Friday, 2 September 2016

"Twentyseven journalists have been murdered in India in direct retaliation for their work since 1992"

As many as 27 journalists have been murdered in India in direct retaliation for their work since 1992, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a non-profit based in New York.
The CPJ’s latest report, Dangerous pursuit: In India, journalists who cover corruption may pay with their lives, tells the stories of Jagendra Singh in Uttar Pradesh, Umesh Rajput in Chhattisgarh and Akshay Singh in Madhya Pradesh.
“The challenges faced by India’s press are highlighted by the cases of Jagendra Singh, Umesh Rajput, and Akshay Singh… corruption was the impetus for all three journalists’ final reports and in all three cases, there have been no convictions,” Sumit Galhotra, CPJ’s Asia Program senior research associate wrote in the report.
Freelancer Jagendra Singh, who died after being set on fire, allegedly by the police in June 2015, was investigating allegations that a local minister was involved in land grabs and a rape. Before he was shot dead in January 2011, Umesh Rajput was investigating allegations of medical negligence and claims that the son of a politician was involved illegal gambling. Investigative reporter Akshay Singh was working on a story linked to the US $1 billion Vyapam admissions scandal—tests for professional jobs run by the Madhya Pradesh government–“when he died unexpectedly in July 2015”.
Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir are the most dangerous areas to report from (statistics do not put Chhattisgarh in the top three), given their “volatile” institutional structures and “complex” civil societies, the report said.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a global advocacy, called India “Asia’s deadliest country for media personnel, ahead of both Pakistan and Afghanistan”, IndiaSpend reported in April 2016.
The CPJ report also shows how small-town journalists face greater risks than those from larger cities, and how India’s culture of impunity is leaving the country’s media vulnerable to threats and attacks. “They rarely get support from their employers if they are targeted,” Sujata  Madhok, general-secretary of the Delhi Union of Journalists, told CPJ. “The gulf between journalists working in rural or remote areas and those working in big cities is huge.”
“The language a reporter writes in and, most importantly, what they are writing about—especially if it challenges the powerful—increase the vulnerability,” P Sainath, co-founder of People’s Archive of Rural India, wrote in the report.
“While rural and small-town journalists often have to cover multiple beats, those included in CPJ’s list focused mainly on corruption, crime, and politics: three beats often closely intertwined,” the report said. “This hasn’t changed too much in the past three decades, but it has become worse with the retreat of the mainstream media from covering rural India in any depth.”
Police are responsible for the first stages in any investigation, Geeta Sheshu, consulting editor of The Hoot, a media watchdog, told CPJ. “A faulty first information report, not applying the appropriate sections of the law, not clearly recording witness statements or protecting vulnerable witnesses, and not following up on preliminary investigations can be damaging.”
The CPJ has made various recommendations to the central government, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probing the death of Akshay Singh and Umesh Rajput, the Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh state governments and the Indian media. These include:
  • Provide sufficient resources and political support to improve the capacity of authorities to conduct timely investigations and trials relating to crimes against journalists, including freelancers, bloggers, and those who publish news on social media;
  • Immediately transfer the investigation into the 2015 death of Jagendra Singh in Uttar Pradesh from state police to the CBI; and
  • Employers should establish clear mechanisms for staff and freelancers to report threats, harassment, or attacks, and offer appropriate support.

Source: 
http://www.indiaspend.com/making-sense-of-breaking-news/27-indian-journalists-investigating-corruption-murdered-over-24-years-77424
 

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Book Released- Intercultural Relations and Ethnic Conflict in Asia

 Following from Dr Swati JaywantRao Bute:
Book Released 

Intercultural Relations and Ethnic Conflict in Asia
Editor – Dr. Swati JaywantRao Bute

