A Handbook of Journalism: Media in the Information Age

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Edited by: V. Eshwar Anand & K. Jayanthi

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    Preface

    SAGE was founded in 1965 by Sara Miller McCune to support the dissemination of usable knowledge by publishing innovative and high-quality research and teaching content. Today, we publish over 900 journals, including those of more than 400 learned societies, more than 800 new books per year, and a growing range of library products including archives, data, case studies, reports, and video. SAGE remains majority-owned by our founder, and after Sara's lifetime will become owned by a charitable trust that secures our continued independence.

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    Advance Praise

    Journalism is reinventing itself today; more profoundly, all citizens in contemporary democracies need to rediscover the rationale for why journalism should be supported and funded. India as the world's largest democracy is a hugely important site for such rethinking. This vital new book draws together a wide range of experts and thinkers to address the challenges of journalism in the digital age. I urge you to read it!

    —Dr Nick Couldry, Professor of Media, Communications and Social Theory, London School of Economics and Political Science

    It will inspire young journalists with the sense of mission that goes with empowering readers with the facts needed for informed decisions. Its emphasis on the Editor's role maintaining standards is timely. Industry's rush to monetise every page, channel and digital feed is perilously shortsighted. Journalism's currency, as the authors point out, rests on accuracy, deep reporting and a keen grasp of the storyteller's art. Marketing teams can't supply that; the Editor does.

    —Dr Brian Patrick O'Donoghue, Professor of Communication and Journalism, University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA

    It is a creative conversation between the practitioners and academia in journalism studies. Journalism teaching in India is obsessed with ‘training’ rather than a ‘studies’ orientation. Distinguished practitioners and academia rarely reflect on their experiences and introspect on their profession. Much has changed in journalism because of its nature, increasing competition and the rent-seeking behaviour. It would be an interesting book for students of journalism and communication studies.

    —Dr Biswajit Das, Director, Centre for Culture, Media and Governance, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi

    Media in the digital age is rapidly evolving, but many of the challenges that journalism faces are not very well understood by the wider public or by media professionals themselves. Given the breadth of topics it seeks to address, this handbook will be a valuable addition to existing literature on the subject.

    —Siddharth Varadarajan, Founding Editor, The Wire, and former Editor, The Hindu

    Any attempt at making sense of the proliferation of media in the digital era is welcome. Print still retains its primacy despite social media and other offshoots. Principles of good journalism remain the same: integrity and competence.

    —S. Nihal Singh, former Editor, The Statesman and The Indian Express, and Distinguished Columnist

    Acknowledgements

    To the craft of journalism which has inspired generations of Editors

    Preface

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    List of Figures

    List of Abbreviations

    AAAI

    Advertising Agencies Association of India

    ABC

    Audit Bureau of Circulations

    ADAG

    Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group

    ADR

    Association for Democratic Reforms

    AICTE

    All India Council for Technical Education

    AIIMS

    All India Institute of Medical Sciences

    ATM

    automated teller machine

    BARC

    Broadcast Audience Research Council

    BBC

    British Broadcasting Corporation

    BCCL

    Bennett Coleman and Co. Ltd

    BJP

    Bharatiya Janata Party

    BRGF

    Backward Region Grant Fund

    CAG

    Comptroller and Auditor General of India

    CBI

    Central Bureau of Investigation

    CEE

    Centre for Environmental Education

    CPIL

    Centre for Public Interest Litigation

    CSIR

    Council of Scientific and Industrial Research

    DAS

    Digital Addressable Systems

    DMK

    Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam

    DNA

    Daily News and Analysis

    DRDO

    Defence Research and Development Organisation

    DVR

    digital video recorder

    D2H

    Direct to Home

    ECI

    Election Commission of India

    EIA

    environmental impact assessment

    ETV

    Eenadu Television

    FDI

    foreign direct investment

    FICCI

    Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

    FTA

    free-to-air

    GAP

    Ganga Action Plan

    GDP

    gross domestic product

    GECs

    general entertainment channels

    GIPE

    Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics

    GST

    Goods and Services Tax

    GSTN

    GST Network

    HOPCOMS

    Horticultural Producers’ Cooperative Marketing and Processing Society

    HR

    human resource

    HT

    Hindustan Times

    IBF

    Indian Broadcasting Federation

    ICICI

    Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India

    ICT

    information and communication technology

    IFJ

    International Federation of Journalists

    IFSC

    Indian Financial System Code

    IIT

    Indian Institute of Technology

    IPL

    Indian Premier League

    ISA

    Indian Society of Advertisers

    JSTOR

    Journal Storage

    KBK

    Koraput-Bolangir-Kalahandi

    KPMG

    Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler

    LCO

    local cable operator

    LED

    light-emitting diode

    MGNREGA

    Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act

    MISA

    Maintenance of Internal Security Act

    MLA

    Member of Legislative Assembly

    MP

    Member of Parliament

    MPLADS

    MP's Local Area Development Scheme

    MSO

    multisystem operator

    MSP

    minimum support price

    MSW

    municipal solid waste

    NBA

    National Broadcasting Authority

    NBSA

    News Broadcasting Standards Authority

    NEW

    National Election Watch

    NGOs

    non-governmental organisations

    NITI

    National Institution for Transforming India

    NRHM

    National Rural Health Mission

    NRI

    non-resident Indian

    OTP

    one-time password

    PCI

    Press Council of India

    PCK

    Plantation Corporation of Kerala

    PMC

    Pune Municipal Corporation

    PMJDY

    Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana

    PPP

    public–private partnership

    PURA

    Provision of Urban Amenities in Rural Areas

    RFID

    radio-frequency identification

    RO

    reverse osmosis

    RPA

    Representation of the People Act

    RTI

    Right to Information

    R&R

    rehabilitation and resettlement

    SAGY

    Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana

    SBA

    Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

    SCWMS

    Symbiosis Centre for Waste Management and Sustainability

    SIA

    social impact assessment

    SIMC

    Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication

    SIOM

    Symbiosis Institute of Operations Management

    SIU

    Symbiosis International University

    SPV

    special purpose vehicle

    SRB

    sex ratio at birth

    TAM

    television audience measurement

    TRAI

    Telecom Regulatory Authority of India

    TRPs

    television rating points

    UGC

    University Grants Commission

    ULB

    urban local bodies

    UNI

    United News of India

    UPA

    United Progressive Alliance

    UPI

    United Payments Interface

    USSD

    Unstructured Supplementary Service Data

    VOD

    video on demand

    WAT

    Writing Ability Test

    YMCA

    Young Men's Christian Association

    Foreword

    Journalism in India has been transformed in the past two decades by a combination of political, economic, technological and cultural changes, triggered by processes associated with globalisation. Television news has grown exponentially in this period, from drab and dull limited bulletins on state monopoly Doordarshan until 1991, to more than 400 dedicated news channels today.

    This makes India the world's most competitive news arena, catering to a huge national and regional audience, as well as to the vast Indian diaspora around the world. Indian newspapers—especially the vernacular variety—have also expanded massively at a time when newspapers elsewhere are losing circulation or even closing down.

    Following the privatisation and deregulation of the media and communication sector, news media have become a commodity to be bought and sold in an increasingly crowded market. The trend towards a concentration of media power is evident across the country, as media ownership rules are relaxed and many non-media groups invest in media, expanding their presence across various segments of the media and entertainment world, including news. The takeover of news providers by huge media corporations, whose primary interest is in the entertainment business, has altered news agendas and priorities.

    Celebrities from the world of entertainment and sport receive prominent coverage on news bulletins and in newspapers. Digitisation and the resultant availability of content from all around the world have contributed to a fragmentation of the audience into separate linguistic, class, age and gender categories, forcing news providers to produce content which will translate into ratings and circulation growth and acquire new programming to ensure a regular stream of advertising revenue.

    There is a tendency to make news entertaining, which often means drawing on Bollywood or Bollywoodised content. A flashier presentation style has been routinised in news studios, where often ‘fake’ debates are more akin to shouting matches than reasoned argumentation. Revenue-delivering programmes—sports, entertainment and lifestyle—have increased, while sober news and analysis have shown a corresponding decline. The popularisation of celebrity-driven and sensationalist news may have made it a more marketable commodity and democratised communication, but this has also lowered the standards of public discourse, which appears to stoop to the lowest common denominator.

    With a few honourable exceptions, much of television news has almost negligible reporting on developmental issues. This is a sad commentary on the state of journalism in a country where, despite impressive economic performance, nearly 300 million people live in extreme poverty. Most major media networks in India do not have dedicated rural affairs Editors or even industrial or agricultural correspondents. As a result, coverage rarely translates into ratings to attract advertisers, on whose support the edifice of a commodified news system is ultimately based.

    Such trends in the Indian news media landscape have significant and negative implications for the quality of journalism and more broadly for India's vigorous democracy, in which media have traditionally played a significant role. However, excessive marketisation and the changing nature of the profession of journalism itself in the age of user-generated content, ‘fake news’ and primacy of public relations have contributed to an ethical deficiency, most notably visible in such phenomenon as ‘paid’ news and partisan news—in terms of unabashed affiliation with political parties or corporate interests, undermining professional standards.

    Despite the extraordinary growth of news media in India, it remains perhaps the only major nation without any significant presence within the global news space. With dozens of round-the-clock dedicated news channels—many of these in the English language, the language of global communication of commerce—and a strong tradition of English-language journalism, India should have been an early adopter for global journalism. However, DD News is one of the few major state news networks not available in global media centres such as London where I live and work: this at a time when global television news in English has expanded to include channels from countries where English is not widely used, including France, Germany, Turkey, China, Japan and Iran. Although a committee headed by Sam Pitroda recommended in 2014 that Prasar Bharati, India's public sector broadcaster, should have a ‘global outreach’, nothing seems to have been done to promote Indian journalism abroad.

    Will the Internet succeed where television has failed? The growth of the Internet in India has been remarkable: it took a decade for the number of Internet users to grow from 10 million to 100 million, but just three years to double that number to 200 million. Compared with international standards, Internet penetration remains low—by 2017, below 40 per cent of India's 1.2 billion population.

    However, in terms of the absolute number of users, India has the world's largest ‘open’ Internet, second only to China. According to industry estimates, the number of Internet users in India is expected to cross 900 million by 2021, increasingly driven by wireless connections. With 3G phones becoming affordable and 4G accessible, this will accelerate, paralleled with the affordability of other digital delivery mechanisms as telecom companies achieve economies of scale, and more and more Internet users will be mobile-only subscribers using Internet-enabled devices.

    Such connectivity will ensure that Indian journalism will go global, using various digital platforms. As elsewhere, young people in India are the biggest consumers, as well as producers, of mobile digital content. Already, online English-language newspapers from India, notably the Times of India (the world's largest-circulated English-language quality daily), are widely accessed across the world, while such portals as the Wire and Scroll.in have created a niche for a globalised audience.

    Against this background, this book is a very valuable contribution to understanding journalism practices and policies in India. The Editors V. Eshwar Anand and K. Jayanthi, have been able to gather a group of eminent Editors, journalism scholars and practitioners, as well as legal luminaries, such as Soli Sorabjee and former Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi, to give a comprehensive overview of the main problems facing journalism in the world's largest democracy.

    The contributors provide professional and pedagogical insights into issues in journalism in India, including media ethics and law, challenges and opportunities offered by digitisation, political interference in journalism and the shrinking role of Editors, as marketing managers set the news agenda.

    As India marks its 70th year of Independence, such a volume is a welcome addition to the literature on journalism in one of the world's most complex, multilingual, multilayered and multimedia systems.

    Dr Daya Kishan Thussu Professor of International Communication and Co-Director of India Media Centre University of WestminsterLondon

    Preface

    When there is already a large body of work on specific areas of journalism and the mass media, where does another work on the subject ft in? How can it make a difference to the understanding of a very important activity, performed purely in the public interest, in a large democracy? Will it help reinforce the need for continuity of journalistic practice, which is facing challenges on various fronts? These and several such thoughts kept popping up time and again at different stages of the project.

    Initially, the plan was to put together a collection of essays on various aspects of editing and reporting. Considering the importance of these two functions in maintaining the credibility of the news industry, and in order to make the book more relevant and give it an identity of its own in the realm of journalistic essays, it was decided to open the anthology with the experiences of Editors who edited mainstream English newspapers at crucial periods of independent India's political, economic and social transformation. The Editor's role and the Editor–publisher relationship brought out in these first-person narratives, it seems, have provided the right setting for the broader canvas.

    Digital technology has created a huge opportunity for people who wanted to express themselves but never found the right platform to share their thoughts and views. It has made journalists of everybody with access to the digital format. Although the print media has been quick to provide serious bloggers column space, abundant online writing has its flip side—unregulated, this media platform has tended to become a veritable storehouse of biased and unauthentic news. This huge consumption of bandwidth space for sharing information has made the traditional media's role daunting. Journalists have been forced to re-establish the core mandate of journalism to tell the story using new techniques and tools, striving by the hour to make their story the choice of the algorithm's viral news feed. The idea of introducing the section on ‘Digital Media’ was an outcome of this paradox of plenty.

    The times are such that the media have to strive very hard to maintain two of the core values of journalism: truth and impartiality. The reader has a right to know, a right to be informed about governance and the decision-making process. It is the duty of the media to inform, give column and byte space to multiple voices and broaden the discourse on matters that concern the people in order to help them make informed choices. The essay on freedom of expression seeks to reinforce this critical function of the media in a democracy.

    Paid news, sting operations to obtain a story and advertisements as news have raised concerns about violation of journalistic ethics. News coverage during elections can be tricky as it is the season for publicity push. A reporter who does not succumb to pressure can be said to have maintained his/her professional pride. The section on ‘Media Laws’ is relevant in this context.

    The off-the-cuff journalism in digital, broadcast and even in the print media makes the need to gain expertise in various areas of journalistic writing important: More so, if one is going to comment on a piece of news. It was decided to include various areas that need specialised coverage to help journalism students understand the range and scope of journalistic writing.

    The craft of ‘Editing and Reporting’, the original seed for the book, was naturally overtaken by expertise. Good copyediting can lift the worth of a news item and the writing. This section has included instances of humorous pitfalls at the desk. Reporting can be an adventurous experience for those who go out in the field, maintain sources and stay updated. This aspect has been underlined in a matter-of-fact style.

    This collection of articles re-emphasises the core responsibility of journalism in a digitised and globalised world village.

    Acknowledgements

    As co-editors, we have drawn inspiration from several people who have been in the business of news. We were clear that a book consisting of articles by a diverse set of people—Editors, practising journalists, academics, experts and research scholars—would be appropriate for journalism education and the profession itself.

