How TOI and Jagran differed in their currency ban coverage

BY ANKITA PANDEY| IN Media Monitoring | 28/01/2017
Analysis shows that Dainik Jagran’s front pages and editorial stance backed demonetization while TOI was more nuanced and critical
ANKITA PANDEY explains the contrast

 

On the night of 8 November 2016, when the Prime Minister surprised the country with the demonetisation of high value currency notes, the measure touched everyone across the country simultaneously and captured a lot of space in the news media. This monitoring analyses the coverage in the Delhi editions of two national newspapers, The Times of India (TOI) and Dainik Jagran, between 9 November 2016 and 1 January 2017. January 1 was included because the Prime Minister’s December 31 speech was covered on that day.

This analysis is based on the coverage of demonetisation on page one and on the editorial pages. Along with the editorial page, the front page reflects the stand/opinion of a newspaper. All front page news items which contained at least one sentence and/or photograph in addition to the headline were included in the analysis.

 

Highlights of front page findings

  • About 80 per cent of the demonetization news on the front pages of Dainik Jagran was related to government messaging and news releases.
  • About 50 per cent of the coverage on TOI’s front pages was related to the above categories.
  • News on raids, seizures, etc was the single biggest category of news in Dainik Jagran.
  • Public discomfort/anger was the biggest category of coverage in TOI.
  • Dainik Jagran published only eight front page stories related to public discomfort including standalone pictures, and confined its coverage to Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
  • TOI published 39 items on how people were suffering and had feedback from 12 states.
  • In both newspapers, government messaging received the second largest coverage and political opposition to demonetization, including the disruption of parliament, got the fourth largest coverage.
  • In comparison to TOI, Dainik Jagran published more statements of parties other than the BJP and the Congress.
  • Left parties did not receive any independent coverage in either of the two newspapers.
  • Both newspapers accepted that demonetisation was a bold move. However, Dainik Jagran preferred to highlight the benefit of demonetisation, while TOI pointed out the short-term inconvenience and possible economic disruption.
  • In a number of cases both covered the same news but selectively highlighted different portions. While Dainik Jagran was supportive and TOI was critical, neither supported the stand of the opposition parties.

 

Findings in detail

After the announcement of demonetisation, the issue was covered daily on the front pages of Dainik Jagran and TOI between November 9, 2016 and January 1, 2017. During these 54 days, TOI published 252 news items on demonetisation on the front page compared to 204 news items by Dainik Jagran (Table 1). TOI usually has more news items on the front page than Dainik Jagran.

 

Table 1: News items on demonetisation on page 1

Week

Dainik Jagran

The Times of India

Week 1/Nov 09 - Nov 15

23

43

Week 2/Nov 16 - Nov 22

32

45

Week 3/Nov 23 - Nov 29

36

34

Week 4/Nov 30 - Dec 06

18

29

Week 5/Dec 07 - Dec 13

27

33

Week 6/Dec 14 - Dec 20

30

25

Week 7/Dec 21 - Dec 27

24

21

Week 8/Dec 28 - Jan 01

14

22

8 weeks/54 days

204

252

 

About 80 per cent of the demonetization-related news on the front pages of Dainik Jagran was related to government messaging (statements and interviews of members of the government and the ruling party aimed at building support among people for the measure), announcements of rules and regulations, incentives for going cashless, and raids, seizures and arrests targeting black money (Table 2). In comparison, about 50 per cent of the coverage on TOI’s front pages was related to the above categories.

News on raids, seizures, etc was the single biggest category of news in Dainik Jagran, whereas public discomfort/anger was the biggest category in TOI. Dainik Jagran published only eight items related to public discomfort including standalone pictures capturing public irritation. The first news on public discomfort was titled “Naye note ki chah mein aapadhapi, poora prabandh asafal, kashmir se kanyakumari tak lagi rahi kataare”(Rush for new notes, all arrangements fail, queues from Kashmir to Kanyakumari) on November 12.

 

"News on raids, seizures, etc was the single biggest category of news in Dainik Jagran, whereas public discomfort/anger was the biggest category in TOI."

