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Backgrounders

The march of New Media, from ERNet to IPTV

By Sunil Saxena

media internet

The Internet, mobile telephony and other new technologies have changed the way media organisations collect, present and disseminate news. They have also changed the definition of news and who controls it, and created new revenue models for media companies. Sunil Saxena traces the rise of 'new media'

Related Articles

»The 24x7 broadcasting revolution By Ammu Joseph
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»The world's 'last great newspaper market' By Ammu Joseph
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Analysis

Sarkar as censor

By Sarim Naved

The proposed Cinematograph Bill 2010 is geared to cracking down on piracy, but does little to protect freedom of expression, leaving the power to define public order, morality, decency and national interest to the executive wing of government at the centre rather than to people’s representatives, says Sarim Naved

The Cinematograph Act, which regulates cinema in India, is due for a change. Civil society has advocated change for a long time, with voices for and against liberalising (or even strengthening) the censorship regime in India.

Related Articles

»Confused coverage, damaged credibility By Kalpana Sharma
Read More

»Entertainment + education: Why Balika Vadhu worked By Gajra Kottary
Read More

»Balika Vadhu: Showcasing reality through drama and text By Sanjay Ranade
Read More

Features

The cost of knowledge

By V Sasi Kumar

, subscription fees of scientific journalsWhy should research that is publicly-funded be cornered by journal publishers who charge steep subscription rates? Even Harvard University can no longer afford the $ 3.5 million it pays annually in subscription charges. V Sasi Kumar traces the history of the Open-Access movement that is sweeping the world.

Prof Winston Hide, professor of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at the Harvard School of Public Health resigned recently (April 2012) from the editorial board of Genomics, a leading scientific journal in his subject.

Read More

Related Articles

»Darfurnica: Art must offend, shock and disturb By Rajashri Dasgupta
Read More

»Assam: A minefield for journalists By Nava Thakuria
Read More

»Copyright, copyleft and everything in between By Frederick Noronha
Read More

Books & Reports

How free are we?

From the jailing of a person for allegedly defaming an Indian historical figure online to blocking of popular adult site Savitabhabhi without granting the creators an opportunity to defend their right to free expression, there are increasing concerns over the government’s power to monitor, control and censor the communications sector. This is the India chapter of the recently-released ‘Freedom on the Net 2011’ report

Read More

Related Articles

»The trust deficit
Read More

»Women's representation in media is 24%: monitoring study report
Read More

 

Broadcast Laws and Regulations

Broadcast regulation in the public interest:  A Backgrounder

By Ammu Joseph

Is it necessary to regulate the broadcast media? Should citizens have a stake in deciding what kind of regulation is most suitable? What is the best model to emulate?

The furore over media coverage of the deadly and dramatic terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November 2008 was only one in a series of media-related controversies that have surfaced with remarkable regularity through the past couple of years, with much of the criticism directed at the broadcast media in general and television news channels in particular.

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Related Articles

»Broadcast law in India: A Backgrounder By Siddharth Narrain
Read More

»The airwaves as a public good: Review of a landmark judgment By Siddharth Narrain
Read More

»Obscenity under the law: A review of significant cases  By Siddharth Narrain
Read More

Languages of India

Multilingual democracy

By Anosh Malekar

Language activists march

With 22 official languages, 200-odd rationalised mother tongues, and no one knows exactly how many minor languages and dialects, linguistic diversity is part of the historical cultural heritage of the country. But many native languages are dying out for want of recognition, support, and in some cases, lack of a written tradition. This three-part series, written in the wake of the first language summit held in the country - the Bharat Bhasha Confluence in Vadodara in March 2010 - examines India’s linguistic tradition and why it is important.

Related Articles

»The loss of languages: What's all the fuss about? By Anosh Malekar
Read More

»The case for a linguistic survey By Anosh Malekar
Read More

News Scan

Linguists find undocumented language in Arunachal

US researchers have identified a new language in a remote region in Arunachal Pradesh. The language is spoken by between 800 and 1,200 people in northeast India

A “hidden” language spoken by around 1,000 people has been discovered in the remote northeast corner of India by researchers who at first thought they were documenting a dialect of the Aka culture -- a local tribal community that subsists on farming and hunting.