Premium Reference Source


Editorial Advisory Board Members

1)      Lele Ajey, Assistant Director, India
2)      Agha Aqsa, Doctoral Scholar, India
3)      Pokhrapurkar D., Media Consultant, India
4)      Tadjine Farida, Assistant Lecturer, Algeria
5)      Bhrdwaj Sree Krishna Hotur, Doctoral Scholar, India
6)      Nasir Khaled, Geopolitical Analyst, Bangladesh
7)      Thakur Kiran, Adjunct Faculty and Research Coordinator, India
8)      Bhagat Mono, Senior Advisor and Consultant, India
9)      Gokhale A. Nitin, National Security Analyst, Media Trainer and Author, India
10)  Chandra Priyanka, Doctoral Scholar, India

Description:

Many geographically diverse regions in the world contain a rich variety of cultures within them. While some have many socio-cultural similarities, tensions can still arise to make such areas unstable and vulnerable. Intercultural Relations and Ethnic Conflict in Asia is a critical reference source for the latest scholarly research on the economic, political, and socio-cultural disputes occurring throughout various South Asian countries and the effects of these struggles on citizens and governments. This book highlights pertinent issues relating to patterns of conflict, the role of media outlets, and governmental relations.

ISBN: 9781522505822

Table of Contents

A Region of Association and Turbulence
MehaJanki Pant (Jawaharlal Nehru University, India)

Communalism – Challenge to the Truth of Indian Diversity
Aqsa Agha(Jawaharlal Nehru University, India)

Impact of Buddhism on Sri Lanka-The Indian Influence
SudhaJhaPathak(Amity Law School, India)

Islamic Modernism in the Works of Jamaluddin –Al –Afghani and Syed Ahmed khan – Contradiction and Relevance
Priyanka Chandra(Jawaharlal Nehru University, India)

Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself? Public Attitudes, Opinion and Level of Concern in Asia
SirjjanPreet (Youth Technical Training Society (YTTS), India)

21stCentury Conflict – A New Perspective
Athul M. (Max Protection Ltd., India)

Role of Citizen Journalism through Internet in Reporting War and
Conflicts – An Introspection
Sree Krishna Bhardwaj H. (National Law School of India University, India)

Understanding the Role of Media in South Asia
SukanyaNatarajan(Jawaharlal Nehru University, India)

Preface

South Asia region is a group of eight countries Afghanistan, Bhutan Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. This region shows lot of cultural similarities but there are differences at geo political level. Geo political differences are not only affecting the economic growth and prosperity of the region but also making it politically unstable, vulnerable and increasing socio-cultural differences. This geographically diverse area has lots of socio-cultural similarities. People to people connection are the strength of this area. Inter regional cultural exchange, marriage relations is in the practice. Education and scholarly exchange, similar food habits, art, literature, people’s faith in different religions, similarity in different religions connects South Asian countries very strongly. All South Asian countries have their political, economic, socio-cultural, problems.

They are facing conflicts and riots at home, tension at border and global threats like terrorism and war. In globalized world, South Asia is going through a transition period of regional differences and pressure created by global powers for their own geo-political and economic interests in the region. Inter regional political differences between South Asian countries creates dilemma and tension among people of these countries and responsible for internal security threats, border tension and conflicts. There is lack of confidence building measures at state and local level. If something happens at border, in cities, or in communities people look at government, local administration and media to get proper information and to know what exactly is happening.

At many times Government, local administration and media do not provide proper information and leaves people to live with the dilemma, confusion, fear and tension. Today when there are multiple sources of information are available; people are getting information from both authentic and non-authentic sources, which further create confusion in the society. Culturally bonded societies are more sensitive towards their families, culture, faith, belief and customs. Politically incorrect information easily creates panic and chaos in such societies. This fear of loss - loss of family members, land, property, identity, faith, culture, belief sows the seeds of differences and hatred amongst the people. Moreover, in such situation if they are not getting proper directions from the state and information from the media they feel helpless. Sometimes it is a political agenda to support such situation of uncertainty, loss, fear, tension and hatred. Sometimes media organizations are used to provoke people’s feelings and sentiments to increase tension, riots and chaos and to disturb social harmony.