 

In terms of geographical coverage Dainik Jagran covered only Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Himachal Pradesh and Punjab were mentioned in passing in just one news item. TOI, however, published 39 news items on public inconvenience covering 12 states, namely, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, respectively, accounted for 29 and 20 per cent of the coverage on public discomfort. TOI also published pictures of queues and violent reactions of people.

 

Table 2: Classification of news items on demonetisation on the front pages

Classification of news

Dainik Jagran

The Times of India

Declaration of rules

10.8%

8.3%

Tax schemes

4.4%

5.0%

RBI monetary/Banks

3.4%

5.0%

Incentives for cashless transactions

10.8%

4.6%

Raids, seizures, arrests

23.5%

14.7%

Government messaging

17.6%

15.1%

Political support

1.5%

0.8%

Public/Non-political support

4.9%

0.8%

Public discomfort/anger

3.9%

15.5%

Political opposition

6.4%

6.7%

Non-political opposition

0.0%

0.4%

Parliament

2.5%

1.2%

Judiciary

2.0%

2.4%

Newspaper’s own assessment of the situation

3.4%

6.3%

Short term impact on economy

0.0%

8.7%

Long term impact on economy

0.5%

0.0%

Humanitarian response of government officials

0.0%

0.4%

Miscellaneous

4.4%

5.2%

Total

100%

100%

 

In both newspapers, government messaging received the second largest coverage and political opposition to demonetization, including the disruption of parliament, got the fourth largest coverage. The Congress party received greater coverage in comparison to other opposition parties on the front pages of both newspapers. In comparison to TOI, Dainik Jagran published more statements of parties other than the BJP and the Congress. Interestingly, the Left parties did not receive any independent coverage in either of the two newspapers. Other than the BJP and the Congress, only the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Shiv Sena, Aam Aadmi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal and Janata Dal (United) figured on the front pages.

 

Highlights of findings from editorials and edit page articles (op-eds)

  • Sixty percent of Dainik Jagran’s editorials on demonetisation were published in November, while sixty percent of TOI’s editorials on this issue appeared in December.
  • The November editorials of Dainik Jagran supported demonetisation, questioned the response of the opposition, and suggested measures to ease the cash crunch and reduce public discomfort. Dainik Jagran published the first critical editorial “Sahee salaah” (Right advice) on December 05; TOI on November 15.
  • While a few editorials in TOI praised demonetisation, on the whole they criticised the decision for affecting the economy, particularly daily wage workers, small traders and industry. It also raised the issues of cybercrimes and data use by tax and other enforcement authorities.

 

During these 54 days, Dainik Jagran published 30 editorials on the issue, while TOI published 33 editorials, including four that mentioned the issue in passing, on 46 days (Table 3). Dainik publishes editorials daily while TOI does not publish editorials on Sundays. Sixty percent of Dainik Jagran’s editorials on demonetisation were published in November, while sixty percent of TOI’s editorials on this issue appeared in December.

 

Table 3: Number of editorials and op-eds on demonetization

Week

Dainik Jagran

The Times of India

Editorial

Op-eds

Editorial

Op-eds

Week 1/Nov 09 - Nov 15

8

5

4

7

Week 2/Nov 16 - Nov 22

5

5

4

7

Week 3/Nov 23 - Nov 29

5

7

5

11

Week 4/Nov 30 - Dec 06

5

8

3

10

Week 5/Dec 07 - Dec 13

1

3

4

10

Week 6/Dec 14 - Dec 20

3

7

6

7

Week 7/Dec 21 - Dec 27

2

4

5

2

Week 8/Dec 28 - Jan 01

1

4

2

9

8 weeks/54 days

30

43

33

62

Total (excluding entries  that mention

demonetisation in passing)

30

38

29

45

 

The November editorials of Dainik Jagran supported demonetisation, questioned the response of the opposition, and suggested measures to ease the cash crunch and reduce public discomfort (Table 4). In an editorial “Charam par starheen rajneeti”
(The height of opportunistic politics, November 16), Dainik Jagran highlighted the support of people and criticised the behavior of the opposition in the following words: “jab . . . log behtar kal ki aas me shanti aur sanyam ka parichay de rahe hai to netao ka ik samuh asahmati ki aad me kutark kyun kar raha hai?” (When people are observing restraint for a better future, why is a section of politicians peddling illogical claims under the cover of dissent?).

