Reporters Without Orders

Sep 26 2020 47 mins 176

Young Reporters talk about major stories of the week and what it took to cover them. Click here to support Newslaundry: See for privacy and opt-out information.

Reporters Without Orders Ep 134: The story of Laungi Manjhi and Panchjanya’s obsession with love jihad
Sep 26 2020 43 mins  
In this episode, host Snigdha Sharma is joined by Newslaundry’s Basant Kumar and former Newslaundry reporter Rohin Verma.The discussion begins with Rohin’s report on Laungi Manjhi from Bihar’s Gaya. The man worked alone for thirty long years and dug out a three-kilometre-long canal to bring water to his village in southern Bihar, a region prone to severe drought. While most media houses pegged his story as one of inspiration, Rohin, through his report, highlighted the extreme poverty and government apathy that led Manjhi to take the task upon himself.  “Even if reporters would have pitched these stories, I know the editors wouldn’t have found it worthy enough to be covered,” says Rohin talking about how no one noticed what Manjhi had been doing for three decades. “But now when all is done, everyone wants to do a story on it.” The discussion then moves on to Basant’s report on the right wing’s obsession with the idea of ‘Love Jihad,’ especially in Uttar Pradesh. Panchajanya, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s mouthpiece, recently published a story on Love Jihad called ‘Pyaar ka Islamic katal’. All it took was a little digging for Basant to discover the glaring loopholes in the story. He also talks about how a committee has been formed in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur to look into cases of Love Jihad. “UP has so many cases of rape and many other issues, and all they can care about is Love Jihad,” says Basant.All this and a lot more as they talk about what made news this week, what didn’t, and what shouldn’t have. Tune in! See for privacy and opt-out information.

Reporters Without Orders Ep 133: Baghjan blowout, Umar Khalid, and Sudarshan TV
Sep 19 2020 48 mins  
In this episode, host Snigdha Sharma is joined by Newslaundry’s Supriti David and Ayush Tiwari.The conversation hits off with the most bizarre news story: Sudarshan TV’s show on  ‘UPSC Jihad.’ Last month, the Delhi High Court had put a stay order on the hate-mongering channel after the notorious #UPSC_Jihad promo caused an outrage on social media.  In his show, the channel’s editor-in-chief, Suresh Chavanke tried to convince  his audience that Indian Muslims have launched a ‘jihad’ on the coveted civil services examinations. Ayush talks about his report on the matter and contrasts the Supreme Court’s reaction to the show with that from the I&B Ministry.The discussion then moves on to Supriti’s report on the Baghjan oil well blowout in Assam. Supriti relates her experience of visiting the site, and how just a few minutes of exposure to “the roaring noise of the flame” and the smell of gas left her feeling nauseous. Imagine what the people who live there are going through, she says. She talks about the long-term ecological repercussions of the disaster and the response from Oil India Limited. She goes on to elaborate on the plight of villagers displaced by the fire who currently reside in relief camps. “Four months in a relief camp is a long time.” The people there want closure, acknowledgement of their suffering, and a concrete plan to ensure their rehabilitation,” says Supriti. Snigdha moves on to discuss Ayush’s report on Umar Khalid’s arrest and his interview of the arrested human rights activist, not long before he was arrested. “He was mentally prepared that he will be arrested,” says Ayush. He also points out the glaring loopholes in the Delhi Riots investigations. All this and a lot more as they talk about what made news this week, what didn’t, and what shouldn’t have. Tune in! See for privacy and opt-out information.

Reporters Without Orders Ep 132: Inside the #JusticeForSSR cult and Uttar Pradesh’s failing healthcare system
Sep 13 2020 45 mins  
In this edition, host Snigdha Sharma is joined by Newslaundry’s Nidhi Suresh and Basant Kumar.The trio begins with the most bizarre headlines they came across this week. Basant and Nidhi think the tussle between Shiv Sena and BJP via Kangana Ranaut is quite strange while Snigdha can’t get over ‘Faux-Bama.’The discussion moves to Nidhi’s report on #JusticeforSSR groups online. “People on these groups want the worst for Rhea Chakraborty, they want her to be arrested, dead and hanged,” says Nidhi. But what drives them and why have they taken the actor’s death so personally? “The answers I got were surprising, yet very human,” says Nidhi. The panel also discuss the role of the TV news media and the brutal race for TRPs. The conversation then switches to an issue that has been conspicuously absent from TV news for a while: the novel coronavirus. Basant relates the details of his report on the dismal healthcare infrastructure in Uttar Pradesh. “Every day we watch new channels and newspapers reporting how the UP government is handling the coronavirus really well, but the reality on the ground is very different,” he says. From false test results to the lack of hospital beds and doctors refusing to treat non-Covid patients, Basant’s story paints a worrying picture of the pandemic in the fifth-worst affected state in India. All this and a lot more as they talk about what made news this week, what didn’t, and what shouldn’t have. Tune in! See for privacy and opt-out information.

Reporters Without Orders Ep 131: The media frenzy around Rhea Chakraborty and how not to cover a rape
Sep 05 2020 42 mins  
In this edition, host Snigdha Sharma is joined by Newslaundry’s Prateek Goyal and Supriti David.The trio first look back at the most bizarre headlines they came across this week. Supriti chooses an awful new TikTok craze, in which certain users dressed up as and pretend to be Holocaust victims, while Snigdha briefs us on U.S. President Donald Trump’s contentious trip to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where incidents of police brutality and vigilantism occurred this week.Prateek tells us about a story closer to home, wherein Times Now anchor Rahul Shivshankar berated a panelist who tried talking about India’s GDP slump instead of the frenzied media ‘investigation’ into the death of Sushant Singh Rajput. This prompts a conversation about Rhea Chakraborty’s unending trial by media. As Supriti puts it, “The media, which is supposed to be the fourth pillar of democracy, has been adding fuel to fire.” Prateek spent a day observing reporters outside Chakraborty’s house, and describes what he saw in distressing detail.The media’s recent indifference to ethics extends far past Bollywood, Supriti explains. Her recent investigative piece details how in Assam, journalists are accused of driving a survivor of child rape to attempt suicide. Local reporters repeatedly evaded legal procedure and invaded the victim’s privacy.All this and a lot more as they talk about what made news this week, what didn’t, and what shouldn’t have. Tune in! See for privacy and opt-out information.

Reporters Without Orders Ep 130: Prashant Bhushan’s SC hearing, Facebook, and more
Aug 29 2020 51 mins  
In this episode, host Snigdha Sharma is joined by Newslaundry’s Ayan Sharma and Nidhi Suresh. The episode begins with the trio sharing bizarre news stories. While Snigdha talks about an AYUSH Ministry secretary asking attendees of an online training session to leave if they did not know Hindi, Ayan shares the story of a 92-year-old Vietnamese man who never cut his hair, and Nidhi talks about Supreme Court’s peculiar advice to Prashant Bhushan during his contempt case hearing. Nidhi, who wrote a report on the hearing, explains the proceedings in detail. Then the trio moves on to discuss another report of Nidhi’s on Facebook’s stance on hate speech and human rights, and why it has always been ‘hypocritical’. She adds “Facebook always accepts it is guilty of all the charges they have ever been accused of, they never deflect from that. But they don’t take action against it either.” The world’s largest social network is facing tough questions regarding its soft approach to the regulation of hateful content, especially after the Wall Street Journal report. “From Myanmar to the Philippines, the internet giant’s record speaks volumes about its commitment, or the lack of it, to tackle hate speech and violence,” says Nidhi. The trio also discusses Maria Ressa’s case. Ressa has consistently been critical of Facebook, holding the social media giant responsible for the spread of disinformation and hatred.Then the discussion moves on to Ayan’s ground report on railway porters and their plight. When he spoke to them about how the pandemic has affected them, all of them had one thing to say--that nobody cared about their plight. The Railways has not provided any support to these porters, some of whom have been working at railway stations since generations. Ayan also highlights how “uncertain and clueless the railway officials” were when questioned them in this regard. “The porters need an answer from the government or the officials because they don’t know what is going to happen,” says Ayan. This and a lot more as they talk about what made news this week, what didn’t, and what shouldn’t have.Tune in! See for privacy and opt-out information.

Reporters Without Orders Ep 129: On dissent, toxic TV debates and the death of Rajiv Tyagi, and more
Aug 22 2020 47 mins  
In this episode, host Snigdha Sharma is joined by Newslaundry’s Akanksha Kumar and Basant Kumar.  The discussion begins with Akanksha’s report on the discourse over whether it was toxic TV news debates that resulted in the death of Congress spokesperson, Rajiv Tyagi. Discussing the manner in which debates are conducted on national television, Akanksha says, “Yes, TV debates are toxic, but linking them to Tyagi’s death has to stop.” She draws attention to how Tyagi made a space for himself as a TV commentator known for his theatrics and as the only person who could “take on BJP’s Sambit Patra.” Basant also points out how “Tyagi knew how TV debates are conducted, he knew what he was getting into.” The panel agrees that while it is about time we rethink the toxicity on display on news channels every night, it is unfair to blame the anchor Rohit Sardana or Sambit Patra for Tyagi’s untimely demise. The discussion then moves on to Basant’s report, a follow-up on the attack on Caravan journalists. A day after the attack, Basant attended a press conference by The Caravan team. The number of people who showed up speaks volumes on how much people actually care about journalists and press freedom in India, says Basant. Snigdha and Basant also bring up the statement issued by Editors Guild regarding the attack which they feel was “disappointing” to say the least. Basant also talks about his conversation with Arundhati Roy, who was present at the event, about the attack and the slow strangulation of dissent across the country. This and a lot more as they talk about what made news this week, what didn’t, and what shouldn’t have.Tune in! See for privacy and opt-out information.

Reporters Without Orders Ep 128: Mob attack on Caravan journalists, reporting on Northeast Delhi riots, and more
Aug 14 2020 45 mins  
In this episode, host Snigdha Sharma is joined by Newslaundry’s Ayush Tiwari and Basant Kumar. They discuss Ayush and Basant’s report about what happened in Northeast Delhi on the night of Bhoomi Pujan for the Ayodhya temple. “Residents told us that people at night were raising obscene slogans like ‘Mullo bahar jao’, ‘Suaron bahar jao’, they called them pigs,” Ayush says, adding that Muslim residents were scared and nervous. “All this sloganeering had set off a panic attack in the area.”  A lot of saffron flags were planted in the locality,” Basant adds. “A couple of the flags were removed by the police in the morning. The police said they removed the flags to avoid tension.” The trio also discusses the SHO’s response to the situation in Northeast Delhi. On being questioned about the flags, the SHO responded “why is there a problem in putting up flags? They weren’t put up on their homes.” “How can a police officer dismiss the fear and concern of the citizens,” says Ayush. They also discuss how a Hindu mob attacked three Caravan reporters, again in Northeast Delhi. The journalists were out reporting on the harassment of the neighbourhood’s Muslim women. They were “harassed” and “manhandled” by the mob. Basant and Ayush recount their own experiences reporting in Northeast Delhi. “I definitely felt a little uneasy there,”Ayush says.  Basant points out that such attacks on journalists are not a new phenomenon. But what is surprising now is the response of the police.   This and a lot more as they talk about what made news this week, what didn’t, and what shouldn’t have. Tune in! See for privacy and opt-out information.

Reporters Without Orders Ep 127: How a drum came to signify protest amongst the Madigas, local media’s coverage of Assam floods, and more
Aug 08 2020 46 mins  
For this week’s episode, host Snigdha Sharma is joined by Supriti David, a new recruit at Newslaundry and Jahnavi Uppuleti, an independent journalist who writes on caste, politics, and culture.  The episode begins with the trio sharing bizarre news stories. While Jahnavi talks about a repulsive story involving a sadhu and his saliva, and Supriti shares the story of a drug-smuggling cat, Snigdha talks about how her bizarre news story is about how bizarre news itself has become in India.  Following this, Jahnavi gives listeners a brief introduction to her report on the Dappu, a musical instrument that holds immense socio-political significance amongst not just the Madigas, but the Dalit community at large. Talking about how the Dappu is perceived as an ‘untouchable’s instrument’ that continues to be associated with ‘shame’ by other communities, she says, “Many avoid playing or acknowledging it in public, to avoid unnecessary stares and complications with upper caste communities.”  The discussion then moves on to Assam floods and Supriti’s article on the difference between the coverage of the calamity by mainstream media and local media. “Local papers and news channels gave the tragedy a human face,” she says.  This and a lot more as they talk about what made news, what didn’t, and what shouldn’t have. Tune in! See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 115: How is Northeast India handling the Covid-19 pandemic?