In such situation, it is necessary to analyze India’s cultural relations in South Asian countries in changing perspectives of war and conflicts and role of media and new communication technology. It is necessary to evaluate how historical and cultural similarities and relations of South Asian countries can be a source to maintain bilateral, diplomatic relations and to secure border issues? What new tactics of war and conflicts are in use in South Asian region? What role media is playing in reporting riot, conflict and war and in building confidence and trust between the people and governments? This book focuses on all above-mentioned issues. In this book editor tried to get a collection of chapters to evaluate intercultural relations in south Asian countries, changing geopolitical situation in the region and its effect on intercultural relations, changing patterns of war in the region, media’s role in enhancing socio cultural relations, building confidence and trust and in reporting conflict, tension and war. This book is for scholars, academicians and students of bilateral relations and international affairs. This book is also for scholars, academicians and students of culture, politics, sociology, journalism and communication.

Organization of the book

The book is organized into eight chapters. A brief description of each of the chapters follows:

Chapter 1 identifies South Asian region as a region of association and turbulence. In particular, the chapter identifies the area in and around the Indian subcontinent as a mixture of various defined and undefined flows of love, tolerance, religious affiliation along with the prevalence of emotions of mistrust and hatred. The region shares an affinity, which in today’s times has lead to the various transnational forces causing instability in the region due to the shared geographical shared proximity and the porous borders that prevail between these nations. The end of the Cold war highlighted the new threats, which had emerged, not bonded in the notions of safeguarding the integrity and sovereignty; they were way beyond territorial demarcations. This article highlights historical linkages and cultural affiliations, which binds the area of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India into a deeper relationship. Along with dwelling into the political scenario defined by bilateral and diplomatic ties which has taken up an important place in the times of changing perspectives of war and conflict.

Chapter 2 establishes that Indian diversity is a result of generations of comingling and the delicate social fabric faces challenge of the ever- growing threat of communalism. To understand the challenge of communalism it is imperative for us to define and recognize its manifestations. This chapter defines communalism, its changing form from pre to post independence, how the contemporary political scenario has promoted communal passions of the masses, that is often manifested in the communal violence, how it has made history central to their communal program; and finally the repercussions of the communal hate mongering on the Indian social fabric. It is through communal interpretation of history and its propagation through all possible means that pits one community against the other. This chapter analyzes the communal interpretation of history and the need for the promotion of counter narrative.

Chapter 3 presents an analysis of linkages between religion and politics, which have engaged the interest of scholars for centuries. Two thinkers, whose works are central to these inter-linkages, are Jamaluddin al-Afghani and Syed Ahmed Khan. Both were Islamic modernists in the late nineteenth century who sought to reform religion by engaging with modernity. They have also contributed significantly to shaping the nationalist movements in West Asia and India respectively. This chapter examines their ideas on important issues like religious and educational reform, nationalism and pan-Islamism, differences and contrasts in their ideologies and their contributions to Islamic modernism. Through this examination, this chapter highlights the relevance of their contributions to the study of contemporary political Islam.

Chapter 4 reviews the security threats posed by “Islamic State of Iraq. Author argues about the real threat and its projection by media. By rising questions such as is ISIS really coming? What is it? Why the world is so scared from it? Is it a new terror organization? Alternatively, it is just the same terror group under a different name? Is it as big as it claims or it is just a fake projection by media? This chapter cover it all using the available resources in the open source.

Chapter 5 is a historical study of the mutual exchanges in the religious and cultural traditions, in the context of Buddhism between India and Sri Lanka. As a powerful medium of trans-acculturation, Buddhism enriched several countries especially of South and South-East Asia. Though Asoka used Buddhism as a unifying instrument of royal power, he was considered as the ruler par excellence who ruled as per dhamma and righteousness ensuring peace and harmony in the kingdom. Several rulers in the Buddhist world including Sri Lanka emulated him. Royal patronage of the Buddhist Sangha in Sri Lanka was reciprocated by support for the institution of kingship. Kingship played an important role in the political unification of the country, whereas Buddhism provided the ground for ideological consolidation. The Indian impact is clearly visible in all aspects of Sri Lankan life and identity-religion (Buddhism), art architecture, literature, language. However, the culture and civilization, which developed in the island nation, had its own distinctive variant despite retaining the Indian flavor.