Read More

Related Articles

»Chief Electoral Officers told to check 'paid news'
Read More

»Editors Guild takes up cudgels against 'paid news'
Read More

»Court ruling bolsters freedom of the press
Read More

The march of New Media, from ERNet to IPTV

The Internet, mobile telephony and other new technologies have changed the way media organisations collect, present and disseminate news. They have also changed the definition of news and who controls it, and created new revenue models for media companies. Sunil Saxena traces the rise of 'new media'

Read more...

The 24x7 broadcasting revolution

Television broadcasting has grown at a phenomenal pace with more than 250 diverse television channels reaching 112 million Indian homes. Governed by arbitrary codes of conduct and subject to pressures from several sources, this relatively new medium has yet to evolve a viable, independent regulatory mechanism. Radio, on the other hand, is still a restricted medium despite a landmark 1995 Supreme Court judgement declaring that the airwaves are public property, says Ammu Joseph

Read more...

The world's 'last great newspaper market'

With 62,483 newspapers and periodicals in 101 languages, and combined daily circulation of 99 million, India is the second biggest newspaper market in the world despite its poor literacy rates. Though the press has successfully warded off State attempts to curb its freedom of expression, new pressures from extra-constitutional authorities and from commercial interests may be undermining its independence and its commitment to serving the public interest, says Ammu Joseph

Read more...

Sarkar as censor

The proposed Cinematograph Bill 2010 is geared to cracking down on piracy, but does little to protect freedom of expression, leaving the power to define public order, morality, decency and national interest to the executive wing of government at the centre rather than to people’s representatives, says Sarim Naved

Read more...

Confused coverage, damaged credibility

Following severe criticism of media handling of the 26/11 terror attacks on Mumbai you’d think media coverage of the recent blast at German Bakery in Pune would be different. But the same kind of speculative and insensitive reporting has been witnessed once again, says Kalpana Sharma

Read more...

Entertainment + education: Why Balika Vadhu worked

As Indian TV serials finally get away from kitchen politics to tell stories set in real social milieus, Gajra Kottary, writer of the hugely popular Balika Vadhu, points out what it takes to make a serial about a serious social issue like child marriage click with rural and urban audiences

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Balika Vadhu: Showcasing reality through drama and text

Far from “encouraging” child marriage as some politicians feel, Balika Vadhu is the rare serial that induces audiences to engage intellectually with social conflicts, albeit on an entertainment platform, says Sanjay Ranade

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Content regulation initiatives in India

The recent controversy over the TV programme Sach ka Samna has led to renewed calls for regulation of the broadcast media. P N Vasanti who was involved in drawing up self-regulation guidelines for the broadcasting sector for the I&B ministry, explains the content of the guidelines which, she says, could have addressed the current issues. Instead, it has been put into cold storage

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Maid in the media

Indrajit Gupta comments on two bizarre articles in the press on the Shiny Ahuja rape allegations

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How the media helped 'out' LGBT issues

The media’s positive reaction to the overturning of Section 377, and the debates it initiated across the public spectrum, gave the LGBT issue a much needed airing and buttressed the enlightened ruling of the Delhi High Court, says Siddharth Narrain

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Through a child's eyes

Several studies suggest that viewing violence on screen prompts aggressive behaviour in children. Parental control of TV viewing and responsibility on the part of programmers is urgently required but there is surprisingly little debate or action on this issue, says clinical psychologist Malavika Kapur

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The tricky road to media regulation

By Siddharth Narrain

Does the media – particularly the broadcast media -- need regulation, and if so, of what kind? India TV’s recent rejection of the Broadcasting Standards Disputes Redressal Authority ruling, and the proposal by the home minister of Karnataka of a state-appointed media ombudsman, show just how perilous is the path to regulation

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Media in the time of crises

By Darryl D'Monte

Did the media – and indeed all the economic gurus – miss the telltale signs of the impending financial meltdown? The Asia Media Forum in Bangkok recently analysed media in the time of crisis

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Name game

Calling someone by a diminutive such as “boy” or “little” is a way of one race subjugating another. Calling a land a “new world” is a way of wiping out its history and prior identity. The media has inherited many of the assumptions and attitudes of the colonialists, with naming often taking on specific class and gender contours, says Sharmila Joshi

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Figure it out: Reporting on trafficking in women

By Rajashri Dasgupta and Laxmi Murthy

Media coverage of trafficking of women and children, migration and sex work is confused and inaccurate. Media wrongly uses the terms ‘sex work’ and ‘trafficking’ synonymously, perpetuating stereotypes and stigmatisation and contributing to the violation of women’s right to free movement and livelihood options, say these authors

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The regulator's wish list

By S Nandan

The recent recommendations made by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on the entry of certain entities into radio and television is full of good intentions, but how many of them are implementable in the current confused state of broadcasting in the country?