May 15 2020 76 mins  
In this episode, host Snigdha Sharma is joined by Makepeace Sitlhou, an independent journalist based in Guwahati, Assam, and Ri Kynti Marwein, editor of Highland Post, a newspaper published in Shillong, Meghalaya.Ri Kynti begins with a hilarious story about the kind of comments made on the Meghalaya chief minister’s Facebook lives, leading to a conversation about the lack of official information available from the government. Makepeace shares a brief account of how Northeastern states are managing the pandemic, based on a report she wrote. She talks about how the relatively low rate of infection recorded in the region could be due to low testing. Ri Kynti talks about a recent report in her newspaper on how an entire village almost starved due to non-renewal of ration cards by the government. She also explains the function of a Dorbar Shnong, or the village headman, under the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council, one of the 25 autonomous regions in India; and their role in assisting the government to contain the pandemic. On being asked about cooperation between different tribal communities during the crisis, Makepeace is of the view that while there are many such instances, everything is not as hunky-dory as a section of the mainstream media tends to make it out to be. She sheds light on how authority is perceived differently by different communities across the Northeast. This and a lot more as they talk about what made news, what didn’t, and what shouldn’t have. Tune in! See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 88: ISIS chief’s killing, Maharashtra politicking, Allen Stanley suicide, and more
Nov 01 2019 47 mins  
For this episode of Reporters without Orders, host Snigdha Sharma is joined by Newslaundry correspondents Basant Kumar and Veena Nair to talk about important, and bizarre, news stories of the week, and media activism in India. Basant talks about the Haryana Assembly election, “Kingmaker” Dushyant Chautala, and the erosion in the support of the once formidable Indian National Lok Dal. Veena analyses the political drama in Maharashtra, where the Shiv Sena is insisting that the BJP agree to rotating the chief ministership between the two allies.They also discuss US President Donald Trump’s cryptic message – “something very big has happened” – to announce the death of the ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and his description of the involved in the operation as “a beautiful, strong dog who came back”. As to the bizarre news of the week, the panel mention the headline of The Washington Post's obituary of al-Baghdadi – “An austere religious scholar at the helm of Islamic State” – and the hashtag trend #wapodeathnotice where Twitter users began writing obituary notices for infamous historical characters such as Adolf Hitler. The India media’s coverage of Hindutva leader Kamlesh Tiwari’s murder, the failure of a section of the Kerala media to abide by journalistic ethics in the Allen Stanley case, and media activism in India are other topics of discussions in this episode.For this and more, tune in. See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 81: #TabrezAnsari, #SwamiChinmayand, #PriyaRamani and more
Sep 12 2019 45 mins  
This episode of Reporters Without Orders has host Snigdha Sharma, Newslaundry correspondents Gaurav Sarkar and Ayush Tiwari and Aishwarya Iyer, a reporter at The Quint, discuss the Tabrez Ansari and Pehlu Khan lynching cases, Swami Chinmayanand, MJ Akbar vs Priya Ramani and a lot more.The podcast begins with everyone sharing the most bizarre news they had heard all week. Gaurav talks about the Vice President of Goldman Sachs who has gambling problems while Ayush talks about a case in Florida where a burglar broke into a house and ended up cooking breakfast for himself. Aishwarya talks about the recent developments in the Tabrez Ansari case. Ayush and Based on their personal experiences while reporting from the ground, Aishwarya and Ayush tells Snigdha how police and society deal with such incidents. Aishwarya talks about how some people even avoid rearing cows in their homes after incidents like this occur in their village.Gaurav follows up with the Priya Ramani case with juicy details from the courtroom. “You could see a lot of strategy coming into play,” he says. Ayush discusses the Chinmayanand case he has been covering. Talking about Shahjahanpur where he went to cover the case, Ayush says, “There is an industry of misogyny in small-town India.”The podcast ends with the panel discussing stories that shouldn’t have made news at all. For this and more, tune in! See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 80: #GDP, #PawanJaiswal, #Chidambaram and more
Sep 06 2019 51 mins  
In this episode of Reporters Without Orders, host Snigdha Sharma gets into a candid conversation with Newslaundry Hindi correspondent Basant Kumar, Newslaundry reporter Gaurav Sarkar and policy-expert, Meghnad S.They begin the podcast with some of the most bizarre news they heard during the week. Basant begins his ‘khatarnaak’ news story of a man seeking a divorce from his wife because she wasn’t shy enough on their nuptial night. Even more bizarre is when Gaurav talks about Bihar’s Deputy CM, Sushil Kumar Modi attributing the slump in India’s GDP to the months of savan-bhadon.The discussion on GDP continues and takes a hilarious turn when Meghnad attempts t explains GDP using ‘baingan ka bharta’ as an example. They talk about the merging of Public Sector Banks, its effect on the economy, employment, and even GDP. The panel also talks about the story on Mirzapur’s mid-day meal, the journalist receiving flak for reporting it and the gradual shift of attention from the mid-day meal crisis to the journalist himself.The conversation then shifts to Chidambaram’s arrest and the complexity surrounding his trial. Gaurav explains the nuances of police and judicial custody in this case and shares his experiences as a courtroom reporter while he driving the panel through the details of Chidambaram’s trial. He also speaks about the lack of coverage received by Vivek Doval’s defamation case against The Caravan.The podcast ends with the panel’s recommendations. See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 79: #Kashmir, #RBIReserves, #FarmerSuicides and more
Aug 30 2019 52 mins  
This week on Reporters Without Orders, host Snigdha Sharma catches up with Newslaundry Hindi correspondent Basant Kumar, Newslaundry correspondent Ayush Tiwari and Meghnad S.The discussion kicks off with everyone on the panel sharing the most bizarre news they've come across this week including Donald Trump's desire to nuke hurricanes. Talking about journalists expressing grief both on TV and their personal social media handles after Arun Jaitley's demise, the panel thinks obituaries should involve truth and not just extensive admiration. Meghnad mentions a tweet by journalist Rohini Singh where she expressed sadness but also mentioned how Jaitley came in her way of practicing unbiased journalism on several occasions. When Meghnad wonders if landlines were working just a few days after the decision of August 5, as reported by mainstream media, Ayush provides a clear picture with actual facts. Ayush also talks about the experience of working with journalists in Kashmir, how absurd the daily press briefings were in Srinagar, why people are not sending their children to school, the probable reason behind forcing immigrants to leave the valley amongst other things. Meghnad then delves into why RBI's decision to transfer huge amounts of money to the government is suspicious and how Nirmala Sitharaman is clueless about where to spend it. Ayush expresses concern over the Finance ministry shutting its doors to transparency. The podcast ends with Basant wondering why farmers are still committing suicide in spite of so many agricultural policies being in place. He also mentions how strange it is that the National Crime Records Bureau has not released any kind of statistics after 2016. For all this and more, listen up! See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 78: Aadhaar and fake news, #ArrestShehlaRashid and more
Aug 23 2019 49 mins  
This week on Reporters Without Orders, Snigdha Sharma wears the host's hat and sits down with Newslaundry Hindi correspondent Basant Kumar, desk writer Gaurav Sarkar and Meghnad S.The discussion kicks off with everyone on the panel sharing the most bizarre news they've read this week including the sequence of events involving P Chidambaram. Talking about under-reported stories, Gaurav mentions a BJP member allegedly raping a minor at gunpoint in Mumbai while Basant expresses concern over journalists' ignorance regarding several job cuts across the country. Basant says, "This is a slap on the face of journalists because if we were reporting about this, NITMA wouldn't have had to put out an advertisement."Talking about the state's attempt to link people's social media accounts to their Aadhaar cards, Meghnad thinks an Aadhaar card is not needed to find out about those spreading fake news. Snigdha feels the government is trying to make citizens choose between privacy and curbing fake news.The group then discusses the hashtag #ArrestShehlaRashid trending on Twitter and the relevance of Donald Trump's attempt to mediate between India and Pakistan. Gaurav updates listeners on the Priya Ramani versus MJ Akbar case, and wraps up the conversation with an interesting yet surprising snippet from the Unnao case hearing which went unreported.For all this and more, listen up! See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 71: Encephalitis deaths in Bihar, Sudan crisis, Ind vs Pak match & more
Jun 19 2019 49 mins  
This week, on Reporters Without Orders, Cherry Agarwal is joined by Newslaundry correspondent Ayush Tiwari, desk writer Gaurav Sarkar and Newscentral 24x7's Abhinav Prakash.The podcast kicks off with Abhinav talking about the rising death toll in Bihar's Muzaffarpur due to encephalitis. He says that the death toll is now above 100 and the Opposition has not been questioning the government regarding this due to the elections. “People are coming in every hour and no parent is hopeful that their child will survive once they come in,'' says Abhinav. The panel also discusses the media's coverage of encephalitis-related deaths in Gorakhpur last year.The panel also discusses the doctors' strike in West Bengal. Gaurav and Ayush talk about West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's response to the strike, the pan-India nature of the protest and how it impacted services throughout the country.Moving on to a bit of international news, Ayush talks about the death of an Indian girl in a desert near the United States-Mexico border. He also talks about the crisis in Sudan and what gave rise to the conflict in the first place. Ayush explains the recent developments and the power dynamics between Russia, China, and the US. Gaurav talks about fake Instagram pages that have exploited the crisis to gain followers.The panel also talks about cricket and the India-Pakistan World Cup match. They discuss how the reaction of Pakistani fans was much more measured after losing the match. Gaurav also discusses the post-match hungama and Shoaib Akhtar’s reaction on YouTube bashing the Pakistan cricket team.For all this and a lot more, tune in now! See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 70: Draft National Education Policy, #AligarhMurderCase, Akshaya Patra controversy & more
Jun 12 2019 49 mins  
This week, on Reporters Without Orders, Cherry Agarwal sits down with Newslaundry correspondent Ayush Tiwari and Tarun Cherukuri of Indus Action to talk about the draft National Education Policy, Aligarh murder case, Akshaya Patra controversy and more.The episode kicks off with Ayush talking about his experience in Aligarh, a district where a two-and-a-half-year-old was murdered. Ayush talks about the issue's portrayal on social media and how the presence of a “vicious” mob was giving communal undertones to the whole issue. Ayush also weighs in on whether it is right to badger a grieving family into giving a media bite, and talks about how the media's coverage of the case spiked after the initial days. Moving on, the panel talks about the media's coverage of the education sector. Tarun says it is the media's responsibility to inform the society in a “discerning and tactful manner”. He also talks about the need to regulate information in the “post-truth and post-news era”.Tarun also talks about the draft National Education Policy (NEP). He talks about how the report is “ambitious”, but expresses his reservations about it being “translatable"—both administratively and financially. Ayush asks him about the improvements that is needed in the education system. Tarun talks about how the efficacy of a policy is “lost in translation” between “an aspirational policy and the National Curriculum Framework”. Similarly, speaking about the draft NEP, he says, while it looks great on paper, it remains to be seen how the ministries are able to integrate the plan. He appreciates the fact that the draft NEP talks about developing “core aspects” such as “social and emotional wellbeing” rather than being ambitious with the curriculum. The panel also discusses how the three-language issue was unwarranted.Next, the panel discusses the “arbitrary arrests” of social media comments. Ayush speaks about “thought policing” that is emanating from the top brass of the government, while Tarun talks about the responsibility of law enforcers. He adds that a law is as good as the people who can wield it.For all this and a lot more, tune in now! See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 69: Congress boycott of news debates, ICC Cricket World Cup and more
Jun 05 2019 39 mins  
In this episode of Reporters Without Orders, host Cherry Agarwal is joined by the usual gang, Newslaundry's Ayush Tiwari and Gaurav Sarkar. Before getting down to business, Cherry decides to make the guys play a quick game of rapid fire where they must quickly respond with the first thing that comes to mind when certain words are thrown at them. Gaurav and Ayush react to a volley of interesting words including Modi, blockchain, dogs, Lays, Himachal and more.Getting back to the podcast, Cherry asks what news pieces they spotted which were under-reported or over-reported. Gaurav points out the news of Ajit Doval being reappointed as the National Security Adviser for five years with a cabinet position. While he thinks it’s an important piece, it “didn’t deserve to eat up the Monday news cycle”. He thinks the report on the ostentatious expenditure made by parties during the elections was under-reported.Ayush thinks that the news of the Congress expelling Kerala politician AP Abdullakutty for praising Modi was under-reported. He remarks that this news “shows a trend of how bitter things are”. He also thinks there's too much coverage of individual incidents in the ongoing tiff between BJP supporters and Mamata Banerjee. The panel agrees that the level of political debate needs to improve.Ayush brings up the Congress's decision to not send spokespersons to news debates for a month. He discusses the possible motivations behind this “temporary non-engagement”. While the Congress seems to be fielding the narrative that they feel victimised by the media, there is speculation that this is a “cover story” and that the party is actually in a “maze of confusion” and will return when they can “reconfigure their views” on issues. Gaurav disagrees with the Congress's decision, saying, "You cannot back out of a game just because you lost.” Ayush agrees. Cherry asks the pair whether they would attend a debate if they knew it was rigged. Ayush replies: “As an individual, I wouldn’t. But as a party that claims to be the oldest in the subcontinent, I would.”The panel moves on to discussing the ongoing cricket world cup. They discuss the episode on corruption in cricket on the Patriot Act by Hasan Minhaj and Minhaj's assertions. At the end of a long discussion, Gaurav, seemingly exasperated, opposes the “political scrutiny” that threatens to ruin the sport for the listeners. Ayush retorts: “Sleepwalk your romance off a cliff.”This and a lot more. Tune in! See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 68: Budgam, Rahul Gandhi, Khopivali water crisis and more
May 29 2019 51 mins  
In this episode of Reporters without Orders, Gaurav Sarkar takes over as host. He's joined by Newslaundry's Ayush Tiwari and Basant Kumar, as well as Jane Borges and Anamika Gharat, who are both reporters with Mid Day in Mumbai. The panel discusses the Budgam incident, where a Mi-17 helicopter was shot down by the Indian Air Force in a case of friendly fire on February 27, leading to the death of all six airmen on board as well as a civilian on the ground. Gaurav asks why this information was revealed only after the conclusion of the general election. While Ayush recounts other instances of friendly fire and the resultant deaths caused, Basant calls this a sort of "cover-up", saying if the information was revealed in real time, it might have adversely affected the election results for the governing party.The conversation moves to a story that Jane and Anamika reported from the village of Khopivali in Maharashtra, which faces severe water scarcity for a major part of the year. Community members here exclusively marry members only from outside the community, a tradition that is causing the village’s male residents to be stuck in a state of “forever bachelorhood” since no women from other villages want to get married and settle in Khopivali. “This is also a women empowerment issue,” Jane points out. Anamika explains how she discovered the story in the first place, and discusses how things played out in the political spectrum too.The panel also discusses the growing violence towards Muslims ever since the results of the 2019 general election were announced and “the curious case of Rahul Gandhi’s resignation”.For this and more, listen in! See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 67: Exit Polls, Pragya Thakur and Godse, and more
May 23 2019 53 mins  
In this episode of Reporters Without Orders, host Cherry Agarwal speaks to Newslaundry’s Ayush Tiwari, Gaurav Sarkar and Basant Kumar about the exit polls and why they should be taken with a pinch of salt. They also discuss water scarcity, PM Modi's visit to Kedarnath, and more. Discussing Pragya Thakur calling Nathuram Godse a "deshbhakt", Ayush says the novelty of the scandal is what "really touched a nerve". The panel finds itself divided on whether the issue deserved the over-reporting it received, or whether it was a statement that should not have received any attention.Moving on to PM Modi's Kedarnath visit, Basant argues that it was over-reported and received a lot of unnecessary attention. He says it should have been considered a "dharm yatra", but the mainstream media turned it into a grand event. On the issue of water scarcity, the panel discusses how it should have been an electoral issue. “People are being forced to go and break the gates of dams,” says Cherry, arguing it should have been an important part of political dialogue in drought-ridden states.Talking about Kashmir’s representation in the news, Gaurav states: “Geographical boundaries are trumped by a certain section of people interested in particular things.” He also talks about his experience in the Supreme Court while covering MJ Akbar’s defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani.For all this and more, tune in! See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 64: The Yeti Scheme of Things, Bhopal and Rajasthan poll climate & more
May 02 2019 57 mins  