Chapter 6 reviews South Asia continent as vast and as densely populated where regional cooperation and friendship is rooted in the people. People-to-people ties determine the extent of economic and social progress in the region. The chapter focuses on attitudes, opinions and expectations of Asian community to monitor the state of mutual understanding and trust among countries in Asia. It is an attempt to acquire realistic understanding of the nature and determinants of public attitudes and opinions in the Asian region. Besides studying the impressions/views of Asians about each other, the chapter also intends to investigate the reasons behind these impressions and provide recommendations based on the observations.

Chapter 7 reviews that warfare has evolved rapidly in the first few years of the 21st century. There are stark differences with conventional mode of warfare, which was the defacto mode for much of 20th century, and today’s asymmetric warfare. In the conventional mode of warfare, if winning and losing a war could be defined by the traditional yard sticks of number of enemy dead, how much area of land occupied and number of prisoners taken, today these yardsticks no longer us get a clear picture of who is winning or losing it.

Chapter 8 analyzes the impact of new media on society. With the rise of technology, there has been tremendous change in the reporting of news. The citizen journalism has gained momentum especially through social media such as blogs, Facebook, twitter etc. It is very difficult to assess whether the citizen journalism is significant in the society. This paper analyses these concepts with the help of case studies.
---

Source:

swatibute2@gmail.com 


Book Released- Intercultural Relations and Ethnic Conflict in Asia

 Following from Dr Swati JaywantRao Bute:
Book Released 

Intercultural Relations and Ethnic Conflict in Asia
Editor – Dr. Swati JaywantRao Bute

Premium Reference Source


Editorial Advisory Board Members

1)      Lele Ajey, Assistant Director, India
2)      Agha Aqsa, Doctoral Scholar, India
3)      Pokhrapurkar D., Media Consultant, India
4)      Tadjine Farida, Assistant Lecturer, Algeria
5)      Bhrdwaj Sree Krishna Hotur, Doctoral Scholar, India
6)      Nasir Khaled, Geopolitical Analyst, Bangladesh
7)      Thakur Kiran, Adjunct Faculty and Research Coordinator, India
8)      Bhagat Mono, Senior Advisor and Consultant, India
9)      Gokhale A. Nitin, National Security Analyst, Media Trainer and Author, India
10)  Chandra Priyanka, Doctoral Scholar, India

Description:

Many geographically diverse regions in the world contain a rich variety of cultures within them. While some have many socio-cultural similarities, tensions can still arise to make such areas unstable and vulnerable. Intercultural Relations and Ethnic Conflict in Asia is a critical reference source for the latest scholarly research on the economic, political, and socio-cultural disputes occurring throughout various South Asian countries and the effects of these struggles on citizens and governments. This book highlights pertinent issues relating to patterns of conflict, the role of media outlets, and governmental relations.

ISBN: 9781522505822

Table of Contents

A Region of Association and Turbulence
MehaJanki Pant (Jawaharlal Nehru University, India)

Communalism – Challenge to the Truth of Indian Diversity
Aqsa Agha(Jawaharlal Nehru University, India)

Impact of Buddhism on Sri Lanka-The Indian Influence
SudhaJhaPathak(Amity Law School, India)

Islamic Modernism in the Works of Jamaluddin –Al –Afghani and Syed Ahmed khan – Contradiction and Relevance
Priyanka Chandra(Jawaharlal Nehru University, India)

Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself? Public Attitudes, Opinion and Level of Concern in Asia
SirjjanPreet (Youth Technical Training Society (YTTS), India)

21stCentury Conflict – A New Perspective
Athul M. (Max Protection Ltd., India)

Role of Citizen Journalism through Internet in Reporting War and
Conflicts – An Introspection
Sree Krishna Bhardwaj H. (National Law School of India University, India)

Understanding the Role of Media in South Asia
SukanyaNatarajan(Jawaharlal Nehru University, India)

Preface

South Asia region is a group of eight countries Afghanistan, Bhutan Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. This region shows lot of cultural similarities but there are differences at geo political level. Geo political differences are not only affecting the economic growth and prosperity of the region but also making it politically unstable, vulnerable and increasing socio-cultural differences. This geographically diverse area has lots of socio-cultural similarities. People to people connection are the strength of this area. Inter regional cultural exchange, marriage relations is in the practice. Education and scholarly exchange, similar food habits, art, literature, people’s faith in different religions, similarity in different religions connects South Asian countries very strongly. All South Asian countries have their political, economic, socio-cultural, problems.

