The Zee Group being a lead sponsor of the Jaipur Lit-fest means that you get a dose of Zee News' Sudhir Chaudhary there every year, sometimes plugging one of the group's channels. This year someone from the audience asked him a direct question about fake videos to which he replied without batting an eyelid that India did not have credible institutions who could do a fair investigation. The moderator chipped in, you have a remote, change the channel if you don't like it. Retorted a person in the audience, don't tell us what to do, improve yourselves.
One hundred and thirty four members of the Indian Womens Press Corps, housed in a government bungalow in Delhi, have written to its management committee recording their "strong objection" to a clause which was recently added to the IWPC form for booking space for meetings/conferences, and demanding its removal. The clause says "Nothing will be said which will be anti-national, question the integrity of the country, amount to sedition or cause harm to the reputation of the club”. The letter adds, "It is a journalists’ club where freedom of speech and expression have been and must continue to be encouraged and protected."
Catch News has just done a round of staff relocation between its Delhi, Noida and Jaipur offices. Whether you describe it as cost cutting or rationalisation depends on what you choose to believe. The moves are apparently aimed at facilitating the Rajasthan Patrika Group's plan to bring out an English daily from Jaipur, a project which has been in the works for a while. Other expansion plans such as a Malayalam version of Catch News seem to be on hold.
As Donald Trump wound up his inaugural speech Indian news channels were all a-twitter at his protectionism pitch. But what did RT, the Russian channel serve up for Trump's inauguration? An all American panel with an ageing Larry King, discussing the outgoing and incoming presidents from an US rather than Russian perspective. Is that because the Russians have less to worry about than Indians do?!
The Indian Womens Press Corp in Delhi, housed for many years in a government bungalow, is a favourite low-cost location for holding press conferences and such like. But it is suddenly drawing attention for a condition it seems to have imposed on those renting space in its premises. Telegraph reports that the booking form now seeks a declaration that the event to be held will not have anti-national content: ""Nothing will be said which will be anti-national, question the integrity of the country, amount to sedition or cause harm to the reputation of the club." Seems the management is in tune with government of the day.
Both Barkha Dutt and NDTV announced on Sunday that she will moving on from the channel to do her own thing. While she said,"It's been a super ride at NDTV but new beginning in 2017. I shall be moving on from NDTV to explore new opportunities and my own ventures," the channel she joined out of college and spent 21 years with issued a generous statement. It said, "In all her years with NDTV, she has been hugely productive and has grown with the organisation, becoming an acclaimed, award-winning journalist of repute...We are certain that Barkha will go from strength to strength and NDTV wishes her all the very best." Will the channel feel the same without her?
Is getting political gossip paramount for political reporters? It seems to override all other considerations, going by an item in Jan 13's Indian Express column `Delhi Confidential'. Journalists, including seniors, apparently throng Congress leader Sajjan Kumar's annual lunch for his insights into Haryana, UP and Delhi politics. Any journalist worth her salt knows that he faces criminal cases for his alleged involvement in the November 1984 massacre of Sikhs in Delhi. He was denied a Lok Sabha ticket in 2009 because of this, despite having won in 2004. Should journalists patronise a politician accused of such a crime? Accepting his hospitality is one thing, interviewing him for his insights is another.
The Ministry of Finance is crowd sourcing budget inputs on Twitter. It asks, which scheme needs more focus in the coming budget: Housing for all scheme, Mudra Yojana, Stand up India, or Start Up India? Three days left for you to vote! In Digital India the Twitterati gets to decide priorities in budget allocations?!
Malini Parthasarathy, former editor of The Hindu, took a dig at India Today inviting Sasikala to inaugurate its South Conclave 17, tweeting “Sasikala's entry legitimised by India Today which invites her to inaugurate its #SouthConclave17!” Rahul Kanwal of IT: ”@MaliniP do you seriously believe that Sasikala ascension dependent on our invitation or her status as supremo not in dispute in any case”. @MaliniP: “Ascension not dependent on you guys but certainly public legitimacy strengthened by invitation."