In this episode of Reporters Without Orders, host Cherry Agarwal sits down with Newslaundry correspondent Ayush Tiwari, Desk Writer Gaurav Sarkar and Quint's Senior Correspondent Aishwarya Iyer to talk about the #Yeti, the Utsav Bains hearing, Elections 2019 and more.Aishwarya and Ayush were covering elections in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh respectively. They were gauging support for parties and how people in these places are forming their electoral opinions.Apart from elections, the panel also talks about the Yeti sighting and its news value. The Indian Army had tweeted out a photo of a trail of footprints in the Himalayan snow, claiming to have found footprints of the mythical creature. The panellists are clearly divided. While Ayush gushes about its history and Gaurav hopes that Yetis exist, Aishwarya and Cherry cannot help but stress on the point that it gained way more attention than it should have. In all the Yeti news, the duo felt a recently-released UN climate report got very little coverage.Utsav Bains had filed an affidavit claiming that he was approached with a “huge bribe” of ₹1.5 crore to frame the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi in a false sexual harassment case. Gaurav shares the details of proceedings, the courtroom drama and more.Although there is too much news to discuss, Gaurav points out that Game of Thrones didn't get as much hype as it should have.For all this and more, listen in! See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 63: The Ambani-IANS connection, hate speech, GoT and more
May 01 2019 40 mins  
This week’s Reporters Without Orders features host Cherry Agarwal with Newslaundry's head of research Ayush Tiwari and desk writer Gaurav Sarkar. The panel talks about the impact Sandeep Bamzai’s tutelage has had on IANS, a petition presented to the Supreme Court seeking permission for Muslim women to offer namaaz in mosques and Maneka Gandhi’s comments on the un-secret nature of secret ballots.Ayush kickstarts the discussion with his own article about how a news agency, IANS, that has off late become "a part of the larger trend of media layoffs" as it suffocates under the corporate ownership of Mr Anil Ambani. He reveals examples of reporters at IANS and establishes a growing pattern alongside other media organizations such as Vice and Buzzfeed. The panel goes on to discuss the intricacies of corporate ownership and the direct influence they exercise on editorial management. Ayush also talks about a Swarajya Magazine report about how the family of a minor Dalit girl who was kidnapped by a man that happened to be Muslim were denied the right to file an FIR by the police since they did not want it to flare up into a ‘Hindu-Muslim’ issue. The panel then went into discussing the implications of ‘pseudo-secularism’ that dominates the Indian narrative today.Gaurav discusses an archaic ritual that Shashi Tharoor made a mockery of himself participating in. The ritual, called ‘Tulabharam’, is one where a person’s “BMI is weighed in phool, phal and gold” and Tharoor fell off the scales having to endure 11 stitches afterwards. The panel delved into the problems associated with the endorsement by politicians of religious traditions such as these and the implications that such engagement had on the sentiments of the voting public. He also brought up a recent plea put before the Supreme Court by a Pune-based couple that sought permission to let women offer prayers in mosques. The discussion questioned the fast-paced nature of the proceedings as well nuances of religion such as the “contest between personal liberty and religion” and the stronghold of the religious orthodoxy.Cherry drives the conversation towards the larger question of the responsibility of the media. She references a specific tweet by Times Now that says, “A political leader has said something communal, listen in” and questions the ethicality of cashing in on hate in the name of journalism. While Ayush agrees that its ‘clickbait’ tone was questionable, it is not the place of the media to dictate whether something, communal or otherwise, should be censored or not. The media should contextualize information, is what the panel agrees on, irrespective of that content that is. Cherry goes on to talk about Maneka Gandhi’s comment on not helping Muslim voters if they didn’t vote for her and lays down the reality of contemporary times wherein the concept of secret ballots is conceptually dead. With the Election Commission now providing politicians with a constituency-wise break up of votes via Form 20, the panel dived deep into the vulnerability of voters today.The panel also brings up the ineffectiveness of the EC and the Supreme Courts backhand comments on its exercise of powers, the trend of the Supreme Court gaining an “inordinate amount of power”, as well as the oft-ignored details of Islam in terms of its various schools of law.This and more, so listen up! See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 62: #AugustaWestlandScam, Uttar Pradesh politics & more
May 01 2019 45 mins  
This week’s Reporters Without Orders features host Cherry Agarwal, Head of Research Ayush Tiwari, Desk Writer Gaurav Sarkar and Newslaundry Hindi reporter Basant Kumar. The panel talks the Enforcement Directorate's fourth supplementary chargesheet in the AgustaWestland chopper deal scam, increasing propaganda in daily soaps, the impact of communal violence in Western Uttar Pradesh, Congress' demonetisation sting operation and more.Speaking about the allegations that journalists "toned down" reportage on the AgustaWestland scam, Ayush says: “ Manu Pubby and Shekhar Gupta broke the story on the Augusta Westland scam and if they wouldn’t have done it we wouldn’t have known about it." He also makes a case for why there is a need to look at the full chargesheet, going beyond sections of the document that was leaked to the media. He adds these are baseless allegations and do not make a strong case against the three journalists who were allegedly named.Moving on, Gaurav points out political propaganda is increasingly being embedded in daily soaps such as Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hain. He also talks of various such videos doing the rounds on Twitter. He questions the intent of such propaganda and says, “The Model Code of Conduct is in effect, is this (such content) even allowed during this period?”Basant speaks about his ground report from Western UP which focused on understanding the impact of communal violence in the area. He is surprised that many young voters have fallen into a communal trap and are in favour of divisive politics. He says, “Hindus have hatred for Muslims while Muslims are fearful." There's also talk about what UP politics and 2019 general elections.Gaurav talks about a sting operation shown by the Congress and raises questions about its credibility. He feels it's edited and says: “How do you get hard cuts in raw unedited video?”#AugustaWestland #Uttar Pradesh #politics #general elections 2019 #communal politics See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 61: SSC Paper Leak, NaMo TV, Congress Manifesto and more
May 01 2019 45 mins  
This week’s Reporters Without Orders features host Cherry Agarwal with Newslaundry's head of research Ayush Tiwari and desk writer Gaurav Sarkar. The panel talks about the SSC paper leaks, Yogi Adityanath’s rally, the Congress manifesto and the newly launched NaMo TV.Ayush talks about the press conference he attended on the SSC paper leaks conducted by Yogendra Yadav and Kanhaiya Kumar, an SSC aspirant from Bihar. He explains what happened and how the government and authorities were hand-in-glove. He says: “The Chairman of the SSC should be taken into account because this incident has happened under his nose.”Cherry discusses the recently released Congress manifesto which made a slew of promises including some focusing on the media, like the amendment of Press Council of India Act to strengthen self-regulation of the media, and the empowering of the Press Council of India to fight the menace of fake news and misinformation. Most fake news is amplified by TV news on a daily basis, and Cherry says: “TV newsrooms have whipped up war hysteria, communal mongering ... Be it Ayodhya, Pulwama, Balakot—I mean TV newsrooms go insane.” She also discusses the Congress’s promise of making defamation a civil offence and the removal of the controversial sedition law.Gaurav tells us about Yogi Adityanath’s rally in Bisara village near Greater Noida where the prime accused in the Akhlaq lynching case were present in the front rows, attending the rally. Gaurav quotes one of the accused as saying “we are out on bail and nothing can happen to us”. Ayush adds, “When one of the accused died, he was wrapped in a tricolour.” The panel discusses religion and the caste system in the context of the beef ban, and its impact on people.Cherry also brings up NaMo TV—now renamed Content TV—and how most details about the channel are hidden. "The Election Commission should examine its funding, violation of the Model Code of Conduct, ownership and whether the broadcasting rules are being violated or not,” she says.This and more, so listen up!#NaMo #SSC #Congress #Manifesto #Yogi #Adityanath #elections See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 60: Nyuntam Aay Yojana, Model Code of Conduct and more
May 01 2019 46 mins  
This week’s Reporters Without Orders features host Cherry Agarwal, Business Standard's Arup Roychoudhury, Newslaundry’s head of research Ayush Tiwari, and Newslaundry's associate editor Meghnad. The panel talks about the Election Commission of India's Model Code of Conduct, a recent study by Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism on Indian digital media, and Rahul Gandhi’s announcement of the Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY).The discussion starts with the Reuters report with Ayush explaining the nuances of the survey. The panel discusses its important aspects like the sample size and type of questions, and examines why some news sites are more trusted by Indians. Arup says, "Times of India right now in this country is almost as synonymous as 'Xerox' versus 'photocopy'."Meghnad tells us about the guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India with respect to social media for the conduct of political parties and candidates during elections. Ayush and Arup share their opinions on why the EC may face a lot of trouble in the absence of laws regarding political advertisements. On the EC's effort to keep a check on social media, Meghnad says, “Maybe they are just putting out reports of ‘we have taken action’, whereas there might be thousands and thousands which have just been ignored.” The panel also discusses the "ghost advertisers" on Facebook and the effectiveness of the EC’s guidelines.Cherry discusses the recent announcements made by the Congress as poll promises, focusing on the NYAY, which is the party's minimum income guarantee scheme. “This is a poll promise, how well this gets implemented—if it gets implemented—is what we have to see.” NYAY offers ₹12,000 per month for a family (up to ₹72,000 per year) as basic income. When it comes to how the scheme will be funded, Ayush says: “Till the coming election they won’t clarify it, because keeping it vague is the best idea.” Arup also gives an in-depth analysis of the basic structure of a minimum income guarantee scheme and ways to fund it.For all this and more, listen up!#Nyuntam#Aay #Yojana #ModelCodeOfConduct#Congress #BJP #media #trust See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 59: #ElectionCommission, Jammu and Kashmir & more
May 01 2019 58 mins  
This week’s Reporters Without Orders features our host Cherry Agarwal, award-winning reporter Amit Visen, Newslaundry’s head of research Ayush Tiwari and desk writer Gaurav Sarkar. The panel talks about gender pay gap across newsrooms, Rahul Gandhi's use of "ji" for Jaish chief Masood Azhar, Election Commission's presser, custodial deaths in Bihar, government advertisements and more.The discussion starts with Ayush talking about a YouGov poll on dwindling job opportunities in the country. He mentions that the females surveyed are conscious of the disparity in pay. Cherry mentions the BBC's gender pay gap story and asks Amit about his experience with different media organisations. Amit speaks of the prejudice against women journalist that restricts them to female-centric content.Reflecting on what was over-reported by sections of the media, Gaurav talks about the internet outrage over Rahul Gandhi using "ji" to address Masood Azhar. The panel also discusses the misuse of laws such as sedition.Amit talks about the announcements made by the Election Commission and what does no-go for simultaneous elections in Jammu and Kashmir mean. He also expresses his disappointment at the under-reporting of the custodial deaths in Bihar.Ayush and Gaurav share their opinion on the Huffington Post report about the Indian cricket team wearing camouflage caps. “…It's not difficult to see the emotion that they are coming from, post-Pulwama, but does it really require PCB [Pakistan Cricket Board] …to say that you all are hurting our sentiments?” says Gaurav. Ayush remarks, “They [Indian government] have given patriotism a bad name by taking it to very irrational extremes but that shouldn’t limit our horizon of looking at things.”Cherry discusses the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and some of the announcements made by the Election Commission. Is monitoring the spread of fake news and disinformation across social media platforms within EC's jurisdiction? Is EC's reasoning for not holding Jammu and Kashmir's assembly polls tenable? For answers to these, some media updates and more, listen up!NL Sena: #Election Commission #Lok Sabha #polls See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 58: #Balakot, ghost advertising for the BJP & more
May 01 2019 49 mins  
In this episode of Reporters Without Orders, host Cherry Agarwal is joined by Newslaundry's head of research Ayush Tiwari, desk writer Gaurav Sarkar and Vijaita Singh from The Hindu. The panel talks about the reporting on the Balakot airstrike, ghost advertising for the BJP online, and more.The podcast kicks off with the panel talking about the reportage on the casualties caused by the IAF’s airstrike on a Jaish-e-Mohammad's training camp. Discussing the varying numbers put out by the media, Vijaita says: “There was a precision strike ... even Pakistan has admitted ... but to give numbers, it’s very difficult for the IAF or anybody because Pakistan is very secretive about these things.” Cherry is concerned about the credibility of "anonymous sources", saying, "I am often fearful that once the report goes out, [what if] my source flips over and says I didn’t talk to you?”They discuss the I&B Ministry’s showcause notice to two TV channels for airing a Pakistan Army press briefing. Ayush pointing out its digital equivalent, says: “Many of these digital outlets carried stories on what the Pakistan newspapers are saying … would that also be considered against national security?” Cherry points out that the media is not a tool for the government to set the narrative—it's there to raise questions, which doesn't make them anti-national or unpatriotic.The discussion moves to Gaurav’s story on how Facebook's recently-released Ad Library Report lists "ghost advertisers"—who are Facebook and Instagram pages which often run ads for political parties without disclaimers. Gaurav explains, "You don’t know who has been funding that. So officially, if the BJP’s accounts are spending ₹6-8 lakh a week, then who are these guys pushing about a crore worth of advertising in a month?”For this and more, listen up!#Balakot #BJP #Facebook #National security #Media #India #Kashmir #Pulwama #Pakistan #airstrikes See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 57: #Balakot, SC's tribal eviction order, #KisanLongMarch & more
May 01 2019 55 mins  
This episode of Reporters Without Orders features host Cherry Agarwal, Newslaundry's head of research Ayush Tiwari, special correspondent Prateek Goyal and independent journalist Aruna Chandrasekhar. The panel talks about the Indian airstrike in Jaba, near Balakot, Supreme Court's order to evict more than 1 million tribals and forest-dwellers, the Kisan long march in Maharashtra and more.The podcast kicks off with the panel talking about IAF’s airstrike on Jaish-e-Muhammad's "biggest training camp" in Pakistan. They also talk about the Supreme Court's verdict which has the potential to impact as many as 1 million tribals and forest-dwellers. Cherry points how tribals are often criticised for occupying "illegal" land. To which, Aruna says, “The government is supposed to be a custodian of public land…the idea that they are illegal occupants or illegal encroachers is part of language that is still extremely entrenched in our bureaucracy.”The panel also discusses why Arunachal Pradesh has been on the boil and a section of the media's coverage of the ongoing agitation. Further, they discuss the Republic TV-AMU controversy and the reason why sedition is used with much ease. Talking about police's actions in the AMU case, Ayush says, “They didn’t make any arrests in that sedition charge case… there are robbery, murder, rioting (charges), besides the sedition charge.”Moving on, Prateek, who was at the Kisan long march that began from Nasik's Mumbai Naka, tells the panel what he saw on the ground. The panel also discusses the implications of association of the farmers' protest with AIKS. Prateek says, “Farmers are in distress… people above the age of 70 walked 20-25 km to take part in the march.” He says whether AIKS takes advantage of that or not is a separate issue, but such protests will go a long way in highlighting the agrarian distress.#Balakot #Supreme Court #Tribals #KisanLongMarch See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 56: #PulwamaAttack, #Cobrapost, Gau Raksha & more
May 01 2019 52 mins  
This episode of Reporters Without Orders features host Cherry Agarwal, Newslaundry's Desk Writer Gaurav Sarkar, journalist Safwat Zargar and the author of HRW's latest report, Jayshree Bajoria. While Zargar joined the panel from Kashmir, Bajoria joined over the phone from New York. The panel talks about the coverage of the Pulwama attack, where more than 40 CRPF personnel where killed. They also discuss Zargar's profile of Adil Ahmed Dar, the teen behind the Pulwama attack, Cobrapost's latest exposé and more.The discussion kicks off with the panel talking about the Pulwama attack and its reportage in Kashmir. Speaking of the difference in coverage between the local papers in Kashmir and a section of the national media, Zargar says, "There was this clear-cut misunderstanding, like the national media jumped on to Pakistan…local papers tried to contextualise it in a way...such as what led to his [Dar's] joining and so on." Cherry is also curious about how local reporters in Kashmir cope up with the challenge of conflicting narratives given the multitude of stakeholders such as the Army, Militants, residents etc. She asks Zargar, “How do you ensure that there is objectivity?”The panel also further discusses the closure Milli Gazette, a weekly newspaper, and Cobrapost’s Operation Karaoke in which more than 36 Bollywood celebrities were stung. Gaurav says, “When it comes to brazenly taking money in cash…obviously raises the question that there is a backdoor mechanism that converts this black money into white.”The discussion then moves to the report published by Human Rights Watch,Violent Cow Protection in India: Vigilante Groups Attack Minorities. Bajoria says, "What we are seeing is a political campaign to use this issue of cow protection for political purposes to gain Hindu votes, and therefore, we've seen these so-called 'cow-protection' groups spring up across the country."For this and more, listen up!#PulwamaAttack #Cobrapost #Gau #Raksha #CRPF #Zargar See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 55: Hooch tragedy, FIR against Arnab Goswami and more
May 01 2019 37 mins  