They are facing conflicts and riots at home, tension at border and global threats like terrorism and war. In globalized world, South Asia is going through a transition period of regional differences and pressure created by global powers for their own geo-political and economic interests in the region. Inter regional political differences between South Asian countries creates dilemma and tension among people of these countries and responsible for internal security threats, border tension and conflicts. There is lack of confidence building measures at state and local level. If something happens at border, in cities, or in communities people look at government, local administration and media to get proper information and to know what exactly is happening.

At many times Government, local administration and media do not provide proper information and leaves people to live with the dilemma, confusion, fear and tension. Today when there are multiple sources of information are available; people are getting information from both authentic and non-authentic sources, which further create confusion in the society. Culturally bonded societies are more sensitive towards their families, culture, faith, belief and customs. Politically incorrect information easily creates panic and chaos in such societies. This fear of loss - loss of family members, land, property, identity, faith, culture, belief sows the seeds of differences and hatred amongst the people. Moreover, in such situation if they are not getting proper directions from the state and information from the media they feel helpless. Sometimes it is a political agenda to support such situation of uncertainty, loss, fear, tension and hatred. Sometimes media organizations are used to provoke people’s feelings and sentiments to increase tension, riots and chaos and to disturb social harmony.

In such situation, it is necessary to analyze India’s cultural relations in South Asian countries in changing perspectives of war and conflicts and role of media and new communication technology. It is necessary to evaluate how historical and cultural similarities and relations of South Asian countries can be a source to maintain bilateral, diplomatic relations and to secure border issues? What new tactics of war and conflicts are in use in South Asian region? What role media is playing in reporting riot, conflict and war and in building confidence and trust between the people and governments? This book focuses on all above-mentioned issues. In this book editor tried to get a collection of chapters to evaluate intercultural relations in south Asian countries, changing geopolitical situation in the region and its effect on intercultural relations, changing patterns of war in the region, media’s role in enhancing socio cultural relations, building confidence and trust and in reporting conflict, tension and war. This book is for scholars, academicians and students of bilateral relations and international affairs. This book is also for scholars, academicians and students of culture, politics, sociology, journalism and communication.

Organization of the book

The book is organized into eight chapters. A brief description of each of the chapters follows:

Chapter 1 identifies South Asian region as a region of association and turbulence. In particular, the chapter identifies the area in and around the Indian subcontinent as a mixture of various defined and undefined flows of love, tolerance, religious affiliation along with the prevalence of emotions of mistrust and hatred. The region shares an affinity, which in today’s times has lead to the various transnational forces causing instability in the region due to the shared geographical shared proximity and the porous borders that prevail between these nations. The end of the Cold war highlighted the new threats, which had emerged, not bonded in the notions of safeguarding the integrity and sovereignty; they were way beyond territorial demarcations. This article highlights historical linkages and cultural affiliations, which binds the area of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India into a deeper relationship. Along with dwelling into the political scenario defined by bilateral and diplomatic ties which has taken up an important place in the times of changing perspectives of war and conflict.

Chapter 2 establishes that Indian diversity is a result of generations of comingling and the delicate social fabric faces challenge of the ever- growing threat of communalism. To understand the challenge of communalism it is imperative for us to define and recognize its manifestations. This chapter defines communalism, its changing form from pre to post independence, how the contemporary political scenario has promoted communal passions of the masses, that is often manifested in the communal violence, how it has made history central to their communal program; and finally the repercussions of the communal hate mongering on the Indian social fabric. It is through communal interpretation of history and its propagation through all possible means that pits one community against the other. This chapter analyzes the communal interpretation of history and the need for the promotion of counter narrative.