 

Table 4: Policy assessment in editorials on demonetisation

(Dainik Jagran / The Times of India)

Week

Supportive

Supportive with conditions

Critical

Neutral/ Unrelated to policy

Week 1

3 / 2

3 / 2

-

2 / 0

Week 2

-

3 / 0

0 / 4

2 / 0

Week 3

2 / 0

2 / 2

0 / 2

1 / 1

Week 4

-

3 / 1

1 / 1

1 / 1

Week 5

-

-

1 / 2

0 / 1

Week 6

-

-

3 / 2

0 / 1

Week 7

-

1 / 1

1 / 3

0 / 1

Week 8

-

1 / 0

0 / 1

0 / 1

Total

5 / 2

13 / 6

6 / 15

6 / 6

 

Dainik Jagran published the first critical editorial “Sahee salaah” (Right advice) on December 5 in which it  argued that hasty demonetisation had resulted in a slowdown in business and trade activities and encouraged the conversion of black money into white. In December, Dainik Jagran carried critical editorials alongside supportive ones. The critical editorials commented upon the negligence of banks and the Reserve Bank of India, questioned the stand of both ruling and opposition parties on the issue of political funding, and the preparations made by the government.

Front page news items based on Dainik Jagran’s own assessment of the situation published on the front pages follow a similar trend. Dainik Jagran published four assessments in November that drew attention to procedural loopholes in demonetisation and public support for the PM’s move. The first critical assessment “Sarkar kala dhan ka anuman lagane se chuki” (Government failed in estimating the value of black money) appeared on December 3 (two days before the first critical editorial was published). In December, Dainik Jagran also published two other critical assessments of the RBI and the government’s larger economic policy.

Initially, TOI supported demonetisation as a bold step and “a rough shove towards cashless economy” (It Ain’t White But Hot Pink, November 12) (Table 4). Its fourth editorial on the issue highlighted the supportive mood of the public but also pointed out that “if cash flow is not normalised soon this supportive mood could quickly flip” (High Stakes Gamble, November 15). Later on, it criticised demonetisation as “a carpet bombing of all economic activity” (Nurture Savings, December 12) and “the return of Inspector Raj” (Out Of Gear, November 21). TOI editorials also highlighted the winning of the BJP in the municipal council elections in Maharashtra, as a mini-referendum on demonetisation (Focus On Reform, November 30) and the support of industrialists for India’s transition to a less cash economy (Make Haste Slowly, December 6).

On the issue of the disruption of parliament, TOI criticised the lack of unity among the opposition parties (Disunited Inc, December 28), stressed the responsibility of the ruling party in running Parliament, and suggested that the prime minister “should take inspiration from Vajpayee who thrived on engaging debate in Parliament” (Winter Wipeout, December 16).

It also criticised Rahul Gandhi for his allegation of corruption against Narendra Modi (Stop Muck Raking, December 23) and Mamata Banerjee for dragging the army into her fight with the centre and for calling a Bharat Bandh (Post-truth Mamata, December 5 and Ban Bandhs, November 29). On political funding, the paper criticised the government by saying “the Modi government must address the very fount of corruption and black money in our society: political funding” (Lead By Example, December 21).

 

"Dainik Jagran was supportive of the government on demonetisation and was less critical and TOI criticised the ruling party as well."

 

Neither of the two supported the conduct of the opposition. However, Dainik Jagran was supportive of the government on demonetisation and was less critical and TOI criticised the ruling party as well. Dainik Jagran’s criticism was restricted to improper implementation and loopholes in the system that allowed the conversion of black money into white. It suggested measures to address public distress in arranging cash from banks. TOI, on the other hand, criticised demonetisation as affecting the economy, particularly, daily wage workers, small traders and industry.

