of bra-burning feminists