Andhra scribes wants their fraternity to starve over Sonia politics

Uproar: Journalists protest against the Union and AP govt in Hyderabad

For the last few of weeks, an intense debate has been going on in Andhra Pradesh over ‘freedom of the press’.

This was sparked by the Central Bureau of Investigation’s move to freeze the bank accounts of the Telugu daily Sakshi and the television channel of the same name, which are owned by YSR Congress president Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy as part of its investigation into his alleged disproportionate assets.

A few of days later, the Congress government in the state issued orders withholding advertisements to the daily and the channel on the pretext of the CBI inquiry. And on Friday, the government permitted the CBI to attach the properties of the Sakshi and its sister concern Janani Infra.

The journalist community in the state is vertically divided into two groups over whether or not these developments amount to gagging the press.

One group represents journalists belonging to Sakshi and the other the rival media groups – Eenadu and Andhra Jyothy, who have been prominently highlighting the CBI inquiry against Jagan and how he had floated Sakshi with illgotten money. The scribes belonging to the other print and electronic media, too, have joined one group or the other, conducting debates for several hours and carrying articles supporting or condemning the CBI action against Sakshi management.

‘The freezing of accounts, stopping of advertisements and attachment of properties might be part of the inquiry, but they would ultimately lead to the closure of the media house and it would render thousands of scribes jobless. We are worried about them, not the management,’ says Devulapalli Amar, secretary general of the Indian Journalists Union.

Ironically, Sakshi’s rival group Eenadu also cried foul when former CM Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ordered raids by the CID on Margadarshi Financiers owned by Eenadu group chairman Ramoji Rao in connection with the illegal collection of deposits from the people.Now, the same Eenadu group is supporting raids on Sakshi.

So for some, press freedom depends on which side they are on.

Read the full report ‘Journalists as sitting ducks’ by A. SRINIVASA RAO MailOnlineIndia

 

Congress in throes of terminal illness in Hyderabad

Mobashar Jawed “M.J.” Akbar, the Editor of The Sunday Guardian and editorial director, India Today and Headlines Today writes about media greed, conscience and coercive instruments used by Congress to suppress media in his column titled Cats, whiskers and mice in The Dawn (Pakistan):

Every victor in a democracy now knows that defeat is only a matter of time; the age of permanent re-election is so last century.

But as long as that dismal horizon seems only a distant possibility, the powerful remain serene if not smug.

When possibility metamorphoses into probability, good judgment begins to disappear. The mood gets brittle. The prospect of life outside the pomp and perquisites of office makes ministers frantic, and sends chief ministers (as well as their mentors) into a frenzy.

What other explanation can there be for the crude decision in Andhra Pradesh to freeze the bank accounts of the Sakshi media group in the expectation that its print and audio-visual properties would collapse?

It is obvious that the Congress government in Hyderabad is in the throes of a terminal illness. The party is being taken apart by a nutcracker: Telengana is one handle, and the rising popularity of Jagan Reddy the other. The Congress is loath to acknowledge that both these handles are self-created.

….It is time its sympathisers told Congress that quasi-censorship does not work, for two reasons. Media has more resilience than governments imagine. It is also counterproductive, for in popular assessment it only exaggerates the impact of bad news. If you have something to hide, then it must truly be terrible. An odour turns into a stink, precisely because you are not allowed to gauge its level. The best recipe for media is to leave it alone. Some politicians cannot resist feeding it occasionally, and if this
feed is just information, no harm and perhaps some good done. The fate of governments is not determined by media. When governments die, it is always suicide, never murder.

Read the full column in the Dawn: Cats, whiskers and mice

Malayala Manorama: No. 1 language daily of India

Malayala Manorama remains the No. 1 language daily of the country. The newspaper has added 25,000 readers in IRS Q4 2011 after having lost 50,000 readers in the previous quarter. Its current AIR stands at 99.37 lakh compared with 99.12 in the last quarter and 99.62 lakh in IRS Q2 2011. It had added 24,000 readers in the second quarter of IRS 2011 and 8,000 readers in IRS Q1 2011.