Another crucial difference between the two papers was that Dainik Jagran published 123 letters to the editor on 44 out of 54 days, whereas TOI published ten letters on five Sundays. Compared to 20 per cent of the editorials of Danik Jagran that criticised the move, about 33 per cent of the letters were critical. This suggests that while Dainik Jagran did not directly criticise the government, it allowed more room for popular criticism.

 

Analysis of the op-eds

Dainik Jagran publishes editorial, articles, letters, blogs, tweets, rhymes and polls on the editorial page. TOI also publishes editorials, interviews and articles on its editorial page. On Sunday, TOI does not publish editorials. It only publishes articles, interviews, letters and rhymes on a page titled “All That Matters”. 

TOI published 62 op-eds including 17 articles that mentioned demonetisation in passing, 28 articles by columnists, “War on black money” by economists Jagdish Bhagwati, Pravin Krishna, Suresh Sundaresan, US-based academic economists, and “Revenge No Development Strategy” by Ruchir Sharma, Chief Global Strategist at Morgan Stanley Investment Management. The latter was also briefly mentioned on the front page.

The paper also published seven interviews of the following: Robert Vadra (also highlighted on the front page), Mallikarjun Kharge (Congress), Subramanian Swamy (BJP), Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi (BJP), Rakesh Sinha (RSS), S. Gurumurthy (RSS/Swadeshi Jagran Manch), and Anil Bokil (social activist who purportedly inspired Modi). The interviews of non-BJP/RSS personalities appeared in December.

Dainik Jagran published 46 op-eds on the issue including five articles that mentioned demonetisation in passing, an article by Lord Meghnad Desai “Kale dhan ka krantikari ilaaj” (Revolutionary cure for black money), seven articles by the newspaper’s editor and five by its associate editor. Lack of preparation by the government was first highlighted in the article “Achhe faisale ki aausat taiyari” (Average preparation for good decision, November 24) by Dr A. K. Verma, Director, Centre for the Study of Society and Politics, Kanpur.

The first critical article of Dainik JagranCashless ke kanuni pahlu” (Legal aspects of going cashless) by Virag Gupta, Supreme Court advocate, appeared on December 16. Another critical article, “Nayi Arthik Rah ki Jarurat” (Need a new economic approach, December 20) by Bharat Jhunjhunwala, former Professor, IIM Bangalore, criticized demonetisation for creating a negative environment for investment and Make in India.

Contributions by Krishnamurthy Subramanian, Indian School of Business and S. Gurumurthy, Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, appeared on the op-ed pages of both newspapers. Seven TOI  columnists who wrote more than one piece on demonetisation, together contributed 28 op-ed pieces. Dainik Jagran’s five op-ed contributors, including two members of staff who wrote more than one piece on demonetisation, together contributed 18 op-ed pieces.

Interestingly, repeat contributors did not change their assessment over time and maintained their stand. This is unlike the editorials which adjusted their stand with the changing situation.

 

"While they differed on the extent of their support for the government, neither newspaper supported the stand of the opposition parties."

 

In both newspapers, only 15 percent of the op-ed writers were economists (academics and banking professionals). Academics and professionals associated with other disciplines got roughly comparable space. (Journalists contributed at least half of the op-eds, while politicians contributed about a tenth.) This shows that these newspapers did not view the issue of demonetisation in narrowly technical terms.

 

Half truths and selective highlighting

Both newspapers accepted that demonetisation was a bold move. However, Dainik Jagran preferred to highlight the benefits of demonetization while TOI pointed out the short term inconvenience and possible economic disruption. For example, on November 25, both newspapers covered Moody’s report on the impact of demonetisation. The title of Dainik Jagran’s story implied the benefit of demonetisation in the long run “Notebandi ka lambe samay me hoga faayada” (Demonetisation will be beneficial in the long run), while TOI’s title indicated a short term adverse impact “Moody’s: Note ban will hit eco growth.”