    However, when we drew up a list of writers whom we could approach, we grew nervous. When we approached some senior Editors to request their contributions for the book, these misgivings vanished. Dr V. Eshwar Anand met Dr Dileep Padgaonkar and requested him personally to contribute an article for the book project. Dr Padgaonkar not only readily agreed to write, he even offered to read the entire manuscript when it was ready. That took a load off our minds. He kept his promise. But sadly, his untimely demise on 25 November 2016 took away a well-wisher.

    The Editors are grateful to Dr Daya Kishan Thussu, Professor of International Communication, University of Westminster, London, for writing the Foreword. His gesture shows his unflinching commitment to promoting research and excellence in journalism.

    Suggestions came from friends in academia to include articles pertaining to several other aspects of journalism. We thank them for their encouragement.

    Special thanks to Dr Neela Rayavarapu for formatting the manuscript, giving valuable suggestions on the content and, more importantly, serving delicious meals when we were racing against time to complete the work.

    V. Sundar Raju was a consistent source of support and encouragement right from the inception of the project. Sunandiny Raghavan's gentle prodding was of immense help in meeting the deadline.

    We thank all the contributors for believing in us.

    It is unfortunate that Dr V. Eshwar Anand passed away on 30 December 30 2017, before the manuscript saw light of day. With single-minded determination, he had approached several people in the field of media and communication to participate in the project and ‘write a chapter’. It was his organisational and interpersonal skills that were responsible for the immediate response from eminent Editors, the former Attorney General of India Soli J. Sorabjee, the former Election Commissioner of India S.Y. Quraishi, and Eshwar Anand's colleagues in the media and academia.

    Introduction: New Challenges, New Roles

    The advent of digital media has changed the way readers consume news, and the control of news content by market forces has changed the way column and screen space is used. With the critical function of the media becoming increasingly compromised, there is an urgent need for responsible journalism.

    Journalism's vital function in a democracy needs no elaboration. It is the builder of public opinion, which in its turn helps influence the decision-making process at the top level. It is called the Fourth Estate for the simple reason that it stands next to the three magnificent pillars of democracy—the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. In modern parlance, it is called the Second Government in view of its unique and stupendous role in shaping the destiny of the country. Journalism has been passing through a period of stress and strain. It is buffeted by new challenges that demand a clear understanding of the current media environment as also the essential functions of journalism in the technology-driven age. It is facing a three-pronged challenge—the proliferation of social media, the heightened commercial competition in the mainstream media and the emergence of the media as a powerful actor in public policy and governance. A fourth facet can be added to these—the functioning of the media in a celebrity-driven, entertainment mode.

    Indisputably, the quartet of factors calls for fresh thinking about the teaching and practice of journalism. It must take into account the need for both a sound grounding in subjects such as political science, economics and sociology as well as some degree of specialisation in disciplines of one's choice. The former will provide the intellectual wherewithal required to grasp the trends and processes that shape individuals and events. These will include the interplay of political, economic, social, cultural and technological forces in India and abroad.

    At no point of time in independent India has the need for informed journalism been as crucial as it is today. The advent of digital media has changed the way readers consume news, and the control of news content by market forces has changed the way column and screen space is used. With the critical function of the media becoming increasingly compromised, there is an urgent need for responsible journalism. Clearly, serious journalism has become the worst casualty today because of a plethora of 24×7 television channels and online news sources competing to break news and give opinion in a tearing hurry.

    Though the role of the press in the freedom struggle and after Independence is beyond the scope of this project, this writer would like to place on record the effective use of the print media by illustrious national leaders such as Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. They not only created tremendous public awareness about the freedom movement but also championed the cause of a casteless society and a society free from superstition, exploitation and communalism. They stood for progressive journalism and demonstrated their indomitable courage and spirit of sacrifice in fighting against the injustices in the system.

    Newspapers have played an important role in protecting the fundamental rights and civil liberties of the people and safeguarding their interests against state oppression and arbitrariness. They have also been upholding moral values, institutional integrity and probity and rectitude in governance. Their contribution to the movement for social advocacy is no less important. In tune with the constitutional goal for a welfare state, the print media has covered extensively the plight of the marginalised and weaker sections of society and brought their problems, sufferings and difficulties to the attention of the government—at the Centre and in the states—for redressal. Their contribution to sensitising the people on important issues confronting the country and, more important, stressing the need for speedy dispensation of justice by the courts of law, especially the Supreme Court of India, is no less. Surely, over the last 70 years since Independence, the print media has been playing a dominant role in safeguarding the fundamental rights and civil liberties of the citizens. In all fairness, in addition to the print medium, the Supreme Court and High Courts, too, have emerged as strong pillars of liberty, equality and justice and effective watchdogs of the Constitution.

    Editor Short-circuited

    Undoubtedly, it is market forces and revenues that seem to decide the running of a newspaper. One cannot overlook the influence and role of corporatisation in the print media. Big newspapers defend it on the grounds that they have to keep pace with the changing times. A publication will simply lose the race if it does not see the ground realities. The flip side is the seeming dilution of ethical standards and professional integrity.

    The marginalisation of the Editor is cause for major concern. If market teams dictate terms to the Editor even on matters pertaining to treatment and presentation of news, why is there an Editor and what is his/her relevance and role in journalism? Today, the Editor seems to have lost the authority to decide how much space should be given to news, say, on Page 1, on any given day. The advertisement manager or the marketing manager decides the page layout. There is no denying that advertisements are bread and butter to a newspaper.

    Disturbingly, even on matters pertaining to appointments to editorial positions, the Editor has no say. In many newspapers, he/she has to merely communicate the vacancy position(s) in the editorial department to the Human Resource (HR) Manager or, in some cases, the Marketing Manager from time to time. All requests for appointments are directed to HR and/or Marketing Managers for appropriate follow-up. Interviews for senior editorial or reporting positions are conducted by HR and Marketing Managers and not the Editor anymore. Interestingly, in tune with the management's policy thrust on markets, the designation of the Times of India's Editors carries the ‘market’ tag—Editor (Bengaluru Market), Editor (Pune Market), etc.

    This writer came in for a shock when the Resident Editor of a prominent national newspaper in Mumbai told him over phone that he was not the deciding authority for internships and that I would have to get in touch with the newspaper's HR Manager based in New Delhi! Of course, it is a different matter that the Delhi HR boss was convinced of our student's CV and offered internship to him in the Mumbai office. The bottom line is clear: The Editor has no say even in the matter of internship, leave alone appointments to various positions. In other words, even if the Editor is convinced of a person's academic credentials, competence and experience, he cannot offer a position to an applicant unless the HR boss is pleased or deems him/her ft. This also speaks volumes about the centralisation of authority in national newspapers having multiple editions. The regional editions merely function as branch offices with the bosses sitting in Delhi and taking decisions.

    There was an interesting development in the Tribune, Chandigarh, a few years ago. The Editor had always been the custodian of the files and records of the editorial staff, including those of senior Editors. This is the way it should be and journalists do feel comfortable if the Editor directly supervises their work and day-to-day functioning. However, for some reason, the Editor-in-Chief one day directed his secretary to shift all files of the editorial staff to the HR Manager as he had ‘no business’ with them. This reflects the changing mindset of the new-age Editors. These are hard realities the journalists will have to cope with.

    Political interference in the working of newspapers is common knowledge. The manner in which independent and conscientious Editors were treated by the Indira Gandhi government, especially during the 19 months of the Emergency, is well known. Newspapers such as the Indian Express and the Statesman stood firm and refused to buckle under political pressure. In protest against press censorship, Editors left editorial columns blank whenever the censors objected to a news item or applied their scissors on it. One is often reminded of veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani's comment, ‘When they were asked to bend, they crawled.’ Editors who refused to kowtow to the political establishment were peremptorily dismissed. The shabby treatment meted out to media mogul, Ramnath Goenka, by Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi for opposing the Congress government's authoritarian rule and policies is well known.

    This book seeks to inform aspiring journalists about the role played by some eminent Editors in modern India in shaping policy decisions by voicing their strong views on important issues in their hard-hitting editorials; instruct them in reporting and writing without compromising the values of credibility, fair play and journalistic ethics; and explain the invaluable craft of subediting. It is time the Editor's pre-eminent position was restored in the newspaper organisation. If a newspaper should uphold highest professional standards, the Editor has to reassert his primary position in the hierarchy. Eminent Editors such as the late B.G. Verghese, the late Dileep Padgaonkar, Raj Chengappa, Hiranmay Karlekar, H.K. Dua and Hari Jaisingh have emphasised this point in their respective articles in Section I dealing with Editors’ experiences. In his article, Verghese dwells on the diminishing role of the Editor and says that he always had the final say on editorial matters. As the Editor of Hindustan Times, he used to pull out advertisements which, in his opinion, were ‘offensive and in bad taste’, notwithstanding the management's objections that it would lead to ‘revenue loss’. Decrying the interference of the management in the functioning of the newspapers he edited, he writes that for the survival of democracy, the Editor's ‘legal and moral position’ will have to be restored at any cost.

    An Editor needs to be bold and courageous in dealing with the powers that be. Otherwise, it will become difficult to uphold the professional standards in journalism, says Hiranmay Karlekar. In his article ‘Playing little games’, he says he always held ‘four qualities to be most important in life—courage, wisdom, compassion and truth.’ ‘Courage is the most important of them all because without it one may not be able to act as one should,’ he says.

    Equally important for a newspaper or magazine is credibility. It can be described as the soul of a free and fair publication. In his article ‘Credibility is the key’, H.K. Dua feels that an Editor needs to be upright always so that he can ‘sleep better’. Maintaining that journalism is not for the ‘chicken-hearted’, he says that readers will trust a newspaper only if they are convinced that the Editor is committed to ‘uphold truth’ and the ‘basic values’ of the journalistic profession.

    The late Dileep Padgaonkar was very much for strengthening the skill set of journalists. He was for imparting quality training to journalists in several areas. In his article, ‘Coping with the times’, he wrote:

    The instinct for curiosity needs to be nurtured much like the flair for storytelling. Care must be taken about the use of language for effective communication. There can be no end to learning in any and every area of one's interest. The reading habit must be revived. And the habit to ask tough questions.

    Challenge of Digital Media

    The entry of digital media has changed the face of the media significantly. Clearly, the Internet has revolutionised the pace of dissemination of information. It has led to the democratisation of news and the way the news is presented—swiftly and decisively. But then, democratisation has also given rise to problems, the foremost being the absence of filters. For an online or web edition, there is a general impression that anyone can write anything, and therein lies the danger. It is common knowledge how reporting without responsibility has invited trouble for some. But this is not the case with the print media. The principles of gatekeeping are fully in force in the print media which prevent one from resorting to irresponsible reporting—a fact which the electronic media or television channels cannot boast about.

    Indeed, in some newspapers, especially big papers, there is a unique convergence of the digital and print media. Correspondents of these papers are first required to submit reports for their online or web edition in the morning for use. Subsequently, they update stories/reports and file copy as and when necessary. Moreover, there is a subtle distinction between the copy submitted for online and traditional or print media. While the online copy (depending upon the occurrence of an event and the time of submission) is preliminary in nature, the copy meant for the print medium, especially for the late city edition, is expected to be comprehensive in its nature, extent and scope—complete in all respects in terms of content, style, presentation, details, infographics and visuals. More to the point, in some newspapers like the Times of India, a correspondent's annual increment and perks would depend upon the number of stories he/she had shared via WhatsApp and Photoshop during the period under review.

    Indeed, the challenge from digital media to the print media has become serious. The latter will have to wake up and reorient itself suitably to face the challenge from the former. This writer does not feel that digital media will ever sound the death knell for the print media. Though people are able to read the day's papers in their mobile phones as early as 1 or 2 am, the print media will continue to hold its sway in the market. However, some problems remain which the print media will have to take cognisance of and act accordingly with a sense of urgency.

    The first is the need to improve research content in the newspapers and magazines. Today, press release journalism is passé and people look beyond the news, for which, journalists need to do a lot of legwork. Data for development stories or corruption in high places, for instance, cannot be obtained from the reporters’ air-conditioned cabins. One has to go out hunting for data. Smartphones, WhatsApp, iPads, Skype, etc., may have helped journalists in bridging the distance and obtaining information fast. But one cannot wholly depend on these devices for a comprehensive story or report. One must speak to individuals/people face-to-face for a full-fledged story. This cannot be done otherwise. Those who see Skype as the ultimate answer seem to be missing the wood for the trees. No doubt, Skype will help the correspondent in interviewing the person(s) in question or relevant to the story. However, one will miss the mood, visual effects and other relevant details if he/she is lazy to travel to ground zero.

    At the same time, as one has to accept the increasing role of the new media; young journalists joining the print, television or even online-specific organisations need to be social media savvy. In fact, the managements expect journalists to be adept in using these digital devices and social media platforms. However, in the absence of formal training in the use of digital media technology, they frequently remain ill-equipped to use the potential of the digital platforms to augment their print and broadcast stories.

    Many news organisations in India, including some of the big names in the business, remain unprepared for some of the basic challenges journalism presents in the online age. They still think of themselves in the print or television binary, a description that robs them of opportunities the online medium offers. It also blinds them to the challenges they face, often leaving them cocooned in pointless arguments. The readership of India's leading English dailies may have grown during 2009–2014—a period when Internet penetration exploded. However, the print and electronic media have not reoriented themselves adequately to face the advent of digital technology.

    The digital medium has its own set of unique challenges. These include an absence of a clear code of ethics and ambiguities over the application of media laws to the medium. In his paper on online journalism in Section II (Digital Media), Charu Sudan Kasturi maintains that none of these challenges have easy answers, but there is enough evidence to show that the digital media will emerge and shape the way journalism is consumed in the years and decades ahead. How journalists respond to these challenges will shape them, their careers and Indian journalism.

    Equally noteworthy is the series of changes in the business of print and electronic media following the advent of digital media in recent years. The change is not only in the way people consume media or the technology with which it is disseminated but also the way business is done and the way the media and entertainment industry functions. While newspapers are now often read as e-editions, television content is increasingly viewed on laptops, smartphones and other screens.

    Clearly, the business of television in India has undergone a metamorphosis in the last few years. In her article on the TV–print–digital businesses, Professor Pooja Valecha points out three major changes in this context. The first major development in the country has been the change in the audience measurement service provider that is now also giving services in TV ratings for the rural region. It is bringing to light a hitherto unknown area and a number of probable changes to the way advertisers and marketers plan their campaigns. The second big change has been the government making digital access of television compulsory through the initiative of Digital Addressable Systems (DAS) for cable TV in four phases from 2012 to 2016–2017. This is bringing in addressability on the consumer end and increased subscription revenues for the broadcasters, which may lead to a revolution in the programming content. And the third phenomenon affecting television is ‘multi-screening’ which allows viewers to access television content through devices other than the TV (e.g., laptops and smartphones). This has obviously led to a change in the TV consumption behaviour with broadcasters and programmers looking at ways to ensure that the audience stayed with them across media and, more importantly, ways to monetise this consumer attention.

