The traffic figures for this blog make clear that what people like is strong opinions from the author. But occasionally this author grows tired of the sound his own thinking and just wants to pass on wisdom from others. I have two items to offer.
Last week’s James Cameron Memorial lecture at City University London was by N Ram, until recently editor of The Hindu, which has a claim to be India’s best daily paper. Ram delivered a magisterial overview of the Indian media which I can recommend as one of the best analysies of the subject you can find (video/audio, text).
My personal selection of edited highlights (page numbers for text in full):
- Ram, who knew James Cameron, observed that the great foreign correspondent would not have had much truck with the idea, floated occasionally at the Leveson Inquiry and elsewhere, that journalism should be regulated as profession in the manner of doctors or lawyers. Cameron, writing in 1967, was clear that journalism was “not and never has been a profession…since its practice has neither standards nor sanctions” for the reason that “it can be practised in many ways.” (p2)
- Ram stressed a discussion that far too many journalists complaining about failing business models forget: the fortunes of the news media are not the same as the state of the news media (p7).
- Ram gives an up-to-date list of India’s juiciest corruption scandals (p11), remarking that the Indian media has been much better at reporting scandals in government and politics and much less good at chasing corporate corruption.
- Reminding us that India was the first country in the world to ban Salman Rushdie’s “Satanic Verses”, he lists the recent threats to free speech (p17).
- He quotes often from a long piece on Indian media in the New Yorker by Ken Auletta: “Citizens Jain” (£).
- If you want to see one o the most important differences between India and China, look at internet penetration rates: China: 40%, India 10%.