Chapter 3 presents an analysis of linkages between religion and politics, which have engaged the interest of scholars for centuries. Two thinkers, whose works are central to these inter-linkages, are Jamaluddin al-Afghani and Syed Ahmed Khan. Both were Islamic modernists in the late nineteenth century who sought to reform religion by engaging with modernity. They have also contributed significantly to shaping the nationalist movements in West Asia and India respectively. This chapter examines their ideas on important issues like religious and educational reform, nationalism and pan-Islamism, differences and contrasts in their ideologies and their contributions to Islamic modernism. Through this examination, this chapter highlights the relevance of their contributions to the study of contemporary political Islam.

Chapter 4 reviews the security threats posed by “Islamic State of Iraq. Author argues about the real threat and its projection by media. By rising questions such as is ISIS really coming? What is it? Why the world is so scared from it? Is it a new terror organization? Alternatively, it is just the same terror group under a different name? Is it as big as it claims or it is just a fake projection by media? This chapter cover it all using the available resources in the open source.

Chapter 5 is a historical study of the mutual exchanges in the religious and cultural traditions, in the context of Buddhism between India and Sri Lanka. As a powerful medium of trans-acculturation, Buddhism enriched several countries especially of South and South-East Asia. Though Asoka used Buddhism as a unifying instrument of royal power, he was considered as the ruler par excellence who ruled as per dhamma and righteousness ensuring peace and harmony in the kingdom. Several rulers in the Buddhist world including Sri Lanka emulated him. Royal patronage of the Buddhist Sangha in Sri Lanka was reciprocated by support for the institution of kingship. Kingship played an important role in the political unification of the country, whereas Buddhism provided the ground for ideological consolidation. The Indian impact is clearly visible in all aspects of Sri Lankan life and identity-religion (Buddhism), art architecture, literature, language. However, the culture and civilization, which developed in the island nation, had its own distinctive variant despite retaining the Indian flavor.

Chapter 6 reviews South Asia continent as vast and as densely populated where regional cooperation and friendship is rooted in the people. People-to-people ties determine the extent of economic and social progress in the region. The chapter focuses on attitudes, opinions and expectations of Asian community to monitor the state of mutual understanding and trust among countries in Asia. It is an attempt to acquire realistic understanding of the nature and determinants of public attitudes and opinions in the Asian region. Besides studying the impressions/views of Asians about each other, the chapter also intends to investigate the reasons behind these impressions and provide recommendations based on the observations.

Chapter 7 reviews that warfare has evolved rapidly in the first few years of the 21st century. There are stark differences with conventional mode of warfare, which was the defacto mode for much of 20th century, and today’s asymmetric warfare. In the conventional mode of warfare, if winning and losing a war could be defined by the traditional yard sticks of number of enemy dead, how much area of land occupied and number of prisoners taken, today these yardsticks no longer us get a clear picture of who is winning or losing it.

Chapter 8 analyzes the impact of new media on society. With the rise of technology, there has been tremendous change in the reporting of news. The citizen journalism has gained momentum especially through social media such as blogs, Facebook, twitter etc. It is very difficult to assess whether the citizen journalism is significant in the society. This paper analyses these concepts with the help of case studies.


Source: 