    While the television business in India is behaving almost similar to its counterpart in most other countries, the business of print is behaving differently. This business is in dire straits across large markets due to the digital advent and e-editions taking away the share of physical copies, though in India the print industry is flourishing and growing at a healthy rate. Professor Pooja feels that it is not that digital has not affected the market here, but for now that is mostly limited to the affluent sections in bigger cities and the major growth is coming from the smaller cities and rural regions. The growth of the Indian economy is leading to increased purchasing power and the government's initiatives towards literacy are leading to increased readership providing an impetus both for subscription revenue as well as increased advertising revenue due to the increased purchasing power. Consequently, according to her, while the growth of English publications may be limited, it is the Hindi and vernacular publications that are providing the major growth impetus to the industry.

    All in all, this is an evolutionary phase in the Indian media industry. Since the speed of digital penetration is comparatively slow in India, it is giving the businesses an interval to plan their strategies and evolve for the digital age, learning from the experiences in other major countries and perhaps also developing unique India-specific business models.

    In his piece, ‘Multimedia mosaic’, Professor Sushobhan Patankar examines the strengths and weaknesses of the print media vis-à-vis the television and the Internet. How to survive in today's competitive media environment is a ‘tough challenge’ for the print media, he says, arguing that the print media will have to ‘adapt to changes’. Ranjona Banerji, in her piece, ‘The talking point’, says Twitter, an integral part of a journalist's work, is steadily replacing the traditional ways of newsgathering. This, however, has placed an enormous responsibility on journalists. Calling it the ‘dial-a-quote’ brand of journalism, she says that any responsible journalist will first check the authenticity of a story before he/she uses Twitter as the ‘sole source.’

    No Threat to Print

    This writer is fully convinced that television or web editions are no threat to the print media. First we will discuss web editions. Some of them—scroll.in, thewire.in, thequint.com, firstpost.com and www.dailyo.in and the web editions of various international, national and regional newspapers—are popular. However, to maintain that the print media is ‘dead’ because of the web editions is to put the cart before the horse. Successive reports of the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) have been maintaining that the print media in India has been growing year after year. According to the ABC's June 2017 report, the print media saw a growth of 61 per cent in 10 years. The reputed watchdog, which certifies circulation figures of publications every six months, has said that the average sale of copies per day has risen from 3.91 crore in 2006 to 6.28 crore in 2016 (New Indian Express, 2017).

    The less said the better about television channels. Honestly speaking, the mushrooming of news channels, though a healthy sign for the world's largest democracy, is not indicative of a fall in print readership. Most news channels simply do not bother about accuracy and indulge in attention grabbing most of the time. In order to be one up in the mad race for television rating points (TRPs), their only aim seems to be to hit the bull's eye even at the cost of factual accuracy. Breaking News, whether it merits that description or not, has become the monopoly and raison d’être of all news channels. Every channel claims exclusivity of a piece of news even while all of them telecast the same news simultaneously! On 5 August 2017, for instance, when the counting for election of the Vice President was in progress, Republic TV repeatedly flashed the message that it was the ‘only channel’ giving the latest figures on M. Venkaiah Naidu's lead over Gopalkrishna Gandhi! When every channel was covering the lead in this election, whom was Republic TV trying to fool? Same was the case with the Income Tax Department sleuths’ raids on Karnataka Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar's residences and properties in Delhi, Bengaluru and other parts of the country in 2–4 August 2017. All channels were reporting the raids, but Republic TV was claiming ‘exclusive’ reporting. Indeed, after Nitish Kumar announced his resignation as Chief Minister of Bihar on 26 July 2017, the TV channels’ claim of breaking the news ‘first’ was amusing. Republic TV was claiming that it was ‘half an hour early’ in breaking the news though facts spoke otherwise. Do these channels think that they can fool the people all the time with such false claims? Rajdeep Sardesai, Consulting Editor, India Today Television, does not mince words in admitting the compulsions of news channels to rush through Breaking News most of the time.

    Unfortunately, hard news has become the worst casualty in television journalism. What we find in the so-called ‘Prime News’ at 9 pm on weekdays is just hectoring, shouting and pontification and no news. News is virtually dead during Prime News. Even otherwise, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley says that these channels are only interested in bytes, that too, for Prime Time News. Senior Television Editors admit that while competition among various channels is increasing day by day, it has become difficult for channels to sustain news 24×7. There are very few television journalists who are known for their investigative skills and breaking stories. This is not the case with newspapers, most of which have senior journalists and Editors on their staff with wide contacts and rich experience.

    It goes to the credit of the print media that most of the time television channels follow scoops by newspaper. Two examples will suffice: the Indian Express scoop on controversial visitors to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director's residence (4 September 2014); another in the same newspaper on how the Manmohan Singh government had vetted the coal scam report (13 April 2013), which revealed how former Union Law Minister Ashwani Kumar had summoned former CBI Director Ranjit Sinha to make some changes in the report to be submitted to the Supreme Court and how it was ‘toned down’ after the meeting. Again, it was the same newspaper which broke the kickbacks in the AgustaWestland helicopter deal (14 February 2013). Similarly, while the Hindu played a leading role in exposing Robert Vadra's land deals in New Delhi, Haryana and Rajasthan, the role played by the Pioneer in breaking the 2G spectrum scam during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) dispensation is well known.

    Both print and television have been playing an important role in disseminating information on issues such as the unrest in Jammu and Kashmir and the continued tension on the Indo-Pakistan border. Remarkably, the media, especially all major national newspapers and television news channels, had reported the late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's treatment in Chennai's Apollo Hospital without resorting to gossip and speculation. However, a few television channels, without confirmation from the authorities, jumped the gun by announcing Jayalalithaa's death on 4 December 2016 only to retract later. (Her death was officially announced only at 11.50 pm on 5 December 2016.) The media gave front-page coverage to the Centre's arguments in the Supreme Court against the practice of triple talaq on the grounds that it was repugnant to the right to equality under Article 14 of the Indian Constitution. Subsequently, all the newspapers gave good coverage to the three important judgements of the Supreme Court: one, the ruling declaring instant talaq as unconstitutional and null and void; two, Col. Purohit's release on bail after almost nine years of incarceration without investigation and even a charge sheet being filed; and three, the historic nine-member Bench judgement declaring the right to privacy as a fundamental right subject to reasonable restrictions and equating it to the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution. Significantly, a few newspapers carried excerpts of the 547-page judgement on the right to privacy, which is expected to have a bearing on Aadhar, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, the Right to Information and the overall question of cyber security (Supreme Court of India, 2017).1

    The print and the electronic media have also given due coverage to the disturbing trend of terrorists burning government schools in Jammu and Kashmir. As many as 30 government schools were reduced to ashes in the state, affecting the interest of over 12 lakh students. However, the main point of the State government's failure to check this trend was not covered properly and adequately.

    Apparently, the administration seems to be slipping out of the hands of the Mehbooba Mufti government ever since the Burhan Wani killing on 8 July 2016. For several months, schools were open only on Saturdays and Sundays. The schools could conduct examinations only after the separatists decided to suspend their agitation.

    Television channels collect data from their own sources and the quantum of coverage depends upon the material they obtain in the shortest possible time. However, one has to examine whether a channel should do carpet-bombing day in and day out for weeks on end as if the world has no other matter to discuss. Sometimes the coverage of an issue by a channel is so huge that it is disproportionate to the seriousness of the issue. Certainly, one does not see this kind of carpet-bombing in newspapers unless, of course, developments like the Uri massacre and surgical strikes, which deserve prominence and special treatment.

    More important, some television anchors are so abrasive and arrogant that they are not prepared to accept or cover a contrarian view in any debate or discussion.

    Indeed, what we notice in television today is incomplete, off-the-cuff and half-hearted ramblings, frequently interrupted by anchors. True, it is always interesting for one to watch a live debate between Arun Jaitley and Kapil Sibal or between Soli Sorabjee and Markandey Katju on television. But it would be disgusting and intellectually defeating for people if the anchors, with no expertise on the subject of the debate in question, frequently interrupt luminaries and impose their own views and comments on the subject. According to N. Ram, Chairman, The Hindu Group Publishing Private Limited, this is ‘journalism at its worst’.

    This is not the case with newspaper editorials or articles. A lot of effort goes into making of either the news or opinion pages. The principles of gate-keeping are in full force and the filters at various levels take due care in checking and cross-checking facts and figures before they go into print.

    A 24×7 news channel is supposed to have an edge over a daily newspaper for the simple reason that television news is news as it happens, and visuals, said to be more powerful than write-ups, leave a lasting impression on viewers’ minds. But then, when it comes to serious study and follow-up of a debate on an important issue, there is no substitute for a newspaper report or article. An article (or even a news item) is deemed a document and has greater legitimacy and credibility than a television report. The reason is: Editors judiciously organise articles from experts. For instance, an article on police reforms by a retired Director General of Police will have greater value and credibility than an article by a layman having no exposure in police administration. Even otherwise, in a situation where both articles are relevant, analytical and well-written with two different perspectives on a crucial theme, the Editors organise a debate on the issue by carrying both the pieces either in the Edit or Oped Page and leave them to the discretion of the readers to form a final opinion on the subject.

    Media and Demonetisation

    In recent times, the media's responsibility in administration and governance has increased by leaps and bounds. As the true friend of the people—and of the government at the Centre and in the states—the media should report developments in a fair and objective manner. The media can take sides only at the cost of their credibility.

    Considering the scope and nature of the Narendra Modi government's demonetisation decision in November 2016 and its impact on transparency, clean administration and good governance, demonetisation definitely forms a crucial part of good journalism. Indeed, this is one decision of the government which has affected the day-to-day life of every citizen in the country. Consequently, the media faced challenges in covering issues concerning demonetisation.

    Ideally, journalists should cover developments relating to demonetisation from a non-political and humane angle. It would be fair if politics is kept off any discussion on the subject. As there are many issues involved, any reference to the political dimension of demonetisation will tend to overlook or sidetrack the larger vision of the Modi government to usher in a cashless and digital economy. Surely, India cannot become Sweden (the world's only cashless country) overnight.

    Many studies have examined the issue of cashless economy in the past few years. The Tuft University's 2014 study entitled The Cost of Cash in India and the 2015 report of the PricewaterhouseCoopers are noteworthy. While the former estimated that the cash operations cost the Reserve Bank of India and commercial banks about ₹21,000 crore annually (not an encouraging development for a country that aspires to be a developed and progressive power), the latter puts the country's unbanked population at 233 million. Experts, including former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Dr Amartya Sen, may have underlined the impracticability of India's transition to a cashless society, particularly because a whopping 86 per cent of transactions in the country are cash-based.

    The mobile Internet penetration for the whole country is only 23 per cent, according to the World Bank Report (2015), and 47 per cent people have no bank accounts. If the inclusion drive has to succeed, the Centre and the states should, in close cooperation with each other, enlarge and expand the reach so that the benefits of Digital India are reaped by one and all.

    Encouragingly, e-wallet services in the country started catching up since 8 November. In addition to e-wallets of commercial banks, many firms have been providing this service to the people. Suffice to mention, it is not altogether a new concept. Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI) launched ‘pockets’—India's first digital bank on a mobile phone—as far back as February 2015. In fact, each bank has its own e-wallet application.

    In August 2016, the National Payments Corporation of India had launched United Payments Interface (UPI). The objective of UPI is to make digital transactions as simple as sending a text message. It has an edge over other digital payment platforms for the simple reason that it facilitates a customer to pay directly from a bank account to different merchants, online and offline, without the need for typing credit card details, Indian Financial System Code (IFSC) code or net banking/wallet passwords. It is also said to be safe as customers only share a virtual address and provide no other information. The government is also trying to popularise Aadhar-enabled payment systems.

    In a study in July 2016, three months before demonetisation, the Boston Consulting Group and Google came up with two important findings: that e-wallet users had outnumbered the number of mobile banking users; and that they were three times the number of credit card users. Against this background, it should not be difficult for the government to popularise the use of e-wallets when the people have begun to realise that they must reduce their dependence on cash.

    The NITI Aayog's estimate that 53 per cent of urban areas in the country have mobile Internet connectivity does not present a dismal picture. Surely, the situation can be improved by bold and pragmatic policies. Worthy of mention in this context is the Union Government's decision to launch sarkari e-wallet service at the grass-roots. While the NITI Aayog is the nodal authority for monitoring and governance of this project, three Union Ministries are together implementing the service—Finance, Telecommunications and Information Technology. Having realised the absence of adequate number of smartphones in most rural households—a prerequisite for the success of the e-wallet service—the government has decided to sell them in villages at subsidised rates. It is the duty of the media to study this project carefully and report on its implementation. The media's focus should be more on popularising the programme among the people rather than discouraging it through a negative campaign.

    As part of its avowed objective to enhance mobile banking for greater financial inclusion, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has reduced tariffs for Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD)-based mobile banking transaction to a maximum of 50 paise per transaction, from the earlier rate of ₹1.50 per session. It has also increased the number of stages from five to eight per USSD session (Business Standard, 2016). Obviously, the TRAI has taken the decision with the hope that demonetisation will have a profound impact on customer priorities and overall economic growth (Kale, 2016).

    The media's mission should not be restricted to reporting the day-to-day events alone but to provide timely feedback to the nation and introduce necessary course corrections. Needless to say, the media must give adequate coverage to innovative methods and practices of tackling cash crunch and digital payments.

    Interestingly, during the critical period of cash crunch soon after demonetisation, amid the gloomy picture painted by some newspapers, magazines and television channels, a few fascinating stories came from the countryside which deserve attention. Dharavi village, 70 kilometres from Mumbai, was perhaps India's first village to get hundred per cent e-wallet coverage. Bank of Baroda, under a special project, distributed 70 special swipe machines in this village, which not only put an end to cash-based transactions but also expedited the use of digital payment platforms for all kinds of transaction. The people of Dharavi bought vegetables, essential commodities and other goods through Paytm and other platforms.

    Not to be left behind, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, known for his proactive approach towards e-governance and information technology, launched ‘AP Purse’ for cashless transactions. AP Purse was a mobile wallet which, certainly, was a refreshing change as against dissenting voices from a few Opposition-ruled Chief Ministers like Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal. Going a step further, the Telangana government started a novel experiment to face the cash crunch. Having taken stock of the situation in the fruit and vegetable markets, the government's Marketing Department replaced cash with tokens for ₹5, ₹10 and ₹20 (Janyala, 2016). The State's Industrial Development Financial Corporation issued these tokens at various locations. While the Rythu Bazars (farmers’ markets) made good business, people lauded this user-friendly move.

