Reporters Without Orders Ep 176: Modi government’s ad spending and newsroom gender gap

A reporters’ podcast about what made news and what shouldn’t have.

ByNL Team
Reporters Without Orders Ep 176: Modi government’s ad spending and newsroom gender gap
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This week, host Nidhi Suresh is joined by Ayush Tiwari and Sidharth Singh of Newslaundry.

In February 2021, the I&B ministry’s Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity presented, in the parliament, data on the Narendra Modi government’s ad spending. It shows that Republic TV and Times Now, the most watched English news TV channels in the country, got fewer ads than NewsX, India Today, and BTVI. This data doesn’t match the numbers the government had previously released under the Right to Information Act, however, nor with those maintained by the channels themselves. Ayush discusses his report on this discrepancy.

Nidhi asks Ayush why he thinks the Modi government is hesitant revealing its actual expenditure? Ayush has no answer to why but says, “The fact that they gave numbers that didn’t reflect the actual expenditure raises several questions because, at the end of the day, this is money collected from taxpayers.” Ayush adds that the ministry is conveniently blaming news channels for whatever discrepancies there might be in how it is calculating spending.

Sidharth talks about his report on gender representation in Indian newsrooms. Two years ago, Newslaundry published a report in partnership with UN Women, Gender Inequality in India Media, which found that women held barely five percent of newsroom leadership positions. According to preliminary findings from Gender Inequality in Indian Media 2021, the numbers have not really changed for 2019-20.

Comparing the two reports, Sidharth says, “Unfortunately, we aren’t really seeing great leaps and strides as far as gender representation is concerned.”

Ayush weighs in by talking about gender representation in Newslaundry compared to other news major organisations.

This and a lot more as they talk about what made news, what didn’t, and what shouldn’t have.

Tune in.

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Produced by Jude Weston, edited by Samarendra K Dash.

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