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No, we can't

With its breathless coverage of the American elections, the Indian media has demonstrated once again that it simply cannot shake off its colonised worldview, says Sharmila Joshi

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Engaging with the media

By Shangon Das Gupta

Media advocacy is a way of getting an important issue adequate and accurate coverage. An initiative in Bangalore showed how media advocacy highlighted the issue of a dying river and resulted in questions being asked in the state assembly

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The ten commandments of news broadcasting

By Siddharth Narrain

The big difference between the code of ethics drawn up by the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) and that of the I&B ministry is that the NBA has set up an independent disputes redressal authority, whereas the ministry’s code gives overarching powers to the central government

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The stress is on conflict, not its resolution: Chindu Sreedharan

By Aditi Bhaduri

Conflict is at the heart of every interesting news story, says Chindu Sreedharan in this analysis of how the Indian and Pakistani media cover Kashmir. But journalism tends to simplify issues and see things in black and white, which won't do in reporting conflict

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Terror reporting and the gullible pen

By Kalpana Sharma

The recent serial blasts in Bangalore and Ahmedabad have exposed, yet again, the dilemma the media faces in covering such events. While reporting in detail the horror and the tragedy surrounding the event are a natural part of the media's task, how should it handle the speculation about the culprits behind the attack?

Read more...

Indecent proposals

By Siddharth Narrain

The National Commission for Women has recommended amendments to the Indecent Representation of Women Act, broadening the definition of “indecent representation” and introducing more stringent punishment under the law. But with this move, is the NCW taking the debate on representation of women in the media forward in any meaningful way?

Read more...

The cost of knowledge

Why should research that is publicly-funded be cornered by journal publishers who charge steep subscription rates? Even Harvard University can no longer afford the $ 3.5 million it pays annually in subscription charges. V Sasi Kumar traces the history of the Open-Access movement that is sweeping the world

, subscription fees of scientific journals

Read more...

Darfurnica: Art must offend, shock and disturb

Rajashri Dasgupta visits Nadia Plesner’s Darfurnica exhibition in Copenhagen and reports on the Danish artist’s victory over accessories giant Louis Vuitton, which sued her for using a Louis Vuitton lookalike bag in T-shirts and paintings of a naked African boy to highlight the situation in Darfur and to condemn media’s obsession with celebrity coverage

Read more...

Assam: A minefield for journalists

By Nava Thakuria

Following the killing of J Dey in Mumbai, the safety of working journalists has been in the news. But Assam has seen the killing of over 20 journalists in the last two decades. And not a single conviction has taken place

Read more...

Copyright, copyleft and everything in between

By Frederick Noronha

Filmmaker Paromita Vohra talks about her new film Partners in Crime, which explores issues around copyright, copyleft, culture and markets, and suggests that we might need a hybrid notion of copyright in which many forms coexist, just as we may need many markets based on many different ideas of exchange

Read more...

Turning journalism on its head

By Veena Gokhale

Citizen journalism initiatives such as Global Voices, Open File and Media Co-operative get readers to tell editors what should be covered and how. They talk to the people affected first, and to the decision-makers later. A second report from the recent Citizen Media Conference in Montreal

Read more...

Marginalised voices get a new life on the Net

By Veena Gokhale

From Vozmob, which helps Latin American immigrant workers in Los Angeles create and distribute stories about their lives using cell phones to an interactive network for Inuit and other indigenous communities, there is a growing universe of marginalised voices populating the Web. A report from a recent Citizen Media conference in Montreal

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Kashmir's e-protest

By Fahad Shah

There is a rising tide of e-protest in Kashmir as the children of the Kashmir conflict make themselves heard through street graffiti, Facebook and YouTube

Read more...

A totem pole for a brave new virtual world

By Nirupama Sarma

‘10 Tactics for Turning Information into Action’ is a smart, nifty resource package, loaded with valuable information and links that unlock the doorway to a world where hard data, software technology, creativity and sheer human ingenuity frisson to tell tales of human resilience and struggles for social justice

Read more...

