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

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Hindi Media and Democracy

In his article “Politics after Vernacularisation: Hindi Media and Indian Democracy” (5 March 2011), Taberez Ahmed Neyazi did not touch upon the quality and slant in the news content of Dainik Bhaskar. The latter, as also, Amar Ujala (Agra), Haribhoomi (Rohtak and Bilaspur) and Dainik Jagaran have fl ourished or rather carved a safe niche at the cost of half a dozen other newspapers like Aaj, Rajasthan Patrika, Nav Bharat Times, and Hindustan. Some of the latter have transformed themselves or started new editions at new locations but it is now fairly well known how and why they suffered huge setbacks.

As a media analyst, I have been keeping a watch since the mid-1970s on the north Indian Hindi press and have observed the phenomenal growth of certain newspapers that were only a backyard production until the early 1990s when their penetration into the deeper hinterlands had started. The owners of the established English language dailies such as The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The Indian Express and The Tribune (at regional level only) considered the Hindi newspapers as junior sisters and never allowed them an assertive role, leaving a void that was discovered and filled later by the other publications noted above. The challenge was met half-heartedly. Dainik Tribune, started by the Tribune Trust, Chandigarh, sometime in the late 1970s came close to a print order of one lakh whereas Jansatta, a latecomer, had acquired immediate popularity by touching a print order of one lakh when the late Prabhash Joshi, its editor, exclaimed “No More!” He said that the printing capacity of the machine has touched the red mark but did not forget to thank the readers for the display of affection. Nowadays, the ABC figures tell a grimy tale about the huge decline in print orders of both the Jansatta and Dainik Tribune but do not record the reasons for failure to retain circulation.

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