    In Karnataka, the Horticultural Producers’ Cooperative Marketing and Processing Society (HOPCOMS), which directly sells fruits and vegetables to consumers, started accepting cards after 8 November. In addition, Bengaluru's K.R. Market traders obtained many swipe machines to tide over the cash crunch.

    Critics have sprung into action and reiterated their opposition to demonetisation and sought to present a gloomy picture on the Indian economy, particularly after the gross domestic product (GDP) figures dropped to 5.7 per cent in the first quarter, April–June 2017. However, there is no need to press the panic button. The Modi government seems to have taken it as a challenge as reflected in Arun Jaitley's observation that the Centre would need to redouble its efforts on policy and investment in the next few quarters (Indian Express, 2017). It remains to be seen how the Centre will tackle the spectre of loss of jobs and revive demand and investment. The recent Union Cabinet reshuffle is a pointer to the Modi government's resolve to give a push to skill development and employment generation in the next one-and-a-half years before the nation goes for Lok Sabha elections in May 2019. Clearly, the new Union Skill Development Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan, has a big task at hand.

    Black Money

    The Centre has been taking various measures to recover black money. Through the voluntary disclosure scheme, the Income Tax Department has recovered black money in the form of undisclosed income to the tune of a whopping ₹65,250 crore from 64,275 declarations. This implies that the Centre got ₹30,000 crore on the basis of 45 per cent tax requirement. The Union Finance Ministry is claimed to have unearthed ₹71,000 crore of black money in two years—₹50,000 crore of indirect tax evasion and ₹21,000 crore of undisclosed income (Economic Times, 2016). Black money of the past had been tackled to some extent by demonetisation. What about black money in the future? As company donations to political parties constitute over 87 per cent of their funds, electoral reforms have become imperative. Company donations will have to be through cheques and the collection process should be made transparent and foolproof. Figure I.1 shows the balance sheet of all national parties in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. State funding of elections to all political parties recognised by the Election Commission of India merits a fair trial (Anand, 2011; also see Anand, 1987; Panda, 2016). Tax evasion can also be tackled. With the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Act architecture coming into effect on 1 July 2017, evasion of direct and indirect tax will become difficult. A look at the balance sheet of national parties in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, prepared by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), suggests that while the BJP collected ₹588.5 crore, its expenditure was ₹712.5 crore. The Indian National Congress’ collection was ₹350.4 crore and its expenditure ₹486.2 crore.

    The Modi government followed up its commitment and determination to ensure transparency in the collection of funds by political parties with a slew of measures in the Union Budget for 2017–2018. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, for instance, accepted the Election Commission's recommendation to prohibit ‘anonymous’ contributions exceeding ₹2,000 and proposed, in the Union Budget, to bring down ‘anonymous’ or ‘unnamed’ cash donations by individuals to political parties from the current ₹20,000 to ₹2,000. He also proposed the electoral bonds scheme under which political parties may purchase electoral bonds from authorised banks after making due amendments to the Reserve Bank of India Act. This decision expectedly evoked criticism in the media. It is common knowledge that political parties have been violating the rule on the donation-limit of ₹20,000. Donors could adopt the same tactic of dividing the money in small amounts to circumvent the new donation-limit of ₹2,000. If the government is committed to transparency in election expenditure, it would be eminently desirable to make donations of every rupee accountable. As regards bonds, it is feared that unscrupulous political parties could print bogus electoral bonds like Abdul Karim Telgi's counterfeit stamp paper racket. The government needs to tread with caution on this issue (Mahtab, 2017).

    Figure I.1 Balance sheet of national parties in 2014 LS polls (in crores)
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    Source: ADR, New Delhi.

    Covering Parliament

    An issue that has been engaging the nation's attention is the steady decline of Parliament as a lawmaking body (Anand, 1986; see also Anand, 1985, 1994). During the two stints of the UPA at the Centre (2004–2009 and 2009–2014), the main Opposition BJP did not allow parliamentary proceedings most of the time. The Congress, following in the footsteps of the BJP, virtually paralysed the winter session, which started on 16 November 2016.

    On the face of it, the Opposition had no justification for disruption. If it had an issue, including the demand for the Prime Minister's presence in Parliament during the debate on demonetisation, it should have placed it properly, including in the Business Advisory Committee or any other suitable forum rather than holding Parliament to ransom. Even otherwise, experience suggests that the Prime Minister's presence is not mandatory in each and every debate. Moreover, the presiding officers of both Houses of Parliament have been reiterating that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was readily available not only to listen to the members but also to reply to the debate at the end of the discussion in both Houses. Figure I.2 shows the poor productivity of Parliament in the first two weeks of its winter session on 16–30 November 2016, due to disruption by the Opposition on the issue of demonetisation.

    Under Rule 56, members can table a motion for an adjournment of the business of the House for purposes of discussing a ‘defnite matter of urgent public importance’ with the consent of the Lok Sabha Speaker.

    Same is the case with the demand for a short-duration discussion under Rule 193 of the Lok Sabha (equivalent of Rule 178 of the Rajya Sabha) or Rule 184 of the Lok Sabha (equivalent of Rule 167 of the Rajya Sabha). In the case of the former, discussion can take place which does not entail voting. However, in the case of the latter, voting follows the discussion which virtually implies a censure of the government. In a parliamentary democracy like ours, the single largest party which commands majority support in either house of Parliament always sets the agenda for any discussion or debate and no country will ever allow the Opposition to call the shots in this important parliamentary business even though the Opposition has its due place of honour.

    Figure I.2 Productivity of Parliament's winter session, 16–30 November 2016 (in %)
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    Source: PRS Legislative Research, New Delhi.

    Parliament's image and performance has seen a steady decline over the years. According to data analysed by PRS Legislative Research, while the Lok Sabha worked for 98 per cent of the winter session in 2014, the Rajya Sabha worked for only 59 per cent of the time. In 15 of the 22 days, less than three minutes were spent in responding to members’ questions. There was no problem in the Lok Sabha, where the BJP has got majority. However, this is not the case with the Rajya Sabha where the BJP has no numbers (Times of India, 2014).

    During the UPA regime, disruptions affected the legislative business and Bills worth crores of rupees were passed without debate in Parliament. The Andhra Pradesh (Reorganisation) Bill, 2013, was rushed through by the government without proper debate and discussion and with almost all the Congress members from Andhra Pradesh, including Union Ministers from that state, protesting against the bifurcation of the state. This showed that the government was in no mood to understand and appreciate the sense and concern of Parliament and that it was solely guided by narrow political considerations to reap political harvest in the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. The manner in which the Congress was decimated at the hustings demonstrated the strong public mood in the undivided state against bifurcation.

    Of what purpose is Parliament when members cannot or do not discuss major issues concerning people? This is against all canons of parliamentary democracy. According to PRS Legislative Research, the productivity of the 15th Lok Sabha (2009–2014) was the ‘worst’. The Lok Sabha worked for only 61 per cent of its scheduled time and passed 179 Bills—a dismal performance compared with the earlier periods. The winter session of the 15th Lok Sabha was a complete washout on the issue of the 2G spectrum scam; the Rajya Sabha spent only 2 per cent of the allotted time (Sen, 2014). See Figure I.3 for Parliament's record during the winter session, 26 November–23 December 2015.

    The conduct of Members of Parliament (MPs)—as also the members of the state legislatures—during the sessions leaves much to be desired. The pepper spray incident in the Lok Sabha during the debate on the Andhra Pradesh (Reorganisation) Bill, 2013, is fresh in memory. The misconduct of Congress and All India Trinamool Congress MPs during former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's speech on the Bill in the Lok Sabha was totally unacceptable. Sadly, these incidents were not highlighted properly and adequately in the media. In the monsoon session of Parliament, the Modi government stepped up its efforts to tame a defiant Congress party and coaxed it to support the GST Bill, 2016. In a major political initiative, it not only isolated the Congress in its larger game plan to rope in the maximum number of parties to support the Bill but also continued to talk to the Congress. Clearly, it created a situation which made the Congress look like the only stumbling block in the passage of the Bill in Parliament. The Congress, on its part, was forced to feel guilty in the whole exercise. The result: The Modi government succeeded in enlisting the support of the main Opposition. All this resulted in a good turnout of members in both Houses of Parliament. Encouragingly, in the monsoon session, the productivity in the Lok Sabha was as high as 97 per cent while in the Rajya Sabha it was a record 88 per cent, as is illustrated in Figure I.4.

    Figure I.3 Winter session of Parliament (26 November–23 December 2015)
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    Source: PRS Legislative Research, New Delhi.

    Creditably, the monsoon session of Parliament in 2017 was better than the earlier sessions in terms of productivity. While the Rajya Sabha achieved 79.95 per cent productivity, it was 77.94 per cent for the Lok Sabha (Times of India, 2017). The flip side of this session was the suspension of six Congress members (Lok Sabha) for five days. They were suspended for hurling papers at the Lok Sabha Speaker (Times of India, 2017).

    People have the right to know how their MPs and Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) are behaving and conducting themselves. The media cannot shirk their responsibility of assessing the performance of elected representatives. Facts speak for themselves. Sadly, in the past two decades, Indian Parliament never sat for more than 100 days in a year. These sittings, too, were marked by frequent disruptions and adjournments on trivial issues. This is in sharp contrast to the practice that obtains in the United Kingdom whose Westminster model of governance we have imbibed. The British Parliament sits for at least 160 days every year and does productive and qualitative lawmaking. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) stalwart, SitaramYechury, has aptly suggested a constitutional amendment making 100 sittings a year mandatory for Parliament.

    Figure I.4 Record productivity in monsoon session of Parliament, 2016
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    Source: PRS Legislative Research, New Delhi.

    Parliament symbolises the aims and aspiration of the people and every MP has the right to express his dissent on any issue that concerns his constituency, state or the nation as a whole. However, there is a way of expressing one's opinion and drawing the attention of the government through Parliament. Nobody has the right to hold Parliament or the state legislature to ransom. Those who thought that the days of disruption were over because of the BJP's majority support in the current Lok Sabha (this is the first time that a single party is enjoying a majority in the Lower House since 1984) were proved wrong when the first day of its Budget session was disrupted on the issue of price rise. And the leader of the disrupters who rushed to the well of the House was none other than Congress Vicepresident Rahul Gandhi.

    While addressing the Platinum Jubilee celebrations of the West Bengal Assembly on 6 December 2013, President Pranab Mukherjee aptly said. ‘Opposition should oppose and expose, but cannot disrupt. Disposition and exposition should go on, but not disruption’ (Times of India, 2013, also see Times of India, 2014a, 2014b). Going a step further, in a lighter vein though, Omar Abdullah (who was Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir) said. ‘Earmark a particular day for disruption, but Parliament work must go on’ (Economic Times, 2013).

    It is also time India emulated the Salisbury Convention. Keeping in view the propensity of the Opposition to create hurdles in the enactment of legislations such as the GST Act, India needs to replicate the Salisbury Convention. Under the Salisbury Convention, a constitutional convention in the United Kingdom, the House of Lords (equivalent of India's Rajya Sabha or the Council of states) will not oppose the second or third reading of any government legislation promised in its election manifesto.

    If MPs should behave and deliver, the media should take up the responsibility of monitoring and evaluating their activities. Watch the post-lunch session of Parliament on any day of the session. Empty benches would greet the visitors and the media. Worse, most of the members do not raise questions at all, let alone participate in discussions. Ministers are absent when they are expected to respond to questions, starred or non-starred. Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari had pulled up the Manmohan Singh government for the cavalier attitude of its Ministers towards the conduct of parliamentary business. It is the duty of the media to expose such conduct and call for corrective measures.

    Another cause for concern is weak expenditure control by Parliament. We have three important parliamentary committees—the Public Accounts Committee, the Estimates Committee and the Committee on Public Undertakings. Of late, they do not seem to be doing good work. Moreover, the mandated role and functions of the first two committees often overlap. Why cannot we learn from the United Kingdom? There, the Public Accounts Committee and the Estimates Committee have been merged into a single committee, called the Public Expenditure Committee. This was done with an avowed objective: to focus attention on public expenditure rather than on supply estimates and to examine a wider selection of issues arising in this field (Godbole, 2003).

    It is imperative that the media give wider coverage to Parliament, especially when it deliberates on issues of major national and international importance. Even if the sessions are telecast live, this should not be an excuse for the print media to neglect or downgrade its coverage. In fact, the present coverage falls short of expectations and leaves much to be desired. While presenting the Ramnath Goenka Award for Excellence in Journalism to journalists in New Delhi in September 2014, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan lamented that the media were not doing their job properly and said they should cover Parliament sessions adequately and comprehensively (Ghose, 2014).

    This writer is of the opinion that the media should concentrate on the inter-session period as well. For, it is during the inter-session period that parliamentary committees work actively. It would be in the fitness of things if the media are given access to the proceedings of all the committees, including department-related standing committees. These meetings need to be telecast live by both the television channels of Parliament—the Lok Sabha channel and the Rajya Sabha channel. The then Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee did try to see this through, but he could not meet the long-standing demand from the media and the general public because of resistance from some members (Chatterjee, 2010, p. 208). If India is the world's largest democracy, every effort to strengthen the parliamentary democracy and its glorious institutions needs to be pursued to its logical conclusion.

    RS Poll: All for One Seat

    Rajya Sabha elections normally do not cause any excitement. These elections are considered a pale affair with newspapers and television channels hardly attaching any importance to them. The results are taken for granted for the simple reason that the candidates win seats on the basis of the numerical strength of the legislators of political parties in their respective state Assemblies. This being the case, the manner in which the BJP and the Congress fought for one Rajya Sabha seat in Gujarat in August 2017 raised eyebrows. It was a cliff-hanger, a nail-biting finish and an election down to the wire till the last minute! Naturally, it was one of those momentous events which the media made full use of in terms of coverage. It was a feast especially for news channels which rolled out moment-to-moment developments from no less than the precincts of New Delhi's Nirvachan Sadan—the seat of the Election Commission of India—in the evening of 8 August 2017. There was no end to delegations from both the Congress and BJP camps to the Election Commission that forcefully presented their views on whether the votes cast by two MLAs should be disqualified or not. The results, which were expected to be announced at about 6 pm, were finally out only around midnight after a series of confabulations between the Chief Election Commissioner Achal Kumar Joti, Election Commissioner Om Prakash Rawat and Gujarat's Chief Electoral Officer B.B. Swain (who was based in Ahmedabad).