This episode of Reporters Without Orders features Cherry Agarwal and Newslaundry's Head of Research Ayush Tiwari. Prateek Goyal, Newslaundry's special correspondent from Maharashtra, joins in later to report on police protection being given to Abhishek Mishra in Kamal Nath’s Madhya Pradesh. The conversation covers the hooch tragedy, Arnab Goswami vs Shashi Tharoor case, and more.Ayush and Cherry talk about the hooch tragedy in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, expressing shock at the politicising of such tragedies. Cherry asks why the government isn't clamping down on the entire business of hooch. Ayush says, "There is a whole shadow market for these things ... It is common knowledge that the main government, the security forces—they benefit from this shadow market. It is a quid pro quo among the people who produce this kind of liquor.”Cherry moves on to Shashi Tharoor’s charges against Arnab Goswami. She remarks: “If you are filing an FIR against a journalist for accessing documents which are not in the public domain, it sets a dangerous precedent.”Prateek Goyal joins in to report on the police protection being given to "fake news guru" Abhishek Mishra in Congress-led MP. He says, “This boy is not a high profile person. He used to do propaganda videos on YouTube and he still does that for the Congress. It is unusual that the entire state government is mobilised for his protection now, for a person who so blatantly generates fake news.”For all this and more, listen up!#Arnab Goswami #hooch #Uttar Pradesh See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 54: Harvest TV, NSSO's report, TRAI regulations and more
May 01 2019 43 mins  
This episode of Reporters Without Orders features Cherry Agarwal, Business Standard’s Somesh Jha, Newslaundry's Head of Research Ayush Tiwari and Desk Writer Gaurav Sarkar. The panel talks about the NSSO employment-unemployment report, Harvest TV and its birthing troubles, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)’s new regulations and more.Somesh speaks about NITI Aayog's comments on the NSSO report. He says, “The fact that he says it was a draft report, is misleading, because the NSE member who had resigned, they are on record saying that the report was finalised by them and it was approved for release in the public domain. So clearly, it was not the draft report.”The panel discusses TRAI's new framework for Cable TV and DTH operators. Gaurav says, “Now, instead of buying entire package deals, you can opt to pay for single channels.” He adds, “In spite of this change in mechanism, there has been a lot of pushback from viewers themselves who have been calling Dish TV or DEN and saying ‘hey, I don’t know how to figure this out.’”The discussion then moves to the story behind Harvest TV’s license. Ayush explains why the past owner of Harvest TV cannot sue the showrunners of the new Harvest TV. He says, “He is not the richest guy in the world, as opposed to Veecon media based in Delhi, as opposed to Barkha, Karan, Kabil Sibal based in Delhi. These guys are from Trivandrum, they run a Christian platform. Most of their revenue comes from the Pentecostal Church of Kerala to which they sold their prime-time slots. ” See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 53: #Cobrapost, Harvest TV & more
May 01 2019 35 mins  
In this episode of Reporters Without Orders, the panel discusses Cobrapost's recent exposé, Kapil Sibal's comments on Harvest TV, the ensuing controversy, CAG Rajiv Mehrishi’s alleged tax evasion and more. The panel includes Cherry Agarwal, Desk Writer Gaurav Sarkar, Head of Research Ayush Tiwari, and Special Correspondent Prateek Goyal.Gaurav kicks off the discussion with the Cobrapost investigation that he reported on. Ayush points out a lack of due process. “There were allegations that [Cobrapost] had sent its questionnaire with 64 questions to DHFL on the same morning as the press conference. That raises a lot of counter-questions from the perspective of DHFL.” Gaurav also notes: “What really stood out was that the presser started at 3 pm yesterday at the Press Club. Why hold it once the stock markets are shut?”Giving a background on the Harvest TV controversy, Ayush said, “What you can say of all these media houses, because HTN is not the only one coming out, there will be many more in the coming days. They are all trying to cash in on the 2019 general elections.” Cherry weighs in, “They were trying to get licenses for about year now, if the government was not issuing licenses then that is a problem.”Prateek joins the discussion over the phone. He speaks about his fact-check report on "cyber expert" Syed Shuja. Prateek said, “We checked with ECL, no one knows [Shuja]. What if he is also making up the names? His entire account is fake.”The panel also discusses the ethics of journalism. Cherry poses the question, “When you are reporting on dire issues you see people hanging by a thread, would you intervene?” Ayush, says that he would. He says that being a reporter/journalist is a label that comes later. Gaurav says he would not intervene when “the greater good is actually reporting the story, and knowing that it would probably have an impact.”For all this and more, listen up!#Cobrapost #Media #Kapil Sibal #Harvest TV See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 52: Media in Chhattisgarh, land conflicts, #JNUSeditionCase and more
May 01 2019 48 mins  
In this episode of Reporters Without Orders, Kumar Sambhav Shrivastava, award-winning journalist and contributing editor at Business Standard, joins the in-house gang of Gaurav Sarkar, Prateek Goyal, Ayush Tiwari and Cherry Agarwal. The panel discusses the chargesheet filed by the Delhi police against the former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar and nine others. They also discuss the challenges of beat reporting, the presser on EVM hacking, media’s coverage of land conflicts and more.Ayush begins the discussion by talking about the under-reportage of “Operation Lotus” in Karnataka. Gaurav adds, “Maybe one of the reasons it has been under-reported is also because Karnataka has been in shambles ever since the elections started...Maybe from an editorial point of view, it doesn’t hold water because it has been happening for quite some time.”Speaking about media’s coverage of #JNUSeditionCase, Gaurav dubbed media’s coverage as “over-the-top”. Cherry disagreed. “Sedition is a law that needs a lot of discussions—if someone is being slapped with sedition, it does deserve prime-time coverage,” she said. In this particular case, “the charge sheet is being filed after three years, the delay itself should have the journalists questioning what’s happening,” she added.Sambhav discussed the media’s reportage of the new agricultural package. He said, “There was so much anticipation that the government has come up with something extraordinary on farmer’s distress...but I could see journalists not being as critical about examining what exactly that package means for business economics and farmers...the reporting was also very superficial.” To which, Cherry asked, “Is it because newsrooms lack expertise?” It is rather due to a paucity of time, Sambhav explained. “When it comes to issues (sic) such as these, reporters need to spend time on deciphering the information, many reporters don’t get to do this. That’s the unfortunate part of how media functions,” he said.Prateek joins the discussion to talk about the excesses of security forces in Chhatisgarh’s Korseguda. He also speaks about why it is challenging for the media to cover such regions.For all this and more, listen up!#India news #JNU sedition #land conflicts #Chhattisgarh #Media #Operation Lotus See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 51: CBI and the Alok Verma case, #JNUSeditionCase and more
May 01 2019 63 mins  
In the latest episode of Reporters Without Orders Cherry Agarwal is in conversation with Arvind Gunasekar, a CBI beat reporter, Vakasha Sachdev, The Quint's associate editor-legal, Rohin Verma, former Newslaundry journalist, and Ayush Tiwari. The panel discusses the controversy surrounding the Central Bureau of Investigation, former Supreme Court Justice HS Bedi’s report on alleged fake encounters in Gujarat between 2002 and 2006, brutal gang-rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl in Gaya, JNU sedition case and more.The discussion kicks off with the panel sharing their thoughts on the media's recent coverage of pertinent news pieces. Speaking of Alok Verma's resignation and the larger CBI controversy, Arvind talks about the source of the conflict. The panel also talks about the role of the Central Vigilance Commission, Supreme Court-appointed supervisor retired Supreme Court judge Justice AK Patnaik, as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led selection panel.Coming to the government's role, Vakasha speaks about how the government used on-paper transfer protocols to strip former CBI chief Alok Verma of his powers. He says, “The government is very clever here.” The panel also discusses how different decision-makers, in this case, seem to have a conflict of interest. Weighing in, Rohin adds, “Judiciary bohot zyada dari hui hai (the judiciary is very afraid)", when it comes to matters concerning the prime minister’s office.The panel also talks about the JNU sedition row, with Vakasha pointing out the dangers of the sedition law. For all this and more, listen up!#CBI #AlokVerma #JNUSedition See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 50: #QuotaBill, government's plans to monitor media & more
May 01 2019 47 mins  
This week Reporters Without Orders features Cherry Agarwal in conversation with Newslaundry’s Ayush Tiwari, The Print's Amrita Nayak Dutta and Economic & Political Weekly’s Tejas Harad. In this episode, among other things, the panel discusses the #QuotaBill, which allows for 10 per cent reservation for economically weak sections of people belonging to the general category in jobs and education.The podcast kicks off with Ayush talking about Greater Kashmir’s misinterpretation of Norway Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s interview. Amrita speaks about media's coverage of the Indian Science Congress, where outlandish claims were made, while Cherry talks about media's coverage of the #CitizenshipAmendmentBill.Tejas doubts that the #QuotaBill “will stand judicial scrutiny”. He explains the long judicial and legislative process required to bring such a quota into effect. He says it is not being opposed by other political stakeholders because it would eliminate the upper-caste vote. The panel also discusses the Supreme Court's stand on an economic criterion being used for reservation and why this bill will involve amending Article 15 (4).The panel then goes on to discuss, in the context of caste, whether “people of a community being the torchbearers of the narrative” is necessary to rectify the discourse on caste. Ayush identified this to be a part of the larger debate on whether only those with the lived experiences of prejudice must be the dominant voices in the discourse.Amrita spoke about her story on the government’s attempts to monitor the media, as well as Information and Broadcasting minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore's response. Ayush argues that “it is not negative coverage, but real journalism at stake here”.For all this and more, listen up!#QuotaBill #Reservation #BJP #media monitoring #CitizenshipAmendmentBill See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 49: Bangladesh polls, Bhima Koregaon, Sabarimala and more
May 01 2019 48 mins  
This week’s Reporters without Orders features host Cherry Agarwal in conversation with Ayush Tiwari, Scroll staff writer Shoaib Daniyal, Newslaundry special correspondent Prateek Goyal, and Indian Express Digital correspondent from Kerala, Vishnu Varma. Conversations range from Triple Talaq to Sabarimala to Bhima Koregaon.Ayush starts off by expressing his disapproval on the lack of coverage on the recent Transgender Persons Bill and its flaws. Shoaib talks about his dissatisfaction over the lack of coverage of Bangladesh's controversial polls which took place last week. The panel discusses the "quid pro quo" relationship between Sheikh Hasina and the Modi government.The discussion moves to the Triple Talaq bill and its peculiar clauses. Shoaib says the Catch-22 is that “although 'talaq talaq talaq’ does not annul the marriage, it can put you in jail”. The panellists then analyse the motivations behind either side of the debate in relation to Muslim women vote banks and male victimisation. They discuss the historical developments within Muslim personal law and alimony regulations during the Shah Bano case.Prateek joins in to discuss Bhima Koregaon. He commends the way the Maharashtra Police handled the large crowds to prevent violence. They banned certain activist groups and performers and placed countless cameras in an attempt to mitigate chaos and rioting. Prateek says he's fairly satisfied with the ample coverage of Bhima Koregaon this year.Next, Vishnu reports on the latest developments at Sabarimala temple and how two women in their 40s entered it. Cherry asks if this incident will serve as an example for other women to break discriminatory pilgrimage rules.For all this and more, listen up!#Bangladesh #BhimaKoregaon #TransgenderPersonsBill #TripleTalaq #Sabarimala See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 48: BJP’s Rath Yatra, MP and Rajasthan elections, and more
May 01 2019 54 mins  
This week's Reporters Without Orders features our host Amit Bhardwaj with Rahul Kotiyal, special correspondent Prateek Goyal and Snigdhendu Bhattacharya from Hindustan Times.Amit starts the podcast by asking Snigdhendu about the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Rath Yatra in Kolkata, which was supposed to be hosted on December 7 but was blocked by the Trinamool Congress. They discuss how the whole thing was rebranded from a Rath Yatra to a "Save Democracy" programme.The panel moves on to the rumours surrounding Varun Gandhi leaving the BJP and joining the Congress and how news reports constantly feed these rumours. Rahul adds: “In the Congress, the sky is the limit for Varun Gandhi and he’ll be a threat to Rahul Gandhi if he joins.”Amit talks about Kamal Nath becoming the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh and his race for the position. The panel also talks about the cut-throat competition between the two parties and how the BJP's anti-incumbency factor played out in the state. Rahul notes: “The BJP’s strategy is to praise the Modi-Shah duo and blame it on local leaders if they lose elections.”Next, they discuss the reason behind the strong win of the Congress in Rajasthan, and where Vasundhara Raje failed and Sachin Pilot succeeded. Amit says the unemployment factor amongst the youth and the farmer crisis contributed. Prateek quotes people of Rajasthan saying, “Modi tujhse bair nahi, Vasundhra teri khair nahi” which the Congress claims was given by the RSS while the BJP blames the Congress. Nevertheless, the slogan claims that Narendra Modi still has a certain hold in Rajasthan, but Amit says Modi's charm has diminished as “voters of Modi are in a toxic relationship which you know is not working out, but you just don’t want to quit it”.For this and more, listen up! See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 47: Kisan Mukti March, the agrarian crisis & more
May 01 2019 62 mins  
This week's Reporters Without Orders features our host Cherry Agarwal along with in-house writer, Gaurav Sarkar. Today, we have three guests joining us on the panel: Mumbai-based Parth MN, Haryana-based Jyoti Yadav, and DNA’s Amrita Madhukalya.This episode focuses primarily on the agrarian crisis—including the Kisan Mukti March which took place in Delhi on November 29 and 30.The podcast kicks off with the panel sharing their experiences of interacting with farmers at the rally. Parth talks about how the presence of Opposition leaders in the rally was favourable for the farmers’ movement. “They (farmers) can use the platform to hold the establishment accountable. It is all about holding the establishment accountable. And if and when they come to power, as media we can hold them accountable for the speeches they have made at the rally,” he adds. Jyoti agrees and says it is crucial to politicise the issue as it makes the issue mainstream.The conversation then moves on to discuss how the media covered the Kisan Mukti March. Parth points out that though this particular rally was covered well by the media, the media has also been largely ignorant of the agrarian crisis that has been affecting almost the entire rural economy. “(The) spurts in farmer suicides happened largely after a drought, hailstorm or a natural calamity,” he said. “This is usually the last straw on the camel’s back. But why the farmer was sitting on the brink is something that we do not explore.”Talking about how the rally was covered by the Hindi media, Jyoti says it's time they stop romanticising the farmer crisis and instead focus on talking about the actual issue as it is. She feels that the pieces being churned out by various publications should be written as reports and not as literary articles.Gaurav draws a comparison between the first farmers’ march in Mumbai and the one that took place recently in Delhi. He points out that while political leaders were not allowed to make speeches at Mumbai’s Azad Maidan, in Delhi, they were not only encouraged, but also expected to do so.The discussion then moves to how newsrooms were not very well prepared for the massive rally in Mumbai. Cherry points out that this shows the shortcomings of newsrooms. Amrita adds: “Newsrooms also need to invest in a sustained coverage of farmer crisis. Newsrooms need to take into account that this is going to be the biggest political conversation in the 2019 elections.”Summing up the discussion, Parth points out: “We need to ensure that the farming crisis becomes a part of our discourse and our daily conversations. Long story short—we should not be reminded of a farmer’s struggle only when they die.”For all this and more, listen up!#Kisan Mukti March #Agrarian crisis #Farmers #Agriculture #Delhi #Rajasthan See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 45: Chhattisgarh elections, #Sabarimala, Herald House & more
May 01 2019 41 mins  
This week's Reporters Without Orders features our host Cherry Agarwal, Special Correspondent Amit Bhardwaj, and Desk Writer, Gaurav Sarkar. The panel is joined by two guests over the phone: Chhattisgarh-based Kamal Shukla, editor of Bhumkal Samachar and Kerala-based Vishnu Varma from Indian Express digital.In the podcast, Amit talks about how sections of the media over-reported Tej Pratap Yadav's divorce. Yadav is the elder son of former Bihar chief ministers Lalu Prasad Yadav and Rabri Devi. Amit also weighs in on how stories of news value from Bihar such as the developments in the Muzaffarpur Shelter Home case have been eclipsed. Adding to the point, Cherry speaks about the repeated denial of bail to Delhi-based analyst and journalist Abhijit Iyer-Mitra.Speaking about the ground reality of Chhattisgarh elections, senior journalist Kamal Shukla tells the panel why the narrative of a larger voter turnout smells fishy. Moving on, Gaurav talks about his report on National Herald and the controversy around Herald House. He also talks about IndiaSpend's report on the rising number of hate crimes in the country.The panel is joined by Vishnu Varma over the phone. Talking about the Supreme Court's recent Sabarimala verdict, Varma speaks about how political parties like the BJP and the Congress are busy appeasing the voters. Then there is a discussion aboutCNN's lawsuit against US President Donald Trump and more. Listen up!#Chhattisgarh elections #Sabarimala #CNN #Donald Trump #Herald House #Abhijit Iyer-Mitra See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 44: #RBIvsGovt, #AyodhyaRamMandir, Bihar lynching & more
May 01 2019 46 mins  
