An IIPM Initiative
The Sunday Indian
Monday, July 16, 2018

Media Watch


Supplementary Issue


MW: The journey of an Agent Provocateur

Agnibesh Das

What can you say of a journalist whose blog is named after a British lingerie company? Well, for the lack of another word, you call him Kanchan Gupta. The veteran journalist has never played by the rules, having worked under some of the biggest stalwarts of Indian journalism – MJ Akbar, Sunanda K Datta-Ray and Vinod Mehta to name a few.


Clipped Wings

Seema Mustafa

Newspaper offices in Manipur have come to resemble fortresses today. After weeks and months of agitation for fear of their lives from rival insurgent groups in the tense state, journalists have managed to get some levels of security from the Manipur government. The result is that newspaper offices now have turned into high security buildings with journalists finding it difficult to operate with any level of independence. Several have been killed, and many more have survived assassination attempts. There are several scribes who have received bullet injuries for doing little more than their job

Cover Story

The Paradox of the Indian Media

Chandran Iyer

When Aparna Malikar's husband Sanjay, a cotton farmer, committed suicide in Vidarbha in 2009 because he was unable to pay off mounting debts leaving her and their two daughters to fend for themselves, the media hardly noticed their woes.

'Media more keen on Fashion Weeks than Farmers Suicides'

Chandan Iyer

Among the three issues, drought is more likely to get some coverage because of the sensation any calamity causes. All the studies we have, from the Centre for Media Studies in Delhi show us that serious coverage of the farm crisis is minimal. As for poverty, the media celebrates the great ‘decline’ in poverty based on official definitions and numbers, which are quite pathetic.

"There is a severe lack of empathy"

K S Narayanan

Our reporting of rural matters and agricultural issues is very poor and superficial. The little reportage that happens occurs only when there is a drought, like this year. It is more of a knee jerk reaction. There is no consistency in reporting on the fundamental problems facing both agriculture and the rural sector.

"Not enough journalists are qualified to do justice to the beat"

Surinder Sud

The media coverage of agriculture and rural sector in India has evolved along the lines of growth of the farm sector. In the pre-Green Revolution period, coverage was limited to food shortage, need for food imports, food aid, how the food aid is coming, distress of people suffering from hunger and starvation deaths.

The chief problem is inconsistency

Dr. KK Singh

The Indian Meteorological Department started the Agro-Meteorological agricultural Advisory Service (AAS) in collaboration with Agriculture Departments of the respective State Governments in 1976. The aim was to provide agro-meteorological data to the farmers in order to help them better plan their agricultural activities. We started initially on a state level. By 1987, we had a bulletin for each of the 127 agro-climatic zones in the country.

Looking where no one looks

Onkareshwar Pandey

The very inception of DD happened with programmes on agriculture in 1959, that was the beginning. The Krishi Darshan programme of DD is very well known. For last few years, we have been running several big projects for the Ministry of Agriculture, which we call the Mass Media Support to Agriculture Extension. Within that, we have two components. We have a half-an-hour agriculture programme from 18 major stations everyday.

The Curse of the Green Gold

KR Ranjith

"Who says money does not grow on trees?” Geeta Pandey of the BBC could not have concluded her story on the unique saga of vanilla cultivation in India better. All praise for the "discovery of a new gold” by the villagers of Kerala, the report (Vanilla Sweetens Indians’ lives, BBC, February 24, 2004) stands testimony to one of the many orchestrated attempts to introduce a new crop into an already weak and vulnerable agrarian economy that has failed.

Second Story

An Anna's Worth

Shastri Ramachandaran, Executive Director, National Centre for Advocacy Studies, Om Thanvi chief editor, Jansatta

Apart from causing the political class of the country no end of woes, the Anna movement has also stirred up a hornet’s nest among the media watchers in India. Some have blamed the media for blowing the whole thing out of proportion. Others have defended the media’s stand. How the regional and English media have covered it has also been put under the scanner.

International Media Watch

United Kingdom of Miracles!

Soumitra Bose

Roger Federer amplified the spirit of the Olympics movement when he replied to a question on whether he would become the greatest athlete of London 2012. The world No 1 Swiss legend said: "I am certainly not going to be the greatest…the Olympics are not about me or an individual.

Special Stories

A Slap in the Face


Before parting with the transcripts, we feel compelled to say a few words about the way the terrorist attacks on Taj Hotel, Hotel Oberoi and Nariman House were covered by the mainstream, electronic media and shown live on the TV screen. From the transcripts, especially those from Taj Hotel and Nariman House, it is evident that the terrorists who were entrenched at those places and more than them, their collaborators across the border were watching the full show on TV.

Regional Media Watch

Regional Media


The town of Mohali near Chandigarh in Punjab was facing a unique problem. The space designated for the burial of children in the main cremation ground of the town was overflowing. The space had been in use for years and there was just no space for any more burials. The people were facing a variety of problems.


Down Memory Lane in Lahore

Shubha Singh

Relations between India and Pakistan tend to oscillate between moments of bonhomie and patches of tension. In over three decades of following India-Pakistan ties, one has seen periods of heightened tension and a few instances of goodwill and expectation. Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s bus yatra to Lahore caught the imagination of people on both sides, but the gesture floundered with the Kargil intrusions.