In this week’s Hafta, Newslaundry’s Abhinandan Sekhri, Raman Kirpal, and Mehraj D Lone are joined by Smita Prakash, editor-in-chief of ANI, and Chitra Subramaniam, journalist and co-founder of the News Minute.
The conversation kicks off with the recent developments around Covid vaccines. Chitra says: “I have the sense that China is going to emerge with some kind of a people’s vaccine...If they come up with a vaccine that’s universally affordable and the price point is right, I don’t see why any country will not take it.”
On the state of the media today, Smita says, “The media itself has changed. You had 100-150 newspapers and one Doordarshan and All India Radio which were state-owned..." She adds: “There are many sites which are looking at news, not just as ‘we’ll take on the government or policy’. There are many more stories to do...Now, it’s no longer just reporting, it’s content creation.”
The discussion moves on to the Indian government’s attempts to regulate the media. Mehraj says, “The government, the judiciary is asking for more regulation, also because self-regulation has pretty much failed in India. The Press Council of India and the News Broadcasting Standards Authority have been reduced to making statements. They are no longer regulators but just bodies who issue statements.”
The panel also discusses how Covid has broken class barriers, India’s decision to not join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as an alternative to Trump, and a lot more.
00:00 - Introduction and headlines
11:18 - The current race for vaccines
28:22 - Freedom of speech and state of Indian media
01:04:12 - Subscriber letters
01:20:39 - India not being part of the RCEP
01:27:53 - Chitra and Smita’s recommendations
01:36:52 - Subscriber letters
01:59:21 - Recommendations
Produced and recorded by Aditya Varier and Jude Weston, edited by Samarendra K Dash and Harshula Kumar.
Transcription by Monica Dhanraj.