Sunday, 28 August 2016

Book on intercultural Relations and Ethnic Conflict in Asia launched


Please visit

intercultural Relations and Ethnic Conflict in Asia Hardcover – Jul 22 2016

https://www.amazon.ca/Intercultural-Relations-Ethnic-Conflict-Asia/dp/1522505822

Friday, 26 August 2016

More News is Good News: Untold Stories from 25 Years of Television News

 Following from thehoot.org, is posted here hoping that media teachers may be interested to know about this book:
Book Review:
More News is Good News: Untold Stories from 25 Years of Television NewsEdited by Ayesha Kagal
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
"If the Roys had not founded NDTV in 1988, privately-owned unfettered news on television might have got delayed by at least a decade."
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  
 Today we take the cacophony of 400 plus news and entertainment television channels as essential to Indian democracy. If we discount the government-controlled news bulletins on Doordarshan and All India Radio, it is easy to forget how silent the airwaves were for the first four decades of Independence. 
Limited access to information and communication technologies was not the primary reason for the lagging television industry in India. Rather, the television industry was a late starter because of a culture of fear inside the post-colonial government of the free flow of information and news. The biggest fear was that the illiterate masses, swayed by information and news, would become anarchic, making it impossible to govern a subcontinent size country with many fragments and fault lines. The truism was that the social control exercised by the government of the day through highly regulated airwaves was essential. If television news was opened to private ownership, like the print media, it would undermine the ability of the government to govern.
The status of the print media was different. The government of independent India had inherited private ownership of the print media from the former British rulers. Moreover, widespread illiteracy in the country, ironically, gave some comfort to the government as it meant that the overwhelming majority could not read newspapers. The fearless reporting for the most part was only for the educated elite.
This was not unique to India. All over the world postcolonial bureaucracies were scared of news over the airwaves. They were convinced that the masses were incapable of rationally consuming news and of handling the truth because of the hold that traditional and mythical thinking had on their cognitive abilities.
The fact is that, even before private television news, people in India and in many other post-colonial countries, had access to international broadcasters such as BBC Radio in vernacular languages. Not surprisingly, the BBC was seen as the arbiter of high quality news. It was a truism then to back something you said with the statement, “I heard it on BBC.” One of the greatest achievements of privately-owned television news in India such as NDTV has been to break the monopoly of broadcasters like the BBC.
The first task for the pioneers of television news was to bring about a culture shift in the government, especially in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Radhika Roy and Prannoy Roy of NDTV played a crucial role in bringing about a cultural transformation inside the government bureaucracy that opened up the possibility of private ownership and editorial freedom for television news.
Many others too made significant contributions. The role played by Arun Poorie and Madhu Trehan in India Today’s first foray into television news via VHS tapes was a catalyst in this transformation. Subhash Chandra’s launching of Hindi news on ZEE TV was no less path-breaking.
Think of a counterfactual. If the Roys had not founded NDTV in 1988, privately-owned unfettered news on television might have got delayed by at least a decade. The initial support extended by a few bureaucrats in Doordarshan and later Rupert Murdoch of STAR TV was crucial, but NDTV would have not have taken off without the entrepreneurial skills of the Roys. People such as Bhaskar Ghose inside the government bureaucracy took the risk of supporting the idea of a privately-owned and editorially independent producer of news television in India. 
NDTV started incrementally with a contract to produce The World This Week on Doordarshan in 1988, and then the nightly news show Tonight in 1995. The big break for the fledgling organization came when it was asked by the News Corporation to produce 24x7 news in English for the STAR satellite network in 1998. Building on the remarkable success the company had working for STAR, NDTV launched its own independent 24x7 news channel in 2003. Media historians have told this NDTV story in parts scattered here and there, but now we have a sort of self-assessment of the historical character of NDTV in the recently published More News is Good News: Untold Stories from 25 years of Television News.
The book, through a series of essays written by insiders, many of whom are still with the organization and some who left to chart a different course after gaining their experience there, tells the story of NDTV and the dawn of television journalism in India.
As NDTV was being built up as a garage startup, the people working for it had to learn fast on the job. As they ventured into unknown territory, they also developed news routines, values and norms for television reporting. In his opening essay, Prannoy Roy says he sees the NDTV story as a story of the transition of Indian journalism from a docile to a more discerning phase. This classification must be read exclusively in the context of television journalism. In contrast, print journalism has a much deeper and glorious history of adversarial, investigative and explanatory reporting.  