TB champions

By Ranjit Monga

It’s easy to blame the media for its disinterest in covering issues such as tuberculosis, which kills 1,000 in India every day. But the problem could be the way organisations working with TB communicate their information. Trainings in effective communication and media advocacy clearly help

Read more...

Quiet death of a language

By Anosh Malekar

Boa Senior, the last speaker of a language called Bo -- one of the ten Great Andamanese languages -- died last week in Port Blair. She was aged around 85. With her death, the language that may have constituted the sixth language family in India has become extinct

Read more...

War of the videos

By Aritra Bhattacharya

Films and videos that chronicle the peaceful resistance of people to powerful industrial and political interests that seek to dispossess them are extremely important at a time when all such dissent is criminalised. But they are often lost in the long list of films that seek to do just the opposite

Read more...

Is media part of the solution or part of the problem?

By Darryl D’Monte

The North-South divide on climate change is very marked. An international congress of journalists held in New Delhi in October 2009 discussed how reporting on the issue could help clinch an agreement at the all-important Copenhagen meet in December

Read more...

Women's voices hit the airwaves in Pakistan's tribal belt

By Zofeen T Ebrahim

Radio Khyber is among the four radio stations in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas started by the federal government in 2006 to counter militant propaganda and stem their growing influence in the region. And, a growing number of voices being heard over the air belong to women who have defied tradition and are working to demolish stereotypes in the area

Read more...

How one newspaper thinks positive

By Papri Sri Raman

Positive +, a free bilingual newspaper brought out on a laptop from Asma Naseer’s living room is India’s first newspaper on HIV/AIDS. The paper’s commitment to building up a friendship with the reader and its innovative design have made it popular in and around Chennai where it already faces a demand for more copies than the 5000 it can afford to print

Read more...

Moral panic in the media

By Hemangini Gupta

To what extent did the media help – and hinder – the Pink Chaddi campaign against moral policing in Karnataka and initiatives that followed, such as Fearless Karnataka/Nirbhaya Karnataka?

Read more...

The making of media professionals

By Dr Mira K Desai

As the various branches of the media industry have grown and become more popular and hugely lucrative, the education and training of media professionals to meet the growing demand has become crucial. Yet, as this analysis shows, though there has been an explosion of private training and education institutes, they are more interested in ‘placing’ their students than in equipping them with the complex skills necessary to do a good job as a media professional

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History of communication/media courses

By Dr Mira K Desai

Media courses in India come in a bewildering variety of nomenclatures, and are subject to differing standards of accreditation and course curricula

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"TRPs have never been sought at the cost of ethics": Barkha Dutt

By Rashme Sehgal

NDTV Group Editor Barkha Dutt counters charges of insensitive, invasive and excessive coverage of the Mumbai attacks on 26/11

Read more...

The stories you missed on primetime: Community newsmakers tell it like it is

By Hemangini Gupta

There's a community video revolution happening in rural India, and it’s no longer tokenism. Video newsmagazines are made, distributed and screened regularly and professionally. They’re even streaming online at a website called Channel 19

Read more...

The story behind the visual

By Charumathi Supraja

Many print and online publications use freelance photographers, but their rights to their own work are a grey area that many publications exploit

Read more...

A camera, a mike, and new confidence

By Hemangini Gupta

A non-governmental organisation, IT for Change, and a government-initiated programme for women’s empowerment, Mahila Samakhya Karnataka (MSK), have helped women in rural Karnataka voice their concerns by making community videos, radio shows and short films

Read more...

History in the making: The Young Historians series

By Hemangini Gupta

The telling of history is often coloured by politics, or a boring  narration of facts and dates. Filmmaker Deepa Dhanraj, however, has taken a fresh approach, making a series of films for Edusat, the distance learning programme in rural Karnataka, in which children learn about history by becoming historians themselves

Read more...

Small, diverse and beautiful

By Hemangini Gupta

At a time of food scarcity worldwide, non-literate dalit women in Andhra Pradesh have ensured food security for their community through a model that could be called a “villaged global” rather than a “global village”. And they are spreading the word through their own media centre

Read more...

The trust deficit

Paid news and other dishonest practices have eroded the credibility of mass media in India: only 38% of Indians trust radio and television, while only 40% trust news in newspapers. Excerpts from the Press Council of India’s damning report on paid news, which was finally uploaded on the PCI site, following orders from the Central Information Commission

Read more...

How free are we?

