Sunday, November 22, 2015

Paid News? An Analysis on Indian Media from 2005 to 2013

Although, no political allegiances are declared and no biases for political ideologies made known to the customers, Indian news media, both print and television are considered 'independent'. Readers most likely discover the owners' political leanings through the course of their lifetimes and have no control over the outcomes. Such is also the case with postage stamp releases by India Post in the last decade or so. Among the 20 most read newspapers in India, about half of them have had stamps released for their 'achievements' in journalism. This in itself appears to be quite a feat! Shown below are 16 postage stamps that have direct association with Indian newspapers and were released between 2005 and 2013.

Two of these newspapers, The Times of India and Malayala Manorama have also managed to get multiple stamps released for their organizations. A 'golden' stamp was released in 1988 to commemorate 150 years of The Times of India. It seemed appropriate to celebrate this milestone for a widely read newspaper, but to commemorate the same newspaper 25 years later - especially when it's publishing standards have arguably been deteriorating (some even calling it journalism that sells) - is questionable. Malayala Manorama has been the most fortunate of the lot. In the last 25 years, this newspaper has been obliged with three Indian postage stamps. The first instance appeared well deserved, when the newspaper achieved its centenary in 1988. There were two other instances when K. M. Mathew, Manorama's Editor-in-Chief was honored in 2011 and its 125 years celebration in 2013. Even if one were to consider K. M. Mathew for this honor, it would have been best to commemorate his birth centenary in 2017. 

These recent stamp issues glaringly flout the stamp issuance guidelines and appear to be a result of haphazard decision-making that provides discretionary powers to the government minister and officials. Stamp collectors and the common man deserve to know more about the process and final selections with regard to the stamp issue programs. Increased transparency, reliable research for subject development and a stamp advisory committee with more powers will go a long way to prevent this from recurrence. 
Postage stamps issues for magazines, newspapers and personalities associated with news media. The legend below tabulates the stamp issues and their associations with various newspapers.
#
Issue Description
Associated Newspaper, Etc.
Year
1
Puran Chandra Gupta
Dainik Jagaran
2013
2
Dr. Krishna Kumar Birla
Hindustan Times
2009
3
Jawaharlal Darda
Lokmat
2005
4
T. V. Ramasubbaiyer
Dinamalar
2008
5
Durga Prasad Chaudhary
Dainik Navjyoti
2012
6
Lala Jagat Narain
Punjab Kesari
2013
7
G. G. Jadhav
Pudhari
2009
8
Karpoor Chandra Kulish
Rajasthan Patrika
2012
9
Ramgopal Maheshwari
Central Chronicle-Nav Bharat
2012
10
The Tribune
The Tribune
2006
11
Doot
Gujarati Catholic Monthly
2011
12
Chitralekha / Vaju Kotak
Gujarati Weekly
2011
13
K. M. Mathew
Malayala Manorama
2011
14
Malayala Manorama
Malayala Manorama
2013
15
The Times of India
The Times of India
2013
16
Dineshnandini Dalmia*
The Times of India
2009
*Hindi author, but also married to Ram Krishna Dalmia, founder of the The Times Group that 
owns the The Times of India
The Times of India postage stamps. Sesquicentennial celebrations in 1988 (left) and 175 years celebrations in 2013 (right)
More fortunate, Malyala Manorama. Three stamps commemorating the newspaper and its journalism. Centenary year stamp (1988; left), K. M. Mathew, Editor-in-Chief (2011; middle) and 125 years celebrations in 2013 (right).

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