The recent assault on journalists and activists in New Delhi is fast becoming a national issue with protest reports coming from Mumbai and Kolkata too.
While most publications reported the issue in detail, it was the Kolkata based The Telegraph’s coverage that caught the fancy of everyone for its bold coverage of the Delhi incident.
The Telegraph’s Tuesday edition carried the image of rights activist and CPI supporter Ameeque Jamei getting beaten by a group led by BJP legislator OP Sharma outside the Patiala House Court Complex and drew a lot of attention across social media channels. The headline-- ‘THE PATRIOT’ written as PAT and RIOT in bold red colour. Eminent journalists like Shekhar Gupta, Barkha Dutt and Rajdeep Sardesai shared and tweeted about the newspaper’s brave take on the entire coverage.
#TheTelegraph was trending on Tuesday morning and Twitterati applauded the media house for taking their own stand and for being brave enough to state the uncomfortable truth that others refuse to highlight.
It must be mentioned that a fight which broke out at Patiala House Court premises in New Delhi on Monday between lawyers, faculty members of JNU and journalists. As a result a number of journalists from various media houses like ABP News, Economic Times, IBN7 and Indian Express present at the court premises to cover the arrest of JNU student, Kanhaiya Kumar were also beaten up.
Below are few excerpts from Twitter:
Even on 14th February, the day right after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ week started in Mumbai, the newspaper took a dig at the initiative by highlighting certain harsh realities.
We spoke to experts from the print, advertising and media industry to know their views on the Telegraph’s coverage and what makes it stand out.
Amitava Mitra, Founder & Managing Director, Bee Advertising says that there are two sides to the Telegraph reporting. “From the BJP perspective, this reporting is biased as it comes out from the land of Mamata Banerjee and The Telegraph may be more favourable to the TMC and may have an anti BJP leaning. Secondly, taking the establishment head-on and fearlessly and boldly projecting and reporting the truth and the facts.I believe in the latter. The articles are bold and daring and this is what journalism and journalists ought to do. We need to read and hear the truth. There is growing unrest and intolerance in the country, students and journalists are being attacked, there is clearly an attempt at saffronisation of education and institutes, of imposing Hindutva on all sections of society. We need the media to stand up to this dangerous and emergency like situation and assess the facts and bring out the mood of the nation. Kudos to The Telegraph for taking a stand,” he commented.
Mitrajit Bhattacharya, President& Publisher at Chitralekha Group elaborated, “Newspapers have a huge role in being a watchdog for the society and showing the mirror to the establishment, if need be. These Telegraph covers have worked for three reasons, sensed and projected the mood of the nation; clever design and layout have amplified the message and it has stood out as a bold newspaper ready to take on the might of the government.”
Madhavan Narayanan, Senior Editor, Hindustan Times said, “I would say Telegraph reporting is quite spunky. Being a regional newspaper, they are trying to make a national impact. It is one way of staying relevant in the age of digital and online media. It is journalism bordering on advocacy and a sign of changing times. Also the fact that BJP doesn’t have a major presence in Kolkata is also quite helpful in this case.”
However, John Thomas, a retired newspaper editor and journalism teacher in Bangalore points out, “The excitement about Telegraph's JNU coverage, especially since it is a Twitter/Facebook phenomenon, is a pointer that it is more because of the visual appeal. Other papers have also had good coverage and photos. But because Telegraph concentrates on the packaging and layout of its front page better than others.”