    Clearly, the focus was on one candidate—Congress’ five-time candidate for the Rajya Sabha and party supremo Sonia Gandhi's Political Secretary Ahmed Patel—which subsequently made the election of two other candidates—BJP President Amit Shah and Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani—pale into insignificance. Indisputably, with a view to denying a fifth term for Ahmed Patel, the BJP top brass left no stone unturned to defeat him. Not to be left behind, the Congress, too, was up in the game. Having faced the brunt of defections in its camp, the party airlifted 44 MLAs to Bengaluru's Eagleton Resort to prevent ‘poaching’ by the BJP. Though resort politics is nothing new in the country (one is reminded of the 1984 episode when the N.T. Rama Rao government in Andhra Pradesh airlifted its Telugu Desam Party MLAs to Bengaluru's Nandi Hills to prevent ‘poaching’ by the Congress), the controversies surrounding the Eagleton Resort together with the purported involvement of Karnataka Power Minister D.K. Shivakumar and the massive income tax raids on his properties only added spice to the Gujarat drama.

    Undoubtedly, the Election Commission, with its late-night verdict, which ultimately tilted the scales in favour of Ahmed Patel, once again restored people's faith and confidence in the fairness of the electoral process and the impartiality of the Commission itself (Quraishi, 2017). Contrary to meaningless apprehensions in some sections that the Chief Election Commissioner Achal Kumar Joti, who was Chief Secretary of Gujarat when Modi was Chief Minister, might bail out the BJP candidate, strictly went by the rulebook to invalidate the votes cast by two rebel Congress legislators. Having watched the video clip, the Election Commission was convinced that the two MLAs, by showing their votes to an unauthorised representative of the party, had violated Rule 39 of the Code of Election Rules, 1961, and consequently declared their votes as invalid. It was also guided by precedents in Haryana and Rajasthan (Chauhan, 2017). Commendably, it was not impressed by the BJP delegations’ claim that the Congress should have raised objections at about 9.30 am itself when the legislators in question had exercised their franchise and that the votes could not be identified for the simple reason that they had already been inserted in the ballot box.

    The Gujarat episode holds out three important lessons for the media—one, do not be carried away by the trappings of power and underestimate the strength of the rival camp; two, attach utmost importance to established norms and values of the Constitution and past precedents; and three, repose trust and confidence in the Election Commission of India.

    Freedom of Speech and Expression

    Significantly, freedom of speech and expression is one of the most important rights in media laws. Every journalist, especially those in the Legal Bureau, should have a proper background on media laws. Newspapers or television channels have no special or exclusive provision in the Constitution to exercise their fundamental right to speech and expression. They draw and exercise this right directly from Article 19(1) of the Constitution. This is the most cherished right that a citizen in a functional democracy such as ours can be proud of. Indeed, the media have the right to exercise it to their fullest potential. However, what most media professionals do not seem to appreciate is the fact that it is not an unfettered or absolute right. Every citizen, including the media—print, electronic or digital—will have to exercise it with utmost caution and circumspection. Not surprisingly, Article 19(1) is circumscribed by Article 19(2) of the Constitution, which deals with reasonable restrictions.

    There are eight clauses under which reasonable restrictions apply. These are sovereignty and territorial integrity of India, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency and morality, contempt of court, defamation and incitement to an offence. Any responsible media organisation, agency or a citizen is expected to know this fundamental distinction between the freedom of speech and expression and reasonable restrictions. In essence, this right is an important right and hence needs to be exercised in a responsible manner.

    Since the Indian Constitution does not comprehensively and adequately define the term, ‘reasonable restrictions’, the test of reasonableness has to be applied to each individual statute impugned and no abstract standard or general pattern of reasonableness can be laid down as applicable to all cases. In V.G. Row vs. The State of Madras, All India Reporter 1952, the Supreme Court ruled that the definition of reasonable restrictions would include several factors such as ‘the manner of restrictions imposed by the impugned law; the underlying purposes of the restrictions imposed; the extent and urgency of the evils sought to be remedied thereby; the disproportion of the imposition; the prevailing conditions at that time and the duration of the restrictions’. Consequently, the standard is not only an elastic one but also varies with time, space and condition. Worthy of mention in this context is the slew of essential principles which the Supreme Court has affirmed in determining the reasonableness of restrictions in some leading cases. These are the principle of proper balancing, the principle of objectivity, the principle of reasonableness involving substantive as well as procedural aspects, the principle of the reasonableness of the restriction and not of law and the principle of reasonable restrictions distinguished from the principle of due process of law.

    In Section III on Media Laws, Mr Soli J. Sorabjee, distinguished jurist and former Attorney General of India, examines this most important right from the constitutional perspective. He emphasises the importance of freedom of speech and expression in a functioning democracy like ours and maintains that it is only through the citizen's right to know that the government of the day can be made accountable for its actions. ‘When in doubt, tilt the balance in favour of expression rather than its suppression,’ he says.

    Menace of Paid News

    A malaise affecting journalism in the recent past is the menace of paid news. This has the potential of subverting democracy (Anand, 2010; see also Pande, 2010; Sainath, 2011; Thakurta, 2012; Viswanathan, 2010). It has become a big threat to journalism as news, features and even photographs have price tags, especially during elections. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Election Commission served notices in 3,053 cases of suspected paid news and found 694 cases to be ‘genuine’ (DNA, 2014), raising questions about the moral and ethical foundation of journalism. The problem was endemic in the Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. While some pay for positive coverage to boost their electoral prospects, many others pay to prevent negative coverage. The phenomenon of paid news strikes at the very edifice of the noble profession.

    In the 2010 Bihar Assembly elections, S.Y. Quraishi, who was then the Chief Election Commissioner, set up an elaborate institutional mechanism at the national, state and district level to check paid news—the Election Expenditure Monitoring Mechanism and a Media Certification and Monitoring Mechanism in each district at the level of the Returning Officer for certification of advertisements in the media. In the absence of quantifiable data, it is not clear how this system works. The Election Commission's observation that media houses or publications are beyond its purview and it is forwarding the cases to the Press Council of India (PCI) and the News Broadcasting Standards Association are indicative of its helplessness in tackling the problem (DNA, 2014). The PCI, on the other hand, maintains that it has not received any information from the Election Commission. In any case, the PCI has no control over the electronic media and even otherwise, it lacks teeth (DNA, 2014).

    There is a need for effective legislation to combat this malady. The government should try to build an all-party consensus on ending paid news. The Election Commission's disqualification of two legislators—Narottam Mishra, Madhya Pradesh's Water Resources, Public Health and Legislative Affairs Minister; and Umlesh Yadav, Uttar Pradesh MLA—for a period of three years for submitting incorrect accounts of expenditure is a good beginning. While Mishra's case pertains to his election from Datia in Madhya Pradesh in 2008, Umlesh's case dates back to 2007 from Bisauli in Uttar Pradesh. Unfortunately, our lawmakers try every tactic to hoodwink justice. Mishra has obtained a stay from the Supreme Court, which in turn has asked the Delhi High Court to dispose of his petition. He was earlier barred from exercising his franchise in the presidential election. It would be interesting to see how the courts will treat his disqualification because earlier both the Madhya Pradesh High Court and the Delhi High Court refused to stay his disqualification.

    The media are bound to have doubts on the final course of justice against the backdrop of the Ashok Chavan case. The former Maharashtra Chief Minister tried every stratagem to delay speedy adjudication of a case of paid news against him for his role in the October 2009 Maharashtra Assembly elections. He won the Bhokar seat in Nanded district. The Supreme Court cleared all legal hurdles challenging the constitutional legitimacy of the Election Commission to hear the petition against him. It directed the Commission to decide the case within a time frame of 45 days and serve him a show-cause notice. Yet Chavan sprang a surprise. He appealed in the Delhi High Court, obtained a stay and won the case. The court has upheld Chavan's appeal and quashed the Election Commission's show-cause notice. In view of the immense interest the case has generated in the media, it may be worth recalling why the Delhi High Court gave a clean chit to Chavan.

    Lawyers Kapil Sibal and Rajiv Nayar, who appeared for Chavan, argued that the Election Commission should have given him an opportunity to file revised election expenses instead of serving him a show-cause notice. The lawyer Jayant Bhushan, who appeared for Madhavrao Kinhalkar, petitioner and independent candidate who lost the 2009 election against Chavan from the Bhokar Assembly constituency, argued that the petition was just a ‘ploy’ to stall the proceedings before the Election Commission (Mint, 2014).

    Significantly, the court relied on affidavits filed by Maharashtra Congress leaders who claimed that they had published advertisements on Chavan's behalf without him being aware of them. This was the reason why Chavan did not account for the expenditure in his account of election spending, they maintained. The court made three important observations. One, there was no evidence before the Election Commission that Chavan had provided inputs for the advertisements. Two, there was no ‘express authorisation’ in any form given by the petitioner to any advertiser. And three, no inducements in cash or kind was paid or even promised as a consideration against the alleged publication by the petitioner or his election agent (Mint, 2014). Notwithstanding the Delhi High Court order, the problem remains. The Narendra Modi government should bring in legislation to tackle the menace.

    In his article on media and elections, Quraishi has not only emphasised the need to check the menace of paid news but has also stressed the need for some genuine electoral reforms to protect and strengthen democracy. Referring to the symbiotic relationship between the media and the Election Commission, he spells out the terms of engagement between the two important pillars of the world's largest democracy. He also examines the problem of opinion polls, hate speech and a few grey areas in the Representation of the People Act (RPA), 1951, and writes how political parties are taking advantage of the loopholes in the law. To rectify the situation, for instance, Quraishi suggests an amendment to the RPA.

    Sting operation is yet another issue that has been engaging the attention of the media for some years. The practitioners of good journalism are especially concerned about it. Is it ethical on the part of the media to indulge in such an exercise? Can the media use sting operation for any issue in the public interest? In her article, Dr Shashikala Gurpur examines the mission of the media to ferret out the truth and the ethico-legal dimension of sting operations.

    Question of Ethics

    The issue of journalistic ethics and propriety comes to the fore whenever a journalist is under a cloud and arrested. The arrest of a senior journalist for his alleged involvement in the corporate espionage racket is disturbing. True, some journalists, in the course of their work, develop a corporate face over a period of time in the media industry. However, the tragedy is that some of them, compromising their professional standards, willingly submit themselves to be on the payrolls of industrialists or corporates. There are rotten apples in every basket. The issue in question, however, is: How serious is the breach of ethics and morality in the espionage case involving the Government of India's three important departments—Petroleum and Natural Gas, Power and Coal? The claim of Santanu Saikia, the arrested journalist when he was being taken away by the police to a Delhi court, that he was only doing a ‘cover up’ of a whopping ‘₹10,000-crore scam’ seems to be the tip of a very large iceberg (Economic Times, 2015). Saikia not only let down the profession of journalism but also some important processes and institutions. Clearly, paid news had become a menace.

    One needs to refer to the experience of Mohan Guruswamy, who was the Adviser to the then Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, and currently Chairman, New Delhi's Centre for Policy Alternatives. If Guruswamy is to be believed, the note he had written on Maruti's disinvestment and saved in his word processor and sent to the Minister for his signature, appeared in the Financial Express the very next morning. One does not know how the note was leaked to Santanu Saikia, who was on the staff of the Financial Express then, notwithstanding the precautions taken by Guruswamy (Hindu, 2015). And yet when he reveals this with all authority and sense of responsibility, one cannot help but believe him. Far more serious is the response of the Expenditure Secretary to the Government of India to Guruswamy's suggestion to restrict Saikia's access to the Ministry. The bureaucrat reportedly told him that it was simply not done and no curbs could be imposed on the journalist's entry into the Ministry.

    Guruswamy also refers to another incident in which the top management of Boeing returned to the Government of India important documents setting up standards and requirements for India's biggest defence contract. He says the documents had surprisingly landed at the company's headquarters.

    It is said that when S. Jaipal Reddy was Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, he had instructed his Secretary to limit the access of sensitive documents in the Ministry to only three to four officials. One does not know to what extent this fat helped maintain the documents’ confidentiality.

    Clearly, the Saikia episode has opened a can of worms. The stain or blemish will remain even if the journalist in question is acquitted of the charge of espionage. It goes without saying that journalists need access to official documents for doing special/exclusive stories. But, in the process, if they get paid, it would be a serious breach of ethics and a gross violation of journalistic standards. Even if a newspaper organisation, television channel or a news portal is desperately in need of a sensitive document to buttress an argument in a given story in today's age of cut-throat competition and Breaking News, it will have to be obtained through fair means and, more important, this should not be misused. Journalists, in pursuit of exclusive stories, would do well to justify the means to the end.

    It is high time for a clean-up. The PCI is toothless and can hardly deliver the goods. Moreover, it has no control over the electronic media. Even if its scope is expanded by bringing television channels within its ambit, it is doubtful whether it can measure up to expectations, given its shoddy record in rejecting the paid news report submitted to it by a two-member sub-committee comprising Paranjoy Guha Thakurtha and K. Srinivasa Reddy in July 2010. If the government comes forward with any regulatory institutional mechanism, the media will jump in and, in one voice, cry foul maintaining that it was an attack on the freedom of press. Self-regulation is best, but it should be stringent and bite the offenders sometimes to act as a strong deterrent.

    Meanwhile, the arrest of an aide to a Samajwadi Party MP (Rajya Sabha) in the Pakistan spy ring is a major cause for concern. According to the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police, Farhat, the aide of Munavvar Saleem, the MP, played an ‘integral role’ in espionage and provided documents to Pakistan mission staffers, including Mehmood Akhtar, an offi-cial of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi, who was declared persona non grata and sent back to Pakistan. The Delhi Police and the Government of India are quite capable of handling the issue and ferret out the truth. However, what is of particular concern is Farhat's association with the MP. The MPs do receive important documents and other sensitive information from various government departments and agencies from time to time for information. It is not clear whether Farhat took advantage of his official position and leaked any confidential information to Pakistan mission staffers.

    On his part, the MP may have claimed innocence and ignorance of the matter, especially the misconduct of his aide. In fact, the MP in question has gone a step further by saying that he will ‘commit suicide’ if he is held guilty. However, in view of the sensitive nature of the issue and the MPs’ regular access to confidential and privileged information, a thorough investigation at the highest level brooks no delay. The media should step in and conduct their own survey to pinpoint similar leakages. True, no MP can be blamed for lapses, if any, without proper investigation and evidence. This, however, does not prevent the government from ordering a thorough survey of all aides to MPs and ministers. Our people's representatives may be considered patriotic and committed to national welfare and development. But their offices cannot be allowed to become porous, leaking sensitive information to the staffers of foreign embassies and missions. A close look of the antecedents of all aides of our MPs and a drastic overhaul of the system of recruitment or appointment of these aides and other personal staff will be in order.