Both discussed the other side of the story as well but it is interesting that their headings highlighted two opposite aspects. On the same day, in another it­em covering the speech of former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Dainik Jagran highlighted Singh’s support with (“Ham faisle ke virodh mein nahin hai” – We are not opposed to the decision) while TOI highlighted his opposition (“organised loot and legalised plunder”).

Likewise both newspapers covered the issue of availability of cashless payment options in hospitals. Dainik Jagran published two news items “Ab AIIMS mein hoga marijo ka cashless ilaaj” (Now patients do not need cash for treatment at AIIMS) on November 29 and “Safdarjung hospital me har tarah ki jaanch hui muft” (All kinds of check-ups made free at Safdarjung) on November 13.

TOI published a report based on the visit of a correspondent to five hospitals “Despite digital push, govt hospitals still in cash mode” on December 14. It noted that AIIMS was found to accept payment through cards and the remaining four hospitals including Safdarjung hospital were accepting only big payments through cards. On the follow up page, it discussed the inconvenience to people caused by the lack of cashless payment options in the hospitals across the country.

In another case, both newspapers published the killing of two brothers by their depressed father. Dainik Jagran published this news under the title “Avssad ke shikar pita ne apne do beto ko maar dala” (Depressed father kills his two sons) in detail on the front page on November 17. It highlighted unemployment, the death of his wife and complaints by neighbours as the reason for the man’s depression. This news was also discussed in the editorial on November 18. TOI, however, published this news as “2 brothers killed by dad among 7 dead”. A brief news item on TOI’s front page blamed demonetisation for the death of these two siblings, who were allegedly murdered by their father who was “frustrated at returning empty-handed from ATMs for two days, cops said.”

 

Concluding remarks

Dainik Jagran was supportive of the government on demonetisation and less critical. Its criticism was restricted to improper implementation and loopholes in the system that allowed conversion of black money into white. It suggested measures to address public discomfort. While a few editorials in TOI praised demonetisation,  on the whole it was more critical. TOI praised the voluntary disclosure scheme but Dainik Jagran criticised it. Several times, both papers reported the same story but selectively highlighted different aspects of it.

While they differed on the extent of their support for the government, neither newspaper supported the stand of the opposition parties. The divergence between their stands seems to have been driven by their choice of time frame for analysis – the short run or the long run. It is difficult to say if the choice of time frame was politically motivated, i.e., they deliberately chose to look at only one aspect.

 

Raw data available here

 

Ankita Pandey is an independent researcher based in Bengaluru.

 

 

The Hoot is the only not-for-profit initiative in India which does independent media monitoring. Your support is vital for this website. Click here to make a contribution.
Subscribe To The Newsletter

The Delhi High Court is inviting suggestions via  a Google form regarding how ongoing court proceedings should be reported. It says, " As per the deliberations of the Committee in its meeting held on 31.08.2017, questionnaires are hereby circulated to the members of the general public to give their suggestions on the subject matter to the Committee within 21 days." A committee on media reporting in courts was constituted by the acting CJ of the DHC earlier this year.                            

Santanu Bhowmick, a journalist from Dinrat news channel, was killed on Wednesday and several people were wounded in ongoing clashes between supporters of two rival tribal associations in Mandwai, about 28km from the Tripura capital of Agartala, HT reports.  He was covering an agitation and road blockade by the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura.                     

View More

The Washington Post  is rolling out Talk  a new commenting system that will allow the paper to better engage with readers who comment on its stories and help promote civil conversations. The software was developed by the Coral Project, a collaboration between The Post, the NYT and Mozilla, funded by a grant from the  Knight Foundation. The Post will integrate Talk with ModBot, its AI-powered comment moderation technology.                                                                         

Propublica has built a  Facebook bot which is a tiny computer program that automatically converses with you over Facebook Messenger to determine you experiences with reporting hate speech on Facebook. Its says its objective is to learn more about Facebook’s secret censorship rules and what the social media determines is hate speech. (Nieman Lab)                                       
View More