Marathi dailyLokmat is back as India’s second most read language daily. Lokmat was dislodged from the No. 2 position by Tamil newspaper Daily Thanthi in the previous quarter. Similarly, Bengali daily Ananda Bazar Patrika has regained the No. 5 position in IRS Q4 2011. It was dislodged from the No. 5 rank by Telugu daily Eenadu in the previous quarter. One more change is at No. 7 where Telugu daily Sakshi has overtaken Tamil daily Dinakaran.

Marathi daily Lokmat, which is back at the No.2 position, has recorded a growth of 1.66 per cent by adding 1.24 lakh readers this quarter. Its current AIR stands at 75.62 lakh against 74.38 lakh in the previous quarter and 75.95 lakh in IRS Q2 2011. It had added 1.09 lakh readers in IRS Q2 2011.

Tamil newspaper Daily Thanthi has slipped to No. 3 despite adding 56,000 readers in Q4 of IRS 2011. It had added 1.57 lakh readers in the previous quarter to take the No. 2 position. Daily Thanthi has recorded an AIR of 75.03 lakh against 74.47 lakh in the previous quarter and 72.90 lakh in IRS Q2 2011. It had also added 1.03 lakh readers in Q2 and 1.73 lakh readers in Q1.

At No. 4 is Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi, which has registered a marginal growth in its AIR. By adding 36,000 readers in IRS Q4 2011, the daily has recorded an AIR of 66.66 lakh compared with 66.30 in the previous quarter and 66.90 lakh in IRS Q2 2011. Mathrubhumi had lost 1.1 lakh readers in IRS Q2 2011 but added 1.63 lakh readers in IRS Q1 2011.

Bengali daily Ananda Bazar Patrika has made a comeback at No. 5 despite losing a few readers. It has lost 49,000 readers in IRS Q4 2011 while it had added 35,000 readers in the previous quarter. Its current AIR stands at 60.49 lakh compared with 60.98 lakh in the previous quarter and 60.63 in IRS Q2 2011. It had lost 55,000 readers in IRS Q2 2011 and 54,000 readers in Q1 2011.

By losing 1,10,000 readers in IRS Q4 2011, Eenadu has lost its No.5 position. Now at No. 6, it has recorded an AIR of 59.91 lakh against 61.01 lakh in the last survey and 60.32 lakh in IRS Q2 2011. Eenadu had added 69,000 readers in IRS Q3 2011 and 41,000 readers in IRS Q2 2011 but lost 50,000 readers in IRS Q1 2011.

Telugu daily Sakshi has climbed up the rankings for the second quarter in a row to acquire the No. 7 position. After adding 1.13 lakh readers in the last survey, Sakshi has added 84,000 readers in IRS Q4 2011. Its current AIR stands at 53.03 lakh against 52.19 lakh in the previous quarter and 51.06 lakh in IRS Q2 2011. It had added 64,000 readers in IRS Q2 2011 and 88,000 readers in the first quarter of IRS 2011.

Tamil daily Dinakaran, which was growing on quarter-on-quarter basis, has seen a marginal decline this quarter and lost its 7th position. Now at No. 8, the daily has recorded an AIR of 52.27 lakh against 52.53 lakh in the previous quarter, 51.67 lakh in IRS Q2 2011 and 51.23 lakh in IRS Q1 2011. Dinakaran had added 86,000 readers in IRS Q3 2011, 44,000 readers in the second quarter of IRS 2011 and 1.46 lakh readers in Q1.

Gujarat Samachar has again registered a marginal loss. It had slipped down to No. 7 position from No. 9 in the last survey. The daily has recorded an AIR of 51.69 lakh compared with 51.86 lakh in the previous quarter and 52.2 lakh in IRS Q2 2011. The paper had lost 56,000 readers in IRS Q2 2011 but added 99,000 readers in IRS Q1 2011.

Marathi paper Daily Sakal continues at No. 10. It has registered an AIR of 44 lakh compared with 42.73 lakh in the previous quarter and 44.48 lakh in IRS Q2 2011. The daily had lost 1.73 lakh readers in IRS Q3 2011, 1.2 lakh readers in IRS Q2 2011 and 84,000 readers in IRS Q1 2011.