    Tainted Ministers, MPs, MLAs

    The issue of criminalisation of politics and tainted ministers has been bothering the media for a long time. The Tribune launched a sustained campaign against this through news reports, editorials and articles (Anand, 2005). The Manmohan Singh-led Congress government adopted double standards by initially passing the Representation of the People (Second Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2013, to protect convicted politicians such as Lalu Prasad in exchange for their support to the Congress-led UPA government and then withdrawing it following Congress Vice-president Rahul Gandhi's tantrums in the Delhi Press Club. The Supreme Court has left the issue of tainted ministers to the Prime Minister's discretion. It recognised the importance of the Prime Minister in the parliamentary system of governance based on the Westminster model and wisely left the matter of Cabinet formation and inclusion of Ministers to his wisdom and discretion. At the same time, the five-judge Constitution Bench headed by former Chief Justice R.M. Lodha said:

    It can always be legitimately expected … the Prime Minister, while living up to the trust reposed in him, would consider not choosing a person with criminal antecedents against whom charges have been framed for heinous or serious criminal offences or charges of corruption to become a Minister of the Council of Ministers. This is what the Constitution suggests and that is the constitutional expectation from the Prime Minister. Rest has to be left to the wisdom of the Prime Minister. We say nothing more, nothing less. (Sinha, 2014)

    According to the ADR, 12 of the 45 Union Ministers in the Narendra Modi government have been charged with criminal offences. While Water Resources and Ganga Rejuvenation Minister Uma Bharti has 13 cases registered against her, Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari has four cases (Sinha, 2014). It is indeed a challenge for Modi and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government he heads to come clean on the matter. Sadly, there has been no change in this election after election.

    Figure I.5 shows no improvement in the elections in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam, Kerala and Puducherry. Disturbingly, 294 elected MLAs in the four states and Union Territory of Puducherry have pending criminal cases against them. Among them, Kerala tops the list with 62 per cent of MLAs elected with criminal antecedents followed by West Bengal (37 per cent), Tamil Nadu (37 per cent), Puducherry (37 per cent) and Assam (11 per cent) (Avienaash, 2016). In the Rajya Sabha elections held on 11 June 2016, Bihar's BJP candidate had as many as 28 criminal cases against him (Kumar, 2016).

    Close on the heels of the Supreme Court's stand on tainted ministers, the Centre's communique to the Chief Ministers of all states and chief justices of High Courts to fix the responsibility on district administrations to expedite probe and trial of MPs and MLAs facing charges for serious crimes is a good beginning. The Centre would do well to step up pressure on the states. The communiqué is crystal clear inasmuch as it has made the district administrations responsible for speedy disposal of cases (Thakur, 2014). However, in the absence of any follow-up, one does not know the status of these cases as on date. Moreover, this is a violation of the one-year time frame fixed by the Supreme Court to dispose pending cases.

    Criminalisation of politics has been haunting the nation for quite some time. The media should pick up the threads and monitor the progress of the cases regularly to stem the rot. There should be no problem regarding availability of data. On the basis of the particulars provided by candidates in their respective affidavits submitted to the returning officers during elections, the ADR and the National Election Watch (NEW) have been compiling data on tainted candidates and releasing them to the media from time to time. The data are credible enough to merit attention. The Election Commission's figures on this are also available on its website. However, in the context of the Centre's directive to states as also to fix accountability on the district administration for disposal of all pending cases in a year, the media should revert to the problem and monitor the progress of investigation and disposal of individual cases in all districts.

    Figure I.5 MLAs with criminal records (in %)
    None

    Source: Avienaash (2016).

    As for giving the party ticket to tainted candidates in the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and Assembly elections, the onus lies squarely on political parties themselves. The solution to this problem should necessarily begin at the entry level itself. Criminals, with their muscle power and money power, get elected to representative institutions, become MPs, MLAs and even ministers and pollute the system. The issue in question is: How can a tainted person become a lawmaker and minister? If the quality of governance has to change, political parties should resolve not to nominate persons with criminal antecedents (Anand, 2012).

    In a significant order, a Supreme Court Bench comprising Justice Dipak Misra and Justice P.C. Pant ruled that candidates who concealed their criminal antecedents while fling nomination papers would run the risk of disqualification. It said that the candidates will have to give details, especially those relating to heinous crimes or serious offences like corruption (Mint, 2015).

    In a 97-page ruling, the apex court said that a candidate's nondisclosure of criminal antecedents would amount to a ‘corrupt practice’ under Section 123 of the RPA, 1951. Such a corrupt practice would make the candidate liable for disqualification under Section 8(A) of the same Act.

    Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa passed away on 5 December 2016, after a 75-day hospitalisation. The award of a four-year jail term to her together with a fine of ₹100 crore is a benchmark in the Disproportionate Assets case. The Supreme Court released her on bail, giving her an opportunity to appeal against the trial court verdict. She fought the case, got the judgement delivered by Special Judge John Michael D'Cunha of the Bangalore Special Court reversed. She returned to the post of Chief Minister after a brief spell. The Karnataka High Court gave her a clean chit, but the Karnataka government challenged her acquittal, maintaining that the court had ‘committed error in calculating her assets’ (Times of India, 2016). The Supreme Court judgement upholding the trial court ruling and convicting Sasikala, her confidante, and two others in the Disproportionate Assets case with a four-year sentence and a fine of ₹10 crore each has reinforced people's faith in the judiciary. The fact that the Supreme Court has imposed a fine of ₹100 on the deceased Jayalalithaa of ₹100 crore together with attachment of her properties doubly proves the commitment of the judiciary to stem the rot of corruption.

    Interestingly, during the hearing, the Supreme Court Bench consisting of Justice P.C. Ghose and Justice Amitava Ray ruled that the court could declare a person guilty only because he/she had assets disproportionate to his/her known sources of income. It observed that he/she could be held guilty only if it was proved that the person acquired these assets through ‘illegal means’ (Times of India, 2016). The speed with which the Supreme Court expedited this ruling is in line with two of its earlier guidelines: that cases of corruption in high places should be adjudicated within a specific time frame; and that the courts should not show any leniency towards those punished under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

    The media have a crucial role to play in informing and educating the people on the day-to-day events in the country. In a functioning democracy such as ours, the duties and responsibilities of the media are enormous. It has to protect all institutions and help strengthen them. It cannot close its eyes and ears to any development that may have the potential of bringing public institutions to disrepute.

    Attack on CAG

    While the media need to examine the ways and means to strengthen parliamentary institutions, they cannot afford to lose sight of any development that may have the potential of bringing institutions to disrepute. One remembers the blistering attack on the then Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India Vinod Rai by former Union Law Minister Kapil Sibal and other Congress leaders for his report on the 2G spectrum. When the CAG cited ₹1.76 lakh crore as the notional loss to the national exchequer in the 2G deal in his report, Sibal debunked it and maintained that there was ‘zero loss’. The CAG, like the Chief Election Commissioner of India and the Chairman of the Union Public Service Commission, is a constitutional functionary who deserves all respect and attention. Where will the scales of justice meet if the Union Law Minister himself leads the attack on a constitutional authority?

    If a constitutional functionary questions another authority, the delicate constitutional balance would be disturbed, and hence, such friction should be avoided. Rai, known for his unimpeachable character and high professional integrity, was only performing his duty as mandated by the Constitution and crying foul against financial malfeasance in the government's issuance of telecommunication licenses or allocation of coal blocks to private individuals. Indeed, his stand has been vindicated in letter and spirit after the Supreme Court quashed issuance of the telecommunication licenses as well as the allocation of coal blocks.

    In his memoirs, Not Just an Accountant, Rai has stuck to his stand and the CAG's report on the 2G scam (Rai, 2014). Of particular concern is his revelation in both television and newspaper interviews that a lot of pressure was put on him to keep Manmohan Singh's name out of the 2G episode. He said he refused to buckle under pressure even though Congress leaders such as Sanjay Nirupam tried to convince him to bail out Manmohan Singh.

    CBI on the Mat

    Encouragingly, newspapers such as the Indian Express have created a name for themselves in investigative journalism. The Indian Express’ scoop on the number of controversial visitors calling on former CBI Director Ranjit Sinha at his official residence is commendable. People have the right to know why these people had been flocking around Sinha. In view of his sensitive position, Sinha's meeting with the visitors at his residence was grossly inappropriate. What prevented him from meeting them in his office? His explanation that his meeting with the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) officials was routine and that he did not grant any ‘favours’ to them was unconvincing. If this and other reports that Moin Qureshi, accused of money laundering, visited Sinha as many as ‘90 times in 15 months’ were to bear scrutiny, these were a ft case for investigation. The media needed to probe this, including whether Sinha had granted any favours to the officials.

    The Supreme Court had turned down Sinha's plea to stop the media from disclosing the identity of his visitors at his official residence, 2, Janpath, New Delhi. At the same time, on the court's directive, Sinha filed an affidavit on the guests’ visits. Though the court directed Prashant Bhushan to disclose the source of information regarding the visitors, he refused to do so.

    Newspapers have the responsibility of investigating the malaise affecting the country's premier investigating agency. Herein lies the media's responsibility towards society and the nation as a whole.

    It is widely believed that the CBI does not seem to be independent and that it acts as the handmaiden of the government. The Supreme Court, not so long ago, said that it was a ‘caged parrot’. According to Fali S. Nariman, noted jurist and constitutional expert, the CBI has been functioning under successive governments ‘not by notes on files but on nods and winks of the minister or senior officers in charge of the administrative ministry’ (Sen, 2013; see also Anand, 2010, 2005).

    Though the CBI Director is not a constitutional functionary, he holds an important official position. Thus, it is expected that he should be above suspicion and should not give room for any speculation about his conduct. As he is an important functionary holding a public office, his stand that his right to privacy is violated by the media coverage is unconvincing and does not stand the test of legal scrutiny. Students of political science and journalism are always told that the right to privacy is a deemed right and a limited right. The scope and extent of this right can be appreciated properly if one understands the fact that public interest always overrides the right to privacy of public functionaries. A government official or a politician cannot take shelter under the right to privacy for the simple reason that the people have a right to know his/her acts of omission and commission and that public interest is greater than individual interest.

    The Supreme Court's directive to Sinha to keep off the 2G spectrum probe, a fortnight before his superannuation, speaks volumes about the credibility of the CBI. The bench comprising Chief Justice H.L. Dattu, Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice A.K. Sikri accepted the contention of the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) that Sinha had a series of meetings with executives from companies being investigated by the CBI in connection with the 2G scam. The CPIL had accused Sinha of trying to influence the findings of the probe. Sinha's denial of the charge did not help matters for the simple reason that the apex court had ruled that the information supplied by the CPIL (relating to the guest register showing the names of visitors to Sinha's official residence) was ‘prima facie credible’ and that ‘a reasoned and lengthy order would affect the CBI's reputation’.

    Even as the Supreme Court Bench consisting of Justice Madan B. Lokur, Justice Kurien Joseph and Justice A.K. Sikri were adjudicating the case, on 12 July 2016, the Supreme Court-appointed panel headed by former Special Director of CBI M.L. Sharma held that there was an attempt to influence the coal block allocation. The issue in question is whether it was proper on the part of Sinha to entertain questionable visitors at his official residence. The media rightly supported the Supreme Court ruling and called upon Sinha to quit office and protect the image and reputation of the high office. However, he refused to see reason and decided to cling on to his position like a limpet. It augurs well that the apex court allowed the CBI Director Anil Sinha to go ahead with the 2G spectrum probe. It is hoped that the leadership will learn lessons from the Sinha episode and strive to restore the credibility of the CBI.

    Focus on Development

    Development is one area where the media will have to play an important role today. In the light of the Narendra Modi government's special focus on development, the media would do well to concentrate on development journalism. The Planning Commission has been scrapped and replaced by NITI Aayog. As the government is going ahead with its agenda, there is a bonanza of information for journalists to study and analyse the contours of the new planning machinery and developmental plan programmes.

    The Prime Minister's call, while replying to the Motion of Thanks on President Pranab Mukherjee's speech to the joint session of Parliament on 11 June 2014, to make development the ‘war cry’ and a ‘mass movement’ should be taken in the right spirit and pursued to its logical conclusion (Times of India, 2014). On the face of it, there is nothing wrong in what Modi said regarding making states the fulcrum of development. For long, the Centre has neglected the states. The late Jyoti Basu had lamented how the states had been relegated to a ‘mendicant status’ by an overbearing Centre. Things will, certainly, improve if the government, with sincerity and earnestness, stepped up efforts to make development a ‘mass movement’ similar to the freedom struggle.

    At the tail end of its second term in office, the UPA government launched many big-ticket programmes such as the Direct Benefit Transfers or cash transfer scheme, the National Food Security Act and the Land Acquisition Act. The Manmohan Singh government may have lost the elections, but the conceptualisation, structural design and utility of these schemes are appreciable. Initially, the Modi government wanted to implement the Land Acquisition Act, albeit with some changes here and there. The UPA government rechristened the Land Acquisition Act as the Right to Fair Compensation, Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Act, 2013. Following the Modi government's consultation with the states on the Act, on 29 December 2014, the President promulgated an Ordinance to amend the Act to ‘strike a balance between the farmers’ interests and industrial growth’. Though the Centre was keen on pursuing the legislation to its logical conclusion, it failed to do so because of the Congress’ obstruction tactics in the Rajya Sabha. The Modi government has the numbers in the Lok Sabha and passage of any Bill in the Lower House has never been a problem. But this is not so in the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House. After repeatedly failing to ensure its passage in the Rajya Sabha, the Centre abandoned the idea of trying the Ordinance route and finally left it to the states’ discretion to enact a legislation on this.

    The Modi government has renamed the Provision of Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA), a centrally sponsored scheme, as the Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission. The Rurban (rural–urban) mission will be implemented on the Gujarat model. As a pilot project, the Modi government has launched the programme in three districts: Sangli and Buldhana in Maharashtra and Warangal in Telangana. These schemes are expected to usher in new forces in rural India. The media has a duty to monitor the implementation of these schemes in the villages and towns and bring to light the functional problems for the common good.

    In his chapter on ‘Partner in Development’, this writer has examined the pitfalls of planning, the contours of the NITI Aayog and the media's role. Now that Dr Arvind Panagariya has left the NITI Aayog and returned to academics in the United States, there is a new chief at the helm—Dr Rajiv Kumar. It would be interesting to see how he will carry the mission forward. While examining the Centre–state relations over the years, the writer has stressed the need to pursue the Goods and Services Act to its logical conclusion as it will be a game-changer in the Centre's efforts to promote cooperative federalism in letter and spirit. He has also highlighted how students of journalism have been trained on development through the Rural Survey Project and the Right to Information at the Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication under the guidance of the late Dr Dileep Padgaonkar, R.K. Laxman Chair Professor of Symbiosis International University.

