NL Hafta


Hafta 303: Covid vaccines, the state of the Indian media, and the government’s attempts to regulate it


00:00 - Introduction and headlines

11:18 - The current race for vaccines

28:22 - Freedom of speech and state of Indian media

01:04:12 - Subscriber letters

01:20:39 - India not being part of the RCEP

01:27:53 - Chitra and Smita’s recommendations

01:36:52 - Subscriber letters

01:59:21 - Recommendations

In this week’s Hafta, Newslaundry’s Abhinandan Sekhri, Raman Kirpal, and Mehraj D Lone are joined by Smita Prakash, editor-in-chief of ANI, and Chitra Subramaniam, journalist and co-founder of the News Minute.

The conversation kicks off with the recent developments around Covid vaccines. Chitra says: “I have the sense that China is going to emerge with some kind of a people’s vaccine...If they come up with a vaccine that’s universally affordable and the price point is right, I don’t see why any country will not take it.”

On the state of the media today, Smita says, “The media itself has changed. You had 100-150 newspapers and one Doordarshan and All India Radio which were state-owned..." She adds: “There are many sites which are looking at news, not just as ‘we’ll take on the government or policy’. There are many more stories to do...Now, it’s no longer just reporting, it’s content creation.”

The discussion moves on to the Indian government’s attempts to regulate the media. Mehraj says, “The government, the judiciary is asking for more regulation, also because self-regulation has pretty much failed in India. The Press Council of India and the News Broadcasting Standards Authority have been reduced to making statements. They are no longer regulators but just bodies who issue statements.”

The panel also discusses how Covid has broken class barriers, India’s decision to not join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as an alternative to Trump, and a lot more.

Tune in!



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Hafta 360: House sessions, Karnataka’s conversion law, Punjab lynchings, and HC remarks on duty to laugh

To make the most of next week before the deadline, we have a discount coupon for Hafta listeners. Use code <HAFTA360> to get a flat 20 percent discount on annual and three-year plans. Check out our Christmas offer here​​.Timecodes:3:45 - Headlines6:35 - Parliamentary proceedings40: 33 - Anti-conversion bill1:17:12 - Punjab1: 32: 40 - Duty to laugh1: 35: 35 -Subscriber letters2: 09: 46 - RecommendationsThis week on NL Hafta, Abhinandan Sekhri, Manisha Pande, Raman Kirpal andJayashree Arunachalam are joined by Apar Gupta, writer and Executive Director of Internet Freedom Foundation, and Nitin Pai, columnist and co-founder of Takshashila Institution.The discussion starts with the parliamentary proceedings and how much attention goes into passing a bill in India. Nitin comments that the only way parliament should decide on passing bills is by some sort of “feat of force like wrestling or tug of war because it has come to that”. “Do people meet up in state legislatures before clearing any bill? No, they are not voicing the concerns,” he says.Apar points to facts. “Only one out of five bills is sent to the standing committee for approval. It’s inefficient and can be made better by all means.” Abhinandan compares the legislative procedure with precedents and opens the discussion with the “unhealthy process” that exists.Jayashree adds, “All institutional checks and balances are just for show, when they (BJP) got tired with the show; they got it adjourned.”The discussion then shifts to the anti-conversion bill passed by the Karnataka government and its implications, along with references to the recent attacks on churches, which Abhinandan calls “dog whistles for the cultural agenda of BJP, because this is all they have”. The panel sifts through the governance style and gains made through the same in south India.The conversation moves to the issue of sacrilege in Punjab, the lynching cases and the recent blast in Ludhiana. The panel also talks about a statement by a Madras high court judge on the “duty to laugh”.This and a lot more, only on NL Hafta.Tune in! ​​