What is #RBIvsGovt all about? This episode of Reporters Without Orders with Business Standard's assistant editor Arup Roychoudhury, Newslaundry's Amit Bhardwaj, Gaurav Sarkar and Cherry Agarwal has the details. The panel is joined by Prem Shankar Mishra, senior correspondent with Navbharat Times Lucknow, to discuss discrepancies in teacher recruitment in Uttar Pradesh and the impact of his story.The discussion starts with Arup talking about the rift between the Reserve Bank of India and the government. Speaking about RBI's independence, Arup explains that RBI's autonomy is without any legal backing. Weighing in on media's coverage of economic policy, he adds, “The general channels don’t have the bandwidth or intelligence to cover this."Prem joins the panel to speak about developments in the teacher recruitment scam following his story. As matters stand, the High Court has taken cognisance of the issue.Speaking about an issue that got more attention than it deserved, Amit says that the Ayodhya dispute was over-reported in the media. He adds that sections of the media also misreported the issue, which was hyped without much context.Gaurav talks about a recent incident in Bihar, where an 80-year-old Muslim man was lynched and burned by a mob. This found little coverage in mainstream media, Gaurav tells the panel. Meanwhile, he says, the Statue of Unity got more coverage than it deserved.Cherry talks about how the New York Times' Pakistan edition skipped publishing a critical op-ed piece by Mohammed Hanif. The article was about Asia Bibi's acquittal. She also talks about Arnab Goswami’s appointment to the Nehru Memorial Museum & Library and killing of five Bengali-speaking men in Assam's Tinsukia.For this and more, listen up!#Ayodhya #RBI #Asia Bibi #Bihar #StatueOfUnity #ArnabGoswami See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 43: #AirPollution, #JusticeForAzeem, CBI & more
May 01 2019 49 mins  
This episode of Reporters Without Orders features a complete in-house panel comprising our host Cherry Agarwal, Newslaundry's intrepid reporters Prateek Goyal and Amit Bhardwaj, Gaurav Sarkar from the Newslaundry desk.The podcast kicks off with a discussion on air pollution and Delhi's deteriorating air quality. The panel also discusses media's coverage of the issue. Gaurav says that had the media given enough attention to this issue, a solution would have emerged. "A knee-jerk reaction won't solve the problem, air pollution has to be tackled head-on. We need proper investigative reports on climate change, including reports that track air quality over 10-15 years of time to find long-term solutions," Gaurav says.Prateek tells us that the drought situation in many parts of Maharashtra has been under-reported and issues like Rakhi Sawant's dramatic press conference are being over-reported. Issues like migration from drought-hit areas and human trafficking of young girls from these regions remain under-reported, Prateek adds. "Will the election year force the media to cover farmer distress and related issues? Will the politicians try to please the farmers just because it's election time? Amit asks.The panel also discusses the death of eight-year-old Mohammad Azeem at South Delhi’s Jamia Faridiya Madrasa. Amit tells the panel that it was not a case of mob lynching, as was being portrayed by sections of the media. For all this and more, listen up!#Delhi #JusticeForAzeem #Pollution #CBI See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 42: #AmritsarTrainAccident, Tax raids on Quint & more
May 01 2019 45 mins  
This episode of Reporters Without Orders features our host Cherry Agarwal along with Prateek Goyal, Gaurav Sarkar, and our guests, Rajeev Sharma, senior journalist from Amritsar, and Ranjeet Jadhav, a reporter from Mid-Day.The discussion kicks off with Rajeev recounting the Amritsar train accident which left 61 people dead and several others injured. Rajeev shares details about what happened, local media's coverage of the accident, among other things.Gaurav speaks about his recent article on allegations of tax evasion and money laundering that have surfaced against former TV 18 promoter and current owner of The Quint, Raghav Bahl. Bahl allegedly made ₹114 crore out of an investment of ₹3.03 crore made in a penny stock company called PMC Fincorp. Speaking about challenges he faced while reporting on the story, Gaurav says, “Crunching the numbers would be the biggest challenge and trusting the source as well."Prateek then speaks about his report where he has documented a disabled woman’s three-year ordeal at the hands of the Army. A deaf and mute woman was allegedly repeatedly raped and harassed by four Army jawans between 2015 and 2017 at Military Hospital, Kirkee, in Pune. “The Army says that it comes under the civil case, which needs an FIR and the police say that in order to prepare the FIR, they need the permission from the Army to do the enquiry," Prateek says speaking about the lack of action in the case.The panel also discussed media reports about ‘man-eater’ tigress Avni. Speaking about media's reportage on wildlife and environment, Ranjeet says, “In India, there is no reporting that is done by different news organisations on such issues on a regular basis, which results in minimal awareness on the same." He adds, “Sadly when something sensational like continuous human kill comes up, they cover it.”For other reports, discussion on media's coverage of different issues and more, listen up!#AmritsarTrainAccident #Quint #Wildlife Journalism #Army #Media See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 41: Nitin Gadkari land scam, #MeToo & more
May 01 2019 40 mins  
This week’s edition of Reporters Without Orders features our host Cherry Agarwal, along with our special correspondent Amit Bhardwaj, Prateek Goyal, and our guest Somdutt Shastri, a senior journalist, who has formerly served as editor at Dainik Bhaskar and Dainik Jagran.The discussion starts off with Prateek talking about his exclusive story pertaining to an alleged illegal transfer of land involving Union Minister Nitin Gadkari. The land belonging to Polysac Industrial Cooperative Society was allegedly transferred in order to acquire a loan for a company owned by Gadkari's sons.The discussion progresses to the recent cut in the daily wages of DTC labourers by the Arvind Kejriwal government, with Amit weighing in on different aspects of the issue. Sanatan Sanstha's branding of two India Today reporters as “terrorists” was also discussed.The discussion then moves on to media's coverage in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh, with senior journalist Somdutt Shastri weighing in on topics related to election campaigns in Madhya Pradesh.Subsequently, the panel discussed several issues that the media missed out in the last week. Here, Amit talks about the recent protest by Kashmiri students at Aligarh Muslim University, Prateek points out the attack on the Additional Sessions judge’s wife and son by his gunman, while Cherry discusses the desertion of Rohingya refugee camp in South24Parganas. This and more. Listen up!#NitinGadkari #LandScam # #MeTooSanatanSanstha #DTC #Media See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 39: #Aadhaar, farmer’s protest, PTI sackings and more
May 01 2019 53 mins  
Reporters Without Orders is back this week to discuss what made news, what didn’t, and what should have made headlines. This week’s show features host Cherry Agarwal along with our guests Sruthisagar Yamunan, a Legal Correspondent at, Chitranshul Sinha, a Supreme Court Advocate, along with in-house panellists Rohin Verma and Amit Bhardwaj.The conversation starts with the discussion of dissenting voices in the Aadhaar, Sabarimala, and Bhima-Koregaon cases. The panel discusses how judges in courtrooms have a different opinion on the same topics that they come across.“The judges will keep their personal views out of the court,” expressed Sinha. He explains that this could be due to class, caste, or even economic or social background. The panel discusses the legalities of the Aadhaar case in detail and what they mean.“The assumption is that Aadhaar benefits the poor,” added Sinha. “It might if it is implemented properly. Fundamentally, people do not understand the opposition to Aadhaar.”Rohin sheds light on the preliminary report on the retrenchment at the Press Trust of India and talks about the number of employees who were sacked, while Amit talks about the protest that was organised by the Federation of PTI Employees in Delhi and the demands made.He also explains in detail about the farmer’s protest that broke out at the Delhi-UP border and elaborates on the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh and the issues raised by the farmers. “Government after government have not paid attention to the agrarian economy. We have not made enough efforts to make it profitable. It remains a burden,” he said.Cherry goes on to ask Amit about how and why the details of the farmer’s protest remained underreported. Rohin says that the reports on the farmer’s protests are similar in nature and that the same pattern is repeated, thereby attracting a specific kind of audience. Sruthisagar agrees with Rohin but also adds that he found the recent reports on the protest better than the last one, but they still need to be better and a lot more.Tune in to find out. See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 38: Manual scavenging, #Rafale & more
May 01 2019 45 mins  
This week’s edition of Reporters Without Order features our host Cherry Agarwal, along with Newslaundry Hindi’s Rohin Verma, our correspondent Amit Bhardwaj and our guest Prem Shankar Mishra, principal correspondent, Navbharat Times, Lucknow.The podcast kicks off with a discussion on a protest called by the Safai Karamchari Andolan. Can such protests make a dent? Amit thinks these protest may not make much difference. He says manual scavenging was abolished by the Supreme Court back in 2014 but it still continues. However, protests such as these keep the debate going. With one death every five days, these debates are important. Moving on, Rohin explains how one picture got people to come together and raise funds for 11-year-old Gaurav. His father, Anil, had died a couple of days earlier while cleaning a Delhi Jal Board sewer. Rohin also explains the complications that arose later. The panel also talks about media’s coverage of manual scavenging-related issues and its role over time. In light of these deaths, the panel talks about what the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has come to be.Weighing in on the Rafale controversy, Prem says that although the media is discussing former French President Francois Hollande’s claims about Rafale, the debates miss out on the major points. This and a lot more. Listen up!#Manual scavenging #Rafale #Francois Hollande #Media coverage See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 36: #Section377 and the media, #HardikPatel, farmers’ march & more.
May 01 2019 48 mins  
This week’s Reporters Without Orders features our host Cherry Agarwal, our guest, lawyer-turned-journalist Vakasha Sachdev from The Quint, along with Rohin Verma and Amit Bhardwaj.The discussion starts with media’s coverage of Supreme Court’s landmark verdict -- decriminalisation of Section 377. Amit talks about the way in which reporters covered the event, while Rohan weighs in about media’s need to recreate the situation and things that should have been avoided. Vakasha says that being inside the courtroom on the day of judgement, hearing the judges and their unique responses, was an amazing and emotional experience. The panel also talks about the need to strike a balance between privacy and the need for media personnel, especially TV news, to capture the moment.Cherry also asks Vakasha about the problems with courtroom-related reportage in the absence of legal expertise among those covering the beat. “It becomes challenging as it creates new pressure, creates new confusion over what’s going on,” Vakasha says.Pointing out what the media missed, Cherry says stories on intersectionality of sexuality, caste, disability, mental health, gender identity and queer movement beyond 377 were given a miss.Amit points out that Hardik Patel’s hunger strike was still being under-reported. The national media has not been doing justice to this news, he says. [Patel has now ended his hunger strike].Amit and Vakasha also weigh in on media’s failure to cover the farmers’ march in New Delhi. Amit says, “These people have been failed by the government and nobody cares.”The panel also discusses the violence that broke out at Delhi University’s Zakir Husain College. This, and more. Listen up!#Section377 #Supreme Court #Media #Hardik Patel #Farmers' march #NSA See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 35: NE media, Hardik’s hunger strike, RaGa’s non-veg row and more
May 01 2019 36 mins  
The conversation kicks off with a discussion on the current media landscape of the Northeast. Cherry asks Paojel to provide an insight on the media culture in the Northeast with respect to access to politicians, political biases, and even media ownership. She asks whether it is similar to legacy houses that form a larger part in the mainstream and what is it that makes the Northeast media unique in nature?Paojel explains the difference between the Northeast media system and the rest of the country and goes on to talk about the challenges faced by investigative journalists in the Northeast region.Paojel suggested that there were many stories in the Northeast that have not been given importance; he also shares some specific examples of stories which have not been given any sort of significance by the mainstream media.The discussion then moves towards Amit Bhardwaj who talks about the eleventh day of Hardik Patel’s hunger strike that has not been covered by the mainstream media. He says: “These are the priorities; if there is violence and incidents of rioting, then the mainstream media will cover it, but if someone goes the Gandhian way and is on 11th day of their hunger strike, then they will choose not to.” Amit goes on to explain the entire hunger strike situation and the reason as to why it should have been covered.The panel then discusses the kind of news that deliberately doesn’t go on air and is not considered to be of grave significance owing to the prevailing power struggle in mainstream media.Rohin sheds lights on a story related to the Mahatma Gandhi Central University in Motihari, Bihar, where, after the death of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a professor posted something on Facebook against the former Prime Minister. The next day, he was beaten up badly and still remains in a critical situation. After this incident, the CAG report on the university showed that a lot of financial irregularities had been found, but even in spite of this, the incident went unreported.The discussion then moves towards what made news—but shouldn’t have—and everyone agreed that Rahul Gandhi eating non-veg in Nepal shouldn’t have set the headlines on fire the way it did.Rahul goes on to brief us about Tushar Damgude’s FIR in relation to the Bhima-Koregaon incident, and more.Tune in to find out more.#Hardik Patel #NorthEast #Media #Rahul Gandhi See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 34: #BhimaKoregaonRaids, #PlotToKillPM, Kerala floods and more
May 01 2019 45 mins  
The latest episode of Reporters Without Orders features our host Cherry Agarwal, along with Amit Bharadwaj, and guests Vishnu Varma and Prateek Goel. Varma is a Kochi-based journalist and a senior correspondent at Indian Express Digital, whereas Goel is a Pune-based reporter who covers crime and defence for a leading regional daily.The podcast begins with a discussion about the arrest of five human rights activists, including a unionist and lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj, from different cities in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence. The arrests of five other activists in connection to an alleged plot to kill the prime minister three months ago is also discussed. Sharing details from history, Prateek tells the panel about the genesis of Bhima Koregaon and what led to the subsequent violence and arrests. The panel also discusses the inconsistencies and problems with media’s coverage of the same so far.In the course of the discussion, Prateek suggests that the letters discovered by the police were likely fabricated. He doesn’t think these activists could have been directly involved in the alleged plot to assassinate the prime minister.The discussion then shifts to rehabilitation efforts in Kerala, in the aftermath of the floods. The panel also discusses the accountability of states in such situations. Reporting from Kerala, Vivek Varma weighs in about the current rehabilitation measures that have been put in place to ensure a swift recovery.In relation to the Tamil Nadu and Kerala dispute, Vivek states that both the governments are equally responsible for the mismanagement of opening and closing of the dam shutters.Amit stated that the convictions in Mirchpur violence were underreported. Twenty people were sentenced to life Imprisonment by the Delhi high court for burning two Dalits alive in 2010. Amit also talks about the arrest of Barmer journalist and other developments in his case.This, and more. Listen up! See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 33: Encounters in UP and Sukma, Kerala floods, and more
May 01 2019 44 mins  
The latest episode of Reporters Without Orders features our host Cherry Agarwal, along with Amit Bhardwaj, Rohin Kumar and Rahul Kotiyal.The discussion begins with the news of a woman who was beaten up and then paraded naked by a violent mob in Bihar’s Bhojpur district. The panel goes on to discuss the devastation caused by the Kerala floods, as well as the media’s coverage of the deluge.The topic then moves on to Uttar Pradesh’s ban on open sacrifice of animals ahead of Bakri Eid, wherein the state’s Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath, said that this measure was being undertaken so as to not hurt the religious sentiments of other communities.“When two important news events take place simultaneously, how does a newsroom decide on which one to prioritise?,” asks Cherry, posing the million-dollar question to the guests. In turn, Rahul tells her that in this age of New Media and television, it is important to deem both pieces of news as “important” and run them efficiently.The guests also discuss how Navjot Singh Sidhu’s ‘hug’ controversy was quite overrated.The conversation then moves to a heavily-loaded ground report on the Naxal encounter case in which 15 people were killed in Sukma, Chattisgarh. Rahul narrates the story as experienced by him on the ground, and points out that it wasn’t just Naxalites who were killed—but innocent tribal people as well. He also talks about the disadvantages of covering left extremists as it is never certain who might kill you.The discussion culminates with the topic of different encounter cases in Uttar Pradesh anyhow these are against the Human Rights guidelines of the National Human Rights Commission.#Sukma, #encounters #Uttar Pradesh #Yogi Adityanath #Kerala floods #newsroompriorities See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 30: Data protection draft bill, Chharanagar police raid and more
May 01 2019 56 mins  