The essays in the book present each writer’s personal foray into television journalism. The anecdote-rich accounts bring out compellingly how NDTV in its initial years was almost an apprenticeship school for television journalists such as Rajdeep Sardesai.
The anecdotes collectively tell the story of how the writers co-invented the idiom of television news as they went about doing their jobs. The most striking thing that comes out from the essays is that, unlike newspaper reporting, which is mostly a solitary effort, until the copy lands at the desk of a news editor, television news is a team effort from the very word go. The story of NDTV could never have been complete without acknowledging the camerapersons, the drivers who ferry the equipment, reporters, producers, and editors who work in the newsroom and production control room.
The team aspect of the NDTV story is compellingly stated at the outset in the preface written by Radhika Roy who is acknowledged as the heart and soul of the organization.
The highly personal essays by Tavleen Singh, Vikram Chandra, Vishnu Som, Sreenivasan Jain, and Maya Mirchandani tell the back stories of some of their most challenging assignments covering international affairs, war, natural disaster, and social conflict. Sonia Singh in her essay defends activist journalism in the context of the big stories on gender-related crimes. Essays by Shikha Trivedy and Radhika Bordia cover the challenges faced by journalists reporting on religious communities and conflicts. The essay by Priyanka Chopra on the work NDTV has done all these years in shining a light on the environment is informative and unveils a lot that is not known outside the organization. Chopra’s essay nicely situates green journalism in the grey area between scientific reporting and activism.
These essays should be a must read for all young reporters in television journalism as they are not only memoir-like, but present a self-assessment by the pioneers. (One small quibble is that the repetition of some of the foundational mythologies in many essays is distracting). The essays are not all about celebrating the NDTV story. Some are reflective essays on television journalism. Shekhar Gupta, Ravish Kumar, and Nidhi Razdan in their essays undertake a critical assessment of television news and the structural impediments of the medium by looking at how conflict and polarized drama has come to dominate coverage.
Gupta and Razdan touch upon how the respective roles of reporter, editor and anchor have suffered in the food chain of news and information, especially on nightly prime time shows. The celebrity status occupied by anchors of prime time shows has compromised the centrality of reporters and editors as the arbiters of facts in news. The phenomenon of hybrid reporter-editor-anchor has substituted fair and balanced reporting with polarized opinion.
Kumar, in his inimitable style has highlighted how from its formative years, television news has been Lutyens-Delhi centric, and how, in spite of efforts by some journalists, the TV newsroom in Delhi is India. Aunindyo Chakravarty’s analysis of Kumar’s “gonzo” journalism must be read along with Kumar’s essay to understand how the vernacular idiom, despite its much maligned image, has come to occupy a moral space in television journalism. This reflexive vernacular idiom was pioneered by Vinod Dua and the late Surendra Pratap Singh and now Ravish Kumar is building on that legacy. One of the main drawbacks in the collection, in fact, is that it does not include essays by some of the other Hindi journalists who have worked at NDTV since the STAR days.
Criticism of the Delhi-centric world of television is equally compellingly highlighted by Monideepa Banerjie who has stood at NDTV’s outpost in Bengal for all these years. Likewise, Uma Sudhir in her essay talks about the challenges a reporter representing the national media faces in the state capitals, especially when she has to navigate a competitive media scene that is politically fragmented along political and ethnic lines.   
The book appropriately ends with an essay on NDTV’s forays into online journalism by Suprana Singh. Singh talks about how the NDTV website is not merely an extension of the TV, but is a separate media product. Using her experience in running ndtv.com, she highlights the challenges all journalists face as they make the transition from legacy media into the world of online media where 140 character news bytes dominate the 24x7 cycle of news.
The last 25 years of the news media’s growth has shown that, for the most part, the initial fears of the government were mostly unfounded. Assessing the unshackling of the electronic news media in India, Prannoy Roy sums it up succinctly: “As India’s media has grown over the years, despite all the baggage, so far more news has been good news.”
The television news media with all its faults has served India’s democracy well. And, as Shekhar Gupta has suggested, along with its deeply ingrained biases, classism, and ideological motivations, television news has nonetheless played its role as the “watchdog and hound at the same time” with remarkable success.
Finally, a word about the editor of the book. Ayesha Kagal, a longtime associate of the Roys, has done an excellent job in editing and putting this book together. Kagal has a done a favour to aspiring young journalists and media historians by putting this kaleidoscope of NDTV’s collective internal memory into book form. I recommend that all media schools in India and other countries in South Asia should include this book as required reading. Surely with an advisory note: read critically and reflexively. 
Anup Kumar teaches communication in the School of Communication, Cleveland State University.