media and politics

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tv camermen at press conference

It’s first fifteen years, the Indian private broadcasting industry expanded like the American Wild West. Canny local entrepreneurs rode into uncharted territories and planted their stakes in the ground. They then used their incumbent first-mover advantage to build turf walls and defended themselves against ambitious newcomers. The deep complexities of language and the unique challenge […..]

You’d probably make more money in a fixed deposit than a news channel


Wait. No one watches the news? Then why are there so many news channels. The writer of a new book on the industry explains the real reason these channels are launched. As a genre, news attracts just about 7 percent of viewership in India and one-fifth of television advertising.Yet, almost half of over 800 licensed […..]

Modi’s Media


“India is Modi. Modi is India” screamed the headline in India’s most popular pink paper, The Economic Times, the day after the new Prime Minister’s historic electoral victory, the greatest by the Indian Right and the first clear-cut majority mandate for a single party to rule India in thirty years. It was a smart inversion […..]

Contradictory trends in Indian television

In early 2008, India’s Zee News broadcast a ‘special investigation’. With a loud, red banner labelling the inquiry an ‘exclusive’, the program made two claims: first, it professed to have found definitive proof that Ravana, the mythical villain of the Ramayana, had maintained an air force. And second, the program revealed that it had found […..]

Television: The daily theatre in our lives

For television, the 1990s began with a worried bureaucrat in the ministry of information and broadcasting submitting a file to his minister on how to stop what was then still called the “satellite invasion”. Science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke’s 1945 vision of a satellite in geosynchronous orbit solving the global broadcast distribution problem suddenly […..]


As British Members of Parliament united against Rupert Murdoch last week, the most revealing quote came from one of his advisors who ruefully said, “Not even Saddam Hussein managed to unite the Commons like he did. Talk about revenge being served cold.” Faced with such unanimous and unprecedented political opposition, Mr Murdoch has retreated but […..]


Among the litany of mistakes that have littered the Congress’ path around the crisis it finds itself in now, two structural ones stand out for special mention. The first was an inexplicable strategic call early on that it could somehow pretend that the party was in some way separate from the government, that the sins […..]