The latest episode of Reporters Without Orders features our jugaad host Amit Bhardwaj along with Rohin Verma, two-time Ramnath Goenka awardee Rahul Kotiyal, and Aroon Deep from panel discusses the Data Protection draft bill where Aroon explains how the draft bill will enable the users to give and withdraw consent for informational data on them. “The only reason this bill exists right now because the Supreme Court essentially nudged the government to setup data protection framework in the first place,” says Aroon. He added that India lacked the legal framework for informational privacy. “What is going to change with this bill is that the information collection won’t happen in darkness. Every data controller will be accountable for what it collects, whether it has got consent from you for the data it has collected,” he further adds. The panel weighs in to add that due to lack of internet literacy in the country, these legislations will make the least difference on the ground.The panel discusses Rohin’s exclusive report for Newslaundry Hindi which lists out 15 children shelter homes in Bihar where cases of alleged sexual and physical harassment were found by the audit report done by the TISS. “Accused Brajesh Thakur (in the Muzaffarpur children shelter home rape cases) was arrested by the police very late. Despite the arrest, he got admitted in the hospital for 15 days,” says Rohin. He points out the laxity displayed by the district administrations and the police in the cases pointed out by the TISS report. The administration of only three districts has acted on the findings of the TISS report that too after months. “Those running these shelter homes are not ordinary people. For instance, Nari Gunjan, in Patna, is run by Sudha Varghese. She is a Padma Shree awardee. Serious mismanagement was found in the centre run by her, and yet there is no action against it,” he added citing the reasons for a possible delay in the police action in these cases. Amit and Rahul discuss how the local media and civil society in Bihar has failed to outrage in the wake of the Muzaffarpur rapes reported at the children shelter home. Rahul points out the society in general often fail to outrage in the sexual abuse cases where the victims belong to weaker economic and social classes – as it happened with the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape victims.The panel also discusses how the stories related to the police raid and alleged assault of residents of Ahmedabad’s Chharanagar locality, where Chharas - a Denotified Tribes (DNT) lives, went under-reported. Amit also adds that TV media largely under-reported or ignored the stories concerning Delhi Lokayukta giving a clean chit to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the case based on allegations levelled by rebel AAP lawmaker Kapil Mishra. See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 29: Alwar Lynching, #Section377, state of health journalism and more
May 01 2019 47 mins  
The latest episode of Reporters Without Orders features our host Cherry Agarwal, along with Amit Bhardwaj, Rohin Verma, two-time Ramnath Goenka awardee Rahul Kotiyal, and Anoo Bhuyan from The Wire.The podcast kicks off with a discussion on media's narrative around Akbar Khan's lynching in Alwar. “If you go through our story, we have actually demolished the police’s version of what happened that night, point by point," says Amit. He also points out the importance of the three hours that elapsed between the incident and the time taken to reach the Ramgarh CHC.Cherry adds, “What I found missing from the larger media narrative was that the two accused were moving around with the policemen.” Amit weighs in to add that the media's narrative changed on July 22 -- the blame shifted from the gau rakshaks to gau rakshaks and the police.Rest of the panel weighs in too. Anoo adds that she didn’t feel the issue had been obfuscated in the English print and online media, while Rahul emphasises the need for minutely questioning the police’s version of events.Amit expresses his concerns over the disturbing parallels that exist between Akbar’s case and Pehlu Khan’s case.Subsequently, the panel discusses media's coverage of #Section377. Anoo weighs in on the problems that exist across Indian news organisations and stresses upon the need for more inclusive newsrooms.Rohin concurs with Anoo, and points out that sometimes a callous attitude is adopted by the media in its reportage on LGBTQ issues.Speaking on the issue, Rahul points out the clear division that still exists between Hindi and English media's reportage of the issues related to Section 377. Nevertheless, he says, “things have gotten better”. The panel also discusses if reporters are equipped to handle sensitive conversations.The gang also discusses the state of health journalism in India. Anoo details the challenges faced by health reporters in India, with people still having regressive attitudes and at times, treating it as an extension of 'Lifestyle and Wellness' reporting.Rohin points out the hazards of what he calls “baba ji ki booti" reporting, which is reportage done at the cost of important issues like the death of children in Bihar from Japanese encephalitis.The panel also discusses how Muzaffarnagar case was under-reported. For this and more, Listen up!#Section 377 #Alwar lynching #health journalism See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 28: CJI Dipak Misra, Hindi media, journalism behind paywalls and more
May 01 2019 49 mins  
Episode 28 of Reporters Without Orders features our host Cherry Agarwal, along with Rohin Verma, two-time Ramnath Goenka award-winning Rahul Kotiyal, and Atul Dev of The Caravan.Atul begins by explaining the gist of his latest story -- a profile of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. “There are a whole bunch of charges against (Indian CJI Dipak Misra) in the impeachment motion that was eventually rejected by Venkaiah Naidu…I look at his entire career, I examine how these charges came to be, how these charges came to public light. Then I also look at his family history…There’s an analysis of his High Court and Supreme Court judgments and coming up to right now, with everything that has transpired in the Supreme Court in the past year…”Cherry then asks Rahul why he chose to explore the story of communal violence in Uttarakhand. "It’s been 18 years since Uttarakhand was created, and it was an area of Western UP which was never communally charged up. However, these increased in the past few years. Almost a dozen big incidents like that of shops being burnt and destroyed."“In the hilly districts of Western UP, no place has a Muslim population of higher than 3 per cent, but even there people have the fear that their sources are being taken over by a foreign other," explains Rahul. He then remarks on the Right-wing's tying of this mentality to the mass migration of Rohingya Muslims to the region. “If you look on-ground, you will hardly find any Rohingya over there. This narrative is spreading really fast on social media.”After Rahul remarks about the lack of analytical or critical local coverage of the event, Cherry comments, “It’s up to the local media to take a side.”On the writing process (a 23-page story), Atul says, “You just have to sit down and get done with it.” He also reveals the role of the newsroom in the creation of the story. “After I give them the story, I think 7 or 8 people are actively involved for a whole month…”“In the end, everything that I had found, I was able to put down," adds Atul. On being asked if he was fearful about writing on the sitting CJI, he comments, “There is no fear per se but it’s more difficult to find people who are going to talk to you.”The panel then moves on to the Hindi media’s coverage of a Dalit groom getting on a horse for the first time at his wedding procession. “What should have caught everyone’s eye is that even now someone has to fight to get a horse, just because they come from a particular community," a panelist adds.“Looking at this and the Chamandih story, it appears as though neither development nor weddings can happen without the caste angle," adds Rahul.The panel then discusses subscriber models and how to produce sustainable and constructive story-telling. For more, listen in!#Supreme Court #Chief Justice of India #Dipak Misra #Hindi media #journalism model #paywalls #Rohingya See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 27: WhatsApp, Assam and mob lynchings, media's Jio story and more
May 01 2019 45 mins  
The latest episode of Reporters Without Orders features our host Cherry Agarwal, along with Rohin Verma, Amit Bhardwaj and our special guest Abhishek Dey from off the discussion, Amit says Jio got quite some coverage. “Jio is like any other telecom network in the country, why do you have to show it [as much] or give wall-to-wall coverage to whatever is happening during the launch? I think a small package or a couple of online stories would do, unless Jio is paying a lot of money.”Cherry adds, “In that case, they should have been putting a disclaimer, if it was about money in return for coverage.”Speaking about an event that was under-reported, Amit says, “Around 14,000 political activists and bandh supporters were on the streets and were detained by Jharkhand police. Majorly, none of the news channels gave it coverage during the day.”Abhishek speaks about the media's coverage of mob lynchings fuelled by WhatsApp rumours about child-lifters in Assam. “There are two things which are operating [contributing], primarily, one is the fear of the outsider, and the other would be technology. The victims in all these cases are outsiders.”Abhishek also speaks about how the idea of a child-lifter that was traditionally used to control the behaviour of children is now manifesting into a mob culture. "When we look into these kinds of things, we should always correlate them with development indices," he adds. “The solution should be designed in the context of the people which it is aimed for," comments Cherry.Rohin feels that lynching doesn’t seem to be an issue for the general public. “Jo humare regional akhbaar hai, unme iss tarah ki khabrein aa nahi rahi hain, aur bohot kam aa rahi hain, toh logon ke liye lynching koi bohot badi samasya nahi hai.”He adds, “WhatsApp ka iss tareekey ka prabhav hai ki padha-likha aadmi bhi apni padhai ko galat manta hai aur WhatsApp ko sahi manta hai. [The impact of WhatsApp is such that even educated people attach more value to WhatsApp over their own learning].”To which Cherry states, “I think it underlines the importance of making media literacy a part of school curriculum.”Rohin then speaks about a report that no one seems to be covering -- a story about the displacement of villagers of the Mahadalit community from Chamandih village in Bihar’s Gaya. The villagers were evicted from their land by Indian Railways. The story received no local coverage, save for a small piece in Dainik Jagran.For this and more, listen up!#JIO #WhatsApp #mob lynching #Assam #Media See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 26: Media, Assam and NRC, PM Modi’s goof-up, women in newsrooms and more
May 01 2019 51 mins  
This episode of Reporters Without Orders has our in-house reporter Amit Bhardwaj joining our host Cherry Agrawal, along with special guests Vishakha Saxena from Asia Times and Arunabh Saikia from discussion kicks off with Cherry asking the participants to comment on the Supreme Court’s decision to extend the deadline to publish the National Register of Citizens (NRC) to July 30th. Arunabh comments on how the government is planning to establish the number of citizens in Assam and how it will affect them. “It’s a complicated process," he says, which necessitates one to “establish their connection to someone who was there before 1971...this could be anything from your father or grandfather’s name on a voter list before 1971.”Speaking about the verification processes, Arunabh explains that the process is long, as different states need to send in their data in the case of migrants. “It’s clear to everyone in the state that this could be horrific…because currently illegal migrants are being held in detention camps.” Arunabh remarks that it is a “bleak future ahead”.Citing a report by The Hindu on the Citizen Amendment Bill, Cherry asks if this Bill is the method by which the “government is trying to change the definition of illegal migrants”. She also asks about the possible impact of the Bill, if passed, on the NRC list.Arunabh responds, “They are kind of changing who a foreigner is in India. If the Bill is enforced, then the NRC process becomes largely redundant…what it does is, it makes six years of a gigantic bureaucratic process largely redundant.” He also remarks that it is “essentially an anti-Muslim Bill.”The panel also discusses the local and national media's coverage of the NRC.While Arunabh feels that the quantity of coverage was sufficient, he says that “the coverage could have been better” in terms of the quality. According to him, the issue of illegal migrants in Assam is an “immensely complex one. There are multiple academic interpretations." He adds, "It is definitely xenophobic to a certain extent, but there was also an element of class struggle."Amit joins in. He asks Arunabh if there is a tendency to cover bizarre comments made by leaders instead of covering issues of governance and the “morally corrupt” appointment of officials, citing the Tripura governor’s recommendation of a BJP member to be appointed to the government.Arunabh agrees, he adds that there is much more to be covered in Tripura other than Biplab’s statements. Perhaps its harder to find these stories as “covering corruption requires the reporter to be underground, go through paperwork…it requires real digging which a lot of us find hard to do”, he adds.Now over to Vishakha, who feels that the June 26 Thomson Reuters survey which found that India was the most dangerous country for women was “quite under-reported and the reaction to it was also quite conflicting". Cherry disagrees, pointing to prime-time debates about the survey on news channels such as NewsX and CNN-News18.While there can be some contention about the methodology, because of the small sample size of 550 experts, the report should rather have been used as a trigger for a larger debate, Cherry says.“We don’t need any Thomson Reuters report or any UN report to realise what is happening in our country," comments Amit.Vishakha, Amit, and Arunabh also weigh in on gender equality in the newsroom. Then there are Amit's remarks about PM Modi’s recent goof-up in his speech in Maghar which was under-reported. There's more, listen up!#Media #Assam #NationalRegisterofCitizens #Modi #WomenInNewsrooms See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 25: #HapurLynching, Jharkhand gangrape, Congress and the media
May 01 2019 49 mins  
This week Reporters Without Orders is celebrating its 25th episode. Our host Cherry Agarwal is joined by in-house reporter Amit Bhardwaj and Campus Politik editor Sumedha Pal, along with Sidhartha Dutta, Principal Correspondent, Indo-Asian News Service.The media coverage of Hapur lynching case is debated by the panel. Amit feels the “story developed slowly” but “got enough coverage”. He referred to the incident as “one of the slow-burn stories” that gain momentum in the media over a period of time. Cherry asks, “Why do you think this got coverage only after it developed to a certain stage?”Sidhartha talks about the incident being referred to as a case of road rage even though the evidence suggested otherwise. He adds, "I find it really alarming." Amit, following the meeting with the victim’s family, mentions the “the kind of horror they had gone through” and also shares other details of the incident. Sidhartha confesses, “Maybe so much of detail, I wouldn't have known had you not told me,” in support of his argument that the incident was not covered enough.Turning the conversation to another aspect of media criticism, Cherry asks, “We make comparisons to other events…do you think these comparisons are fair?” To which, Sumedha adds, “Such questions need a lot of self-reflection."Meanwhile, Amit impresses upon the prioritisation of stories in terms of media coverage. He says, “It depends upon news development on that particular day."As an agency reporter covering All India Congress Committee, Siddharth talks about Congress party’s relationship with the media. Sidhartha says, “It is imperative for reporters to always get the reaction of a principal Opposition party." Meaning to say that Congress' "position as the principal Opposition” is a probable reason for the party getting wider media coverage.Sumedha speaks about her report on sexual harassment allegations levelled against the NSUI national president by a former female party worker. She says, “Often stories of sexual harassment either end up becoming sensationalised or they are reduced to nothing." Amit says, “I am not drawing any conclusion about Fairoz Khan’s case”. He also mentions about the complexities of the case and the need for a thorough inspection into allegations. He also talks about media's possible reaction “had it been any ABVP member, from even a district member of the committee…Social media narrative would have been made by left-liberals,” he adds.For a third consecutive week, Amit says, stories from Jharkhand has been under-reported by the Big Media. For more details, listen up! See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 24: #BJPDumpsPDP, Shujaat Bukhari, #PlotToKillPM, Jharkhand and more
May 01 2019 49 mins  
This episode of Reporters Without Orders begins with a farewell to Nidhi, our Kashmir correspondent. We are sad to see her go but wish her the best for her future endeavours.Also on the panel, we have Cherry, Amit, Rohin and Sumedha. The discussion kicks off with Jammu and Kashmir's former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti's press conference in the aftermath of Bharatiya Janata Party’s withdrawal of support.Nidhi, who was at the press conference, commenting on the nature of the relationship between the People's Democratic Party (PDP) and the BJP, says, “From day one, it has been a tough marriage. Especially, in the last few months, there have been mounting disagreements between the two parties, especially post-Kathua and the ceasefire, and Shujaat Bukhari’s killing. I spoke to one of the senior members of the PDP, and they basically said that it is not shocking.”Speaking of her own experiences in the aftermath of Bukhari’s murder, Nidhi says, “, I was going to Pulwama to cover another incident and three to four taxi drivers cancelled on me. Locals were unwilling to come with me because they don’t want to be seen with an Indian journalist.” She adds, “Other journalists have also been warned not be seen with a non-local out in the field because now you never know who is watching.”Assuming that the ‘Plot to Kill Prime Minister’ news story would be over, Sumedha watched TV news. She says, “What caught my eye was that there were these promos talking about this big exposé, telling you who the masterminds are. So I thought, I should definitely look for what the exposé has to bring to me.” She adds, “Unfortunately, even after an hour, I couldn’t find what the exposé was trying to establish. It was a hollow exposé, and a lot of noise for nothing.”Rohin shares the story of a medical student who left a shocking note before committing suicide. The victim was unable to pay high fees and was allegedly subjected to harassment on behalf of the college administration. He says, “The reason is that when the fees were raised, she had approached Jabalpur High Court, after which the college administration started harassing her on a personal level.” He adds, “Because she was a middle-class person and she couldn’t pay that kind of fees, she wrote a letter to her parents saying she didn’t want to trouble them, which is why she committed suicide. This is nowhere to be found in mainstream media.”Amit talks about Arvind Kejriwal’s decision to revoke his dharna. Voicing his opinions on Kejriwal’s supposed obstructionist behaviour, Amit says, “When the IAS officers are saying that there is no strike in Delhi, they are partially correct, because the AAP is saying the IAS officers are on ‘partial’ strike. All these officers are coming to work, they are reporting to the secretariat, but they are Amit asks, “Is there any sentiment amongst the locals that this whole idea of using violence to achieve your ultimate goal that is Azadi is useless...Even the voices like Shujaat Bukhari are being allegedly murdered by these gangs.”Cherry speaks about a report in The Hoot which revealed that the main accused in the murder of journalist Sudip Datta Bhaumik has allegedly threatened the prime witness in the case. Cherry also speaks about a plethora of hashtags floating around the BJP-PDP break up. She observes, “As soon as the news broke that the BJP was withdrawing its support from the PDP, hashtags like #BJPdumpsPDP or #BJPdisownsPDP were being circulated but #BJPabandonsKashmir was given a miss."Listen up!#BJPDumpsPDP #ShujaatBukhari #PlotToKillPM See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 23: Aam Aadmi Party and the media, Aligarh Muslim University and more