From the jailing of a person for allegedly defaming an Indian historical figure online to blocking of popular adult site Savitabhabhi without granting the creators an opportunity to defend their right to free expression, there are increasing concerns over the government’s power to monitor, control and censor the communications sector. This is the India chapter of the recently-released ‘Freedom on the Net 2011’ report

Read more...

Women's representation in media is 24%: monitoring study report

Women’s presence in the media has gone up by 3% since the last report in 2005. Though slow, it is considerably more rapid than in the decade 1995-2005, says the Global Media Monitoring Project, the most comprehensive project of its kind tracking gender in the media

Read more...

Preamble

A series of papers that discusses various aspects of media regulation

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Broadcast regulation in the public interest: A Backgrounder

By Ammu Joseph

Is it necessary to regulate the broadcast media? Should citizens have a stake in deciding what kind of regulation is most suitable? What is the best model to emulate?

Read more...

Broadcast law in India: A Backgrounder

This backgrounder (1) is compiled by Siddharth Narrain (2), with contributions from Rohan Saha and Nikhila Reddy, NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad. And inputs from Ammu Joseph

A detailed examination of the existing legal framework that applies to various broadcast technologies currently in use in India

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The airwaves as a public good: Review of a landmark judgment

Compiled by Siddharth Narrain

The judgment in The Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting v Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) articulated the important principle that the broadcasting media should be under the control of the public as distinct from government

Read more...

Obscenity under the law: A review of significant cases

Compiled by Siddharth Narrain

Books, paintings, and films have at various times been hauled before the courts for portraying obscenity, and courts have had to rule on how far the right to freedom of speech and expression extends

Read more...

Political advertisements on television and cable networks: Review of relevant regulation

Compiled by Nikhila Reddy

After the controversy following the 2004 general elections, rules were formed about political advertisements on TV and cable networks

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Case law on sting operations

Compiled by Siddharth Narrain

Judgments on two ‘sting operations’ by television channels have clarified when and under what circumstances such operations can be allowed

Read more...

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India: Some recent recommendations

Compiled by Rohan Saha

An update of the recommendations and consultation papers by the Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRAI) on issues such as private FM radio, ownership of broadcasting activities, provision of IPTV services and headend-in-the-sky and mobile television services

Read more...

Multilingual democracy

By Anosh Malekar

With 22 official languages, 200-odd rationalised mother tongues, and no one knows exactly how many minor languages and dialects, linguistic diversity is part of the historical cultural heritage of the country. But many native languages are dying out for want of recognition, support, and in some cases, lack of a written tradition. This three-part series, written in the wake of the first language summit held in the country - the Bharat Bhasha Confluence in Vadodara in March 2010 - examines India’s linguistic tradition and why it is important

Read more...

The loss of languages: What's all the fuss about?

By Anosh Malekar

Linguists estimate that one-fifth of India’s linguistic heritage may have reached the stage of extinction over the last half-century. Does this really matter? The second part of this fascinating series on India’s language diversity attempts to answer this question

Read more...

The case for a linguistic survey

By Anosh Malekar

In January 2010, the Bo language died a quiet death with the demise of its last native speaker. This has been the fate of many Indian languages. The last in this series on India’s linguistic diversity makes out a strong case for initiating a linguistic survey, 100 years after the last and only such attempt was made.

Read more...

Linguists find undocumented language in Arunachal

US researchers have identified a new language in a remote region in Arunachal Pradesh. The language is spoken by between 800 and 1,200 people in northeast India

Read more...

Chief Electoral Officers told to check 'paid news'

With ‘paid news’ emerging as a serious malpractice during polls, India’s Election Commission has directed the Chief Electoral Officers of all states to observe “maximum vigilance”, as such news may influence voters, covertly encourage the role of money power, and disturb the level playing field

Read more...

Editors Guild takes up cudgels against 'paid news'

At its AGM on December 22, 2009, the Editors Guild of India strongly condemned the practice of paid news content and other dubious practices and said it would focus on this issue in 2010

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Court ruling bolsters freedom of the press

A significant Madras High Court ruling upholds two important principles of press freedom

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Investigate unethical media practices, women journalists tell EC

Women journalists in Andhra Pradesh have written to the chief electoral officer demanding an investigation into the cash-for-news scam by Telegu newspapers and TV channels

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2008 saw many casualties among journalists

Despite a drop in the number of deaths of media personnel in 2007, data gathered by the International News Safety Institute points to over 100 journalists and support workers killed in the line of duty

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