    Degrees for Journos

    This brings to the fore the importance of having knowledgeable, well-educated and qualified journalists in the print media. This writer does not want to enter into a debate on former PCI Chairman Justice Markandey Katju's suggestion for a basic qualification for journalists. While one does not know the fate of the three-member committee appointed by Justice Katju on the issue, it would suffice to say that journalism is a profession which cannot be confined to only those having the basic graduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism.

    Justice Katju's argument that doctors, engineers, lawyers and chartered accountants will have to complete their respective professional degrees first before becoming eligible to do their respective jobs may have merit and be relevant to these technical professions. However, this argument is unconvincing and does not hold water in the case of journalists. The very nature and scope of the journalistic profession is such that one can make a mark in journalism only if he/she has a fair for writing and reporting irrespective of whether he/she is a student of political science, literature, philosophy, engineering or architecture. It is precisely for this reason that the Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication holds a Writing Ability Test (WAT) for admission to Master of Arts (Mass Communication) programme, in addition to the national aptitude test, every year irrespective of the undergraduate candidates’ discipline. If a professional body like the Editors’ Guild of India (or even the PCI) commissions a random survey on journalists in major newspapers and news agencies such as the Press Trust of India and the United News of India, it would be interesting to see how many of them have the requisite journalism degrees—graduation or post-graduation. Be that as it may, there is no second opinion on the need for attracting bright and young minds to journalism.

    Wide Array of Issues

    This project, perhaps first of its kind in the field of journalism in the country in terms of its professional approach, content, expertise and intellectual worth, comprises five sections—Editors’ Experiences, Digital Media, Media Laws, Special Areas, and Reporting and Editing. Section I consists of six articles by distinguished Editors, known for their impeccable credentials and proven track record—the late B.G. Verghese, the late Dileep Padgaonkar, H.K. Dua, Hiranmay Karlekar, Hari Jaisingh and Raj Chengappa.

    Section II on digital media consists of four pieces, each one dealing with a specific area: Internet, smartphone journalism, TV–print–digital businesses and television.

    Section III deals with media laws. It has three pieces: one on freedom of speech and expression by the eminent jurist and constitutional expert Soli J. Sorabjee; the second on elections and the media by S.Y. Quraishi, former Chief Election Commissioner of India; and the third on sting operations by Dr Shashikala Gurpur, Dean, Faculty of Law, Symbiosis International University and former Member, Law Commission of India.

    Section IV on special areas consists of 10 articles. These cover a wide array of issues—Edit Page specialisation, journalistic ethics, development issues, research in journalism, investigative journalism and environment. The writers are known for their expertise in these areas. While some of them are recipients of national awards for excellence in journalism, others have demonstrated their leadership in their chosen areas of specialisation over the years. Section V has five articles, dealing with the dynamics of reporting and editing.

    These articles seek to present a comprehensive picture of the media to students, academics, industry professionals and the general public. Peers should treat the book as a primer on journalism. The book seeks to inform and educate not only students and journalists but also the general public on some of the major contemporary trends, issues and processes in governance, institutions, administration and development, among others, and the role of the media, including the new media. This is perhaps for the first time in the history of Indian journalism that many eminent Editors, experts and academics have been brought together on one forum to discuss a critical discipline, which is at the crossroads. The efforts of the Editors would fructify if this project helps stimulate good journalistic practices and contributes to the existing body of knowledge.

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    Notes

    1 For the text of the 547-page judgement on the right to privacy, see http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/multimedia/archive/03195/Right_to_Privacy3195287a.pdf (accessed on 5 September 2017).

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    About the Editors and Contributors

    Editors

    V. Eshwar Anand was a senior Editor with an academic bent of mind. He did his BA (honours with distinction) from Rayagada Autonomous College, Odisha, and MA, MPhil and PhD in political science from Berhampur University with a fellowship from the American Studies Research Centre, Hyderabad.

    He held senior editorial positions in the Indian Express, Deccan Herald (both Bengaluru) and the Tribune (Chandigarh). Before joining the Indian Express in 1987 and as a research scholar, Dr Anand contributed Edit Page articles in the Statesman and Hindustan Times.

    He was a specialist in public administration and constitutional law with primary focus on legislature, executive and judiciary. He also wrote on media laws, ethics and communication, integrity institutions, public policy and governance, electoral reforms and development administration. He was associated with programmes organised by top institutions such as the Supreme Court of India, the Election Commission of India, the Central Information Commission, the Second Administrative Reforms Commission and prominent NGOs such as the Association for Democratic Reforms and the National Election Watch.

    He was Professor of Journalism and Media Studies at Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication (SIMC), Symbiosis International University (SIU), Pune, where he taught editing and reporting, media laws and ethics, development journalism, democracy and political parties, integrity institutions, constitutional law and elections.

    As Member, Academic Council, and Board of Studies, Faculty of Media, Communication and Design, SIU, he was closely associated with the curriculum design and development of the university's postgraduate department of journalism and mass communication. He guided a good number of PhD research scholars registered with SIU. He was also Member, Board of Examinations, SIU.

    He had contributed articles for national and international publications, presented papers, moderated discussions and presided over national and international conferences. He was nominated to the Advisory Council, World Education Congress, 2017.

    He was Member, International Organising Committee and the Board of Editors of the International Conference on Nation-Building 2017: Innovative Solutions for Sustainable Social, Economic and Political Development held in Bangkok, Thailand (28–30 May 2017). He also organised the First International Conference on Media and Communication at SIMC (6–8 October 2016).

    Dr Anand was a recipient of the National Education Award (India's Best Professor Teaching Journalism and Mass Communication) for 2015 and 2016, and the Best Paper Award (Reforms and Best Practices) Honorable Mention at the Tenth International Conference on Public Administration held at the School of Political Science and Public Administration, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu, in October 2014. He also received New Delhi's India International Centre Award, the Olive I. Reddick (Senior) Prize and the Karpoor Chandra Kulish Award for Excellence in Print Journalism.

    Jayanthi Krishnamachary, co-editor of this volume, is a senior Editor in print journalism with over three decades of experience.

    An alumnus of Madras Christian College, she has an MA in English and holds a postgraduate diploma in journalism.

    She started her career in journalism with a brief stint in the Mail in Chennai. She moved to Bengaluru in 1981 to join the Indian Express where she left an indelible impression as desk chief, at the mofussil desk and news desk.

    She moved to the Indian Express, Chennai, in 1990, where she rose to the position of Deputy News Editor. In addition to her various responsibilities on news desk, she edited Expressweek, a weekly supplement, and the cinema and culture pages. Jayanthi joined Frontline in 1998, where she is presently a Senior Deputy Editor. She has attended the Neiman Foundation's Conference on narrative journalism.

    She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in English.

    Contributors

    Ranjona Banerji has been in the media for over 30 years. After a short stint in advertising, she moved to journalism and worked with a variety of newspapers and magazines such as the Times of India, DNA, Mid-Day, Bombay and Gentleman. For the past eight years, she has been a freelance columnist for the media website MxMIndia.com, critiquing journals, websites and news channels. Currently, she is Consulting Editor, MxMIndia.com.

    She also writes on politics, and social and gender issues for Mid-Day, the Asian Age, scroll.in, thewire.in, DailyO and various other websites and newspapers. In 1997, she co-wrote and edited India 50: The making of a nation with Ayaz Memon, to commemorate 50 years of India‘s independence.

    Amar Chandel was Associate Editor and Leader Writer with over three decades of experience in the Tribune, Chandigarh. He held various positions in the newspaper, including as Magazine Editor of its weekly publications, Saturday Extra and Spectrum. He was also in charge of ‘Middles’ in the Opinion Page. He left the Tribune in 2011 to pursue his other interests. He is the author of Perfect health in 20 weeks (2010).

    Raj Chengappa is a former Editor-in-Chief, the Tribune, Chandigarh. Before joining the Tribune, he was Managing Editor of India Today and concurrently Editor of the Indian edition of Scientific American and India Today Aspire. He has returned to India Today as the Group Editorial Director (Publishing). He is often a discussant in India Today Television debates.

    Earlier, he pioneered India Today's Top Colleges Survey, which has become a benchmark for academic excellence, apart from digitising the magazine library services and starting its Internet edition. He covered the 2008–2009 Sri Lankan Civil War, the 2003 Iraq War, the 2001 Afghanistan War and the 1999 Kargil War.

    He won the Prem Bhatia Award for Political Analysis and Reporting in 1998 and the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting in 1987. Chengappa was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, a Henry Stimson Fellow for International Security at Washington, D.C., and a Harry Britain Fellow partly at Oxford University.

    He is the author of the bestseller on India's nuclear weapons, Weapons of peace: The secret story of India's quest to be a nuclear power (2000).

    Neerja Chowdhury is a well-known political commentator in both print and electronic media. She is a recipient of the Chameli Devi Jain Award for the Best Woman Journalist in 1981. Over the years, she has created a niche for herself in the realm of political reporting. She was the Political Editor of the Indian Express, the Economic Times and the New Indian Express. Her weekly column ‘Power Play’ in the late 1980s, in Op-Ed Page, the Indian Express, was very popular among readers. It reflected her attention to detail, incisive analyses and a thorough grasp of the dynamics and functioning of various political parties.

    As a Civil Rights Correspondent of the Statesman (1982–1987), Neerja highlighted the problems and sufferings of the marginalised, the oppressed and the underprivileged sections of society. She got the People's Union of Civil Liberties’ Human Rights Award in recognition of her services to society. Later, she began writing on Indian politics. She was awarded the Prem Bhatia Award for Political Analysis and Reporting.

    Currently, she is a columnist of many newspapers, including the Times of India and the Economic Times. She participates in television discussions and visits SIMC to train budding journalists on political reporting.

    H.K. Dua is an eminent Editor, political commentator and parliamentarian. A former Member of Parliament (Nominated), Rajya Sabha, and currently Adviser, Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi, he actively participated in parliamentary proceedings and debates. He was Member, Standing Committee of Parliament, External Affairs; and Consultative Committee of Parliament, Home Affairs. He was Editor, Hindustan Times (1987–1994); Editor-in-Chief, the Indian Express (1994–1996) and the Tribune (2003–2009); and Editorial Adviser, the Times of India (1997–1998).

    He was President, Editors Guild of India and India–Philippines Parliamentary Group. He was Member, Jury of the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding, Parliamentary Delegation to the UN and National Security Advisory Board. Before becoming India's Ambassador to Denmark, he was Media Adviser to Prime Ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee and H.D. Deve Gowda. He has been a member of several parliamentary committees on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, Ethics, External Affairs, Home, Defence, Salaries and Allowances of MPs, House Committee and Health and Family Welfare.

    He received many awards for his distinguished service to journalism. Some of these are the Padma Bhushan, the G.K. Reddy Award, the B.D. Goenka Award, the Durga Rattan Award, the Freedom of Information Award and the Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak Award.

    Gahana Gopal C. is a Junior Research Fellow at Symbiosis Institute of Technology, SIU. She has completed her graduation in chemical engineering from St. Michael College of Engineering and Technology under Anna University, Chennai. She has done her master's in computer- aided process design (Chemical Engineering) from Government Engineering College, Calicut.

    Currently, she is pursuing her PhD under the Faculty of Engineering, SIU. She has published a few research papers in the areas of biodiesel and waste management and has attended several workshops.

    Shashikala Gurpur is Dean, Faculty of Law, SIU, and Director, Symbiosis Law School, Pune. She has an outstanding career with wide range of experience in teaching, research and industry. She is a former Member of the Law Commission of India.

    She has 24 years of experience in postgraduate teaching and research. She has been associated with many law schools and universities in curriculum development and enrichment. Currently she is Member of the Curriculum Development Committee, Bar Council of India, and the Academic Council of National Judicial Academy, Bhopal.

    Shashikala Gurpur's areas of specialisation are international law, human rights jurisprudence, legal education and legal research, innovation law, comparative law and global justice. She is on the editorial board of LexisNexis Butterworths; Journal of the IPR by CSIR; Law and Policy Journal, Dublin, Ireland; and Polish Law Review. She has authored two books, 66 articles and six book chapters. She was listed among notable Kannada authors in 1995 and 2007.

    She has guided 12 PhD students.

    Vinaya Hegde is a specialist in editing copy, rewriting, headline writing, caption writing, designing layout and bringing out the edition. She started her career with the Indian Express, Chennai, and later shifted to the same newspaper in Bengaluru. She learnt the ropes under the benign tutelage of C.P. Seshadri (fondly called ‘Master’ by all journos of his time), the de facto Resident Editor of the Chennai edition of the Indian Express.

    After a decade as a full-time Copy Editor with the Chennai and Bengaluru editions of the Indian Express and dabbling in Web journalism with the Zee group, she opted to freelance and continues to do so.

    Ruchi Jaggi is Director, SIMC. She is also Member, Academic Council, SIU. A postgraduate in mass communication from Panjab University, Chandigarh, she has been teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses for almost a decade now. She currently teaches communication theories, culture studies and research methodology.

    She is a dedicated academic, scholar and researcher. Her papers have been published in reputed research journals and books. Her research interests include media representations, popular culture analysis, gender studies, television studies and emerging discourses of identity on new media. She was recently awarded PhD for her thesis on ‘Gender Portrayals on Children's Television in India’ by the Department of Communication Studies, Savitribai Phule Pune University.

    She has been participating in academic conferences nationally and internationally. She had recently presented her research work at the International Association of Media and Communication's annual conference at Leicester, United Kingdom, where she also chaired a session in the ‘Gender and Communication’ section.

    Hari Jaisingh, a former Editor of the Tribune, has worked in key positions for some of India's leading newspapers over four decades. He is also a former Editor of Observer News Service and Resident Editor of the Indian Express, Ahmedabad and Mumbai, where he started a series of daily supplements such as Business Express, Science Express, Education Express, Express Sport and Express Weekend as part of the newspaper. This is considered a pioneering effort in Indian journalism.

    A former Assistant Editor of the Tribune he has also contributed articles to the Morning Telegraph and the Guardian, London. A champion of press freedom, he is committed to public causes and human rights and is a crusader against corruption.

    He has authored many books. Some of them are: No, my Lord! A window on India's realpolitik (2005); Kashmir: A tale of shame (1996); Between dream and reality: The Indian paradox (1992); India after Indira: The turbulent years (1989); and India and the non-aligned world (1982).

    He has been associated with bodies such as the Press Council of India, the Editors Guild of India, the Namedia Foundation and the Indian National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO. He has been a senator of various universities. He is currently Editor, Power Politics, New Delhi.

    Kamlendra Kanwar is a senior journalist and political commentator. He was Senior Associate Editor, the Tribune, Chandigarh; Editor (Tamil Nadu), the New Indian Express, Chennai; Editor (Gujarat), the Times of India, Ahmedabad; and Resident Editor, the Indian Express, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi. In the early days of his career, he served in the New Straits Times in Kuala Lumpur, the Statesman and United News of India, New Delhi.