May 01 2019 38 mins  
On this episode of Reporters Without Orders, Cherry is joined by Rohin and Amit. Parthshri Arora from Vice India also joins the panel.Informing the panel about Delhi government’s idea of statehood, Amit says, “When covering Aam Aadmi Party, there will be very dull days and there’ll be active days, and the days when the party or its leaders are active is the best as well as the worst day for any reporter covering that beat.”Speaking of media's coverage of the issue, Amit agrees with Cherry and states that for a news piece ‘breaking’ in the city, it [Delhi statehood] should have seen more coverage.Parth says that AAP does have a history of beefing up with Big Media. To which Amit replies, “Depends...there’ll be times when AAP will be cheering for news organisations and editors and there’ll be times when they’ll be completely harsh and the attack will be very below the belt.”Rohin speaks about the Aligarh Muslim University controversy where a couple of students are facing criticism and a case of blasphemy because of a picture circulated on social media. The picture showed these AMU students drinking beer at a bar during Ramazan. He expresses resentment against the university administration and says, “If a university cannot support its students by expanding their limited freedom, if it cannot encourage students to challenge established notions; then that university going on to produce meritorious PhD scholars won't matter -- because it won’t make a better society.”Amit and Rohin speak about the bias in media coverage. Rohin points out that sections of the media refrained from covering this incident despite our knowledge of their general viewpoint on such matters. He explains, “They do not want a debate on the issue. They are simply bent upon creating a demarcation. They won’t hold a talk on ‘blasphemy’. But they’d create a divide by saying things like why so much noise over a Muslim’s faith being hurt and not...(when a Hindu icon is disrespected...). This only emboldens the courage of fringe groups of all sections.”Parth speaks about Priyanka Chopra-starrer Quantico and Rega Jha's from Buzzfeed India. He says, “In terms of influence, which 26-year-old has ever wielded this much influence online, on discourse, on feminist issues, on anything really...And she has now built this empire, the biggest, most influential youth media company in the country and now she’s just quitting. I think that’s incredibly big news! And she will be a thought leader. She will be so many things for the next thirty years. And we’ll get to see it.”According to Amit, Akhilesh Yadav vacating his official bungalow was underplayed by sections of the mainstream media.Cherry discusses the issue of Puthiya Thalaimurai TV that was booked by Tamil Nadu police for statements made by its guest during a debate. Parth says that in online media, the op-eds are run with a disclaimer at the end. So maybe, you could run a disclaimer that panelist’s views are their own. "Even then it's a grey area," he adds.Amit brings the panel's attention back to the issue of Delhi's statehood and Parth discusses Kejriwal's media strategy. To know more, listen up! See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 22: Media and farmers, Violation of Arms Act, Shillong violence and more
May 01 2019 44 mins  
On this episode of Reporters Without Orders, the discussion kicks off with the issue of sale of swords and blades online, as reported by The Indian Express. Rohin says, “If we study the Arms Act (1959) and Arms Rules (2016), all non-fire arms that are over 9 inches in length and more than 2 inches in width require a license for both sale and purchase.” Rohin has also done a story on the same. For his story, Rohin also talked to a seller based in Jalandhar and tried to place an order for 1500 swords. He asked the seller if the delivery could be stopped on the way? To his surprise, the seller told him that a written note from a politician could be a good antidote. “You just get a written note from a politician. When the politician has given permission, who are the police to stop?” the seller told Rohin.He also speaks about the representation of the farmers' protests in TV media. “They are showing pictures that show farmers throwing vegetables and milk. They are trying to show that the viewer isn’t participating in the protests, but the farmers who are, are actually misbehaving, destroying the food supply.”Nidhi talks about the story of a woman who died of starvation as she did not have a ration card. This story was underplayed in the mainstream media, Nidhi says, adding, “In January this year, another woman died due to under nutritional exhaustion and the fact-finding team then said that she was denied the ration since October last year. This was because the Aadhaar-enabled machine in the local ration shop failed to authenticate her biometric.”The panel also discusses Nidhi's report on Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) vehicle mowing down a young man during clashes after the Friday prayers in Srinagar. Cherry asks her, “Was there a sense of rage or fear among the locals when things started going out of hand?” Nidhi replies, “It was frenzy!” She says, “To just watch a man getting crushed under a vehicle like that is not fun.”Amit speaks about the tension brewing in Shillong, Meghalaya. Referring to an article by, Amit says, “These details were very important and somehow the national media ‘failed to report it’...until a delegation was sent by Captain Amarinder Singh, the Chief Minister of Punjab.” He adds, “It also alarming the situation is on the ground.”Our Campus Politik editor Sumedha talks about Assam's National Register of Citizens (NRC). She says, “June 30th is the deadline for the National Register of Citizens. This is a news has only been covered in fragments over the months ever since the first list came in December.”She adds, “2.9 million women, who are trying to submit their documents so that they get themselves verified, are not able to do so.” She adds, “These women are also facing threat...and sexual harassment by local officials as well. There is a detailed investigation report that Al Jazeera covered. But I don’t see a lot of mention of this in the Indian media at least.”Cherry says that the follow-up to Cobrapost sting has been very weak in reference to the legal notices the website has been receiving. She also adds that Sudarshan TV also got a legal notice from Delhi Minorities Commission for allegedly airing a report where they referred to some locals from North Delhi's Bawana area as 'Rohingyas' and 'Bangladeshis'.Cherry says, “I went online to check the report...It was slightly disturbing to find both the anchor and the reporter agreeing and implying that the high crime rates in the area was because of the area being dominated by Rohingya Muslims and Bangladeshis.” All this was without actual evidence being cited. “You’re not giving any evidence! Have you done a population census!?” she asks.#Shillong violence #Kashmir #Violence in Bihar #Cobrapost See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 21: Kashmir and Azadi, Times Now's Tejpal tapes and more
May 01 2019 46 mins  
Amit is back from Kairana to join Cherry in the latest episode of Reporters Without Orders. Rohin and Nidhi join us over the phone. We also have our Campus Politik editor Sumedha joining the panel.The podcast begins with Nidhi talking about her recent interview with a Kashmiri mother. She says, “As much as they want to believe in Azadi -- they do believe in Azadi as a collective sentiment -- but a lot of them might not host militants anymore.” Nidhi also shares the challenges she faced while pursuing and articulating this story.Furthermore, Nidhi speaks about Gurez valley, a village in Kashmir where the Kishanganga Hydro Electric project is located. She says, “There is no electricity in most parts. The main town has about four hours of electricity every day.” She says that despite the absence of basic amenities, the society seems fairly self-sufficient. There are new aspirations among local youth when they see outsiders, she adds.Rohin speaks about the upcoming farmers' protests which have been under-reported. He says, “From June 1 - June 10, a big movement of farmers is going to begin across 15-16 states. Named as ‘Gaon bandhi’, the farmers will neither send supplies to cities nor visit them.”Sumedha talks about the protests against land acquisition in Bhavnagar in Gujarat. She says, “It is about lignite mining that is going to happen in Bhavnagar. This land was basically acquired from farmers without due compensation.” She adds, “So there’s this long-standing struggle which is almost reaching a saturation point.”“I really hope that we don’t see a situation like Tamil Nadu where it brews into a violent agitation and it is only then that we hear about it," she says.Rohin mentions the apology letter written by Kumar Vishwas to Arun Jaitley that was talked about a lot on digital portals. Rohin says, “Kumar Vishwas hasn’t literally apologised but he has put all the blame on Kejriwal by stating that he was only following his leader’s footsteps. So whenever Kejriwal made comments, he simply followed him.”Amit says that the language used in the letter also seems demeaning. He says, “Words like kursi ke pissu, thook ke chaatna…is the kind of language that is expected from Kapil Mishra. Despite being an eminent writer, Kumar Vishwas has used such language which has surprised me.”Speaking of the letter, Amit adds, “That’s the easiest way to get out of this mess which he (Kumar Vishwas) was left in.”Amit talks about the recent encounter that happened in Jharkhand in which three naxals belonging to Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC) were gunned down. He says, “Google three words: Naxal, encounter, Jharkhand...and what you will find is shocking as every month multiple encounters are happening in the state.” Amit explains a brief history of Tritiya Prastuti Committee.A state that was apparently neutralised in operations conducted by security forces two years back, he says, “In a way, the situation was under control and suddenly there is a rise in the number of encounters.”Rohin says that the Patthalgadi movement is being talked about in Ranchi. He adds, “There are rumours that two or three active members of the movement have gone missing. The issue has not gained the desired momentum.”Sumedha talks about the NL Campus Politik story on LGBT petition filed by students of IIT. She says, “Throughout the fight to decriminalise Section 377, over the last two decades we’ve seen that only very prominent, financially affluent figures have had the courage to come out and approach the court.” She adds, “I think it was extremely brave of these young people to come out and talk about this and to take the fight to the Court.”Cherry says that despite the doubts about the veracity of Cobrapost's sting, the entire episode has been underplayed.#Kashmir #Times Now #Tejpal tapes #Jharkhand encounters See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 20: Media's Karnataka tale, Varanasi flyover collapse, fuel price hike
Apr 30 2019 43 mins  
On this week's Reporters Without Orders, Cherry is joined by Rohin and Amit, the latter has just returned from Karnataka. Also, on the panel is NDTV's Shruti Menon.The podcast kicks off with some good news. A Newslaundry report on the Cauvery dispute authored by TR Vivek has won Mumbai Press Club's prestigious RedInk Award in the Environment category.The discussion begins with Cherry questioning media’s obsession with Karnataka elections. She asks, “Not all state elections get as much attention. What do you think was different this time?”Shruti answers, “What was different this time was the way the elections panned out. It demanded the kind of attention and coverage it was given.”Nevertheless, Shruti points out that various news events got overshadowed by the election coverage. She says, “One of them, of course, was the Varanasi flyover collapse.”“It did not get wall-to-wall coverage. One of the reasons for that was it happened on the day of the counting.” Explaining the lapse, Shruti says, “Even after the counting day was over, there were no follow-ups for what happened in Varanasi.”Amit disagrees with the argument that some of the state elections don’t get as much attention. He says, “Every election post-2014 has gotten an equal amount of coverage in news media.” BJP's electoral juggernaut is one of the reasons behind this, he says. “It’s also because of the kind of electoral juggernaut that BJP is running in the country," Amit says in reference to media's post-2014 election coverage.Adding to the discussion, Rohin points out the manner in which Uttar Pradesh's 2017 civil polls was covered by media. He says, “It was being shown to the audience in Delhi. It’s importance was projected to such an extent as if the elections were being held at a national level.” He adds, “And TV news journalists were making the analysis of its probable effects on the 2019 (general) elections.”Amit and Shruti recall their experience of dealing with ‘planted stories’ while they were on the ground covering Karnataka elections. Shruti says, “It’s very easy to fall for a plant because it is very alluring.” She adds, “As a reporter what you need do is to constantly try and check whether the kind of information you’re getting is credible or not.”Amit says that it is also about how long the reporter can hold out. “It’s also about at what point of time you fall for it or at what point of time you can hold your nerve.”Rohin talks about the dramatic increase in fuel prices -- a news piece that has received less coverage. Rohin gives a thorough breakdown of petrol's MRP if it’s brought under the GST tax slab. Doing so could reduce petrol's MRP substantially, he adds. Rohin also points out multiple reasons why rising fuel prices call for a serious discussion.Amit speaks about the march of Aam Aadmi Party leaders to LG’s office over CCTV project fiasco which found no space in national media. Amit says, “On a regular news day when you don’t have elections, I think this is the news for the entire country!” He adds, “Aam Aadmi Party is the best selling material.”Cherry mentions two news stories that found limited mention in the mainstream media. This includes the layoff of 34 people at ABP Ltd, reported in a brief by The Hoot. She also highlights the dissonance in media coverage between United States’ embassy shift from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and the protests by Palestinians during which nearly 60 people were killed when Israeli forces opened fire at them.Shruti speaks about another international story that did not receive any coverage -- ‘The Royal Wedding’. Shruti says, “Mainstream media could not pick it up because it was the exact moment when Yeddyurappa resigned.”#Varanasi #Karnataka #Media coverage #Palestine #Israel See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 19: #KarnatakaVerdict, Ghaziabad murder, Dainik Jagran and more
Apr 30 2019 19 mins  
We have a full in-house panel for this episode of Reporters Without Orders. Apart from Rohin and Cherry, we have Nidhi joining us from Kashmir and Amit reporting from Bangalore.Amit, who is camped outside the Raj Bhavan, is giving the panel latest updates on the Karnataka verdict. Oh! he also has a warning for the listeners.Speaking to the panel, Amit says that the BJP was looking at forming the government until the afternoon, however, soon after, the prospects began to diminish. While the Governor has agreed to meet the Congress and JD(S) leaders between 5:30 and 6:00 in the evening, “as per the convention, the Governor should ideally give a chance to Yeddyurappa as the BJP is the single largest party", Amit tells the panel.Amit also shares that the JD(S) supporters were wearing t-shirts with 'E Sala Cup Namde' which means, “this time the cup is ours”. Amit says, “This was their very famous and successful social media campaign where they claimed that this time Vidhana Soudha (Sabha) trophy is ours.” When Cherry asks Amit if JD(S) would play the kingmaker’s role, Amit responds, “It is not playing the kingmaker’s role but it is the king right now!”Nidhi also chips in on the Karnataka conundrum and how Kerala Tourism saw an opportunity in all this. On May 15, amidst the thrill of minute-to-minute political/electoral updates, Kerala Tourism tweeted out an invitation "to all MLAs to unwind at the safe and beautiful resorts of God's own country." Speaking of which, Nidhi tells that panel that the tweet also pointed to a strategy practised by parties to prevent horse-trading of leaders elected to the Legislative Assembly.Nidhi tells the panel that a news piece that was under-reported was the arrests made in the case of the murder of a 15-year-old girl in Ghaziabad that happened in December 2017. The Crime Branch of Ghaziabad police has arrested five people, including the father-son duo, who hatched the plot to kill the girl. Sharing the details of the case, Nidhi adds, “To ensure that she was dead, they drove over her body and then eventually dumped her in a field!”Nidhi says that since then the DSP in-charge of the case has been transferred, the police station in-charge has been suspended for neglecting his duties. Despite this, the news did not find enough space, apparently, because it does not involve any political leader.Rohin speaks about the murder of Bhim Army’s leader’s brother, Sachin Walia, which took place in Saharanpur. He points out that Walia was shot on the day when preparations for Maharana Pratap's Jayanti were being made. He also finds various inconsistencies in the police investigation that indicate that the police had foreknowledge of the mishappening. Rohin says, “It’s interesting that the deceased receives a phone call from the Saharanpur SSP on the day of his death who asks him if he’s going to contest elections. And then they talk about the Maharana Pratap rally, a day celebrated by the Rajputs.” Rohin adds that the SSP makes a strange, grave statement, “Kisiko bhi ragadne ka yahi waqt hota hai (It’s an opportune moment to eliminate anyone.)"Rohin emphasises that such an event can have consequences as elections are near. Even the BSP is aware and apprehensive of the Bhim Army. He adds that this is an important political development with serious implications as Bhim Army led by Chandrashekhar is a big force in the state politics.Cherry speaks about media's recent coverage. She says that the Karnataka elections overshadowed a lot of news pieces, including the namaz row in Haryana.Rohin also speaks about four high-profile weddings and the confusion created by Dainik Jagran's reportage. All this and more in this episode of Reporters Without Orders. See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 18: #KarnatakaElections, Judge Loya, AMU-Jinnah controversy & more
Apr 30 2019 47 mins  
