ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Paranjoy Guha ThakurtaSubscribe to Paranjoy Guha Thakurta

Trading Places

Media professionals have an important responsibility to society since they are in a position to mould public opinion. But the recent exposures of journalists taking favours from corporate groups have only highlighted once again an old phenomenon in India--codes of conduct are observed in their breach and Chinese walls are usually non-existent in media organisations. Since the 1980s, groups of journalists have tried to straddle the worlds of the media, business and politics, and in the process have damaged the functioning of democracy in the country.

Polyester Prince Revisited

The polyester wars of the mid-1980s that pitted one industry group against another are back with us. On the basis of an investigation begun by the United Progressive Alliance government, the National Democratic Alliance government has imposed an anti-dumping duty on purifi ed terephthalic acid, an important input for production of many polyester products. The user companies argue that there is no evidence of dumping of imports and allege that the duty has been imposed to benefit domestic producers of PTA, of which there are only three and of whom the public sector producer has not complained of dumping.

What Future for the Media in India?

India's largest company now controls India's largest media conglomerate. The country's media could therefore well be perceived henceforth to be a little less independent or, for that matter, trustworthy.

What Future for the Media in India?

India’s largest company now controls India’s largest media conglomerate. India’s media could therefore well be perceived to henceforth be a little less independent or, for that matter, trustworthy.

How Reliance's Options on Natural Gas Price Hike Narrowed

A clutch of public interest petitions and legal entanglements between Reliance Industries and the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas on the pricing of natural gas and other issues are now before the Supreme Court.A record and discussion of the many legal cases in a battle that is going to be a protracted one.

Curbing Media Monopolies

Will restrictions on cross-media ownership impinge on freedom of expression or will the absence of rules stifle plurality and dissent? The debate on this issue continues even as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India recommends legal restrictions on corporate conglomerates owning media.

TRAI Recommendations

Commotion and confusion prevails over the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's recommendations on spectrum pricing and refarming. The industry is split over the suggestions relating to valuation and allocation of electro-magnetic spectrum which follow the 2 February order of the Supreme Court cancelling the 122 licences that were issued in an illegal manner from 2007-08 onwards. The government is under pressure from lobbies to dilute TRAI's recommendations and the regulatory body too has complicated matters. In the end, will the consumer end up as the biggest loser?

Corporatisation of the Media

The entry of Reliance Industries, India's largest corporate entity in the private sector, into the country's media industry in a major way with strategic associations with the Network18 group and the Eenadu group, has been perceived as an instance of consolidation in a sector in which big players have been steeped in debt and strapped for cash over the past few years. What the formation of the new media conglomerate (arguably one of the largest, if not the largest, in India) in the shake-out also signifies is growing concentration of ownership in an oligopolistic market that could lead to loss of media heterogeneity and plurality.

Manufacturing 'News'

The phenomenon of "paid news" wherein newspapers, magazines and TV channels are paid for eulogies of particular candidates and political parties, which then masquerade as independent news, became widespread on the eve of the Lok Sabha and assembly elections of 2009. The Election Commission brought out a circular in 2010 asking the chief electoral officers of all states and union territories to be extra vigilant about this electoral malpractice. Will this be strictly implemented in the forthcoming assembly elections in Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal? What kind of media regulatory mechanism should be in place to curb this unethical and illegal practice?

Underbelly of the Great Indian Telecom Revolution

While the phenomenal growth of telecommunications in India is often attributed to deregulation, the other side of the coin is the equally massive spread of crony capitalism based on scams and corrupt practices. These scandals are a consequence of poor regulatory oversight and deliberate manipulation of policies and norms to favour select privately-owned corporate entities. The most brazen of these scandals pertains to the questionable manner in which mobile spectrum was priced and allocated under the former communications minister Andimuthu Raja. This article traces the history of telecom scams in India and explains the nature of the present 2G corruption.

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