    He is the author of Icons of Gujarat industry and Trailblazers of Gujarat. He was Director, Nissa Group's 24-hour English news channel at Ahmedabad. Currently, he contributes Edit Page articles to various newspapers.

    Hiranmay Karlekar is Consultant Editor of the Pioneer, New Delhi. A Nieman Fellow at Harvard (Class of 1967), Karlekar, in his career as a journalist spanning five-and-a-half decades, has been Editor of Hindustan Times, Deputy Editor of the Indian Express and Assistant Editor of the Statesman and the Hindustan Standard. Karlekar started his journalistic career with Anandabazar Patrika as a Staff Reporter in 1963. He was also Associate Editor of Aajkaal, Kolkata.

    He has been a member of the Press Council of India, General Secretary of the Editors Guild of India; Member, Board of Directors, Press Trust of India; and the Editors Guild's nominee in the Central Press Accreditation Committee, Government of India. He was also a Member of the Animal Welfare Board of India.

    Karlekar's publications include two Bengali Novels, Bhabisyater ateet (1994) and Mehrunnisa (1995), the latter based on Bangladesh's liberation war during which he played a role that brought him the ‘Friends of Bangladesh Liberation War Award’ in 2012. He has authored four books in English—In the mirror of Mandal: Social justice, caste, class and the individual; Bangladesh: The next Afghanistan?; Savage humans and stray dogs: A study in aggression and Endgame in Afghanistan: For whom the dice rolls.

    He edited—and contributed chapters to—Independent India: The first fifty years (1998), an anthology of essays published to mark 50 years of India's independence.

    Charu Sudan Kasturi is Assistant Editor with the Telegraph in New Delhi. He has earlier worked with Hindustan Times. He writes on international relations and politics. He closely follows the rapid evolution of the digital medium. His work has appeared across formats—on radio, television, print and online. His articles have appeared in the California-based online publication Ozy, in Foreign Policy and in New York City's popular publication, City Limits. He has appeared on All India Radio, Lok Sabha TV and Rajya Sabha TV for panel discussions.

    He has a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University, a master's in physics from IIT Delhi and a degree in physics from St. Stephen's College, Delhi.

    He has taught digital journalism at SIMC. He is the recipient of major international awards, including the Pulitzer Fellowship and the New York Foreign Press Association Award.

    Sneha Kumari is a Junior Research Fellow at SIU. She has completed her graduation in agriculture with an Indian Council of Agriculture Research fellowship and her master's in agribusiness management under the Indian Council of Agriculture Research merit.

    Currently, she is pursuing her PhD from SIU. She has published research papers in the areas of agriculture, sustainability, technology and climate change. She has also attended several national and international conferences.

    Ramesh Menon is an author, journalist, educator, film-maker and corporate trainer. A recipient of the Ramnath Goenka Award for Excellence in Journalism, he began his career with the Times of India as a reporter. He was Associate Editor, India Today; Executive Producer, Business India Television and TV Today; Roving Editor at rediff.com; and columnist with Daily News and Analysis.

    He is the author of Modi demystified (2014), Carbon footprint: Exciting ways of reducing it for a better world (2014), Night sparkle, a coffee table book on the best lighthouses of India (2013), and Whatever the odds (2011). He has been involved in the making of over 20 documentary films, and many of them have been shown at film festivals.

    A former Managing Editor, India Legal, New Delhi, he is currently an adjunct professor at SIMC, Pune.

    Dileep Padgaonkar, a distinguished Editor and political commentator, who was closely associated with this book project, passed away in Pune on 25 November 2016, following a cardiac arrest.

    Born on 1 May 1944, he graduated in political science from Fergusson College, Pune, obtained a diploma in direction and scriptwriting from the Institute of Higher Cinematographic Studies in France and received a doctoral degree in Indian Aesthetics and Cinema from the University of Paris (Sorbonne) in June 1968.

    He served as the Paris correspondent of the Times of India. He was its Editor from 1988 to 1994 and Consulting Editor until his demise. He joined the editorial board of a leading international news portal, the Huffington Post, which launched the World Post, an online publication with 10 editions around the world.

    For eight years (1978–1986), he worked as an international civil servant in UNESCO in Bangkok and Paris. He was also Editor of the Sharjah-based daily, the Gulf Today. In 1994, he became Chairman of Asia-Pacific Communications Associates (APCA), a multimedia organisation active in news and current affairs on TV and in print journalism. He was the founding Editor of Biblio: A Review of Books. He authored a book, Under her spell: Roberto Rossellini in India.

    Padgaonkar was a member of several bodies, including the Indo-French Forum, the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, the South Asia Free Media Association, the Prince Claus Fund of the Netherlands, the Minorities Commission and the Observer Research Foundation. In April 2002, President Jacques Chirac awarded him the Legion d'Honneur, France's highest civilian distinction, for his services to journalism He also received the Dinanath Mangeshkar Award in 2016.

    Padgaonkar was the Government of India's Chief Interlocutor for Jammu and Kashmir. As the R.K. Laxman Chair Professor, Faculty of Media, Communication and Design, SIU, he was associated with many initiatives aimed at honing the skills of student journalists. He was also guiding the curriculum structure and design of various courses of the Symbiosis School of Liberal Arts, Pune.

    Sushobhan Patankar is Assistant Professor at SIMC, Pune. A postgraduate in Communication Studies from Savitribai Phule Pune University, he has 12 years of experience in the television industry. He had worked with IBN7 Hindi (News) as Deputy Bureau Chief, Mumbai, where he covered politics, business and sports, and at CNN-IBN as the Correspondent of the Pune Bureau. Sushobhan was a freelance news reporter with ESPN Star Sports (2002–2005), for their news shows Sportsline and Sportscentre. Earlier, he had a stint with Star Plus for a talent show.

    At IBN7, he has done stories on the General and Railway Budget, the RBI credit policy and the Centre's economic policies. He has also covered the 2009 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections and produced documentaries on the power plants in the Konkan region and the Lavasa project near Pune. At SIMC, he teaches television news (basics and advanced), current affairs, newsroom management, investigative journalism and sports journalism.

    In 2015, he visited Germany under a doctoral student exchange programme between the Savitribai Phule Pune University and Eberhard Karls University of Tuebingen, Germany.

    Yogesh Patil is Professor and Head, Research and Publications, at Symbiosis Centre for Research and Innovation (SCRI), SIU, Pune. He is a PhD in environmental sciences from Savitribai Phule Pune University and has over 16 years of postgraduate teaching and research experience in environmental science, management and technology. His research areas of interest include waste management, bioremediation, sustain-ability, climate change and industrial ecology.

    He has published 50 research papers in journals of national and international repute. He has published two edited books, namely, Applied bioremediation—active and passive approaches (Croatia) and Reconsidering the impact of climate change on global water supply, use, and management (IGI Global, USA). He has edited three special issues of an Elsevier journal. He has undertaken research/consultancy projects funded by UGC, Sweden's International Foundation for Science (IFS) and Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (which won the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize), The Netherlands, the World Bank and the Pune Municipal Corporation.

    He is a recipient of fellowships from the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the Best PhD Research Award and the UGC Post Doctoral Fellowship. He is a reviewer and editorial board member of several journals indexed in Scopus and SCI.

    Gagan Prakash is a photojournalist. An Assistant Professor at SIMC, he teaches photojournalism, cinematography, digital photography, advanced photography, lighting and editing and visual communication to postgraduate students (journalism and audio visual). He was recently awarded the PhD degree by SIU for his thesis on journalistic ethics.

    He has had stints with the Times of India (Mangaluru) and Khaleej Times (Dubai) as a photojournalist. He has produced documentaries and conducted exhibitions in photojournalism. Currently, he is working on a book on photography and film history.

    S.Y. Quraishi is a former Chief Election Commissioner of India. A former member of the Indian Administrative Service (Haryana cadre, 1971 Batch), he held top positions in the Government of Haryana and Government of India. He is an alumnus of St. Stephen's College, University of Delhi. He did MA in history and PhD in social marketing.

    Currently Distinguished Fellow at Ashoka University, Quraishi is known for his proactive role in electoral reforms. He played a notable role in checking paid news. He is known for many innovative strategies for voter education and participation. He also founded India International Institute for Democracy and Election Management, which has already trained election managers from 75 countries in five years.

    Quraishi has been active in championing the cause of electoral reforms even after his retirement. He has authored An undocumented wonder: The making of the great Indian election (2014). He is also the author of Social marketing for social change, Old Delhi—living traditions, and two important research papers, ‘Islam, Muslims and family planning in India’ and ‘Islam and AIDS’.

    Uttam Sen joined the Statesman, Kolkata, after being selected for the Times of India's trainee journalist scheme. He acquired his basic skills at the desk of the Statesman. He also worked briefly as Chief Subeditor at the Economic Times, Kolkata, following which he was Assistant Editor and Leader Writer, Deccan Herald, Bengaluru. He covered political crises in Nepal and Bangladesh, a disarmament conference in Geneva and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) at Edinburgh. He went to Rangoon (Yangon) to interview Aung San Suu Kyi. He jointly wrote a monograph on South Asia for the Mahbub-ul-Haq award at the Regional Centre for Strategic Studies in Colombo. He has made regular contributions to Mainstream, New Delhi.

    He did his PhD on federalism from Calcutta University while working for the Statesman. He has visited the USA on International Visitors Programmes on Government and Regional Security. He did honours in political science from Presidency College, Kolkata, and MA in sociology from Delhi School of Economics where he was a recipient of an advanced centre fellowship. He has made presentations at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru, Manipal Institute of Communications, the University of Mumbai, the India International Centre, Delhi, on subjects ranging from human development and political communication to current affairs.

    Uttam Sengupta is a Consulting Editor, National Herald. As Associate Editor of the Tribune, Chandigarh, he was in charge of newsroom coordination and special features for news pages.

    Earlier, he was Deputy Editor in Outlook, New Delhi; State Editor, Dainik Bhaskar; Resident Editor, the Telegraph, Calcutta; Resident Editor, the Times of India, Patna, Lucknow and Calcutta; and Principal Correspondent, India Today, Calcutta.

    Manju Singh is a social scientist, researcher and trainer. A PhD in economics, she has done research projects funded by the Indian Council of Social Science Research, the Ford Foundation, the Global Network of Government Innovators at Ash, and the Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

    She has led various evaluation studies funded by the Planning Commission, the Government of India's Department of Science and Industrial Research and various state governments. A keen project planner, strategist and implementer of social engineering projects, she was awarded Sir Ratan Tata Fellowship in 2011–2012 to do research at Asia Research Centre, London School of Economics and Political Science.

    A former Professor and Head, PhD Programme and Research Projects, Symbiosis Institute of Research and Innovation, SIU, she is currently Director, Faculty of Arts and Law, Manipal University, Jaipur, Rajasthan.

    Soli Jehangir Sorabjee is a former Attorney General of India (1989– 1990; and 1998–2004). A distinguished jurist and constitutional expert, he was designated as a Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India, in 1971. He practices mainly in the field of constitutional and administrative law as also in civil and commercial law. He was a member of the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution. He has done pioneering work on All-India Police Reforms.

    Sorabjee has appeared and argued several cases of constitutional importance in different High Courts and the Supreme Court of India, particularly important cases relating to the freedom of speech and expression, freedom of the press, independence of the judiciary and judicial review and protection of human rights. He has authored several books, notably, The law of the press censorship in India; The Emergency, censorship and the press in India; Monographs on equality in the United States and India; and Protection of human rights in emergencies. He has edited a book on Law & justice: An anthology of legal essays. He has been writing for newspapers and participating in television discussions on contemporary issues of constitutional importance.

    Over the decades, Sorabjee has received many national and international awards. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian award, in 2002.

    Daya Kishan Thussu is Professor of International Communication and Co-Director of India Media Centre at the University of Westminster in London. He is the author or editor of 18 books, including International communication—continuity and change, third edition (forthcoming); News as entertainment: The rise of global infotainment (SAGE, 2007) and Communicating India's soft power: Buddha to Bollywood (SAGE, 2016). Dr Thussu is also Managing Editor of Global Media and Communication, a journal published by SAGE Publications.

    Abhay Vaidya has more than 30 years of experience as a journalist. He has worked as Foreign Correspondent of the Times of India at Washington, D.C.; Resident Editor, Daily News and Analysis, Pune; and Assistant Resident Editor, the Times of India.

    For some time, he edited The golden sparrow on Saturday, a Pune-based weekly. He was an adjunct faculty at SIMC and worked for the R.K. Laxman Chair Initiatives.

    He has recently taken over as Resident Editor, Hindustan Times, Pune. He is the author of the recently released book Who killed Osho?

    Pooja Valecha is Assistant Professor at SIMC, Pune. She is an alumnus of Mudra Institute of Communications (MICA), Ahmedabad, from where she acquired her postgraduate diploma in communications management. She has a graduate degree in psychology and economics.

    She started her career in media management with the Indian Express, Mumbai. She has eight years of industry experience in various facets of the media business— management, consulting, marketing and planning. Her last position was Associate General Manager with Vizeum Media Services (Dentsu Aegis Network), where she was acclaimed the Campaign Agency of the Year and awarded the EMVIES along with a host of other industry awards and credits.

    She has worked on multiple media brands of the media and entertainment industry such as Fox Star Studios, MTV, Nickelodeon, Sonic, ETV Network, Bloomberg TV India, Only Much Louder, Tata Sky, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd, Zee International, Star India Pvt. Ltd and Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA). She has also worked with non-media brands such as Essar Corporate, Essar Steel, HDFC Credila Education Loans, AMW Trucks, Equinox Reality, IMS Learning Resources, D'Oleo (Figaro Olive Oils) and SREI Infrastructure Finance Pvt Ltd.

    B.G. Verghese was a distinguished Editor. He started his career in journalism with the Times of India. He was later Editor of Hindustan Times (1969–1975) and the Indian Express (1982–1986). He was a Visiting Professor of New Delhi's Centre for Policy Research (1986–2014). He was Information Adviser to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi (1966–1969), a Gandhi Peace Foundation Fellow and Information Consultant to the Defence Minister (2001). He was a recipient of the Magsaysay Award, Assam's Sankaradeva Award and the Upendra Nath Brahma Soldier of Humanity Award. He was a Fellow of Hyderabad's Administrative Staff College of India and Chairman, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, New Delhi. He authored several books, namely, Design for tomorrow; Waters of hope; Harnessing the Eastern Himalayan rivers; Winning the future; India's northeast resurgent; Reorienting India; and Rage, reconciliation and security. His memoirs, First draft: Witness to the making of modern India (2010), was followed by Post haste-quintessential India (2014).


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