On this podcast of Reporters Without Orders, The Caravan's Nikita Saxena joins the panel to discuss her recent articles on special CBI judge Loya's death. The panel also discusses Member of Parliament Rajeev Chandrasekhar-owned Asianet News and the change in its 'posturing' over time.Amit Bhardwaj, who is currently in Karnataka covering the upcoming state elections, joins the panel over the phone to talk about RSS' Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat, who is a key player in BJP's Karnataka election campaign. You can read Amit's detailed story on Bhat here.Amit also makes an observation about the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's (RSS) role in Karnataka. He says, RSS is furiously campaigning for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), something unlike before. He adds that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign rally in Karnataka can severely impact Congress’ vote share despite the governing party's edge in the state.Rohin asks Amit if the remarks, circulating on social media, made by Prakash Raj, a popular, South Indian film actor, will have an effect on the voters’ choice. According to Amit, Prakash Raj has been able to galvanise only anti-BJP vote bank. He says, “Prakash Raj’s comments may reinforce the beliefs of an anti-BJP voter but will not affect neutral and BJP voter”.Cherry asks our guest panellist Nikita about the challenges she faced while following-up on judge Loya's death. Nikita explains how she investigated the case and gives a detailed breakdown of the events that lead to revelations indicating a foul play in the case. She says, "Here a judge has died. And he was staying at the guest house at that time, as we are told. And none of them find out, that’s very strange, none of them seemed to know what had happened with his belongings for example…” She adds, “Why the reception was not called?!...Why it was thought that it was a better idea to wait for two judges to come to the guest house and then take him to the hospital which I assume is going to lead to a lot of loss in time is something that was not clear at all.”To that, Rohin adds that a recent viral image which showed an auto rickshaw with “who killed Loya?” written on it, is a positive sign in the view of public perception. It suggests that the important, controversial issue had seeped into the otherwise obscure segment of the audience, especially the ‘hindi belt’, he says.Rohin talks about the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) controversy where installation of a photograph of Muhammad Ali Jinnah has sparked a row. Apparently, the photograph has been hanging there since 1938. Rohin also points out that several facts have been left out by the media while reporting on the issue. He adds that the matter of the ‘security breach’ of former Vice President Hamid Ali Ansari, who was present on the campus when the protesters created a ruckus, found less space in the media.Rohin also talks about the VK Dikshit committee report on the Banaras Hindu University controversy that happened in September 2017. “The BHU chief proctor said to the media that the protesters were sponsored in exchange for pizza and pepsi," says Rohin.Nikita examines the editorial stance of Asianet News. She speaks about the changes in the channel since Rajeev Chandrasekhar took over. Asked if the channel has been able to change its 'anti-RSS- stance, she says, "The opinion seemed a little divided but it seemed to me that it had been fractured enough for people to start having some misgivings.”Citing a previous Newslaundry report, Cherry adds, "Their new website that’s coming up will be positioned as a Centre-right news property and it will counter the left narrative."#Loya #AMU-Jinnah controversy #Karnataka Elections See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 17: Biplab Deb, Malaysia conviction, 2018 press freedom index and more
Apr 30 2019 22 mins  
On this podcast of Reporters Without Orders, we have a guest joining the panel. A reporter from Catch News, Priyata Brajabasi, joins the team to discuss recent remarks made by BJP leaders, fake news conviction in Malaysia, 2018 World Press Freedom Index and more.Cherry discusses the comments made by Biplab Deb, chief minister of Tripura, who was recently summoned by Modi for making controversial remarks. She also talks about the comments made by Kavinder Gupta, Jammu and Kashmir's deputy chief minister, who called the Kathua rape a “minor” accident. The media coverage given to insensitive and unsubstantiated remarks made by political leaders shouldn't be aired as much, she says. "While it is important to call them out, the media should abstain from giving them so much attention," Cherry adds.Priyata and Abhinandan agree that the media does serve as a platform for such leaders to draw the limelight, but Abhinandan adds: "I also understand the importance of a chief minister or deputy chief minister, their utterances kind of suggest or convey how their administrations will move or treat certain issues of governance."Furthermore, Cherry adds that it's a journalist's job to give context and background of a story. She points out that the 'fake news' conviction in Malaysia should have got more coverage. On April 30, a Malaysian court convicted a Danish citizen for inaccurate criticism of the police. The 46-year-old was the first person to be prosecuted under Malaysia's recent 'fake news' law.“In India, we are talking about internet regulations, so if these regulations are going to be used to crack the whip on people who criticise the police then it's problematic," says Cherry.Talking about Biplab’s comments, Rohin points out that, according to a source, whatever Biplab is saying is being told to him. "I don't think we should be shocked because when Modi, at a science conference, said Ganesh's trunk was a result of cosmetic surgery, then we shouldn't take ‘internet in Mahabharata times’ seriously," he says.Regarding media coverage, Rohin feels that Tripura is getting coverage because of Biplab’s comments. “Otherwise there is hardly any ground reporting of Tripura in mainstream media,” he adds.Reporters Without Borders (RSF) released the 2018 World Press Freedom Index with India slipping to the 138th position. As per RSF’s observation, Rohin reads: “Ever since Narendra Modi became Prime Minister in 2014, Hindu fundamentalists have been referring to journalists in extremely violent terms. Any investigative reporting that annoys the ruling party or any criticism of Hindutva elicits a torrent of online insults and calls for the death of the reporter or writer responsible, most of it coming from the prime minister’s troll army.”Referring to the murder case of Ankit Saxena, who was in love with a Muslim girl, Rohin points out a new development that should have got media coverage - his parents are collaborating with an NGO to promote inter-religion and inter-caste marriages.The panel then deliberates on the Tamil Nadu governor touching a journalist’s cheek. "I think it does talk about how women journalists are seen,” says Priyata.Abhinandan further discusses the difference that he noticed in recent debates on TV channels. “There was an absence of Hindu-Muslim India-Pakistan kind of thing. I am wondering if this has anything to do with the Karnataka elections,” he asks.Rohin tells the panel that such issues are still being talked about on Hindi TV channels. “People are saying the Kathua case is being talked about because a Muslim girl is involved but nobody talks about the Ghaziabad case because a maulvi and a Hindu girl are involved,” he says.All this and more on this week’s podcast. See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 16: Loya verdict, death penalty, Dainik Jagran article and more
Apr 30 2019 32 mins  
On this podcast of Reporters Without Orders, we have Ramnath Goenka award-winner Rahul Kotiyal joining the panel. Currently a freelancer, he has earlier been with's Hindi website Satyagraha and Tehelka. The panel discusses the issues of death penalty, the Dainik Jagran article on Kathua rape, Judge Loya verdict and more.Rahul describes the story that won him the Ramnath Goenka award for Hindi reporting under the print category. “It was a two-part series on organisations in north India that are running an anti-jihad campaign called Beti Bachao, Bahu Lao. This campaign stops girls from having an inter-caste marriage. I reported this from Dehradun,” he says.Nidhi Suresh, our in-house reporter on the ground in Kashmir, elaborates on her story about a 16-year-old minor girl from Kulgam who went missing and the chargesheet was filed a few days ago. Disappointed by the preliminary chargesheet, she says, “The girl said she was drugged. To establish that, they should have conducted a medical examination. It has to be done within 24 hours.”Abhinandan feels that the whole excitement about the death penalty for child rapists is “such a dumb celebration by dumb people for dumb policy and intervention by dumb policymakers.”Amit adds that the incidents that were in the news last week deserved to be covered. They include the sacking of Atishi Marlena, Judge Loya verdict and the impeachment process. On the other hand, “Swati Maliwal’s indefinite hunger strike was not covered by the mainstream media,” he says.On the issue of death penalty, Rahul points out that the media didn't take it the way it should have been taken. It took it as a welcome step. “It was brought in as an ordinance but an ordinance should come in emergency situations; this will bring a regressive change in our legal system.”Furthermore, he discusses that the Dainik Jagran front page article was a culmination of baseless allegations. The article claimed that the Kathua rape never happened. No evidence substantiated the claim. “They claim there were two post-mortem reports but they haven’t presented the reports anywhere. The major and only difference they found is that one had seven injuries and the other one six injuries.”Nidhi calls this as “reflective of our lack of understanding of rape.”The Loya case, Abhinandan believes, deserved more coverage. He points out that the reporting wasn’t dissecting the judgment page-by-page. “On one hand in the same order, they said a judge cannot lie. On the other hand in the same report, there is another judge who says the ECG machine was not working, so he was mistaken.”In the case of death penalty, Rohin argues that when the state cannot give life, how can it take life away? “Nobody is a rapist by birth. Social conditioning contributes to it largely. Even if you give death penalty to the rapist, whom will you blame for social conditioning?” he questions.He further points out that in remote areas, organisations such as Newslaundry, Boom Live, Alt News find it difficult to reach the masses. Hence, publications such as Dainik Jagran circulated a narrative in those areas. Now they feel people are unnecessarily blaming Modi in the Kathua case.While working on the Kulgam case, Nidhi shares that she was disappointed to see that there is interest in the case as long as there is a politician involved. “Let’s face it, Kathua caught fire only because two BJP leaders were involved.”Abhinandan adds: “From the news point of view, there are certain mechanisms that are outcomes of civilisation, governance, democracy, bureaucracy. When that process becomes a perpetrator of the crime, from a macro point of view, it is a failure of the system as opposed to a crime which like Anand Vardhan once said is ‘the banality of crime’.”All this and more on this week’s podcast. See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 15: #KathuaCase, Rahul Gandhi's march, Sunday Guardian & more
Apr 30 2019 36 mins  
On this podcast of Reporters Without Orders, we have a surprise guest joining the panel. A reporter from The Quint, Meghnad Bose, joins the panel to discuss the Kathua rape case, fire at a Rohingya refugee camp, Rahul Gandhi’s midnight march and more.Meghnad tells us about the story that he broke on CBSE class 12 exams wherein the marks were being unfairly moderated. “A data scientist had observed a very odd marking pattern that an unbelievably high number of students in CBSE were getting the number 95." The numbers like 91, 92, 93 and 94 were obtained by 60-70k people and 195k people got the number 95. We realised that CBSE adopts a moronic system, Meghnad tells the panel.Cherry talks about an article published by The Sunday Guardian, authored by Sushil Pandit. She says that the article should not have been published. “The editor is still defending the piece stating that it is the reporter’s right to write fiction and once you have given a disclaimer [that the story is a concotion] it's okay." But what the piece is doing, in reality, is using actual facts, actual events of an eight-year-old Kathua girl’s rape and murder to delegitimise an entire sequence of events, Cherry says.Abhinandan adds, “Some people are saying it's a satire. I don't see the satirical bit in it.”Cherry also spoke about that the fire at the Rohingya refugee camp where 50 shanties were burnt down. She says while it was reported upon, it did not get wall-to-wall coverage.Rohin, who covered this incident says, “People couldn't decide whether somebody started the fire or it happened on its own. As per the police, it could have been due to a short circuit but people are saying they don't have such wires that could lead to a short-circuit. Their Burmese IDs and refugee cards from the UN were burnt down, technically they are illegal now.”Talking about propaganda related to the Kathua case, Rohin says that it is very insensitive of people to raise questions like -- how come the girl was wearing the same clothes in pictures released before and after the death? Did she have only one set of clothes?Meghnad feels that despite Kathua and Unnao cases receiving wall-to-wall coverage, the questions related to political leadership have not been asked.He tells the panel more about a documentary that he made on rape culture in Haryana. He wanted to investigate why so many rapes happen. “Societal attitudes are so intensely patriarchal that it creates conditions where sexual assault against women is normalised, legitimised and justified.”He feels that the electoral bonds that were told to be anonymous by the government did not get enough coverage. “You have gone to the extent of putting numbers there but people can't see on the face of it. I am surprised that no one picked it up.”The panel discusses the midnight march by Congress President Rahul Gandhi. Amit calls it a “spontaneous” decision because around 9 pm, Rahul Gandhi tweeted that he will take out a march at the India Gate. Amit spoke to some members of the Congress party, who told him that they were informed about the march in the afternoon. He goes on to say that various TV channels and news portals covered it, but there was no reportage in the newspapers.Cherry says that the crime should be talked about and not just the protest. “I don't think it is right to use a protest which is now turning into a brand to peddle your own agenda even if subtle. It is absolutely necessary to talk about that heinous crime that was perpetrated when we talk about rape."To which Abhinandan adds, “There are certain tipping points and that tipping point is usually an incident or a specific event. "It's like the biggest problem that we had with the British was imposing a tax on salt but you can use that as a hinge to set off a bigger protest.”To read more visit: See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 14: Kathua rape case, Kashmir killings, Salman Khan’s conviction & more
Apr 30 2019 31 mins  
On this podcast of Reporters Without Orders, the panel is joined by Ishan Kukreti, a reporter from Down to Earth magazine, to discuss the Kathua rape case, Kashmir killings, Salman Khan’s conviction and more.Nidhi comments on how the mainstream media did not have any coverage on the lawyers’ protest in the Kathua case, "When the charge sheet was filed by the crime branch, the lawyers protested against the same. There was no front-page coverage in the mainstream media. Only Times of India reported it on the front page, everybody else carried it in the inside pages."She also puts forth the fact that 3 killings in the last 7 months in the Kashmir valley have gone under-reported. She finds it “bizarre” that they have only reported the incidents and there have been no follow-ups and investigations.Ishaan discusses the farmers protesting against the Cauvery issue outside an IPL match between CSK-KKR and media's doing "lazy reporting as it is giving attention to IPL through the Cauvery issue”.Cherry also adds on to the Kathua rape case and feels that it deserved more coverage. “Considering the coverage that Salman Khan got wherein at least 9 leading dailies put it on their front page, how does a girl's repeated rape for at least a week does not get a front-page coverage except one column in TOI?” she questions.Manisha states that the probable reason for less coverage could be the 8-year-old victim’s disadvantaged background. “I guess this is also to do with the fact that the girl is from the Bakarwal community. If it happens to a middle-class family and an upper-middle-class person, there is media outrage.”While Nidhi feels Salman Khan’s conviction was all over the media, Cherry discusses excessive coverage given to Congress’ 'chola bathura' breakfast.In the Salman Khan case, Nidhi points out that there was no Bishnoi community representative in the prime-time debate panels. To which Manisha adds, “As per a news report, two Bishnoi members came to stop Salman and he pointed his gun at them. Even under so much pressure, the Bishnoi members haven’t changed their testimony in 20 years. There should have been news of their struggle to get justice and not just Bandra people saying Salman is so great.”In relation to the non-filing of FIR against the SC/ST Atrocities Act (2015 amendment), Ishaan talks about how smartly mass land encroachment is happening in areas such as Raigarh.The panel also discusses, I&B ministry's April 4 order to set up a panel to frame regulations for online media. "Even if I want to express my opinion in a Facebook post or on Twitter, there are chances that the government might crack its whip it,” Cherry tells the panel. See for privacy and opt-out information.

Ep 13: I&B ministry, Dalit protests, media’s demographic bias & more
Apr 30 2019 43 mins  
In this episode of Reporters Without Borders, the team engages in a conversation about the I&B ministry's order to regulate fake news as well as media reportage on the nationwide Dalit protest.While discussing Uttar Pradesh government's decision to officially include 'Ramji' in documents mentioning BR Ambedkar, Rohin points out the importance of adding historical context to debates. "Ambedkar's critique on Ram and casteism would actually scare the Hindutva forces," he tells the panel.Amit talks about media’s demographic bias, and how newsrooms highlight issues from certain states only. "Jharkand's government has drafted an amendment saving officers accused in the forgery of land sale and conversions...had there been a similar draft in Uttar Pradesh, it would have been covered by national media," he states.Discussions on Dalit agitation has Abhinandan questioning media's sympathetic coverage of the protesters, despite compelling evidence of violence. "Dalit protests are usually not covered by TV channels or newspapers. It was the narrative of this protest that led to such mass coverage," says Amit.Rohin points out how the protests have deepened class differences and talks about Savarna reporters looking at the protest with a biased lens.Cherry shares why I&B ministry’s amendment to journalists’ accreditation guidelines was problematic. The amendment threatens to take away a journalist's accreditation even before the journalist’s guilt is established, she says. She also speaks about the responsibility of verification being given to self-regulatory bodies. “The PCA and NBA have proved to be ineffective in the past...are we really expecting them to look into these cases in fifteen days and tell whether they are fake news or not ?" she asks. She also points out that the guidelines do little to curb the menace created by social media websites, which have widely contributed to the spread of fake news.Abhinandan tells us why Mayawati becoming a chief minister at her time was a bigger deal than Barack Obama, an African-American, becoming the President of the United States. See for privacy and opt-out information.

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